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August 03, 2010

Shocking News: People Like To Sound Eco Friendly! (Until They Find Out How Much It Costs)

People are pretty jazzed about buying electric cars, until they find out that, you know, they actually cost more than normal cars. A lot more.

It's a Rasmussen HitlerMcBush survey so consider that he probably wants us all to die anyway.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Adults shows that 37% say it’s at least somewhat likely they will buy an electric car in the next decade. Fifty-nine percent (59%), however, say they are not likely to do so. Those numbers include 12% who are Very Likely to buy an electric car and 20% who are Not At All Likely to buy one.

The latest results mark little change from April but show a slightly lower level of support for buying all-electric than last August.

But when asked if they’d buy one if they knew it would cost $15,000 more than traditional cars of comparable size, just 14% say they’d be likely to purchase an electric car. Eighty-one percent (81%) say it’s not likely they’d buy an electric car if it cost that much more. Those numbers include just three percent (3%) who say they’d be Very Likely to buy electric and 35% who say they wouldn’t be likely at all to buy one at that price.

It was announced last week that General Motors’ long-anticipated Volt would cost $41,000. The only comparable vehicle on the market currently is the Nissan Leaf priced around $33,000. Both companies are hoping a $7,500 federal tax credit for electric vehicle buyers will offset the initial costs in buyers' minds.

So what does all this money that no one is willing to spend get you? A nice Mercedes or BMW? No, not so much. (It's a NYT link but it's more fun to read the enviros and Obama get rundown there than anywhere else).

For starters, G.M.’s vision turned into a car that costs $41,000 before relevant tax breaks ... but after billions of dollars of government loans and grants for the Volt’s development and production. And instead of the sleek coupe of 2007, it looks suspiciously similar to a Toyota Prius. It also requires premium gasoline, seats only four people (the battery runs down the center of the car, preventing a rear bench) and has less head and leg room than the $17,000 Chevrolet Cruze, which is more or less the non-electric version of the Volt.

In short, the Volt appears to be exactly the kind of green-at-all-costs car that some opponents of the bailout feared the government might order G.M. to build. Unfortunately for this theory, G.M. was already committed to the Volt when it entered bankruptcy. And though President Obama’s task force reported in 2009 that the Volt “will likely be too expensive to be commercially successful in the short term,” it didn’t cancel the project.

Nor did the government or G.M. decide to sell the Volt at a loss, which, paradoxically, might have been the best hope for making it profitable. Consider the Prius. Back in 1997, Toyota began selling the high-tech, first-of-its-kind car in Japan for about $17,000, even though each model cost $32,000 to build.

By taking a loss on the first several years of Prius production, Toyota was able to hold its price steady, and then sell the gas-sippers in huge numbers when oil prices soared. Today a Prius costs roughly the same in inflation-adjusted dollars as those 1997 models did, and it has become the best-selling Toyota in the United States after the evergreen Camry and Corolla.

The Volt gets all of 40 miles to the charge. Oh and you have to hook it up to an electrical outlet which means coal or oil is most likely the real source of your 'green' car's power.

So, we own the company and we're on the hook for $7,500/ car? As bad as the auto execs were in running their organizations, at least they only bankrupted a couple of companies. These geniuses in DC have bankrupted a whole nation.

Well played!

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posted by DrewM. at 01:58 PM

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