GM Volt may not be cost-effective for consumers, study says

A study by Carnegie Mellon finds that the Chevy Volt, GM’s rechargeable battery-driven car designed to go 40 miles on electricity,  is “not cost effective in any scenario,” Bloomberg reports.  

There appear to be two main problems, cost and durability. Says Bloomberg:

A battery big enough to propel a car for 40 miles, such as the 400-pound pack for Volt, may cost $16,000, based on current industry and academic estimates. The price of the car isn’t set, though GM backed off last year from an initial goal of less than $30,000 when the Volt reaches the U.S. market in late 2010.

$16K for a battery is a huge expense, especially if the battery has to be replaced. K.G. Duleep, a researcher on plug-ins, told Bloomberg he is “very skeptical” about the near-term durability of the batteries.  “Even in the lab they aren’t lasting more than 7 years,” Dunleep said.

I’ll be sorry for GM if the Volt proves to be the next Edsel or EV-1. But the Carnegie Mellon study, as summarized by Bloomberg, is a sobering reminder that a “beyond petroleum” transport system will arrive when and as economic and technological reality permits, not when green political agendas or CO2-suppression mandates dictate.