Welcome to the Energy Blog

  • The Energy Blog is where all topics relating to The Energy Revolution are presented. Increasingly, expensive oil, coal and global warming are causing an energy revolution by requiring fossil fuels to be supplemented by alternative energy sources and by requiring changes in lifestyle. Please contact me with your comments and questions. Further Information about me can be found HERE.



After Gutenberg

Clean Break

The Oil Drum


Blog powered by Typepad

« Ice Loss in Antartica Nearly Matches That of Greenland | Main | Seadog Wave Pump Exceeds Epectations »

January 27, 2008


Paul H.

I wish I could make an in-town commuter car that could go 40 miles/charge for only $30,000-$40,000. Oh, wait, I can, but for $3000. Once that charge runs out, I'll "switch" to the gas car. I'll have the "volt" in the form of an electric car and a separate gas car. I generally, NAY, always know beforehand when I need to drive 650 miles. The benefit of my approach is that I don't support GM, which produces "tanks" that have the mass of medium sized black holes.

I was wondering why GM would allow such an honest discussion on their site. I've read the comments, and some are brutal! Now I know! GM has nothing to do with it.

Allan R

All this Volt talk is a joke. I don't believe this car is anywhere close to production, and it's likely more like 5-10 years out. Even if they do get this car into production sometime after 2010, it's going to take another 5 or more years to refine the car and work the kinks out. It will be far inferior to Toyota's hybrids. To act like GM is leading the green revolution is fantasy marketing. Once batteries are available that could make this car possible, GM will still be 7-10 years behind Toyota in design and development.


"I generally, NAY, always know beforehand when I need to drive 650 miles."

But do you always know when you have to drive more than 40 miles? That's the idea, but I guess you were too blinded by your hatred of GM.


Paul H.,

$3000 ?? Wow, that's way under budget compared to a lot of other EV conversion pricetags. Does the $3000 figure reflect mostly new parts or careful shopping for used components?


"Once batteries are available that could make this car possible, GM will still be 7-10 years behind Toyota in design and development."

The batteries ARE available for these cars. Toyota made the Rav4-EV 10 years ago with Nickel batteries that go 100 miles on a charge. These vehicles are still on the road and going strong.

The idea that batteries are not yet available is a lie that has been perpetuated by the car/oil/coal industries. GM wouldn't even be doing the Volt if it weren't for a dozen or so other ev's planned in the next few years by other companies.


I for one believe that the batteries were not available in sufficiently cheap, reliable form. I don't think GM is as far behind as some here seem to think. They had the experience of the canceled California all electric car project, from which the technology base for the Volt has come. Most of the innovative companies in battery tech, and miniaturization of electric drive are located here, which should give GM a slight geographic advantage (at least the engineers share the same time zones).


I still think the solution (for general public perception) will be Plug in hybrids. If done correctly the gas engine can be small (like 20 HP, as the average HP we use is around that mark) and designed to run full out or off. (increase the efficiency of the engine. This in conjunction with a battery system that can get 20-40 miles for the "average commuter" to and from work and still provide the flexibility to go on a picnic out of town.


The biggest issue with getting this car going was the car companies themselves. This is a revolutionary design. Serial hybrids and all electrics will explode the car business as we know it, no car company (especialy the japanese) want anything to do with them. GM is behind and needs to get ahead. Thats why they are doing it, instead of Toyota.

David Anderson

It suprises me that some still do not understand the concept of a seires hybrid. For the majority of the population This car would reduce need to stop at a gas station.

Greg Woulf

This car will be built, if not in 2010, then 2011. It's in the production process right now, the manufacturing is part of the union contract.

This isn't something they're still experimenting with. They're making tools and developing processes. It's the same process they'd go through for any car, PHEV or ICE.

Green people that want to punish GM are just on a power trip. GM made a good business decision, they aren't evil. People who criticize something that will make a real difference for no good reason are hurting the movement more than GM ever did.

GM has done more for EV's than anyone. The motor and controller technology that Tesla, ACPropulsion, Wrightspeed and most others comes from GM's testing grounds. Check out how many of their officers worked for GM.

The battery technology did exist to go 40 miles on pure EV, but not for 10,000 cycles, and not with enough power to satisfy the normal person. You can try to change the normal person, but you won't be successful.

To a normal person this car will be normal, but they plug in at night. It's simplicity and convenience are why it will be successful. 600 mile range, no inconvenience at all because you can drive without plugging in, and the performance that people want.

Under $30 and it was a sure thing. I still think it will be at 30-35 because the savings in fuel will offset the price.


The greenies are the most reactionary people I know of. Where I am, the greanies are all dead set against renewable hydro energy. And what do they support? They support coal and gas, because that is the only alternative to hydro.

Why do they not like hydro? Because of some silly trout that appears on some groupies "watch list" and where there may be not more than 5 living in the river anyways.

So ostensibly they are green - but they are the most regressive reactionary of all people. Their values are that humans be damned and CO2 emissions and pollution and global warming should increase, but that 5 copies of trout (for heaven's sake, if they are so valuable, just decode and preserve their DNA, and 5 less trout among millions makes absolutely no difference) - have "higher value" than the rest of humanity who deserve clean, renewable and cheap energy.

Their real beef is that they want themselves to own the hydro, but being freeloaders and busybodies to begin with, they have no idea how to make that come about, except by whining and playing victim.

Paul H.

Hey Average Joe:

Here's a basic price list:
piece of crap car from craigslist - $150
84v 400amp Kelly Controller - $389
150ft of 4/0 copper cable (craigslist) - $200!
ES-15A Series Motor 40 HP Peak - $775
Adapter Plate - $195
Shaft Coupler - $215
0-5k Throttle Box (PB 6) - $75
Kilovac EV200 Contactor - $95
0-150 VDC Volt Meter - $58
0-500 Amp Meter - $58
Fuse - $40
Battery & Cable Terminals - $100
Charger (homemade, EASY!!!) - $160
15 lead acid batteries from Costco - $800

Total: $3310 Oops. Crap, I guess I can do it with $3310

Mike: 99.9% of the time, I know when I'm going to have to drive more than 40 miles in a day, since I almost never go over 25 unless I leave town (about 1 time per month). And yes, I do hate GM. Not the people that work there, but I think that they have made evil choices in the past. I was trying to say that I know about long trips ahead of time. I define a long trip to be over 30 miles for me. I chose 650 miles since that would be the range of the Volt, and it sounds more absurd. No one says "I'm going on a long long journey of 45 miles! This is the 1700's! I'm going to shoot old yeller!".


Hey Paul,

Thanks for the cost breakdown. I had no idea that EV components were so affordable. Heck, I might just have to build an EV myself. Might take me a few years, but it sounds like an interesting project. Maybe Firefly will be selling batteries to the public by that time. Thanks again for the info.

Alex De Maida

Just curious, how many kWh from the grid does GM Volt need to travel, say, 100 miles or km?


Here's how the costs work out per kilometer driven:

Alex De Maida

Thanx. If I understood, it's 12,5 kWh per 100 km, a very good value. It corresponds to 32 kWh thermal of primary energy per 100 km (6% loss in electricity transmission, 41% average thermal efficiency in power plants), i.e. 28 km per liter of gasoline "equivalent" (about 60-70 mpg)

Kit P

Charger? What happened to the solar panels? So have Paul H needs to figure ghg emissions based on single cycle gas turbine heat rate. He also left off the fire extinguisher in his estimate . He also did not include engineering cost or labor cost.

I also checked the price of ES-15A Series Motor, $775 will get you a 10 HP motor.

The motto of all the online places selling EV stuff is “a sucker is born every minute” and Paul H certainly qulaifies. If he has not had children yet he also sounds like a perfect candidate for the Darwin Award.

A more accurate DYI cost for an EV using an small old car is $5000 – 8000. This is for a POS that does not go highway speeds or very far.

My specialty is buying POS for commuters cars. It is pretty easy to find a good economical car for $1000 - 3000. Until recently, I was an Environmental Engineer working in the environmental impact of producing energy in the PNW. There is no benefit a EV. That makes Paul H's EV a very expensive hobby.

Paul H.

Electric motors have a HP rating that is very different from gas motors. They are rated by how much power they can continuously use. They can have a much higher power rating for relatively short periods of time, so you can get away with a smaller motor.

ES-15A Series Motor 40 HP Peak (for accelerating).
12 HP continuous (for maintaining speeds).
Top speed around 60-65 mph.
Range about 40-45 miles.
Engineering costs? none.
Labor costs? none.

The machining costs of the coupler and adapter plate are included in their price.

I suggest looking up Dr. Larry's EV as an example. He was my inspiration. I found an awesome deal with the Kelly controller. They are a good, reputable company.

It will be safe. I'll make sure of that.
You all should check out Gavin Shoebridge's EV project on youtube. It was awesome!

I don't have the extra $1000 for solar cells right now. So I thought it would be a good idea to be able to charge it until I got solar panels. Studies have shown that charging an EV, even from electricity from filthy coal plants, is cleaner than burning gasoline.

I'm sorry if I offended you Kit P. I do have kids, so I would hate to win the Darwin Award.

Kit P

Paul let me know how it turns out. I am lot more skeptical than you. Words like “awesome” and “inspiration” tell me you are a victim of charismatic characters. P.T. Barnum would likely be proud of of these con artists.

My gasoline ICE are very clean. So is the coal plants that produce my and Paul's electricity. There are no valid studies that that show EV are cleaner. EV are EEVs (elsewhere emission vesicles). There may be places where this be okay but Paul H does not live there.


Alex, most power generation is from coal, gas, nuke, and hydro. Therefore, costwise, its is not correct to do a gasoline equivalence analysis, and the volt is more like 100 mpg (on electricity alone).


Come on Kit P. Paul H is on the right track. The sky IS blue (yes I know, it is sometimes black, grey, or even red - but the sky is still blue, and face it!)

Its one thing to say the batteries are not there yet - entirely something else to say EVs are DoA.

The Real Chevy Volt

love the ride, check out the site with the best pics and chevy volt videos:


Jim Irwin

Even if the cost were break even (and it will be slightly better), I still get to deny my small piece of revenue to the Islamo-Fascists (I mean oil barons of the Middle East).

I noted that someone above commented about how certain people in the green movement are not in favor of hydroelectric power. This strikes me as strange, since you can't get much cleaner electricity and still keep the high energy output.

When I first heard the announcement of a 2010 release of the Chevy Volt at around US$25,000, I predicted immediately that it would be two or more years late and cost more than US$30,000. I now read on this site that the date is late 2010/early 2011.
Well, the later date gives me more time to save up for it.

But the important thing is to deny revenue to those knuckle heads in the Middle East (who just want to kill you).


some great posts and comments! i actually learned something! i am also on the waiting list!

Boracay Hotel Rooms

Bought one about 2 month ago and it really rocks. Love its design and color.....

SEO Los Angeles

Every time I see this car, it always makes me excited and I don't know why.

Furniture Stores Burbank

Wow, if the Volt looked like the one in that picture I would want one!

Chinese Auto Lease Broker Los Angeles

The Volts are good cars, there are luckily a lot of good hybrid and electric options now.

Dentist Los Angeles

I'm surprised even 10,000 people are on the wait list for this- surprised but glad. :)

Microsoft Office 2010

The new President will have to embrace this exact plan if the United States is to avoid economic catastrophe.

The comments to this entry are closed.

. .

Batteries/Hybrid Vehicles