Archive for electric car

Tesla Model 3 vs the Chevy Bolt – And What About the Volt!?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on June 20, 2018 by jtoddring


The GM Bolt is a great car – but boring and ugly, and utilitarian, in my view, with surprisingly limited cargo space for a hatchback.

The Tesla Model 3 is also a great car, and with surprisingly good cargo space for a mid-size car – and it’s gorgeous.

There’s no comparison between the two.

One is a Korean-styled, KIA imitation, utilitarian economy car with some minimal quirky econo-car/hatchback charm, with a joystick shifter and control panel buttons from the 1970’s.

The other looks like an Italian-Scandinavian design team came out with something super-cool and sleek, and absolutely leading edge.

Again, no comparison.

The GM Bolt and Tesla Model 3 are the only cars available at this time, apparently, that are fully electric, with a range over 200 miles or 300 km, and anything near approaching affordability.

And, just as it did in a match-up with the flagships of the full-size luxury car market – beating BMW and Mercedes in sales with the Model S – in the mid-size/compact market, Tesla wins again, unsurprisingly.

The Tesla Model 3 has 400,000 advance orders, and has just hit production levels of 30,000 vehicles this year, and is ramping up fast.

The Bolt started strong, with sales strong enough to justify a GM production ramp up, but it simply can’t compete with Tesla styling or mystique.

And while both are plug-in EVs that can be plugged into any home or office wall socket, GM has nothing remotely comparable to the Tesla-built electric charging infrastructure for North America, which is the Tesla Supercharger stations.

The Bolt is $37k USD, the base Tesla is $35k USD. It’s a no-brainer.


By the way, GM, where’s the Volt?! Now there is a car with some style, in my opinion, and charm, and cargo space! All it lacks is an optional bigger battery pack.

Can you say, “Duh!”?

You survived bankruptcy, though the US government had to bail you out and become the major shareholder; you pulled the mothballed electric car project out of the back shed, and kudos for that – now give it some style, please.

The easiest way to do that would be to simply put a big battery pack option onto the undercarriage of the very well-designed, stylish and attractive extended-range EV Volt, and make a long-range full EV option for it.

Simple. Don’t over-complicate things. Advance the Volt.

And hire some Italian designers. Or Tesla designers, if they’ll part with the company they love.

A larger battery pack as an option for the stellar Volt would cost $5k-10k, but it would make the Volt a major contender as a mid-size, mid-price car that is also a long range electric vehicle, with a price around $39-44k USD.

Now this should be a no-brainer. Come on GM. Think about it for just a second, and get it in gear!

Until then, I’ll keep my 2012 Volt, with its 60km electric range and micro gasoline-powered range extension, and wait for a used Tesla Model 3 to come into our price range.

Too bad for GM though. This is a big lost opportunity, so far. Bad management decisions, General Motors.

As for the Volt, it is worth more than a few words as an aside.

The Chevy Volt is a great car – the best car I’ve ever driven, by far, if the environment is any consideration, which of course it should be.

We have a 2012 model, and it’s still a great car. I wouldn’t trade it for any other car, other than a Tesla, or a newer Volt. Nothing else really compares – at all.

Unless you really need giant SUV-size cargo space, or a truck or van for trades work, the Volt is simply the best car available on the planet – after the Tesla Model 3, of course, which blows it out of the water, and at a lower price.

GM, you seem to have no present ability to compete with Tesla on styling, but at least with a long-range battery pack option for the Volt, you could compete with the Model 3 on cargo space, with a car that I think is quite attractive – not gorgeous, like the Teslas, but attractive.

But no, that would require something akin to common sense. And you didn’t go bankrupt for no reason.

But once again, kudos to Tesla, for breaking new ground, and bringing electric vehicles further and further into the mainstream.

(Guess who’s leading the industry, by the way. It’s not GM. And it’s not any of the auto giants. It’s Tesla – again, and still.)


Now that Model 3 production is ramping up fast, what qualms does Top Gear have with the new Tesla? None. It’s simply a great car.

The only problem is waiting for the back orders to be filled. Quite the problem for a company to have – we can’t keep up with demand, so you’ll just have to wait for the lovely.

But then again, the best things usually don’t come overnight.

That’s hard for an instant-gratification culture to accept. But this is, when both price and environment are considered, as they must be, the best car ever made, to date, bar none.

June 20, 2018

The real costs of fossil fuel-powered vehicles – and the alternatives to them

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2016 by jtoddring


There is some rising concern, and at times vitriol, about electric car drivers not paying their fair share, because they buy no gas, and therefore do not pay gas taxes, which go to maintaining roads. While this is true, it is only a sliver of the bigger picture. The more salient fact is that health and environmental costs from fossil-fuel-burning automobiles, along with subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, are vastly greater than the cost of maintaining roads – and electric car drivers are not contributing to these far greater costs to society, thus saving us enormous sums of money. We should thank them, not scold them and wag our fingers.

In the US each household pays roughly $1,100 a year to subsidize automobile drivers, in the form of subsidies to road construction and maintenance, in addition to gas taxes and tolls. Automobile drivers are heavily subsidized by drivers and non-drivers alike. And this does not even count the health and environmental costs of automobile use, which far exceed the cost of building and maintaining roads.

It also does not count the cost of subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, which the IMF has recently stated are at $5 trillion a year globally – more than all health spending by all governments in the world combined.

These are shocking figures. Our society is deeply, and disastrously, out of balance – clearly. We need clean, renewable mass transit infrastructure now. It is safer, cleaner, does not destroy the air or the planet, and is also far cheaper than an automobile-based transportation system, which is positively Jurassic by comparison.

But, we still live in the stone age with regards to our transportation system, and in many other ways. We had better get it together and make some very big changes soon – as in, now – because currently, we are only driving toward an ecological cataclysm of our own making.

And in the meantime, while we make the transition to a more sane and truly sustainable transportation system for the 21st century, based on electric and solar-hydrogen trains, buses, light rail, taxis, shuttles, ferries, ships and subways, we need to switch immediately to electric and solar hydrogen cars and trucks. To refuse to do so, with all of the evidence now before us, is simply unconscionable, as well as flatly suicidal.

February 24, 2016


Electric-Car Drivers Don’t Pay Their Share? Actually, No One Does

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