Some of you might have read a past article about the ‘Smart Car’
I will forever remember one commenter who wrote, “I’m 60 years old, and I try to be a responsible person.” I reflect, and think just how subjective the term is.. responsible for what? Stick with this post, as there is lot of study connected, and possibly learning too.
In this article, I suggested that the Smart Car is nothing new at all, and there is no marketing research indicating there is a market for the product in all of north America. Perhaps it’s just a research project, and the bones of the smart car will be tossed on the same mountain of bones created by other micro cars built to satisfy the demands of all too few.
I look for articles about Auto trends written by folks who understand the market, people who know that you need a buyer in order to make a sale. Many of us remember the glory days of VW, they sold cars people wanted to buy, and many of us learned their faults and worked around them, we added a relay here, and an oil cooler there, and we understood if you didn’t grease the front end, and adjust the valves at the recommended intervals, you’d pay the price. We were the DIYer generation, these were minor things for us in comparison to the advantages to being able to buy a dirt cheap fender and bolt it on yourself! Who owns the tools to remove that crumpled fender today?
The Smart car? A Mechanic friend tells me, he was walking thru a parking lot and saw a guy dumbfounded by the task of replacing a head light bulb in his smart car, he looked under the hood, and later remarked to me.. “things are tight under there, I told the guy he might be best off to go to the dealer.”
Here’s an article I stumbled across this AM, one I think is thought-provoking. It touches on VWs strategy to rekindle the demand and loyalty North Americans once had for their products. The Author displays his knowledge of reality, it’s so often overlooked.. you need market products people want in order to make sales in volume.
But read those words.. ‘subsidies’, just what is that all about, and is it a long term help or hinder? And.. who does it help or hinder? I know, I know, .. someone out there is cocksure this is the responsible thing to do.
This post above is food for thought.. written for DIYers, we know that the responsible thing to do might be to let the market sort out the winners and losers. The DIYer knows how subjective ‘responsible’ is, fact is, he also knows he’ll burn less fuel, and create fewer emissions with one practical family car versus two or three cars in his drive way. Making those cars, and spending the money to buy them created a mountain of emissions.
And BTW, thanks again for subsidizing the world in their efforts to build and sell products here. In Washington State, we have wind turbines for as far as one can see in places, all manufactured in Europe, and built there. And our Gang Green Fellow Americans take pride in what they’ve done to place them. Americans enjoy a few hours of labor to tip them up in place. I guess the subsidies for the Autos is far smarter than for wind turbines, at least it makes more American jobs.
Now for the learning: Go back up to that last link at the globeandmail, if you didn’t read the comments, then you missed 50% or more of the value of the article.
Sort through there, note the one guy who says he’s unhappy wiht your choice of a larger car, he apparently wants you to cram all six of your kids in the car of his choice.. he knows what you really need, and the world would be a better place if he were running it..
here’s one I reflected on.. look for the moniker Civil, perhaps he needs a new moniker. I’d give him ‘thoughtful’
4:11 PM on March 20, 2012 Civil says:
Let’s do some simple math based on a US gallon, US EPA MPG and US ‘combined composite equivalent MPG’ (combined composite eMPG) data, shall we?
A base-model 2012 Chevy Volt with a manufactured suggested retail price (MSRP) of $33,045 (pre-tax but after the $8,500 Ontario provincial rebate) with a combined composite eMPG rating of 60 MPG* (72 MPG Imperial), as compared to a 2012 VW Passat TDi with an MSRP of $27,475 (pre-tax) and an EPA combined hwy/city rating of 34 MPG (41 MPG Imperial), driven 15,000 km/year (9,321 miles), based on a $4.69 per US gallon (3.78 litres x $1.24/litre) diesel price, would require a total of 6 1/2 years just to pay back the $5,570 price premium of the 2012 Chevy Volt over the MSRP of the 2012 VW Passat TDi given the Volt’s $557 annually saved fuel costs as compared to the 2012 VW Passat TDi.
However, the aforementioned 6 1/2 year payback period does not take into account the cost of charging the Chevy Volt (at today’s electricity rates – which will only increase once drivers switch from petroleum based vehicles to EVs and plug-in hybrids – placing more strain on an already precarious electricity grid), nor the cost of replacing the Volt’s Lithium Polymer Ion batteries at an estimated cost of $2,400 (plus labour) every 8 years – increasing the payback by a further 4 1/2 years to a whopping 11 years! Adding another $3,187 for a 240v charging station for your home’s garage increases the payback period by 6 more years to 17 years!
Interestingly, pushing the numbers on the Nissan Leaf yields even worse results – a costly home charging station, a whopping $12,000 for battery replacement every 8 years translating into a painfully long payback period of 45 years.
Not exactly a prudent purchase.
(Voice of Iliza Shlesinger): “Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, you ran out of juice on the 8th hole and are little more than glorified golf carts – You are Excused!”