No one wants electric cars

Electric cars are gay, no one wants them:

19 Chevrolet Volt

19 Chevrolet Volt (Photo credit: kenjonbro)

General Motors has reportedly sent home 1300 employees for five weeks due to a lack of demand for its much-hyped plug-in hybrid car, the Volt.

The Detroit Free Press quotes GM spokesman Chris Lee as saying: “Even with sales up in February over January we are still seeking to align our production with demand.”

The Hamtramck production plant, which builds the Chevrolet Volt, Opel Ampera and will also produce the Holden badged Volt, will close its doors from March 19 to April 23, according to Lee.

The Holden Volt is due to go on sale in Australia within months. It’s not yet clear whether the production layoff will impact local supply.

The plant closure is a public relations disaster for GM, which had heralded the car as a breakthrough for the US automotive industry.

The Volt is GM’s first hybrid car that is designed to run primarily on electricity. It uses a small capacity petrol engine as a “range-extender”, allowing it to travel longer distances.

Chevrolet fell embarrassingly short of its initial 10,000 unit sales target for the Volt in the US in 2011, with just 7671 cars sold.

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  • captain Kidd

    All the Greenies rave on about saving the planet,but what they mean is that everyone but them should..A look at stupid Lacy Lawless on TV last night should give an insight into how retarded these people are.think about how much money is being wasted on electric cars that nobody wants and wind farms that dont work.I dont believe in being too green but I bet im way less harmfull to the planet than Lawless who flys overseas every bloody week FFS.

  • Engineer

    Sooner or later we will see lots of electric cars, which is good as they don’t pollute the air in cities.  Note that carbon dioxide isn’t polution, and all this gloabal warmig stuff is nonsense, but that doesn’t mean electric cars arn’t a good idea.

    • Grizz30

      How is the electricity made? In Australia it will likely be coal. Arguably the Holden Volt will be the first modern car to run on coal.

      • Engineer

        As you know Electricity can be made from all sorts of things, and it is much cleaner and efficient to burn whatever in a power station than it would be in a car.
        In New Zealand the Holden Volt would be running 75% on water :<

      • HeinB

        Engineer is onto it, the point is that power stations (even dinosaur burners) are a much more efficient way to burn fossil fuels. His first point is correct, at some point in the future electric cars will be the norm. Would also be a great day when we can stop relying on the middle east for a commodity without which things will fall apart pretty quickly.

  • Super_Guest

    Why don’t they just make electric cars that don’t make you feel like some hippie pos when you’re driving them? Is it because the only market for electric cars are pretentious urban liberals (think, Michael Cullen, Clare Curren, Russel Norman, every Green voter) anyway?

  • Grizz30

    From an environmental point of view electric cars are worse. The electricity will have to be made from new fossil fuel burning plants and not to forget the loss of some energy in the transmission process. However it does add weight to the argument for nuclear power stations.

    • Engineer

      The environment you are talking about is only carbon dioxide, which as we all know is just a UN sponsered tax, not a polutant.
      Think of the actual environmental problems,  smog for example.  Also less oil run-off from the roads into the storm water.

      Not necessarily true that new plants would be required, battery powered cars can charge off-peak.

      • Grizz30

        I share some common ground. The less we spend on overseas oil the better it is for us. However I am trying to look at this in a practical way. Consider if Auckland had a fleet of 50,000 electric cars that drove on average of 50km per day. How much ADDITIONAL electricity would the system need to find? I am not an engineer and it would be good to have some credible figures for this. I am also aware that NZ hydroelectric lakes have limited storage and that hydroelectric stations cannot run at full capacity all the time so invariably get turned off during off peak times. During dry times they may not run at all. Also Auckland’s electricity is often heavily dependent on the Huntly and Otahuhu gas fueled generators.

        To have a large fleet of electric cars it must be accepted that additional electricity generation will have to be built. There is huge potential for further hydroelectricity but ironically the environmental lobby oppose every project. I personally favour development of tidal energy as it is far more predictable. It will be several years before such energy is commercially viable on a large scale but alas the same environmental lobby will oppose this too. It is strange how new gas powered generators can be approved and erected without any significant opposition.

    • Engineer

       If we all drove Teslas’s

      From their web site
      3.5 hour charge time from empty to full using the Tesla High Power Wall Connector at 240 Volts and 70 Amps.  Range

      245 miles (edit 394 kms, diving nomraly, no hoonong)

      Hopefullly my math is right.
      This is close to 58KWh full charge, so 50kms = 7.3kWH to charge from your 50kms per day.  Thats the same power usage as having a 1000w oild colomn heater on for 7 hours 20 minutes, give or take.

      50,000 of them would be 368MWh (Contacts Otahuhu gass fired generation plant in Auckland could do this in one hour as it is 400MW). If the cars we charged at 2am when most themrnal stations are probaly idle then we don’t need as many more power stations as you would think.

      We would eventualy need more power generation for cars yes, but probably better than burning it in a car.

      • Grizz30

        The calculations are a start. However I doubt they would be as efficient as that. City driving probably involves a lot of decceleration and acceleration. Of course you will want to operate headlights, play Barry Manilow on the boom box, charge the iphone, activate the climate control (big consumer of energy) and play DVDs in the back so the kids stay quiet.

        I feel this issue is is need of more debate and analysis anyway.

      • Mr_Blobby

        Agree with you completely. I read somewhere that we could power up about 60% of the Car fleet on off peak power. Without the need for additional power stations. This would require the Government to do something useful like mandate or incentivize the use of off peak power. Not likely.

  • sthn.jeff

    Electric cars are not the way of the future… Surely that will be the domain of hydrogen poweed vehicles

    • Johno1234

      Only if some clever bastard comes up with a way of creating hydrogen that takes less energy than can be extracted from it. I can’t see this happening.

  • AnonWgtn

    Where is the electricity coming from to power these cars.
    They can only do about 150kms so where will the unvandalised power points be 24/12 ?
    And what will the cost of the scarce electricity be.

    • HeinB

      How many km do you drive every day on average ? For most of the population it’s less than 50km. Ideal scenario for a plug-in electric car. Granted, you would want a series hybrid for longer journeys.

      • No that is an ideal situation for a ute…in fact all situations need a ute.

      • Answering that question – 5/8ths of Sweet F–k All as I travel 500m down the road to the rail station and get on a train. However for those who do Papakura to City or courier drivers then you can do 50km or similar idling in a few hours flat.

        Look electrics are a waste really are unless we plan to build around Light Water Reactors just south of the Bombays? Oh and I hear the French are onto a winner with nuclear fusion too

      • Engineer

        You could always run power down the state highways and have a pantograph on your car, then you can travel as far as you want. (this is how the electric busses in Wellington work).

      • Scott

          @EngineerI think IPT (inductive power transfer) wireless from cables in the road surface would be better.The technology exists now, and no need to put up trolly-poles to the wires.

  • Gazzaw

    How are we going to produce enough electricity in NZ to fuel these things? Greens don’t want nuclear, tidal, coal, oil, lignite, shale, the windpower concept is fucked and we’ll never get consent for a hydro dam in under ten years.

    Wooden bicycle anyone?

    • Engineer

       A green induced power crisis will happen anyway.  Electric cars will make the situation worse of course.  The problem here is that greens are morons, not that electic cars use electricity.

  • surely the holy grail is the solar-power electric car..?

    ..advances in energy-harvesting/batteries will make this possible..

    ..then no need for expensive infrastructure…

    [email protected]

    • Grizz30

      Why do you care about cars. I thought you flew around on your magic carpet!

      •  back in the day i had a turbo-charged rotary..

        ..done up to stage three rally…(internal roll bars/racing-supension etc.. etc..) stuck to the road like glue..

        ..and i cd race porsches from a standing start at the lights..

        ..and had a memorable trip around the sth island in it..

        ..(this was pre-radar..) looked really straight..

        ..the only giveaways the fatter wheels/exhaust-pipe/tinted-windows..

        ..and the satisfying howl it made as it was wound out..

        [email protected]

      • Boss Hogg


        You are as bad as Lucy Lawless.  You with your Wankel and her with the V12 Merc – then you go all watermelon coloured.

        You both would have been getting less than 10 MPG – you are the ones that have got us into this predicament, now we all need electric cars to make up for your previous excesses – Damn you Phil.

  • Agent BallSack

    Hypothetically electric cars would need to be ripple switched like the hot water cylinder in your house so that charging would take place at times of light loads. If you needed to charge your car during the day, expect to pay more.

    • Boss Hogg

      And when there are power shortages due to the fact the Greenies have prevented all new hydro and thermal power development you then wake up in a cold shower realising your car is flat – great start to the day.

    • Engineer

       That is one idea that has been floated, or using a simlar idea with an alternative technology to ripple signals. Cars they would need there own circuit anyway due to how much power they draw.

  • Engineer

    Grizz30, here is my breakdown of the power requirements.
    City driving probably involves a lot of decceleration and
    acceleration. – eletric cars are better at this than internal combustion, at least from an efficiency point of view.  And far better when you are not moving.

    Of course you will want to operate headlights – not much power required, especialy if you use LED lights.
    play Barry
    Manilow on the boom box – not much power required
    charge the iphone – to small to measure the power required
    activate the climate control
    (big consumer of energy) – yes this draws lots
    play DVDs in the back so the kids stay
    quiet. – not much power required

  • Nigel201065

    The major problem with electric cars at the moment is purely price
    the Volt sells in the USA for $50k while a Chevy Malibu which is the same size starts from $22k  making a difference of  $28k, taking into count the average person uses about $50 per week on petrol that gives you approx 10yrs of petrol just to make up the cost difference i know the price of petrol is going to go up but this hasn’t taken into count the cost of the electricity

    • parorchestia

      The real problem is energy storage.  Batteries store very little energy per kg compared with hydrocarbons.  Until better storage systems are developed electric cars won’t be popular.

  • Greg M

    Leccy cars are shit. I drive a gas guzzling V8 Range Rover and don’t plan on buying a poxy prius any time soon. Up the greenies.

    • Boss Hogg

      Hey Greg,  I thought you had one of those blow boats with a piss arse little motor not some ocean going tug?!

      I am with you, Leccy cars are only going to be a gimmic until battery technology and cost take a huge leap forward.  I am all for getting back to CNG for cars as the technology for the cars is real and is here, now.  I have driven a C class Merc with a supercharger in Sweden running on Biogas (Methane, same shit).  Yeeehaa – all good.

      NZ has the gas and power infrastructure to re build the required CNG stations – Muldoon gave us that with subsidies (those were the days – DFC loans, cash grants – could never last, and it didn’t).  I had a Chev C10 ute on dedicated CNG when we were installing CNG stations – rebuilt 6 litre small block, 4 bolt mains, high compression – Your Rangey would never had a chance.


      • Greg M

         Hehe!  Swapped the yacht for the tug, it’s a lot of fun :-)

      • Boss Hogg

        Ocean going Ute – Whale Oil will be jealous as hell I would have thought.

        Put a solar cell on the roof to charge the start and house batteries – there you go – Greenwash all done.

      • Greg M

         Solar cells my arse! I have two whopping great smelly Cat330 powered gensets for battery charging, Black smoke galore!

    • Pukakidon

       We need more greenies to save resources and live a shit life so there are more for everyone else to use.