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Only 281 Volts, 67 Leafs Sold In February

From the ‘Green’ section of AOL’s Autoblog:

GM sells just 281 Chevy Volts in February, Nissan only moves 67 Leafs

by Sebastian Blanco on Mar 1st 2011

Peruse Chevrolet’s February sales release, and you’ll notice one number that’s blatantly missing: the number of Chevy Volts sold. The number – a very modest 281 – is available in the company’s detailed data (PDF), but it certainly isn’t something that GM wants to highlight, apparently. Keeping the number quiet is a bit understandable, since it’s lower than the 321 that Chevy sold in January.

Nissan doesn’t have anything to brag about here, either (and it didn’t avoiding any mention of the Leaf sales in its press release). Why? Well, back in January, the company sold 87 Leafs. In February? Just 67. Where does that leave us? Well, here’s the big scorecard for all sales of these vehicles thus far:

* Volt: 928
* Leaf: 173

Ouch. The big questions, of course, revolve around one word: "Why?" Is ramping up production and deliveries still a problem? Is demand weak? Are unscrupulous dealers to blame? When will sales start to climb? And what are these numbers doing to plug-in vehicle work at other automakers? …

It’s a wonder the article didn’t blame the winter weather, which for once would actually make sense. Given that you can’t drive electric cars very long and heat them at the same time.

Still, what a shock, huh? And just think, this is the ‘green’ technology that Mr. Obama has pinned the future of our economy on.

Remember, the Volt is supposed to save GM. So how many jobs are saved when you can only sell 281 cars a month? How many retirement checks are paid for?

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, March 4th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

13 Responses to “Only 281 Volts, 67 Leafs Sold In February”

  1. TerryAnne says:

    I heard about this 2 or 3 weeks ago on a Sunday program that airs here in DC, called something Energy Now!, I think. Despite the title, I’ve found it to be a fairly decent program that does give both sides of the coin fair view; they even went up to Alaska a few weeks ago to discuss why Palin’s pipeline (as they called it) would be an ideal solution. They only interviewed one greenie; the rest were people who were for it. They had an argument a few weeks ago between a greenie lawyer and a smart energy (Republican energy promoter) lawyer and even the host was ready to choke the greenie lawyer who kept shouting down the other guy and making nonsensical statements.

    Anyway, they said that the Leaf was doing better than the Volt. And I’m pretty sure the numbers were opposite what this article said – that the Leaf was trumping the Volt – and that these numbers are wrong – that the 67 Volts (if I remember the episode correctly) was total. Period. That the Leaf was selling in the hundreds per month, but the Volt wouldn’t budge.

    Given the few episodes of that show that I’ve seen, I’m more apt to believe it.


  2. TerryAnne says:

    Ok. I stand corrected (see transcript below). However, read the scathing comments they give the Volt throughout; they view the Leaf far better.

    [SUITERS] So, we just talked about the president’s budget and one area where there is a lot of funding growth — money to increase electric vehicle demand, including a $200 million grant program to help communities invest in EV infrastructure. Also, turning the current $7,500 tax credit for EV buyers into a tax rebate. That means you get the cash up front. Even before they hit the nation’s showrooms back in December, both the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt started duking it out. “energyNOW!”‘s Lee Patrick Sullivan entered the EV arena, literally, to get a closer look at the battle to charge the road in this “energyNOW!” Spotlight.

    [Bell dings]

    [SULLIVAN] Ladies and gentlemen, in the blue corner, weighing in at 3,700 pounds, with an all-electric range of 40 miles, the Chevrolet Volt!


    [SULLIVAN] And in the red corner, weighing in at 3,500 pounds, with an all-electric range of 100 miles, the Nissan Leaf!


    [SULLIVAN] These two EV heavyweights have been going toe to toe for more than a year. Chevy led with an 8-year/ 100,000-mile warranty on its lithium ion battery. Nissan hit back and matched it. And the folks from Chevy reminded a gathering of EV enthusiasts in California who came up with the warranty first.

    [JOEL EWANICK, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT CHEVROLET MARKETING] We also are glad to see that our friends at Nissan have come to the same conclusion we have, that warranties on these batteries are very important.

    [SULLIVAN] At that same conference, Nissan delivered what it thought was a body blow — an affordable $349 lease program. Within hours, Chevy delivered an uppercut… matching it. And the public battle has also been aimed at Chevy’s EV credentials. The folks at Nissan have been taking jabs at the Volt’s range-extending engine. It’s gasoline-powered and allows the Volt to travel an additional 325 miles.

    [MARK PERRY, DIRECTOR OF MARKET PLANNING, NISSAN] The real simple way to determine what’s an EV and what’s not — is there gas onboard? Yes — it’s not an EV. No — it’s an EV. Pretty simple.

    [SULLIVAN] Yep, he’s talking about the Volt. And in case you missed the jabs at each other in commercials…

    [ANNOUNCER] So doesn’t it just make sense that we build an electric car that goes far — really far?

    [SULLIVAN] What the Chevy folks are trying to say is, after 100 miles of driving the competition, the Nissan Leaf, you’ll be walking.

    [ANNOUNCER] The 100% electric Nissan Leaf. Innovation for the planet, innovation for all.

    [SULLIVAN] So, according to the Leaf commercial, after 40 miles of driving a Volt, you’ll melt the polar ice caps. But Nissan does bring up an interesting question — Can the Chevy Volt be considered an electric vehicle if there’s an internal combustion component? To get answers, I went to Hamtramck, Michigan, outside Detroit. That’s where the Volt is being built alongside Buicks and Cadillacs.

    Now, it might not look like it right now, but that right there is a Chevy Volt. This remote cart right here is going to lift up the engine into the Volt, and remember, this isn’t a normal engine. It’s a much smaller engine. It is used to charge the battery in the Chevy Volt. Think of it as an onboard power plant.

    GM says the engine never turns the wheels. That’s done with an electric motor. And it’s that range-extending engine that the folks at General Motors say will give the Volt a fighting chance when faced with consumers who have range anxiety when it comes to electric cars.

    [LARRY JONES, VOLT LAUNCH TEAM, UAW LOCAL 22] I’ve been here for 35 years.

    [SULLIVAN] But for autoworkers like Larry Jones, it’s the Volt itself that will give him a fighting chance.

    [JONES] A year ago, a lot of people here didn’t even know whether there was going to be a General Motors. So, a lot of anxious people, a lot of people laid off. But with this car, there’s hope.

    [SULLIVAN] Speaking of hope…

    [JONES] We had the president here. That was probably one of the proudest moments of my life.

    [SULLIVAN] Last December, the Volt was brought to Washington, D.C., and I got to drive it, so I’ll be able to tell my grandkids I drove the Volt before the president did.

    [JONES] Absolutely, absolutely. I did, too.

    [SULLIVAN] That test drive I was referring to lasted all of 20 minutes. Now, driving the Volt around the parking lot of RFK Stadium is one thing, but cramming my 6’4″ body into a car for a 5-hour drive — well, that’s another. So I took Chevy up on its offer for a much longer ride. I drove the Volt from Raleigh, North Carolina, to Washington, D.C. That’s 277 miles. And the Volt didn’t disappoint. It was a quiet, smooth ride. After 37 miles of driving in EV mode, the backup gas engine kicked on. And if there hadn’t been fancy display graphics to tell me that there had been a switch, I never would have known.

    But what about Nissan’s claims that the Volt isn’t an EV?

    [JAMES BARTSHE, VOLT ENGINEER] For the first 50 miles, 40 miles, it will be pure electric, engine will never come on.

    [SULLIVAN] As for the Nissan Leaf, for the first two years, it will be made in Japan. After that, it will be made right here at this assembly plant in Smyrna, Tennessee. Right here they’re putting in the gas tank for an Altima. In 2012, that will be a battery pack for a Nissan Leaf. And like the Volt, the Nissan plant will be retooled to make the Leaf alongside other Nissan products, such as the Altima and Pathfinder. Those cars pay the bills. So Nissan wants the addition of the Leaf to be just another day at the office for its workers, and that transition is the job of Dan Hurr.

    You’re trying to make this so it’s not such a big deal for the workers, but building an electric car is a big deal, isn’t it?

    [HURR] It is, and if we kind of step back and think about it, it’s an awesome opportunity to be part of the change in industry.

    [SULLIVAN] I drove to the Smyrna plant in a Leaf, of course. And like the Volt, the Leaf didn’t disappoint. It was a quiet, smooth ride and plenty of head and leg room.

    And this car is virtually silent. That noise that you’re hearing is because the windows are down, but there’s no other noise that the car makes except the rubber hitting the road.

    It didn’t have as many gadgets as the Volt, but then again, it’s nearly 10 grand less expensive.

    [PERRY] From a technical engineering kind of standpoint, where wanted consumers to step out of their gas-powered car into this one and find it very easy to drive, very normal. A few new screens to look at and learn about, but really, driving — one to the other, just step in and go.

    [SULLIVAN] And as for Larry Jones, he’s seen the Hamtramck plant add shifts since they started making the Volt.

    [JONES] So this is clean, this is new, this is state of the art. And this is the future, the future is now.

    [SULLIVAN] In Detroit, Lee Patrick Sullivan, “energyNOW!”

    [SUITERS] That electric vehicle ring is getting crowded quickly. More and more companies are now producing EVs. The question is, will you, the consumer, actually buy them? The “energyNOW!” Reality Meter shows us that in January, GM sold 321 Volts. Add that to the 326 sold in December, and you have a whopping 647 vehicles sold since the debut. As for the Nissan Leaf, it sold 87 vehicles in January, just 19 in December — a total of 106 cars.

  3. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Out of all the people who are in the market to buy a new car, the fact remains that electric cars are still a bad idea. From the type of energy they consume, thus exemplifying the conservation of energy law, to basic economics as to why they are not cost effective and will ultimately be more wasteful in several ways than a regular gasoline-operated car, to the simple issue of need; If there was no petroleum anywhere in the world, I guess electric vehicles would be necessary.

    When oil was first discovered, the lamp industry was all a-flutter because they wouldn’t have to go through the laborious process of using whale-oil. it wasn’t until some time later that the internal combustion engine came along, after much effort and could make use of it. Coal was still far more popular for heating boilers. Gasoline, a byproduct of producing kerosene was considered waste and too dangerous and was discarded.

    After some tweaking of the internal combustion engine, it was found that it liked gasoline much better. And thus, an industry was born. As is the wont of human kind, it has been honed into a fine science, but even still, overall engine efficiency is, at best 40% with the average actually being much lower. What that means is that much of the energy is lost as heat and/or wasted fuel.

    However, the internal combustion engine has proven its worth in portability and versatility. It has become absolutely essential in human society. Even the greenest of the greenies cannot live without the internal combustion engine.

    Efforts to maximize their efficiency are laudable from a strictly economic standpoint. But replacement? A long way off. The market will determine what works and what doesn’t. Electric cars were around in the early 1900’s and were quickly eclipsed by gasoline, as was the Stanley Steamer…yes a steam-driven automobile. Until someone has a break-through in propulsion technology, the gas-burning engine will be around for a long time. I remember in the 1970’s I was also told that all the oil would be gone by now. Some scientists have speculated that petroleum may not be the result of decomposed dead jurassic material, but instead a substance that the earth creates as part of its natural processes. That is, it’s geologically normal. And, this theory has come about recently because of the speculation as to why certain oil fields that were supposed to dry up, haven’t.

    Dovetailing in with that, humans indeed have learned much. But we, as a race, still don’t know much. The arrogance of believing that humans are causing the world to get warmer is so preposterous that it’s reminiscent of the remark made by someone in the past who said, “All that can be discovered has been discovered”. At the turn of the last century, many science-fiction writers would go out on a limb and write some very interesting tales. Captain Nemo’s nuclear submarine of Jules Verne’s creation. The strange alien walkers in “War Of The Worlds” of H.G. Wells. But they are mere testimony to the limits of human imagination. Have you ever noticed how a science-fiction show looks very dated when seen years after it’s first run?

    The reason is that it is written in modern, colloquial context with the trappings of current society. When society moves forward, it’s still stuck in its little time-capsule. Hairstyles, and especially the limits of technology. Remember, Jules Verne’s Nautilus was made from heavy, riveted steel plates, cutting edge technology in the 1860’s. A modern Navy Nuke sub is made from steel, yes….but a very special steel and it’s all welded flush and the machine is a teardrop shape…all things that were not obvious to scientists in the 1860’s and had yet to be discovered.

    The truth is we really don’t know what science will bring forth in the future. We are working towards better materials, better applications and sometimes a breakthrough happens. My hat’s off to the curious, the investigators who try to decipher nature. Boyle, Galileo, Newton, Einstein, Planck, Bode, Clark….and on and on. But I think all of them would agree that “you can’t push a string”.

  4. proreason says:

    Were those 281 individual fools, or did Warren Buffet buy them all?

  5. GetBackJack says:

    Now hang on ya’ll.

    I am all for competition and new technology. I say let the market choose. One thing that’s going to come out of the strangulation of oil is radical new ways to get oil to market. Horizontal drilling is the prime example, right now. Oil made from anything that’s carbon based, another. The way the STOOPID FEDERAL MACHINE keeps clamping down on our individual choice for cheap fun personal transportation is absolutely going to spur innovation and choice and wildly new ways to stomp on the throttle.

    Now, as to Government Funded Cars … fark them. Boooo. Hiss. Off with their capacitors and inverters.

    But let’s not throw the baby out with the Barack. That’s mean to the baby. I guaran(effing)tee you that out here in Utah’s red rock country a rock crawler with a 6 horsepower electric motor independently at each wheel will stunningly outperform anything with an IC engine trying to make torque to apply through several differentials and drive trains. No contest. Hook that up to a hydrogen fuel cell that delivers electricity on demand and wow.

    I want to see all hands on deck, the government out of the way and innovation and invention ruling the day!

    That’s my creed.

    That and a big block Chevrolet 527 V8 installed in a 1956 cherry red Chevy Nomad wagon with an air mattress in back. (giggity)

    • proreason says:

      The issue isn’t the power of electic vs gas-powered engines.

      The issueS are fuel portability, infrastructure availability (gas stations), cost and reliability.

      Gas-powered cars have been manufactured for over 100 years now and have the benefit of that development cycle (i.e., they run successfully in all climates, refuiling takes 5 minutes and can be done anywhere, etc.). The investment in gas stations, fuel delivery channels, and engineer / mechanics training is in the trillions of dollars.

      Without some mind-bending breakthrough innovation, converting to electric cars is dumb, unnecessary, outrageously expensive, and risky.

      But of course, that’s the government’s wheelhouse, isn’t it?

  6. oldpuppydixie says:

    Obviously the American people are just plain IGNORANT!!! The only way to correct the situation…make Volt ownership MANDATORY!!! Just like HusseinCare, it will be GOOD for us!!!

  7. untrainable says:

    Q: How long does it take to recharge the Chevy Volt?
    A: Up to 10 hours using a 120 volt (standard home) outlet, and about 4 hours if you have a 240 volt supply.

    Q: How long does it take to charge a Nissan Leaf?
    A: The Nissan Leaf can be fully charged in about 6-8 hours if your home has a 220-volt service line.Nissan dealerships will arrange to have each customer’s home or apartment complex evaluated to ensure they have a suitable power source to effectively recharge the car.

    Q: How long does it take to fill up the tank for an internal combustion engine? (My 2001 Saturn gets almost 40/mpg on the highway) And gee, nobody from the dealership has to make a housecall to make sure you can handle the needs of the car.
    A: 5 minutes

    Now, you’re on an out of state trip. You have to drive 250 miles each way. During a traffic jam… In the snow… Uphill… Both ways.

    Q: Which one would you rather drive?
    A: Unless you’re a total moron, you’d drive the gas car and you know it!

    Until I can charge an electric car in 5 minutes and have the same versatility and freedom to go where I want when I want as I do in my Saturn, electric cars should be limited to the golf course. Maybe they should look into high speed electric trains. That way Oblamer can sate 2 of his idiotic desires at once. And once they’re set up on that big table in the Lincoln bedroom, the kids will have something to play with on Christmas morning.

  8. U NO HOO says:

    Analyzing Volts and Leafs is like looking up a dea mules butt…For what reason?

    It is intuitively obvious to the most casual observer that Obama is anti-America as we knew it and want it.

  9. U NO HOO says:

    Analyzing Volts and Leafs is like looking up a dead mules butt…For what reason?

    It is intuitively obvious to the most casual observer that Obama is anti-America as we knew it and want it.

  10. RabidAmerican says:

    Funny, I haven’t sold a single pro-Obama bumper sticker in almost a year. Suddenly sales spiked by 281.

    BTW, “Volt” is actually spelled “Yugo.”

    Re-education camps for everyone.

  11. BigOil says:

    The Volt is the modern equivalent to the Edsel.

    Note the sales trendline…from 321 sold in January down to 281 in February. Must be reaching the saturation point of the target market – Hollywood celebrities.

  12. Chuckk says:

    I have never understood how driving an electric powered car helps the environment. The electricity used to charge the batteries has to be generated in power plants, most of which are fueled by coal, oil or even nuclear. Then the electricity has to be transmitted to the charging stations, loosing much of its electrons along the way. So while the cars may produce fewer emissions, it seems to me that overall they are a “push” at best.

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