Its Great, But Its Way Overpriced! $16,000 for A Battery?

I am very disappointed to hear that according to a Carnegie Mellon University Study, G.M.'s volt electric car may be too expensive to buy and operate. At this point it cannot replace Toyota's Prius hybrid in terms of fuel efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.

The study attempts to determine how prices and driving habits influence consumer choices among current hybrids and new models such as the Volt and a Prius, which can be recharged at household outlets.

According to the study, a rechargeable car with the Volt’s target range of 40 miles on electricity is “not cost effective in any scenario.” The study concludes that Plug- in cars with smaller batteries may be a better value.

A battery big enough to propel a car for 40 miles, such as the 400-pound pack for Volt, may cost $16,000, according to current industry and academic estimates.

A battery big enough to propel a car for 40 miles, such as the 400-pound pack for Volt, may cost $16,000, according to current industry and academic estimates. The Volt is also supposed to have a small onboard gasoline engine to recharge the lithium-ion battery while driving.

According to engineering professor Jeremy Michalek, who conducted the study, “Forty miles might be a sweet spot for making sure a lot of people get to work without using gasoline, but you’re doing it at a cost that will never be repaid in fuel savings.”

With lighter, cheaper batteries, a plug-in with 7 to 10 miles of electric range or a conventional hybrid may provide the best mix of price, faster charge times and efficiency, according to Michalek. His study has been accepted for publication in the journal Energy Policy.

K.G. Duleep, of Energy & Environmental Analysis Inc. doubts that batteries will last for the life of the car. Duleep said “Even in the lab they aren’t lasting more than 7 years.”

Although this seems impossible now, I have full confidence that if the scientists keep working on the battery pack's efficiency, they will eventually achieve it.

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