Cars Microgrid energy storage system

Published on November 16th, 2012 | by Silvio Marcacci


Used Volt Batteries Converted Into Microgrid Energy Storage System

November 16th, 2012 by  

General Motors (GM) and ABB have successfully converted used Chevy Volt batteries into a modular microgrid energy storage system that can support distributed generation and provide emergency backup power.

Microgrid energy storage system

Other microgrid energy storage systems have recently come online, but this one is the first to revolve around batteries from electric vehicles.

The system, comprised of five used Volt batteries, can provide 25 kilowatts (kW) of power for about two hours for a total energy capacity of 50 kWh. This capacity could provide enough electricity to power three to five average American homes for two hours.

Chevy Volt battery packs hold around 16 kWh of electricity when first installed, but over time lose capacity and are unable to meet the electric vehicle’s needs. This new breakthrough could extend the life of batteries and make their manufacturing more profitable.

“When an EV battery has reached the end of its life in an automotive application, only 30 percent or less of its life has been used,” said Pablo Valencia of GM. “This leaves a tremendous amount of life that can be applied to other applications.”

Backup Power for Homes and Businesses

GM and ABB demonstrated the system during GM’s Electrification Experience, with the repurposed batteries providing 100% of the power used by the off-grid demonstration facility. The system will work autonomously in a “remote power backup” mode, but can also be manually dispatched by a utility or other owner.

A similar application could power a group of homes or small commercial businesses during a power outage, store excess power during off-peak periods at low-price periods to sell back to the grid for a profit during peak demand, or balance intermittent supply from wind or solar generation.

The battery system also includes an inverter to convert direct current from the batteries to alternating current for use from conventional wall sockets, further expanding its potential use.

Balancing Community-Scale Energy

While GM and ABB first demonstrated the ability to store and distribute electricity through an EV battery last year, this is the first real-world test of a technology that could revolutionize community-scale energy systems.

“The ABB-GM Volt battery system is the world’s first use of car batteries as possible back-up power for homes and other commercial uses,” said Allen Burchett of ABB. “We will be installing it on the grid soon… and this will tell us what smart grid applications are possible.”

Regardless of the ultimate applications, the GM-ABB system is a major step toward making two of the most important clean energy technologies – advanced batteries and renewable generation – more cost-effective and reliable.

You can learn more about the potential of converting used EV batteries into energy storage systems in the interview below:


Image via Green Car Congress

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About the Author

Silvio is Principal at Marcacci Communications, a full-service clean energy and climate policy public relations company based in Oakland, CA.

  • It is a great idea. In fact I have been working on the project, in which Concept 3 – patent pending ARIES – Automated Recharging Instant-switching Electric Stations network could store about 20 MWh. on each unit. They could be connected to the main grid, thus creating a novel S2G (station to grid) system to manage the oscillation of consumption tapped off the grid and leave all power plants set on a steady optimum output. This means utility companies will not have to wait for EV batteries to get exhausted from their core application in order to benefit from the use of their stored energy. The first patent on the key issue US 8256553 was issued last Sept. 04.

  • mds

    “This Volt/home power idea will be a hilarious joke 50 years from now.”
    Yes, I find it amusing gasoline was first used because it was a waste product from the refining of kerosene for lamps 100 years ago. We’re still using it though.

    The article doesn’t mention that vehicles have a hard requirement for light weight storage, i.e. high energy density. Home energy storage does not. If these batteries have a even a few years of life left at a reduced capacity level then this application makes sense. As the deep-cycle life performance of lithium (or other) batteries improve their re-use for home storage could make even more sense …or move on to another storage alternative when it becomes available later in the game, as Bob points out.

    Ronald is also correct. There is already a waiting market for this in Australia, Hawaii, Caribbean, other islands, and this will be true of other areas as the cost of solar and wind continue to drop.

  • owlafaye

    This Volt/home power idea will be a hilarious joke 50 years from now.

    GM and its supporters have sunk to new lows in a continuous attempt to enhance the VOLT’s image/acceptability.

    • Ronald Brak

      The difference between what some Australians pay for grid electricity and what they can sell electricity from their rooftop solar systems for is about 25 cents for some Australians. This means there is a demand for home storage that can store electricity at a lower cost per kilowatt-hour than that. If the price is right people aren’t likely to mind if the batteries were used in an electric or plug in hybrid car.

    • Bob_Wallace

      “This Volt/home power idea will be a hilarious joke 50 years from now.”

      It’s pretty hard to know what people will think funny 50 years from now. However, I don’t think it would be a stretch to think that they will be pissed at us for handing them an overheated planet.

      Now, if we wish to be seen as at least trying to reverse the damage a century or so of burning fossil fuels has caused then we’re going to have to try some assorted ideas as we stumble our way forward to solutions.

      That said, does it make sense to scrap EV/PHEV batteries which have decreased in capacity below the point at which adequate vehicle range is maintained or should we ‘second purpose’ them? Makes sense to me to use their remaining “80%”.

      If a better, cheaper storage system comes along then we can abandon this idea for a better one. But until a better one comes along seems like we should give this one a try.

      • LLeone

        Bob: Rushing to electric car and battery technology sounds great…But financing these costly projects with government giveaways for second rate merchandise that nobody wants to buy won’t impress our progeny 50 years hence. They’ll be getting the bill for these boondoggles. Don’t think for a minute that they’ll forget it or forgive us.

        We’re borrowing against their future and gambling with scarce public resources…And we’re not very good at it….Ask Solyndra et al…Best to let the market allocate private investment capital to the energy sources people need and want to buy. When electric cars and battery systems become economical the market will surely come to them. But it’s gotta pay and make economic sense or it’s no solution at all.

        BTW: there’s still plenty of useful efficiencies to be squeezed from existing off the shelf technologies that wouldn’t punchout the taxpayer to adopt.

        We should be looking at the immediate benefits of clean diesel for transportation–something our Euro-cousins have long understood. And our nuclear capacity remains largely untapped. We could have 50% of electricity needs met by nuclear while diverting the coal we currently use for electricity to diesel fuel. That’s a twofer for domestic energy security. And these proven technologies: coal to diesel and nuclear power are ready to roll now–not in the distant future.

        Natural gas conversions of cars and trucks are also worth looking at. Natural gas has many advantages over diesel or gasoline and it’s already proving itself on the street in fleet vehicles and paying dividends. Why spend a decade tossing taxpayer money down Rube Goldberg ratholes for electric cars when we’ve yet to realize the full potential of existing technology?

        Fools are always welcome to rush in…But please do it with your own money–not our grandkid’s.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Just what our grand kids need.

          Let some friend of fossil fuels talk us into abandoning the route to clean, will never run out electric transportation and sidetrack us onto CO2 producing natural gas transportation.

          What a great idea…..

          • LLeone

            Friend of fossil fuels? What, do you not own a car or do you skip to work in your penny loafers?

            You clearly have no idea how much your quality of life depends on fossil fuels, specialty waxes and petro-chemicals…From the foods you eat to the lights you burn to the very medicines that save your life. Fossil fuels are our friends, Bob…You’re just an ingrate and a hypocrite. And after the Solyndra debacle, I’d say you’re also a gambling addict who’s awful carelesss with other people’s money.

            This electric car and battery technology simply can’t be rushed by throwing money at it. They’ve been trying for over 100 years without success…And it may well be supplanted by superior technology like fuel cells and hydrogen cars….But feel free to spend your own money and buy a Chevy Volt…If it makes you feel better to believe you’re doing something for the environment, be my guest. But do pack a fire extinguisher…The Volt has a nasty habit of self-combusting on people.

            I sure wouldn’t want to see you or your grankids get burned, Bob.

          • LLeone, you’re simply not going to be taken seriously on this site if you post misleading information and non-facts.

            Solyndra was one (relatively small) investment in high-risk, high-reward cleantech companies. we’ve covered this a number of times on the site. check out:

            You’re going to have failures in such a case, but you’re also going to have important winners. So far, the DOE loan program has been considered a success, very well run, and would be the envy of many an investor.

            We have an interstate highway today, we have the Internet, we have computers, we have a lot of good things because of government investments in technologies the private sector wasn’t doing enough for. I think today is a day of thanks — luckily, we’ve got a lot to be thankful for. Hopefully our children and grandchildren will also in 50 years.

            Regarding the Volt: seriously, if you want to bring up flammable, take a look at gasoline-powered cars. and also note that the Volt battery caught on fire after extreme testing aimed at finding such issues, and is really a non-issue.

            Thanks for caring, but please take a deeper look into these issues if you want to continue participating in this community.

          • LLeone

            I’m sure I am taking 500 million in squandered taxpayer money much more seriously than anyone on this website. But who cares, right?
            Life isn’t a popularity contest.

            You do expect a certain amount of innovative companies to fail, of course, but usually on their own dime. I guess I’m just not used to corporate welfare and loan guarantees for unworkable business models and products that consumers reject outright.

            Something like 80% of Obama’s green energy subsidies reportedly went to his campaign contributors. And Solyndra wasn’t alone among failed green companies sticking it to taxpayers.

            As to the Chevy Volt–oh yeah, selling like hotcakes, huh? If it was a viable technology it wouldn’t require 7500 bucks in tax credits to manufacture consumer interest, now would it?

            Face it, the Internal Combustion Era isn’t over yet…And it won’t be until alternative systems prove themselves in the marketplace–free of taxpayer subsidies. Again, they’ve been trying for over 100 years without much success.

            It’s not that I wish you bad luck–I’d just prefer you gambled with your own money in a time of high deficits and economic uncetainty. I’m perfectly capable of investing in energy stocks and car companies at my own risk…Aren’t you?

          • Bob_Wallace

            You seem to not know how large a role taxpayer money has played in pretty much every technology we enjoy. It goes all the way back to the canal system and port. It comes forward with railroads, the electric grid, telephones, air travel, computers, the internet, and on and on….

            You are right that the IC Era won’t be over until ICEVs are pushed off the market by EVs. That will take a few years, but the transition is underway. The economics of electricity make it so.

            I hope we don’t listen to people like you who want the US to cease to be the world’s great innovator. Take your approach and we will definitely become a second tier country.

            I don’t think you have a clue as to how we got to where we are today.

          • LLeone

            Bob: How many ports have gone bankrupt? How many canals were dug that served no useful purpose? Have the railroads proven to be boondoggles? None of these projects were shots in the dark. They had utility right from the get-go.

            You’re asking us to throw money at a railroad before you show us a train people want to ride–much less buy. While we’re on the subject, we susidize Amtrak passengers for more than the price of a plane ticket. And they still can’t generate a profit. Does that make sense?

            And the internet was hardly the result of vast government expenditures. As I recall, Xerox pioneered the civilian technology…Government just set standard protocols–although this was helpful the Feds didn’t create the breakthroughs that made this conversation possible. And I’ll reference this if you’re really interested:

            “L. Gordon Crovitz wrote in a recent op-ed for The Wall Street Journal. The government envisioned a World Wide Web as early as the 1940s and went on to develop the Pentagon’s Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET). However, that network did not lead to the Internet we have today, Crovitz wrote.

            Crovitz contends it was Xerox that invented the Internet, though the company wasn’t quite sure what it had. Xerox used its computer networks to share copiers, because that was the company’s business, but that’s where the idea stopped. When Steve Jobs visited Xerox in 1979 to borrow some ideas, he may have seen something bigger. “They just had no idea what they had,” Jobs said.

            The government had many of today’s Internet’s integral pieces, such as TCP/IP, but never put them together. It was ultimately private enterprise that made the connections to create the Internet we have today – government just needed to get out of the way.”

            The government isn’t the fount of all human innovation, Bob…It’s free enterprise that gets the job done…Better, faster, cheaper, more…T’was ever thus…That’s what made this an innovative country. I’m sorry they don’t teach that anymore. It’s part of our heritage.

          • Bob_Wallace

            We continue to spend public money to keep our ports operating. We’ve pretty much abandoned canals for shipping. Many railroads have gone under.

            You have a strange version of how the internet came to be.


            Steve Jobs got the mouse and icons from Xerox.

            That Xerox invented the internet and Jobs stole is is bunk.


          • it wasn’t squandered money. as i pointed out, it was part of a broad investment strategy that has been deemed successful. no investment strategy is going to give you a 100% success rate. but if you get a good ROI, you benefit (as we have).

          • LLeone

            Deemed successful by you, Zach…Not by consumers…If a standup comedian is the only one in the room laughing at his own jokes–his act is generally deemed a flop.

            We’re just not good at making investment decisions at the Federal level. There’s too many unknowables that only consumers can answer for themselves. What they want–what they need. And what they can afford are best left to them. They’d be beating a path to your door if you provided them with fair value for their money.

            Indeed, wild horses couldn’t stop them judging by the Black Friday sales turnout coast-to-coast.

            Government just sucks at picking winners and losers. We should be honest about that. Whereas, free markets generally get it right or investors go down swinging on their own dime…There’s natural incentives to get it right or face the consequences–at their own expense.

            Government subsidies and loan guarantees remove the fear of failure that is inherent to private investment decisions and capital allocation…It’s a moral hazard that has bedeviled us from the dawn of the Republic.

            What government loan guarantee made Apple such a huge success? Or got the Wright brothers off the ground? Their success sure wasn’t the result of rank corporate welfare.

          • Bob_Wallace

            What is our success/failure rate for investments made with tax dollars? Do you have some numbers are you just parroting stuff you’ve been fed?

            What are the numbers that demonstrate sucking when it comes to picking winners and loser? Is it anywhere as a low as the 44% failure rate for Romney when he was running Bain?

            Apple succeeded because federal support for mini-computers helped bring about the “computer on a chip”. Woz would have never been able to make the Apple without federal assistance.

            The Wright brothers cobbled together a machine that flew. They did not develop the transportation system we now enjoy. Airports are built with government money, air safety is established by government effort. The companies that build our commercial airliners are kept afloat with government purchases.

            You want to pull taxpayer support for American businesses? You must be on the payroll of the enemies of America. Your route leads us to failure.

          • LLeone

            It’s a trick question: success or failure is in the eye of the beholder. We’re talking about opportunity costs…What did we lose by tossing money down one parochial rathole? What might we have gained had we seen investment in other things? I don’t expect a Lefty like you to understand this. But taxpayers generally get it when they pass a bridge to nowhere or one of our many vacant Federal buildings named for some obscure political hack.

            100% of Bain clients were facing bankruptcy or receivorship. It’s a total smear to call a 44% failure rate–your totally uncited figure–as evidence of what sucks. Bain is a truly successful turnaround company but you fault them for not being miracle workers. Nice.
            Bain saved more jobs than Solyndra though, right? And at no cost to taxpayers.

            The personal computer wasn’t invented by the government. IBM holds that honor although Apple seems to have popularized it outside the office. Government was active in mainframe development for national security reasons…Not consumer satisfaction.

            The point was never that the Wright brothers invented our modern transportation system. There was no need for airports until the plane had been invented. This was a clear case of government following the trend and not setting it. Big difference, Bob.

            And airports are paid for by users and user fees. They’re not free gifts from government. Although Rep. Bud Shuster built one that hardly anyone uses. But that’s a clear example of abuse–not an endorsement.

            And while we’re on the subject, privatizing airports would be perfectly right and proper. It’s not exactly rocket science. But government likes to stick their fingers in everything–whether there’s a legitimate need for their involvement or not.

            Commercial airline manufacturers are not dependent on government to sell commercial aircraft. They happen to get military contracts. Does this keep them afloat?

            Hey, business is business…The government insists on buying their products and services for national security…To the contrary, it looks to me that private defense and aerospace companies keep our military afloat–and aloft…Now who’s parroting what they’ve been spoonfed without references?

            American taxpayers shouldn’t be handing out corporate welfare in the form of loan guarantees, subsidies or special tax breaks for industry. It’s a corruption of our market-based system…What’s good for General Motors may not be good for the USA…Despite what their incompetent executives and Union lackeys would have us believe or the politicians they have in their pockets.

          • Bob_Wallace

            100% of Bain’s takeovers were not failing. Some needed more money to expand. Some were privately owned companies whose founders wanted to sell out and retire.

            Bain’s failure rate was significantly higher than the failure rate for the DOE loan guarantee program of which Solyndra was only a small portion. And Bain was starting with already successful companies, they are not venture capitalists who fund risky startups. The DOE program was designed to assist promising companies which couldn’t get venture funding.

            “The personal computer wasn’t invented by the government.” And no one claimed that it was. Go back and try reading with comprehension.

            Your “Big diofference” argument makes no sense. Our present air transportation, along with our rail system, road system and ocean transport system, was build with significant government help.

            “American taxpayers shouldn’t be handing out corporate welfare in the form of loan guarantees, subsidies or special tax breaks for industry.”

            Our opponents would love for us to follow your beliefs. They’d take over our economy in a very short term. Government support for business is how the game is played around the world. Either play the game or sit on the bench.

            “What’s good for General Motors may not be good for the USA” except in this case it was. About 1.2 million American jobs saved. Think about the unemployment and welfare costs we’d be facing with another 1.2 million fewer jobs. Think about the tax revenue flowing in from those 1.2 million paychecks earned.

            “Commercial airline manufacturers are not dependent on government to sell commercial aircraft. They happen to get military contracts. Does this keep them afloat?”

            They don’t get government help selling their goods?

            “The World Trade Organization has ruled that some U.S. government aid to aircraft maker Boeing Co. is illegal.

            The WTO’s report details findings first issued in private to the EU and U.S. in January. It says the EU has demonstrated the U.S. gave Boeing “export subsidies that are prohibited” and recommends the U.S. either withdraw them or “take steps to remove the adverse affects.” ”


            Classified State Department cables published by Wikileaks show high-up U.S. government officials have entertained and obliged special requests from foreign heads of state to help close big deals for Boeing.

            In 2006, a senior Commerce Department official hand-delivered a personal letter from George W. Bush to the office of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, urging the king to complete a deal with Boeing for 43 airliners, including some for the king’s family fleet.

            The cable shows that as part of the deal, the King wanted his personal jet “to have all the technology that his friend, President Bush, had on Air Force One.” Once he had his high-tech plane, the King said, “God willing,” he would “make a decision that will ‘please you very much.’ ”

            The U.S. obligingly authorized an upgrade in King Abdullah’s plane.

            In other instances, Bangladesh’s prime minister, Sheik Hasina Wazed, sought landing rights at Kennedy International Airport, and the Turkish government asked for assurances that one of their astronauts could join a future NASA space flight. U.S. diplomats served as marketing agents for Boeing by using State Department visits as bargaining chips and offering deals to foreign heads of state and commercial executives with the power to purchase airplanes from Boeing.”

            New York Times, January 2, 2011

            At some point will you start wondering if your information sources are feeding you bullshit?

          • LLeone

            You’re comparing apples and oranges when you put Bain against the DOE loan guarantee program…You still haven’t cited a reference for your 44% failure rate at Bain…And you still ignore the fact that these were troubled companies–not the successful firms you claim they were. Nobody claimed they were startup companies–you just made that up.

            You said the mini-computer was thanks to government…Not unless you count a roomful of hardware as a mini computer…I stand by IBM’s claims they invented the PC…And Apple first drove it to commercial success…Again, no government loan guarantees.

            I’m as outraged as you that our government is subsidizing any company as profitable as Boeing and schlepping for the Saudi Royal family…But neither Bush nor Obama consulted me before bowing to these absolutist regimes. Neither did Bill Clinton…His endless trade missions amounted to taxpayer financed junkets for corporate fat cats…Nothing to be proud of there, either.

            I fail to see how subsidizing private companies that you personally approve of is any different than the machinations and corruption being catered to on Boeing’s behalf. Or any other company seeking a handout. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

            Nobody saved 1.2 million jobs at GM…That’s Union propaganda…You’ll have to prove that…The company would have been sold to the highest bidder…And it was hardly the taxpayer’s fault GM was in trouble to begin with. You might just as well say the Union’s greed nearly bankrupted GM–and Obama stepped in and greased their palms. It’s actually more accurate.

            Ask Delphi’s nonunion workers how much Obama’s rescue did for them. Zip.

            Sure, the stockholders were bailed out. The Unions were bailed out. Their gold-plated pension plans were bailed out…But the taxpayer and the lawful bondholders of record got screwed. This was unprecedented. Michael Barone aptly termed it an example of Obama’s Gangster Government at work.

            GM should have gone straight to bankruptcy court where everyone got a haircut and the company was restored to profitability. Obama short-circuited the process and undercut the bondholder’s rights at our expense.

            You sound young, Bob…But when I was a kid the Left used to use the quote: “What’s good for General Motors was good for the USA” as a denigration of the kind of undue influence large corporations had over our government and foreign policy. It seemed a real threat to our democratic institutions.

            Times have changed. What was once an indictment of corporate corruption and graft in America has now become an article of faith on the Left…Pity that. The Left sold out.

            You only seem to howl about corporate welfare when it goes to other companies–not the ones you care about. Does it never occur to you that in an era of budget deficits and scarce public resources that no private company should be on the government dole?

            Seems the fairest way to solve the problem…We slap all the hands reaching for the cookie jar at once…No exceptions.

            BTW: Your citation of the WTO’s trade ruling is proof positive that these govenment “investments” and subsidies are not compatible with free markets…Thanks for making my point…I’d almost forgotten that.

            Ironically, our enemies are enjoying the enormous technology transfers that GE and GM are making to Chinese factories at taxpayer expense. Shrewd way to protect national security, eh?

          • Bob_Wallace

            No fruit salad involved, I was pointing out to you that failures are common in business.

            I’m not aware that you asked for documentation for Bain’s success, but here it is…

            “Much of the firm’s profits was earned from a relatively small number of deals, with Bain Capital’s overall success and failure rate being about even. One study of 68 deals that Bain Capital made up through the 1990s found that the firm lost money or broke even on 33 of them.[51] Another
            study that looked at the eight-year period following 77 deals during the same time found that in 17 cases the company went bankrupt or out of business, and in 6 cases Bain Capital lost all its investment. But 10 deals were very successful and represented 70 percent of the total profits.[52] ”


            If you read through the article you will see that Bain was not rescuing failing companies. Bain was identifying companies which had adequate assets and borrowing heavily against those assets. All along the way Bain sucked off high fees and commissions. If the business failed Bain lost no money, the people who invested through Bain were the losers.

            There was no “highest bidder” for GM. The company had sought private financing and failed. That is why the government had to step in. Had GM (and Chrysler) failed they would likely taken Ford with them and there would be no more US car manufacturing.

            You are an incredibly misinformed individual. Let’s look at this claim –

            “Sure, the stockholders were bailed out. The Unions were bailed out. Their gold-plated pension plans were bailed out…But the taxpayer and the lawful bondholders of record got screwed. This was unprecedented. Michael Barone aptly termed it an example of Obama’s Gangster Government at work.”

            GM stockholders lost their investment. When GM entered bankruptcy the value of GM stock fell to zero.

            Unions gave up things they had bargained for. Workers earned their pensions with their labor.

            Taxpayers did not get screwed, we still hold enough GM stock to allow us to come out cost free as the economy recovers. Plus we avoided immense unemployment costs.

            The cost of the GM bailout, if we simply pitches our stock certificates in a bonfire, would be about $25 billion. Currently the stock value is roughly 50% of that $25 billion which means that we are about $12.5 billion in the hole. If GM grows no further (highly unlikely) that means that each saved job cost us a bit over $10k. Ten thousand dollars would not pay one year’s support for someone thrown out of work.

            That $10k will be returned in tax revenue within a couple of years. In other words we are already ahead and likely to show a profit once we selll our stocks.

            And GM was bailed out when Bush was in the White House. GM filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in the Manhattan New York federal bankruptcy court on June 1, 2009 at approximately 8:00 am EST.

            Now, all you’ve done since you showed up here is to post one lie after another. You’re a waste of time. We’re going to cut you loose so that you can get back to Fox News and continue to rot your brain.

            Oh, and I’m almost 70 years old. Someone who earned a bunch of graduate degrees, started some businesses and was successful enough to retire young. Before I was 45. Just to punch down some of the attacks you were likely to engage in if you were going to continue your participation here.

            Have a nice day….

          • No, LL, not by me but by independent analysis. Again, you’re starting your comments with a falsehood. You’re running out of time here…

            Yes, consumers/voters have spoken, and we’ve got the same administration in place. Furthermore, polls consistently show that consumers support government incentives for cleantech. So you’ve got another moot argument here.

            The market isn’t perfect — any serious economist (or anyone who has taken econ 101) knows that, and knows that the government must step in to correct it. To ignore that is either ignorance of basic econ & public policy or deceit.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m very aware of the role fossil fuels play in our lives. I’m also very aware that we need to rapidly reduce our use of fossil fuels.

            I’m also aware that there are no incidents of the Volt “self-combusting on people”.

            Furthermore, I recognize that spending some taxpayer money now on EVs will almost certainly bring us great dividends down the road. EVs will almost certainly end up being cheaper than ICEV (if you’ve ever torn down and rebuilt an ICE then you’ll understand why). And driving EVs costs “$1/gallon”.

          • LLeone

            Bob: 1 dollar a gallon? Aren’t you leaving the 40,000 dollar price tag out of the equation? Aren’t you exaggerating battery life and ignoring replacement costs? And what about the cost of disposing of these lithium batteries? You think they don’t require special handling?

            And what about the coal, natural gas and nuclear energy used to charge these batteries? You taking a bye on all those costs, too?

            I’m glad you’re optimistic about the future of electric cars…But that pollyannish outlook has been around since before the Great War. It’s hardly a new concept. Consumers just aren’t interested in reduced performance and range. I know I’m not…Who is?

            BTW: John Stossel did an excellent piece on the $7500 tax break for EVs…He bought himself a golf cart for free…He didn’t need it…But he just had to see if it could be done…My Dad did the same thing. A real advance for mankind, huh?

            EVs….Coming to a golf course near you, eh?….That’s what willy-nilly tax incentives get you for interfering in the marketplace. Personally, I think we’d be better off shoring up Medicare with that kind of cash–helping pay for hip replacements and preventive medicine and such.

          • Bob_Wallace

            What I posted was “driving EVs costs “$1/gallon”

            Roughly 0.3 kWh/mile. Average electricity cost $0.12/kWh. That’s $0.036/mile for “fuel”.

            The typical US car gets about 25 MPG. In order to drive for that little per mile one would have to fill up with $0.90/gallon gas. Plus maintenance costs will be higher for an ICEV.

            Yes, purchase prices are currently high. What new technology has not been expensive when it first came to market? Computers, cell phones, large screen TVs, digital cameras….

            There are no really expensive materials involved in building EVs or batteries. Prices will come down as factories mature and supply lines are established.

            As for the energy, we already have more wind and solar generation on the grid that is used to manufacture EVs and batteries and charge those batteries. We will continue adding renewable generation. And EVs greatly assist wind energy, providing a dispatchable off-peak market for excess wind generation.

            Used EV batteries are already scheduled to have a second life as grid storage. That will also assist the installation of variable renewable sources such as wind and solar.

            We already recycle lithium batteries.

            Reduced performance? Check out the performance of the Tesla Roadster or the Tesla Model S. They also have all the range one needs.

            “John Stossel” = suspicions confirmed.

          • LLeone

            Your actual cost per mile claims for EVs are fanciful and self-serving. Why am I not surprised?

            The Chevy Volt retails for 40,000 without the tax breaks…You ignore these higher acquisition costs entirely. And people just aren’t buying it…That seems a major oversight on your part. Your contention EVs provide plenty of range is laughable. Savvy consumers know better. I can get 500+ miles to a tank in a diesel VW Sportwagen. And then get back on the highway to continue my travels.

            And the life of a well maintained diesel can easily exceed 250,000 miles. Whereas, the Volt claims a questionable ten year battery life. And with no mileage on it at all it will still need replacement in time. And it barely yeilds 40 miles to a charge now–with steadily declining range. Big whoop for range like that, huh?.

            FYI: Wind and solar provide less than a tithe of our energy needs. This won’t change anytime soon. Growth in these alternatives can’t even keep pace with growth in overall energy demand. And this in a time of economic stagflation…Wait till the economy picks up steam and demand really surges.

            Your snooty ad hominem on: John Stossel– without addressing the point he raised–that golf cart manufacturers made out like bandits from EV tax credits = suspicions confirmed. Facts simply don’t matter to you. Alternative energy cheerleaders like you live in an alternate reality. Most of us choose to live in the real world.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I addressed the cost of EVs/PHEVs. Yes, as I agreed,they are too high right now but they are also almost certainly going to decrease in cost in the near term. The price of the 2013 Nissan Leaf is down about 15%.

            And I put a thumb on the scale when I calculated the cost of driving an EV. I put my thumb on the anti-EV side by using the US average cost of electricity – $0.12/kWh.

            As the smart grid installs it’s fairly certain that electric car drivers will charge mostly with cheaper off-peak electricity. I’d guess that the cost is going to be more like $0.08/kWh. That brings the operating costs down to $0.024/kWh.

            If you drove a 50 MPG ICEV you’d need to find $1.20/gallon fuel to drive as cheaply. Plus you would have other operating costs which EVs do not have.

            Renewables provide a larger percentage of our total electricity each year. Their rate of installation is accelerating. We’re transitioning to a new, clean grid.

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