8th Sep 2017, 22:16

It's also interesting that some of us also work in these very places and see more than you do from your backyard window. For a simple example, walk through your home and literally look at all the products, food products in cabinets etc and wonder how it was actually manufactured and delivered. My next routine flight this month with work, I will look for the extension cords.

10th Sep 2017, 03:43

Actually, I do think about how things were manufactured as my father worked in two factories when I was a kid. I also restore vintage electronics equipment, even though what I work on were made by human hands, versus today where someone mashes a button and the miracle of mass automation does its magic.

The Volt is a total unicorn for General Motors. Will they follow through on their commitment to alternative fuel powered vehicles? The Volt was a product developed back when they were struggling and went bankrupt, and needed to look good in the eyes of the consumer.

I hope they continue in that spirit, because the Volt is just as ground breaking as the EV-1 was. Yet amazingly few people get or understand it.

10th Sep 2017, 10:46

Why not just refine and improve mileage and emissions as has been done with the gas vehicles? Are you truly buying your vehicle with a saving the world mentality? Or is it to drive as cheap as ever possible and plug in free at work? I don't believe people want to turn in millions of existing cars. And many do not drive as much or as far as you. In my area, many alternate driving with mass transit. One person in one car everyday in dense metropolitan commutes is creating the traffic congestion. I have a friend that rides a 8 grand bicycle, literally ridden thousands of miles a year, but justifies it on how little he drives his new Lexus. I like what I drive. Keep improving on emissions and don't deal with the unnecessary disposal of millions of cars already in place. My work gave me a monetary raise. I don't need their electric post to plug into for a free ride home.

11th Sep 2017, 15:13

Why not have both? And no, I wasn't calling for people to turn in their cars. Technology changes for the general population takes time. I previously mentioned I work on vintage electronics. From the 1920s-1960s most electronic devices ran on vacuum tubes. They did their jobs very well. So well that many of the 70+ year old radios, stereos and TV sets I own that run on tubes often have the ORIGINAL tubes inside. But tubes consume a lot of power, are bulky and yes- occasionally fail and need replacing. But then came the transistor and later silicon wafers. But it wasn't an overnight thing. Early transistors were expensive, and when used in higher power applications, very easy to short out. First came small portable battery powered radios in the 50s. And then gradually they began to be used in things like larger radios, stereos and TV sets. There was a period where some devices came with both tubes and transistors, with the tubes performing the heavy-duty work and the transistors further downstream.

The same seems to be happening with cars. The Prius came out in 1997 in Japan and introduced the idea of a hybrid drivetrain. Nothing new, since locomotives, ships and even a few experimental cars used that system for years prior. But now we have cars like mine, a plugin series hybrid with a conventional engine and even full EVs with 250+ miles of range. The new Leaf was announced last week, and even though its range isn't as much as the Chevy Bolt, it has a lower price and I suspect these will sell very well.

The road blocks for full EV cars is the range, the charge time and the infrastructure to support that. It will take years to perfect and in the meantime gas engines will continue to dominate. Just last week Mazda showed off a new direct-injection gas engine they will be putting in their cars that gets diesel-like economy without any of the particulate mess.

And yes - it is a shame that mass transit and shorter commutes aren't more the norm. Years ago I lived on the east coast and didn't own a car: The transit system was so developed I could travel the state and beyond easily. Where I live now the system is woefully inadequate. It's also ridiculous that even though ALL of my work is done via email and often to people who don't even live in the state, I still commute to an office 40 miles away. The miracle of the internet is still not really being utilized for what its potential holds - mass communication that breaks down barriers.

Anyway as far as why I bought the Volt? I thought it was a neat car. The added benefit is that its a VERY cheap car to use. With free charging at work, that means I'm only paying to charge it for the morning commute. And with the engine barely running, that means maintenance is also minimal.