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back to article Merseyside plant to punch out Chevy Volt

The Chevy Volt looks set to be made in the UK at the Vauxhall production line at Ellesmere Port, it has been claimed. If the plan goes ahead, Volts could be flowing off the Merseyside production line early in 2011, Autocar magazine reports. GM Chevy Volt GM's Chevy Volt: set to ship under Vauxhall flag? Moles from General …

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Oh Goody

Really when will people realise that an Electric vehicle will not save resources. It's electric it needs to be charged, hmmm strain on the national grid anyone...leading to more useage of fossil fuels.Why can no one realise that 'global warming' or 'climate change' or whatever the hell you want to call it is a natural occuring phenomenon and it is the way the planet will continue to survive long after we are extinct and more than likely the Turkish Ants will become the dominant species.

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Government money?

Going into GM, a American company that's about to go spectacularly tits-up.com? What could possibly go wrong?

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Pirate

@Oh Goody

"Really when will people realise that an Electric vehicle will not save resources. It's electric it needs to be charged, hmmm strain on the national grid anyone..."

True, but the whole point is that the power station is a much more efficient generator of power than multiple internal combustion engines.

"Why can no one realise that 'global warming' or 'climate change' or whatever the hell you want to call it is a natural occuring phenomenon..."

Well the sizable body of scientific (and not so scientific) evidence indicating otherwise tends to stop people.

"...and it is the way the planet will continue to survive..."

I don't think anyone argues otherwise?

"...long after we are extinct..."

This is the bit people tend to have an issue with - especially the fact that we could be hastening it's occurance.

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Anonymous Coward

@Alistair James

Even if you don't accept global warming it's obvious that we need a different power source to oil. Either because it'll run out, it's in the hands of hostile countries or it's just a waste of a valuable resource to burn it.

As for strain on the grid, just build a bigger grid, it's not hard. There's no need for it to increase fossil fuel usage either, the power could easily be nuclear.

FFS It's not _JUST_ the climate!

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Flame

Re: Oh Goody

Global Warming a 'naturally occurring phenomenon'? Well it's perfectly natural for global warming to occur if the atmosphere is flooded with pollutants, much the same way that it's perfectly natural for one to die if oxygen stops getting to one's brain, or if one receives a fatal dose of brick wall at high speed. So what you are basically saying is that we should do nothing and keep burning fossil fuels in our cars? What happens when they run out?

The difference with electricity over fossil fuels is important - you can make electricity cleanly but you cannot burn fossil fuels cleanly. Sure some of the UK's power - at this time - is generated by burning fossil fuels, however some of it is nuclear and a growing amount of it is from wind turbines (see Ecotricity if you want to buy 100% clean electricity) and other alternative sources are being developed such as solar or wave power. It's also only a matter of time before we have working fusion power.

If an electric car were to be powered purely from wind or solar power, how is this increasing the usage of fossil fuels?

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Back to the future ?

Ooh look, a government pouring money into helping manufacture a new and untried car. It's just like old times !

I still see a Delorean running around this area (though there's a sad absence of fiery skidmarks on the road ...)

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Time to invest in solar leccy panels and storage tech then.

It's a real shame that in the early days of the motorcar the petrol-powered versions came out on top.

If we had 100 years of battery development under our belts I wonder if climate/ oil dependance would be big issues. *

ttfn

*of course they would, since our problems are more to do with trying to get an advanced lifestyle and being willing to throw things away rather than thinking long-term.

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Coat

@ Oh Goody

We're already been through this. Electric cars are more efficient than IC ones. And electricity can be generated from renewable sources.

The strain on the national grid is a valid concern, but it looks as if there may be a shortfall of geerating capacity in a few years anyway.

Mine's the one with the solar panels on the back, and rechargeable batteries in the pockets.

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Oh Goody

Even if we assume that there is no saving of resources, we should not forget the indirect benefit of using electric vehicles: cleaner air in the cities, less petrol tanker deliveries to the garage.

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@ "Oh Goody"

"Really when will people realise that an Electric vehicle will not save resources" - it's oil we're trying to save and over reliance on other countries to supply it and then cut out put / push up prices. When we finally get around to building some modern nuclear power stations (that will no doubt be controlled by a Franco / Germanic Alliance), we at least will have a half baked alternative.... Of course the governement will probably then tax the hell out of lecky then.... Mines the one powered by a wind up coil....

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ben

GM going bankrupt

Has anybody actually worked out efficiency levels for electric vehicles, use of raw materials, toxins + heavy metals in the batteries. I'm sure building anything like this will only be good for those learjet owning car bosses.

A better idea would be a single seater electric vehicle on a basic recyclable frame with interchangable power packs, like a 21st century Sinclare C5 that you can drive onto trains for long distance.

Meanwhile I'll continue to overtake my driving workmates to the office on my bicycle.

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@Alisatair James

Hi Alistair,

The idea is to move towards more efficient forms of transport thereby saving energy. Electricity generation is far more efficient on a massive scale than it is in most pure petrol vehicles. This is only exacerbated when moving towards high performance vehicles.

Additionally, any extended range EV is far more efficient then a straight petrol or diesel vehicle. This is because the engine can be run at it's peak design efficiency for the entire duration that it is in use with the battery handling peaks and troughs in demand.

It has already been demonstrated in prototype vehicles that 80 mpg is achievable for petrol extended range electric vehicles. How many traditional vehicles can even get close to this? Any improvements made to the combustion process that would improve traditional vehicle efficiency will likely be applicable to extended range vehicles too.

Your comment viz. global warming is not relevant. The idea that we are trying to save the planet is laughable. You honestly think the investment is to prevent global warming? This is all for efficiency because try as we might we are struggling to provide enough energy for everyone. Do you think Americans struggle to power their country through lack of natural resources? Rhetorical question, the answer is no. The truth is we are struggling to meet existing demands already. Efficiency is an essential part of our plans.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Alstair James

I couldn't agree more, now they are trying to get everybody to burn wood for heating as well.

Where the hell do they think that millions of tonnes of wood are coming from??

RIP every tree on the planet!

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Yeah but

That's sort of true, I think there is a great deal of merit in electric cars subject to a decent method of producing electricity. Technology will improve and efficiencies will increase to the point where it will be possible to stop energy use of fossil fuels completely.

Of particular interest is the use of Thorium in the next 50 years which is estimated to be capable of supplying the worls with energy for hundreds if not thousands of years.

We need to start with something though and building demand for the infrastructure is a good first step.

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Joke

Popular seller on Merseyside....

The scousers will hook it up to their nearest streetlamp.

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ben

Are you going to drive the same electric car forever

A Toyota Prius takes around 115 mmBTU (million BTU) to manufacture and uses 330 mmBTU in its lifetime. Thats the equivalent a third of its lifetime fuel usage in the few days of its construction not counting the waste of good space on our roads the loss of non recycled materials and disposal of dangerous chemicals.

The ratio becomes worse as cars get more efficient to the point at which the manufacture is more wasteful than the car over its life. Its a truth that will spell the demise of the big car companies unless they change. Most of them are on the brink already.

As the cars become more efficient the cost of manufacture and fuel will rise accordingly. The only people that are left with the bill are you and I the consumers. The only thing is it wont save our environment, GM or Merseyside's economy for that matter.

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Paris Hilton

Payback Time?

This car solves one big problem with leccy cars, poor range. A normal fully electric car would suit me for 95% of all journeys, but that won't help when a long journey is needed (going on holiday, business trip). So I'd still need a 'conventional' vehicle as well as the leccy-tech thing. The Volt solves this problem as it is a kind of inverse hybrid (mostly leccy with a petrol backup instead of the Pious' mostly petrol with a leccy boost). Performance is adequate, too.

The only thing is the cost. You can see this thing being bloody expensive to buy, and if the LiIon batteries are anything like those in most laptops, then they will need replacing in 3 or 4 years at most, again at quite some expense.

So now our dear Eco-Friendly Gov't has the chance to pay us all back. They have been fleecing motorists for years with "green" taxes. So what chance they will subsidise the cost so that the Volt (and similar) will cost the same as the equivalent petrol car (an Astra, maybe) and provide a free, or at least subsidised, battery exchange service?

We all know they won't, because we all know that Nu Labour's 'green' taxes are a money-raising scam.

Paris, cos she also believes that being shafted is good for you.

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Power grid

While power plants are more efficient than internal combustion car engines, much of their advantage is lost in the power transmission losses from the plant, and then another loss in charging the battery, and another loss from the battery to the motor.

An advantage to a car like the Volt is that the battery does not have to be fully charged - there is a small internal combustion engine, and that can be used to extend the range of the car. If the electrical power companies could control the charging of the vehicles, they could stagger the charging to keep the power grid from being overwhelmed. Sometimes you might not get a full charge, but that would be ok since the gas engine would get you to your destination.

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Boffin

There is no GM plant in Merseyside

The Vauxhall plant is in Ellesmere Port, which is, and always has been, in Cheshire:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellesmere_Port

It's often possible to smell Ellesmere Port from Merseyside, but that's another matter :-)

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Happy

Voltsall

Hmm, a Voltsall?

Maybe I should register the name.

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Unhappy

The real bottleneck

Power stations may be more efficient but the National Grid isn't - only a quarter of the power generated reaches the user. More importantly is that batteries are a bigger threat to the planet - lots of heavy metals, not easily recyclable, very heavy and if wet, dangerous in an accident. More efficient batteries rely on lithium which only comes from Bolivia. Worst of all, though is that 80% of the environmental harm done by cars is in making them. Batteries have a life of ten years and to replace those on a Prius (and probably a Volt) is over £3k - who is going to do that on a ten year old car worth under £1k. Result - more cars made, more environmental damage. Duh!

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oh goody

As soon as 2011? I believe Honda is looking for distribution this spring of its plugin.

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jim
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2 years?

2011? Might as well be 2111. They're simply advertising vehicles they don't have, in hopes we'll buy the ones they do have. I'm already tired of looking at computer-generated images of the Volt.

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Stop

Global warming?

Some commentators are missing the point - these are UK manufacturing jobs being saved/created assuming GM doesn't die. People in work = money = tax for the government to spend.

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Anonymous Coward

Off peak

In this country, we have off-peak power for heating your hot water over-night when demand for juice is low. As such it is cheaper than peak electricity. Dog gawn it, don't you folks over yonder have the same deal?

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Stop

Two problems...

...firstly, GM is in dire financial trouble, and everyone in the auto business knows it. So as a car buyer, are you going to lay out £££ on new technology knowing there's a chance that spares will be unavailable, dealers will shut and there'll be nobody skilled enough to service it?

Secondly, it's an electric car. It's going to be slow, and the driver will instantly start being all smug about their emissions. Cars should be fast, noisy and all manly. I want quick 0-60 and don't really care how much petrol it needs to do it, driving is a pleasurable pastime but certainly won't be in a 'leccy car!

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