Volt vehicle lags on green list

Sam Fletcher
OGJ Senior Writer

In another indication that Chevrolet’s hybrid-electric Volt might become the next Edsel-size automotive disaster, the car barely placed in the recent American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy’s (ACEEE) annual Green Book ratings of the most environmental friendly vehicles, coming in last at unlucky 13.

Topping that list was the Honda Civic GX fueled by compressed natural gas. It marked the 8th year the Civic garnered the top spot “notwithstanding changes in rating methods that boosted other technologies,” ACEEE officials said. In second place was the all-electric Nissan Leaf. The hybrid-electric Toyota Prius also rated high, so ACEEE is not prejudiced against electric vehicles.

However, the two-person Smart Fortwo with either conventional diesel or premium gasoline engines; Chevrolet’s conventionally powered Cruze Eco that gets 28 mpg in city, 42 mpg on highway; the Hyundai Elantra, 29 mpg city and 40 mpg highway; and Ford’s Fiesta Super Fuel Economy car were all judged greener than Volt. That knocks a hole in President Barack Obama’s call to stop “subsidizing” what he dismisses as “yesterday's energy” in order to invest instead in new alternatives. Gas- and gasoline-powered vehicles obviously are going to be around many years yet.

What dropped Volt to the bottom of the ACEEE green list is its weight, primarily the result of its large battery that reduces its fuel mileage. Volt weighs nearly 3,800 lb, 750 lb more than the similar Cruze Eco. For the purpose of the rankings, ACEEE assumed the Volt would operate on plug-in electricity 64% and on premium gasoline 36% of the time, a ratio based on a standard recommended by the Society of Automotive Engineers. Not the all-electric vehicle General Motors once promised, even when operating on electricity the Volt needs an occasional boost from its conventional engine to accelerate.

A New York Times op-ed article in July 2010 calculated the amount of taxpayer money “wasted” on the Volt, starting with the $50 billion bailout of GM, another $240 million in Energy Department grants, $150 million in federal funds to the Korean firm supplying batteries to Volt, and as much as $1.5 billion in tax breaks and other consumer incentives. Much of the $14 billion loan GM got in 2008 to retool its plants went into the manufacture of the Volt, critics claim. An “investment” in energy of the future indeed!

Fueling electric cars
In another government investment in future fuels, the city of Chicago earlier this month awarded a $1.9 million contract—funded by the state and federal governments under a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—to a California firm to install 280 electric-vehicle charging stations in the city and its suburbs by the end of 2011.

This is to address the chicken-or-egg dilemma of which should be built first—electric cars or the public electric outlets to recharge them. So far only Ford Motor Co. has picked Chicago as one of the initial rollout cities for the electric vehicles the company is now building. It’s hoped this will relieve drivers’ fears of running down auto batteries far from a recharge outlet.

San Diego-based 350 Green LLC plans to install, own, operate, and maintain 73 plazas where drivers can plug into retail electrical power suppliers with either 440-v outlets that will recharge an electric vehicle in less than 30 min or 220-v outlets that will charge for 3-8 hr. The contract calls for retail recharge stations to be installed at airports, grocery parking lots, tollway plazas, and parking garages. The company is to offer two payment options—a monthly subscription (not to exceed $75/month) and not yet determined per-use pricing. None of that revenue is to be shared with the city or state. The company is to partner with other firms that provide sites for its rechargers.

Most recharges will occur overnight at the car owners’ homes, which will require additional private investment.

(Online Feb. 21, 2011; author’s e-mail: samf@ogjonline.com)

Related Articles

Energy consumption to escalate

07/30/2013 World energy consumption will jump 56% in the next 30 years, driven by growing demand in developing countries, the US Energy Information Administra...

US, Mexico energy trade in flux

05/28/2013 Energy trade between the US and Mexico is in flux with rising crude production in the US, falling production in Mexico, and rising Mexican demand f...

Foreign crude supply concentrated

04/29/2013 It’s no secret the jump in US oil production in recent years has dropped imports of foreign crude to the lowest It’s levels since 1997—down 1.3 mil...

Corn, ethanol prices squeeze profit

03/25/2013 Last summer, US prices for ethanol and corn reached such an imbalance that production costs exceeded revenue at relatively simple ethanol plants, t...

Working on the railroads

02/26/2013 The rapid increase of North American crude production has resulted in pipeline bottlenecks in some areas, forcing more reliance on rail transportat...

War, weather issues affect energy

01/28/2013 The fatal 4-day siege at the In Amenas gas production plant in eastern Algeria near the Libyan border that left 81 people dead “heightens concerns ...

2013 looks a lot like 2012

12/31/2012 New Year 2013 looks as though it will be much like the old one. There’s rioting in Egypt, confrontation with Iran, continued crisis in the Euro-zon...

Political crisis weighs on oil

11/26/2012 On Nov. 21, Egyptian officials announced a ceasefire agreement—which they helped broker—between Israel and Hamas leaders to end a week of fighting.

Storms, oil, and elections

10/29/2012 Hurricane Sandy was bearing down on the East Coast on Oct. 29, disrupting oil supplies, energy demand, and early voting in the last full week befor...
White Papers

Definitive Guide to Cybersecurity for the Oil & Gas Industry

In the Oil and Gas industry, there is no single adversary and no single threat to the information tech...

UAS Integration for Infrastructure: More than Just Flying

Oil and gas companies recognize the benefits that the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) c...

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

Better Data, Better Analytics, Better Decisions

When Tue, Oct 27, 2015

The Oil & Gas industry has large amounts of data stored in multiple systems which are purpose built for certain tasks. However, good decisions require insights based upon the data in all of these systems. These systems in turn do not talk to each other. So the process of analyzing data, gaining insights, and making decisions is a slow one and often a flawed one. Good decisions require accurate analytics and accurate analytics require superior/sustainable data quality and governance. This webinar focuses on:

  • The importance of data quality and governance
  • How technological advances are making data quality and governance sustainable in order to get the accurate analytics to make solid decisions.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Seven Lakes Technologies and Noah Consulting.


Operating a Sustainable Oil & Gas Supply Chain in North America

When Tue, Oct 20, 2015

Short lead times and unpredictable conditions in the Oil & Gas industry can create costly challenges in supply chains. By implementing a LEAN culture of continuous improvement you can eliminate waste, increase productivity and gain end-to-end visibility leading to a sustainable and well-oiled supply chain.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Ryder System, Inc.


On Demand

Leveraging technology to improve safety & reliability

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

Attend this informative webinar to learn more about how to leverage technology to meet the new OSHA standards and protect your employees from the hazards of arc flash explosions.


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!


Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected