Following up on a previous post about Chevy's new, heavily-subsidized, electric car, the Volt:
Item: Relying primarily on its battery-powered electric motor, unless the driver draws on the "secondary" gasoline engine, the car must be recharged every 25-50 miles. General Motors presumes that "Chevrolet Volts are likely to be charged off-peak in the evening or overnight when electricity consumption is lower"--and the government-owned automaker claims this would save consumers $1500 per year (see page 9 of the Powerpoint here).
Item: The Chevy's battery can be recharged via a portable 120 Volt unit that plugs into a normal AC outlet (see page 2-3 of the Powerpoint here)--but that takes about 10 hours (see page 7 of the Powerpoint here).
Item: The battery also can be recharged via a 240 Volt home charge unit (see page 2 of the Powerpoint here)--but that requires purchasing the optional unit for $490.
Item: The 240 Volt unit cuts recharging time to only 4 hours (see page 7 of the Powerpoint here)--but that requires instillation by a skilled and licensed electrician, which GM estimates costing an additional $1475.
Item: To be fair, consumers may not pay the full freight for installation--that may be reimbursed in part by state and Federal tax credits.
Conclusion: Reader OBH said in comments on the previous Chevy Volt post:
Beware of technical tricks.OBH was talking about actual energy saving and carbon reduction, which drops when one examines electric generation, production inputs and disposal for an electric car's entire inputs and life-cycle. Yet the same is true regarding the Chevy Volt's operating cost as well--it's about $2000 more expensive than claimed. Oh, and those (additional) tax credits for purchasers of faster charger? That may make consumer prices less expensive--but that's still is a cost paid via cross subsidies from taxpayers as a whole to the smug socialists who purchase a Volt as proof they're progressive.
The only -- repeat: only -- way to examine this whole process (and that's IF we [acknowledge] that the carbon footprint is relevant to jack or that other stuff -- a very BIG "if") is to utilize some variety of full-life-cycle accounting.