(This is an old post from elsewhere I’m resurrecting in light of the debate about ethanol subsidies and the fact that the Volt only sold 326 units in December of 2010)
The Chevy Volt is a piss-poor idea for a car. Seriously, 40 miles on a charge? Now I realize that an extended range would necessarily require a larger battery bank, but still…I find it ludicrous. Ok, ok it does go further than that by utilizing a gas powered generator; but doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose of an electric car if one is trying to reduce or eliminate emissions?
I’m no environmental engineer and do not have facts and figures to back this up; but it seems a bit ironic to plug a seemingly environmentally friendly car into an outlet powered by dirty coal. Has someone actually run numbers to prove that less damage is done to the environment charging this car than by driving a high MPG car? Somehow I doubt it. Now if your power supply is nuclear, wind, or solar generated then we’ve got something to talk about. But until then, no.
Then there are the batteries. What happens when they wear out and will no longer take a charge or run at full capacity? Has anyone thought about the disposal or recycling of such a large number of batteries? My guess is no.
Now I’m not anti-environment nor am I on some crazy crusade to save it, I just think we ought to think more clearly before putting band-aids problems that may or may not exist.
Case in point: Ethanol. While this deserves it’s own post, let’s sum it up briefly. Touted as the fuel of the future by some, it has some serious drawbacks when derived from corn as it is here in the United States (info here). Water pollution, water scarcity, increased food prices, lower fuel mileage, and the list goes on. Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t point out this excellent article as to how ethanol is effectively utilized in Brazil.
One problem, two solutions.
I believe the same applies to the Volt and any similar car or new technology. Let us carefully consider the ramifications of these decisions before investing huge amounts of time, money, and other resources into something that may or may not be viable.
What say you?