Monday May 2nd, 2011
It’s May. Drive All Over in a Volt.
General Motors announced today that its super efficient Chevrolet Volt gets…one thousand miles per tank of gas. Tanks hold 9.3 gallons (a random amount for a tank of gas), and Volts can travel up to 35 miles on a fully charged battery before reverting to gasoline to power the engine.
The statement is misleading because it fails to mention the cost of charging the battery at night (and the varying prices of energy in different parts of the country). A uniform cost per mile driven can’t be determined, so be skeptical of the announcement.
Why be skeptical? Because GM announced in 2009 that the Volt would get 230 miles per gallon. And the latest Volt MPG estimate was an announced 111, yet the actual calculation gives a MPG a shade over 107.5 (1,000/9.3 = 107.52).
Accuracy doesn’t seem to be their strength.
Tuesday May 3rd, 2011
They’re Just Like Big Bags of Sand, Only Worse
More issues with air bag deployments, but this time from Honda. Honda is recalling 833,000 more vehicles to repair air bags that can “deploy so forcefully they may kill the driver”. This specific recall is a re-recall that dates back to 2008. 2430 of the over 800,000 (then) were installed with “potentially defective airbag replacements”. These 2430 are, supposedly, the only ones that pose a threat, but Honda can’t determine where they are, so they have to issue a blanket recall on all possible models affected.
The logic and rationale here is too confusing (and anger-inducing). Especially for consumers forced to deal with violently exploding air bags that send metal tearing through the fabric of the bag that have already killed drivers. How does this go on?
Wednesday May 4th, 2011
American MUSCLE Investment!
There are two Bowling Greens. One’s in Ohio and is home to Bowling Green State University (appropriately outfitted with orange school colors). The other is in Kentucky, and is home to the factory that builds the Chevrolet Corvette. Today, GM announced a $131 million investment into the latter Bowling Green’s factory to help manufacture the seventh generation version of the quintessential Americana muscle car, adding an extra 250 jobs at the plant in the process.
The current 400-strong workforce works four ten-hour shifts, giving ‘em all three full days to revel in those Vettes. And if those workers wanted to get feisty and drive the 394 miles to Bowling Green (Ohio) and show off their muscle for co-eds, it might be well worth it. A recent article in New York Magazine about the merits of college states university students typically study an average of 13 hours per week, giving them plenty of time to hang. It ain’t like they’re doing much else with that free time.
Thursday May 5th, 2011
Nissan beat out Ford and Karsan (a Turkish auto manufacturer) this week to win New York City’s “Taxi of Tomorrow” contest. Beginning in 2013, Nissan will be the exclusive supplier of New York City taxi cabs. Influential features of Nissan’s bid include mobile charging stations for each taxi, USB outlets for passengers, and cost. Out of the three proposals, Nissan’s NV200 commercial van was cheapest to operate primarily because of its high fuel efficiency.
An added bonus is a “low-annoyance” horn. Whatever the hell that means. I don’t even think it’s possible.
Other ‘low-annoyance” items that would be nice (remedies in parentheses): dress socks (tight elastic that keeps them up all day and doesn’t make your leg hair itch), cats (eradication…just kidding!) and gas-pump television (eradication…not kidding).