Do you own both a gun and a Chevy Volt?

Interesting discussion going on over at the forums. Question was asked “Who owns both a gun and a Volt?”

Why do I find this interesting? Because it is broaching the left/right divide concept. Both guns and electric vehicles are two area that are often assumed to be divided on politics. But the truth be told is that there are many liberals who own guns and support gun ownership. There are many conservatives who are either ‘environment’ or ‘energy’ conscious.

I myself would own a Chevy Volt if I had the funds to buy a new vehicle. 
[NOTE: I find the concern over fire risk to be minimal.  In that it tends to be delayed (days/weeks) and only occurs if the recommended procedure of draining the batteries is not implemented after a crash.  Furthermore, GM has already offered a remediation.

Published in: on January 12, 2012 at 6:06 pm  Comments (5)  
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  1. Agreed. I own a gun, but I love electric cars. I’m building my own out of a 1997 VW Jetta that was given to me.

    Would folks call me a conservative? I guess so. Why can’t I want to conserve fuel, resources, tax dollars, and troops by trying to use less foreign oil so we don’t have to go to war over it?

  2. There’s nothing inherently evil about the concept of electric cars (unlike the concept of gun control), the technology just isn’t quite there yet and it simply isn’t practical.

    The battery only ones are especially impractical for anything other than running short errands around town, but even the Chevy Volt, with it’s gasoline powered alternative, makes no financial sense at current prices.

    Basic Math.

    MSRP for a Chevy Volt is currently listed on Chevy’s web site at $31,645

    A comparably sized gasoline vehicle that gets good gas mileage…let’s say the Honda Fit (one of the guys in my office has one so I’m familiar with it and its performance)…is listed at $15,175.

    That’s a difference of $16150.

    At $4 a gallon, that’s 4125 gallons of gas.

    Even assuming that you never use the gas engine on the volt and so it uses no gas at all, and the Honda is driven primarily in town and gets poor gas mileage at 25mpg (my co-worker assures me he gets an average of 30mpg) that’s 103,125 miles you’d have to drive the Volt to make up the difference in price.

    For the average driver (12k per year), that’s over 8 years.

    Interestingly, the Volt’s warranty on the batteries is good for 8 years or 100k miles so even in the worst case scenario, you wouldn’t even make up for the extra costs before the warranty expired and you’d be nearing the end of the life of the batteries.

    That’s not even taking into account the environmental hazards associated with battery manufacturing, maintenance and disposal.

    Not buying an electric car has nothing to do with leaning to the right politically…unless your contention is that right leaning people are just more logical and understand basic economics better…it has to do with the fact that it just doesn’t make sense economically speaking.

    As a side note in response to NevynPA, when I was in high school, my girlfriend at the time’s father was an electrical engineer. He was experimenting with turning a Chevette into an electric car. Granted, battery technology has come a long way in the (cough) years since then, but his electric car burned his house down one evening when one of the batteries went into thermal runaway. Luckily everyone got out OK, but the house was a total loss (and I lost my class ring, which was in the possession of his daughter at the time).

    The point being, be sure you know what you’re getting into when playing around with things like that. The kind of power it takes to push a car around is nothing to take lightly.

  3. Sorry, I think I fat-fingered something on the calculator when doing the math.

    The difference in price between the Volt and the Fit should have been $16470 For a total of 4117.5 gallons at $4 a gallon.

    Which changes the miles required to make up the difference (at 25mpg) to 102937.5 or 8.58 years at 12k miles per year.

    Don’t know where I went wrong the first time but the change was minor and the point still stands.

  4. Oh I agree, economically, it doesn’t quite make sense yet. Heck, even most hybrids don’t pay off.

    I am less concerned about the batteries. My 1st gen Prius is around 10 years old and the battery hasn’t failed. And I figure in about 10 years, batteries with equivalent charge to the Volt’s will be much cheaper. (Think a replacement battery that is either a 1/4 the weight or provides 4x the charge for a 160 mile range).

    To me, EVs will become viable when they can go 150 miles on a charge in cold weather. And recharge to a nominal 50 mile range minimum in about 5 minutes.

    I do find the technology fascinating. And believe it to be the future. But no, it’s not presently the economical choice.

  5. I am being very careful – that’s for sure. I’m working on it with some friends. One is a mechanical engineer whose hobby is building tesla coils and handmade plasma globes. One is a CNC machinist whose hobbies are electrical engineering (he built an electromagnetic coil gun) and PLCs.

    My family has run its own machine shop for over 30 years, and I have full access to everything from basic tools (drill, reciprocating saw) up to CNC mills, industrial drill presses, experienced welders and machinists, and a plasma cutter.

    Seeing as all the parts fit (I’m an IT guy and electronics repair tech), and most everything would be near free, we figured why not? It’s more to be done as a toy and tech demo (to be able to say we did it) than it is being done to be used as a replacement for a daily driver.

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