Will Hybrid vehicles with a range extender (Chevrolet Volt / Opel Ampera) ever be of any competition to Tesla Motors EV's sales?

Will Hybrid vehicles with a range extender (Chevrolet Volt / Opel Ampera) ever be of any competition to Tesla Motors EV's sales?

At the moment these Hybrid vehicles with a range extender have an all electric range that is way too little. The capacity of the battery is also very small (16 kWh). What if these vehicles with a range extender would get a battery with a larger capacity (85 kWh)?

The bottom line is that people will buy what will suit them best, at the most affordable price. We should keep that in mind.

Every year the development of the battery technology is 8%. Not only for Tesla Motors but for all car companies.

I would like to see your opinion/view on this topic. Let's have a look in the (near) future.

Brian H | 6 februari 2013

The mass of a large battery and also an ICE engine would be huge. It would make a lousy combination.

Benz | 6 februari 2013

People who can't get rid of range anxiety will be attracted to this kind of vehicles. First they drive all electric, and in case of empty battery they can just keep on driving the car, only not electric any more (till the next recharge). That is something that always will apply to them. And I think that people who have a daily range which is rather limited (up to 60 km?), will use this kind of vehicles most of the time all electric. Only a few times per year they will be using petrol (when they make longer trips).

Pungoteague_Dave | 6 februari 2013

The combined weight of an 85 kWh battery plus a full gas driveline would outweigh the capacity of standard auto tires and suspension and would lose any benefits of economy. Worst of all worlds... And technically not feasible. Would need truck tires as the S is already all aluminum yet the batteries make it among the heaviest sedans on the road. Add an engine and you would lose the range AND be way heavier. Nonstarter.

Vawlkus | 6 februari 2013

Trying to build a hybrid with more electric range runs the risk of lugging around a siezed gas engine with curdled gas in the tank. It's too many variables IMHO, and won't progress much further than it is right now.

Superliner | 6 februari 2013

@ Benz

Not only people with range anxiety, but people without $80K who want an EV can use these as a smart choice at a much lower price point to cover short daily commuting errands etc. in EV mode using only minimal gasoline. If I had a Volt It's all electric range would cover all my daily driving needs. I only exceed 20 - 30 miles per day 5 to 8 times per year.

danielccc | 6 februari 2013

+1 @Superliner

The Volt is cheaper, and if you don't drive much (I don't), you can use it as an EV 95% of the year.

That said, the 40 kWh Tesla is pretty close in my estimation, in cost, and is an excellent option for people who don't drive a lot. People forget that it has more range than any other non-Tesla EV out there, with an EPA range that should exceed 120 miles.

But the Volt you can lease, and it's made by a major, familiar, car maker, so it's a low commitment way to get into the EV game.

Benz | 7 februari 2013

There is one more thing. Even if the battery of the Chevrolet Volt is empty, it will STILL be driven by the electric motor, the electric motor ALWAYS runs the car. The range extender only generates power for the electric motor (because the battery is empty). So, basically the Chevrolet Volt is actually more an EV than it is an ICE. And suppose you would take away the range extender, than the Chevrolet Volt would be a pure EV!!! So, Chevrolet Volt is something else than a Toyota Prius, let that be clear. That is the point that I wanted to tell you about.

Pungoteague_Dave | 7 februari 2013

There's no practical difference between a Volt and a plug in Prius. They both need oil changes, gas tanks, exhaust systems, fuel and oil filters, air intakes and filters, radiators, transmissions, etc., all maintenance items not found in a pure EV. I have owned four hybrids. Worst of all worlds - all the complexity of an ICE, plus the extra battery and electrical motor system. They are a good interim step and learning experience towards the ultimate solution, a longer-range EV.

Superliner | 7 februari 2013

@ Pungoteague_Dave

There is a difference, The Volt is a series hybrid, the Prius is a parallel hybrid. Big difference.

Pungoteague_Dave | 7 februari 2013

Super liner, I said there is no practical difference, emphasis practical. Engineering differences are for weenies. Look at how the cars work as transportation. But the Prius does get much better mileage after the Volt expends its very short pure EV mode. Stupid car unless you never leave the city. For my purposes a Honda Accord would. Get better mileage. But nothing beats the Model S.

Benz | 9 februari 2013

What is the difference between a SERIES Hybrid (Chevrolet Volt), and the PARALLEL Hybrid (Toyota Prius)?

When do you call a Hybrid a SERIES Hybrid?
When do you call a Hybrid a PARALLEL Hybrid?

Pungoteague_Dave | 9 februari 2013

Benz, a SERIES hybrid is always driven by one motor - in the case of the Volt, they claim it is a series hybrid because in normal use the battery runs the car until it is depleted. This is rated at 35 miles and then the engine comes on. The gas engine kicks in as an electrical generator to supply electricity to continue running the electric motor. Unfortunately this cuts gas mileage to only 37 MPG in the Volt while running the gas engine.

A PARALLEL Hybrid can run independently on either drive system - electric OR gasoline. This requires a tranmission linking system and complex switch-over mechanisms. Generally the electric system can run the car only up to a certain speed (25 MPH on the Prius if driven very gently), and then the gas motor kicks on and provides direct power to the wheels. The parallel system can use either and both of the engine and electric motor to supply power, depending on user demand. This allows the Prius to get 45-50 MPG average MPG on highway, well above the Volt's MPG for longer trips. The Volt does much better for short distance and urban driving, as the 38 miles of electric-only range allows some people to never use the gasoline engine for daily needs. This is why some Volt owners claim 99+ MPG, but it is specific to that type of short range use.

This is all very complicated because there is no clear line between the two definitions. Volt fans don't like to admit it, but the Volt actually uses BOTH systems - in some circumstances the car's gasoline motor alone can propel the car without any contribution from the electric motor. So the Volt it is mostly SERIES, but is sometimes PARALLEL. The Prius is always parallel.

The problem with ALL hybrids is that they are the worst of all worlds - they have every complicated element of both ICE cars AND a separate electrical propulsion unit, whether in series or in parallel. I like them as an interim step to full EV, esecially because most of today's EV's can go less than 100 miles on a charge (and the 85 kw Models S practical range limit is only 175 miles). There is no range concern with either format.

Owners still have to change the oil, flush the coolant, change oil, air fuel, and transmission filters on both the Prius and Volt technologies, and they both have exhaust and intake systems, all features not necessary on Tesla vehicles.

The hybrid is the most complex automoblie propulsion system ever invented. The pure EV is the simplest automobile propulsion system ever invented.

Benz | 11 februari 2013

What if GM would offer a Chevrolet Volt WITHOUT a range extender? Then the Chevrolet Volt would weigh much lighter, and the range would therefore be longer. But how much would the Chevrolet Volt weigh? And how much would the range be?

We can already say that it would not be of any competition to the Tesla Model S, that's for sure. But anyway, has anyone got an idea?

Benz | 12 februari 2013

I have just spoken to technical people from Opel in The Netherlands about the Opel Ampera (which is exactly the same vehicle as the Chevrolet Volt). They told me that the total weight of the Opel Ampera is 1,635 kg, and that the engine that is used as the range extender weighs about 90 kg, and all the other parts that come with the range extender weigh about 60-80 kg. That would mean that if the whole range extender (engine + other parts) would be removed from Opel Ampera, that the total weight of the vehicle would be 150-170 kg less, and that it actually would be an EV. I had thought that weight figures would have been higher, but it appears to be much lighter than that I initially had imagined it would weigh (about 400 kg).

The whole point is that people who actually do not travel long distances and also have range anxiety, that they have the option to choose to buy such a vehicle (Opel Ampere / Chevrolet Volt) instead of an EV, and be free of range anxiety, at the expense of the vehicle being 150-170 kg heavier (because of the range extender). And if you include the weight of the petrol, than it would be about 200 kg. Now that actually does sound like a possible/acceptable solution for these people. This would not be my personal choice, but I can imagine that a certain number of people would choose this option. I personally know that a Tesla EV is a much better option to choose, but there still will be people who think differently.

FLsportscarenth... | 11 maart 2013

The Ampera/Volt is a decent offering (american made, no waiting period, ok features and price), but Model S or Roadster is what you REALLY want!

Prius is just ugly!

C-Max has no style but is ok quality wise.

PHEVs are all that some can afford now and are a good step forward, they are not serious competition for Tesla. When Gen III comes out Tesla will be eating their lunch though. I think more ICE buyers will migrate to PHEVs as fuel costs go up, early hybrid drivers will likely migrate towards Tesla...

olanmills | 12 maart 2013

"Competition" may not be the right word, but the Volt definitely fills a niche for the time being. I am starting to see lots of Volts around my metropolitan area. It's a common occurance now.

You have to remember, one of the reasons that Tesla chose to make a "luxury" car was that it was the best way economically (for Tesla) to make an EV designed without compromises. The battery and other tech is still very expensive. The manufacturing and pricing will get better, and the niche for something like the Volt will shirnk (though I imagine that the ability to use gas will still be attractive to some).

Anyways, overall, I like the Volt, and at one point (before final production) I was pretty interested in getting one. My interest waned after learning that it would only be a four seater and I also am not crazy about the final body design and performance characteristics, but I still think it's a good car, and I still think they look kind of cool when I see them driving around.

They are certainly selling more Volts. I don't know whether it's been that successful for GM, but certainly, for various reasons, the Volt is a car that is appealing to many people, and for many the Model S remains a "dream" car.

Now of course, many people don't realize you could get the base Model S for $52k.

Brian H | 12 maart 2013

You can have a fun "looks" argument with Jerry33 over at TMC; he thinks the MS is staid and old-fashioned, and the Prius is a beautiful modern design.

Benz | 12 maart 2013

The shift towards BEV will occur in more than one step, depending on peoples personal thoughts and situations. All people are different. Some will first get a hybrid, then PHEV, and then BEV. Some will directly choose for the BEV. Eventually everybody will choose to drive a BEV.

Solarwind | 12 maart 2013

The answer to the original question is a definite YES . That is why Tesla need to offer more then other cars until Superstation are as frequent as gas stations. See my post " Closing the Continental Gap under Tesla X

PaSa | 12 maart 2013

Has anybody considered adding a portable generator to charge the battery on the rare occasion when you do need to go beyond the 250 mile range? You could carry the generator in your trunk and leave it on overnight to charge the battery.

If that option works perhaps at some point in the future Tesla could offer a rentable version of a generator that fits under the hood and could run on gas when the battery runs out much like a Volt.

Here is the spec for a generator:

Benz | 12 maart 2013

That would mean that you would have to carry extra weight in the car. But maybe it's not that much of weight?

PaSa | 12 maart 2013

Weight is ~250 lbs but I would only carry it if I am going beyond the range of the car and do not wish to get stranded. The cool thing would be if the generator could take over when the battery ran out just like the Volt...

jk2014 | 12 maart 2013

I think the maintenance of the new hybrid with range extenders will be a significant differentiator over time. Right now, it's hard to see what that will look like, but in 2-5 years, we'll have a better view of what will go wrong with their motor systems compared to the Model S. Volt's small motor has to work very hard once it kicks in, which impacts on it's longevity. Also, if the gas is not used in a relative, it could damage the engine as well. More complicated then Tesla battery electric only system. The simpler battery/motor system will win out in the end.

Benz | 12 maart 2013

@ jk2014

"The simpler battery/motor system will win out in the end."

I agree with you on that. Huge advantage for the Tesla Model S.

Brian H | 12 maart 2013

This has been hashed to death. A generator cannot charge the car while it is running, or substitute for the battery.

FLsportscarenth... | 12 maart 2013

@Brian H

The Model S is the best looking and performing sedan ever made, I think many would agree...

The Prius, Leaf and iMEV are all serious ugly ducklings and all pretty poor on the performance side too.

Looks of course are completely subjective... So if you love the iMEV (my choice of the worst), you are certainly entitled your opinion but yuck! You could paint your VW Thing lavender purple and algee green too....

PaSa | 12 maart 2013

I know as presently configured the generator cannot charge the car while running. However, it is only a safety feature so you do not drive off with the car plugged in. That feature should be easy to disable or hack. The whole point of the question is whether a 10Kwatt portable generator can charge the battery while the car is parked.

Brian H | 13 maart 2013

Brian H != Jerry33. That's whose opinion I reported (as a special case). Go argue with him at TMC. ;p

Solarwind | 15 maart 2013

Yes you idea would work but very inefficient, better to have engine running while driving, best to have superstations as frequently as gas stations. Until then I like the range extender trailer, that you could rent from superstations or buy. See closing Continental Gap under model X forum.

There is a lot of misconception about how Range Extender engines work. The Volt used a 1300CC 80hp 4 cylinder connected to a motor generator. There is no starter, the generator has enough power to spin to motor to operation speed. The engine is totally computer controlled, operator has no input except to choose the level you wish to maintain the battery. The computer sets the engine rpm by the load of the generator, most of the time the throttle is operated wide open. When you are driving slow or stop the engine never runs. In normal mode the engine starts automatically when the battery is depleted to about 30%, you may not know it is running unless you see the indication on the dash. The battery in the Volt is water cooled and heated, it is a 16kwh battery but only 10kwh is useable, never depleted below about 15% or charged above 80% . Normal light driving your engine is operating at about 1800 RPM if you accelerate or climb a hill and the battery drain is increased the computer allows the engine to speed up, can be as much as 4000 RPM, (then you will know it is running) If you are going up a long hill say at 90MPH and have not put the car in mountain mode a flag will pop up and say Reduced Power. In my case the car slowed from 90 to 65 near the crest of the hill. You have the option of putting the car in mountain mode before the hill, this will cost you a little gas as it runs the engine harder and brings the battery up to about 50%. Now it takes a very long hill and heavy foot the get reduced power. When we go anymore we usually alway use MM when leaving home. The engine start at 50% with no loss of gas mileage, then switch to normal mode in town using the electric miles where they are more efficient.

wonder | 18 maart 2013

I bought a Volt at end of 2012 in part because Model S was not ready and in part because was basically supporting four cars (mine, wife, and two kids). I do not like the added complexity and presumed maintenance costs associated with Volt. But, in my mind most drivers/families won't buy a range limited car as there primary vehicle (at least not today). But if all vehicles say in Chicago, LA, and New York deployed where there was only one car in "family" were replaced with a Volt the fuel consumption would drop dramatically over night and families would have a large increase to disposable monthly income. Particularly when taking into consideration statistics regarding average daily miles commuted. My family will likely always have at least one gasoline or "range unlimited" vehicle but all others can or should be Electric. So when kids move out it makes sense to me to have a Tesla and a Volt or something like that mix. I love running on Electric. I would love it if the Volt battery had more capacity so all of my daughters "high school" related driving were getting done on Electric but I'm glad at least some is (hopefully somewhere between 50-100% on most days). Haven't checked recently or with great accuracly but spent several hours driving in Volt running on gasoline and roughly looked like was getting around 30 miles/gallon though think its rated at 37 (there was wind/rain).
I can't wait to unburden myself of even more of the gas bill with the Model S!! Would be great if price was $20,000 - $30,000 less.

FLsportscarenth... | 18 maart 2013


I think Volt/Model S household will be common in coming years in the upper middle class, the big earner will drive the Model S and Volt will be secondary or for trips into the wilds. Yes they will drastically cut fuel bills and reduce pollution. I think it is a great combination for many families (american made and sedan capacity).

I only need one sedan and will replace my Mercedes with a Model S as it approaches the end of its service life (it is approaching 260k miles - estimate will put 20k more miles on it before MS), but my fun cars (sports cars) will be ICE till Model R comes out (will replace my classic Firebird now with 195k miles). The truely rare ICE cars I have, Mera and Delorean, I will not replace even when petrol rises above $7.50 per gallon as I do not drive them a lot anyway.

cloroxbb | 18 maart 2013


I think if people are going to have a Hybrid for long distance driving in addition to the S as the daily driver, that the Prius would be a better choice than the Volt, as the Prius gets much better gas mileage. The Volt would be a poor choice as a "distance driver" because only 35-50 miles would be electric only, and it probably wouldnt be charged at all during the trip, and the gas mileage would be in the 30's for the duration...

Skjervesbu | 15 mei 2013

There's some mention on complexity of hybrids:the Prius has proven itself as one of the most reliable cars over years now, so that's not correct. On the other hand, I've never owned a litium-ion battery that hasn't degraded significantly with time.

I would love a Tesla S with half the battery and a small (30-40hp) hypereffective, silent extender charging the battery. When going for a longer time it could run continuously at optimal rpms. I doubt this would weight more than the S does today.

chrisudam00 | 4 september 2015

Hybrids could be very interesting and winning against pure electric cars. It's not because electrics are so brightly made, but it's because all existing hybrids are so poorly thought through. They should have batteries so small as possible, just enough for the daily driver to run 100% on electricity, say 30-50 km only. That means cheap and light batteries. Then they should use a very compact, cheap range extender (will run very few hours), a diesel turbo with one or 2 cylinders only, especially optimised for high constant rev. operation, and low power, so it will be cheap and light. If the driver knows he will drive far, he can start the diesel engine from the start. It makes it even possible to make the range extender even smaller.
The engine is only coupled to a generator for loading the batteries, which avoids heavy and expensive transmissions. This makes the car cheap, light, almost zero emission and still sportly enough to drive, qualities that electric cars don't have, except then the low emission.

Tkela | 4 september 2015

The problem with limiting the battery-only range to 30-50km is that an (electric drive only) car would not be able to pull enough power from the battery to have reasonable acceleration. I suspect that if you want good performance (7sec 0-60), you'll need a battery pack of 40 kWh or more.

That said, a 40 kWh battery pack plus a 30kW generator would actually give you better "range" than a S90 + superchargers.

Assume 70 mph at 400 Whr/mile. You're effectively consuming 28 kWhr/hr (which is offset by the generator) so you can drive until the tank is empty then fill-up.

You'd also have a range of 100 highway miles so you probably wouldn't need to fill-up very often.

Red Sage ca us | 4 september 2015


chrisudam00 | 5 september 2015

I want to complete my thoughts. Of course the range extender engine can also be a petrol or even CNG 1 or 2 cylinder engine (smoother, even more cheap). And I know, a Tesla can be driven sportly too. But I meant, with small batteries only, it's hard to be able to drive sportly too. A Prius is not a zero emission vehicle at all and a Volt/Ampera is just wrongly made with all possible disadvantages combined in just one vehicle: vehicle weight ridiculous high, very high price, range extender much too expensive, heavy and powerful, a car technically much too complex and therefore heavy, unreliable and not commercial at all, unfortunately a car for rich weirdies only. To make these cars competitive, batteries should be just big enough to drive one way, say from home to job, then loading battery on job's site. So never make the battery with standard size, make it modular, to fullfil only just customer's daily needs.

chrisudam00 | 5 september 2015

Reaction to Tkela

An acceleration in 7s from 0 to 60 miles can not be considered as standard or necessary. It's a rich men's standard. To allow such accelerations, it adds such a lot of weight, it needs a heavy electric motor, a strong and heavy drive train, heavy batteries to supply high currents or with the engine always in running mode and finally it makes the car so much more expensive. In a daily situation, cars can easily be driven with 20s from 0 to 60, it hardly changes the total drive time. It's now high time to draw these kind of vehicles away from the rich (and weird) men's world and to make them really an option for all kinds of people. By the way, who can drive sportly in daily situations?? Traffic nowadays is most of the time so congested. Most of the practical accelerations are 0 to 30 or 40 miles only, which takes much less time.

grega | 5 september 2015

Yes Chris I've said similar in other threads. I would hope that the evolution we see is a day-to-day EV, with a variety of automakers competing over how to handle the long distance. Perhaps the smaller battery issues can be given a kick with a 0.5-1kWh capacitor.

For the longer trips and accidents, hopefully rare let different automakers offer bigger batteries, supercharging, hydrogen fuel cells, gasoline fuel cells, rotary engines (Mazda?, Clarionlabs?), and regular engines.

One of our problems with EVs was that people thought of golf carts. Tesla changed that significantly.

Still with hybrids people think of the gasoline engine being the "real" engine, and the electric motors a weak supplement. I think if a car is built with a quality EV base it'd help people want more, and want to avoid having their generator kick in. And the biggest problem with EVs now is there are not enough batteries and they're expensive, so until that changes some alternatives would be good.

Red Sage ca us | 5 september 2015


Low power, slow acceleration, short range, wimpy EVs do NOT improve the experience of driving -- at all. And, given the same amount of storage capacity, a higher power electric motor will actually have more range than a low power version. To get the most out of low capacity, low power configurations of EVs, you must purposely limit their performance to a point that is substandard to the point of endangering occupants.


Captain_Zap | 5 september 2015

EB's with range extenders charge too slowly. Range extenders are just extra complexities and weight. The BEV will win.

Grinnin'.VA | 5 september 2015

@ Red Sage ca us | September 5, 2015

<<< To get the most out of low capacity, low power configurations of EVs, you must purposely limit their performance to a point that is substandard to the point of endangering occupants. >>>

^^^ Red, possibly you've repeated this so many times that you believe it. However, you have repeatedly failed to provide any credible evidence to this bogus 'theory' or opinion.

PLEASE step up to the plate and tell us what level of "performance" you consider to be adequate!

Adequate for you?
Adequate for the typical Camry or Prius buyer?

deeageux | 5 september 2015

A midsize sedan with base 4 cylinder engine and automatic transmission sold in the USA has acceleration to 60 in about 7.5 seconds.

The average striking price for a new car in the USA in the first half of 2015 is $33.5k.

A 2016 Volt starts at $34k before incentives.

The contention that Volt's acceleration is a rich man's standard is laughably retarded.

Unless you are talking about the Nigerian or Indian auto market. That is a completely different discussion.

grega | 5 september 2015

RedSage wrote "Low power, slow acceleration, short range, wimpy EVs do NOT improve the experience of driving -- at all."

Agreed in that much only.

It's that misunderstanding that applies to hybrids now, choices and stereotypes that once applied to EVs (but Tesla demonstrated it done well). Many people STILL don't expect EVs to perform as brilliantly as Teslas do.

@zap wrote "EB's with range extenders charge too slowly. Range extenders are just extra complexities and weight. The BEV will win."

Yes EVs with range extenders generally can't have those fast charging options. 50miles of electric then a generator for any excess. Recharge overnight.

I have no argument that the mild version of hybrids are crap. I'm just arguing that it doesn't need to be that way. Hopefully someone will make one, but i have my doubt.

chrisudam00 | 6 september 2015

Can be that an average USA car has 7.5 s acceleration to 60. Question is, is this necessary? Driving time is hardly influenced, even if acceleration would take 20s. It's only important for our human rush sensation feeling. Furthermore, average acceleration worldwide for cars is much slower than 7.5s. As you know, USA is far from world standard. If everybody would live that way, we would perhaps need 20 earths and what a carbon footprint! USA people tend to be fully spoiled, expecting everybody has a fast internet connection, being always and everywhere online, often driving cars with only the driver inside in a car that is higher than a big human! Travel a bit outside the US, and your view will be corrected enormously. Now I compare several ways. First the Tesla. Nice car? Yes, but how many years it will hold and what a enormous price? So, indeed, if no drastic change in battery technology, it has no future at all, for rich weirdies only!
The Prius? It's a petrol car, with a lot of electric blabla, hardly reducing CO2 emissions.
Then the Chevrolet Volt: In Europe, with free car market, they hardly sell some. Why is that? Because it's based upon a totally wrong philosophy. A 2016 Volt costs 34k to transport 4-5 people and some luggage. World standard, average price for doing that is perhaps 18-19k only. So still way too expensive. And the weight? Even model 2016 adds up to over 1600 kg!! 500-600 kg too much. Simple as that. And the petrol engine? Min. twice too big, min. 2 cylinders too much. So much too heavy and expensive. Furthermore: engineering is overdone, too much technic and components, it's a high tech car, but in a bad way, the high tech hardly saves any energy. So the Volt engineers can redo their homework right away and drastically, because also the 2016 model will be an exceptional view on world's roads. So do I propose an unsporty hybrid? I do, but don't forget, if people really would have to pay for their emissions in their 7.5 s petrol cars, perhaps a lot of them would like to buy an environment friendly light hybrid instead! Then for the Volt engineers: yes you certainly have nice capacities, but you made a wrong car. In the car world you can only achieve anything by mass production, and not offering exclusive cars.

Grinnin'.VA | 6 september 2015

@ chrisudam00 | September 6, 2015

<<< The Prius? It's a petrol car, with a lot of electric blabla, hardly reducing CO2 emissions. >>>

^^^ The Prius reduces CO2 emissions by roughly 30%. IMO, your word "hardly" fails to fit reality.

Do you actually think a 30% reduction is insignificant?

chrisudam00 | 6 september 2015

Reaction to Grinnin.

Still 70% (if your estimation is right) of the CO2 will remain. It's just not good enough for a world that urgently needs to reduce much more CO2. The Prius is therefore a car of the past. A car of the future, or even today, should hardly have any CO2 emissions at all as a daily driver. Of course, especially in US, a lot of care should be taken that the electricity to charge any batteries comes from nuclear, water, wind, solar or geothermal.

Red Sage ca us | 6 september 2015


The problem with hybrids is that whether sporty or not, they will lose to fully electric in terms of operation cost per mile. People are so sure that gasoline will remain affordable. I haven't considered it affordable since it crested $1.85 per gallon for good. A necessity? Perhaps. But only until it was proven that fully electric drive could be done well. Every time I broach this subject, the comeback is always about 'total cost of ownership' instead. Once a long range, meaning 200 miles of useful range or more, electric vehicle is available for under $40,000 that argument vanishes as compared to $25,000 hybrids. That is, unless the Prius or other hybrid vehicles with substantially more than 500 miles range will suddenly go down to the $10,000 to $15,000 range as a new purchase.


There was a time when an affordable vehicle with performance ratings of 0-60 MPH in under 7.0 seconds were a marvel. There was also a time when that metric, resulting in under 5.0 seconds resulted in Supercar status. Anything lightweight that achieved 250 HP or better could be considered a Sportscar. And 400 HP or more was reserved for rides bound for the track. That time was 25 years ago, and the world has moved on since then.

See, back when the Lexus LS400 and Infiniti Q45 were first introduced, they made a huge splash because of three factors relative to competitors from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Jaguar: 1) Luxury Appointments; 2) Styling; and 3) Price/Performance Ratio. I'm not one that cares about Luxury all that much, and the Styling for Sedans always seems rather sedate to me. But those two cars definitely upped the ante compared to their competitors. It was the Price/Performance Ratio that really convinced people to give Lexus and Infiniti a try. It was their Refinement and Reliability that made people stay.

So, when the Tesla Model ≡ arrives, it will use very much the same strategies to appeal to the market at large. It will be appointed in a manner that is at least standard for a BMW in the price range. It will have styling that catches the eye at least as well as a Mercedes-Benz in the market segment. It will have performance on tap to match and exceed the best for the price.

I encourage you all to take a long, hard look at the performance specifications for the vehicles that will be competing against the Model ≡ (Acura ILX, AUDI A4, BMW 3-Series, Cadillac ATS, Infiniti Q50, Jaguar XE, Lexus IS, Mercedes-Benz C-Class...). Those of you who are expecting performance that would have been impressive in 1990 for the $35,000-to-$45,000 price range may not realize that is woefully substandard today. Also, take note that the BMW 320i is not likely to be the performance target that Tesla Motors aims for, so much as the BMW 335i instead, for the base version of Model ≡.

Motor Trend -- Tuned 2012 BMW 335i vs 2013 Cadillac ATS by D3! - Head 2 Head Ep. 39 (12:52)

Motor Trend -- 2014 Infiniti Q50S vs 2014 Lexus IS350 F-Sport! - Head 2 Head Ep. 40 (15:48)

Motor Trend -- 2015 BMW 335i M Sport vs. 2016 Jaguar XE S! - Head 2 Head Ep. 67 (13:58)


MotorWeek | Retro Review: '90 Lexus LS400 (7:31)

MotorWeek | Retro Review: '90 Infiniti Q45 (7:47)

Old Top Gear - Lexus LS (7:04)

TMac | 6 september 2015

Original thread question: Ideally Volt will not be needed soon with lower battery costs, increased range, more Superchargers or similar EV infrastructure.
I suspect Volt like solutions will be needed for at least 5 more years unfortunately.

Regarding Pruis vs Volt it is not even close.
Volt wins hands down. (at least in my hands)

I have both cars love them both. For "EV" cred Volt comes very close to being almost all EV. Prius is solid all around get around car but always using gas. Volt also drives so much nicer than Prius.

I routinely get 45-50 miles EV on 2102 Volt for 90% of my driving days.
2016 Volt rated for 55 miles likely could get 65-70 miles really making this almost an EV most of the time.

Road Trips , yes Volt gets only 38 mpg vs 48 mpg with Prius but if you stop and charge and start with full battery you get 2 "free" gallons of gas (60-70 miles) so it is closer than you think.

Its great that Tesla pushed GM to make the Volt and that Toyota did the Hybrid technology noone else did decades ago. Too bad Toyota is fixated on fuel cell not EV.

chrisudam00 | 6 september 2015

Enough power.

Where do you guys drive your Tesla's? A majority of trips, also for those cars, are done in heavily congested traffic conditions, where they can even follow other traffic with 15-30 kW powertrains only! Do you need to paint the roads black with your tires to get quickly behind other jammed cars in front?
Then the guy with low operation cost per mile for electric vehicles. Ever calculated your quickly degrading, over expensive and super big batteries? I think you drive golden miles!