Tag Archives: auto

Chevy Volt Test Drive – Day 3

Chevy Volt Test Drive There are obvious driving patterns that conserve battery power. I noticed when driving around town, where there is a lot of braking and accelerating the battery will deplete faster than when you are on the freeway. Another observation is that the battery us used less if you are going downhill. But if you are doing round trips like be back and forth to town, then going downhill one way will result in going uphill on the return trip. It evens out in the end. I did notice that if you could minimize rapid acceleration and braking, battery power is preserved. At the end of the day, the Volt used more battery miles from town to Pearl City and less from Pearl City to town. This due to the  downhill effect going from Pearl City to town. Much of the car's battery performance is visible real time. The Chevy Volt has a power flow screen that is addictive to watch. It shows when the battery is feeding the transmission and when it is getting a regenerative buffer. Unlike the Toyota Prius, the Chevy Volt does not recharge the battery. Regenerative buffer is just a small charge flowing back into the battery. Day 4: Activating the gas generator.

New Toy – Acura TSX

In my previous post, I decided to repair my 12 year old Integra instead of buying a new one. This past Monday, my mechanic called and said he felt it was potentially a money sink since there could be more work required for the engine. He didn't even say he thought it was fixable. Instead he said it might not be worth my while. How may mechanics tell you stuff like that and turn away work? Well it got me thinking about my alternatives. Ever since my car's been in the shop I've been looking up reviews of the Acura TSX, Volkswagen GTI, Mini Coop and Audi A3. I'll admit, I am partial to the Acura and ended up there first. I don't particularly like buying cars. It's not like going in and buying an iPod Touch or some flat screen television. This is a big financial commitment second only to buying a house. In these tight economic times it is all about cashflow and what you can afford. Do I purchase outright or lease? I thought about ownership and what that means in the case of a car. You lose 25% of the value of a car the minute you drive it off the lot. I also compared the loan payment rates to monthly lease payments. Even with a 2.9% interest rate over 5 years, you are still looking at about $450 a month in payments. With a lease it was closer to $300 per month for 39 months. After 39 months you can turn it in or buy the remaining portion of the lease. By that time there might be a good electric or hybrid car on the market. So I chose the lease option. I went down this morning, signed the papers and drove it off the lot. It was quite a difference going from 1996 technology to 2009. And you can't beat that new car smell. I love that you can pair your phone to the car's Bluetooth Hands Free option and connect up your iPod. I know I'm going to enjoy this ride.

Car, no car!

It started last weekend and some you have seem my tweets about it. It is such a dilemma when you lose the function of your car as I did this past week. It really tests your concepts of attachment and dependencies. My car has been faithful for the past twelve years. Back in 1996 it was a brand new Acura Integra. Twelve years later, it still looks good but it has about 133K miles on it. Last weekend the engine overheated and the radiator blew. It was not a pretty sight. My decision now is whether to repair it or to get something new. Everyone I spoke to says it is a great time to buy a car. Bottomline though is that it will still put you out $20K - $30K. Some say get a used car but you still need to go through the process of selecting the right car. If I go the repair route it will cost about $2000. Question is, how many more years can I get out of the car. Kelly Blue Book value put the resale of an excellent condition Acura Integra at $1900. Am I just sinking money into an expense well? So as you can imagine I have my head wrapped around this one. After spending many brain cycles on pondering this, I decided to repair the car. The things that compel me to go the repair route first off is cost. I can deal with $2000 much better than $20K. Secondly, I actually prefer to drive my old car around. There's a certain attachment to it, but there is also a non-attachment. I am not as bothered about the scratches and dings you get at the shopping mall. If it was a new car, I would be bothered and bummed. As far as new car deals, I don't really see them. There are some low interest rate deals you can get but you are still going to pay a good chunk of money in a time when there isn't a whole lot of money to go around. Maybe I should be thinking I should contribute to the economy by buying a car but this is survival, my survival. Being without your car does make you realize how dependent you are on it. We've grown, I've grown so accustomed to having a vehicle it is hard to imagine not having one. All the things that need to change once you are without. Carpooling, bus, renting a car are all considerations. It will be at least three weeks before I get my car back so I may be exploring all these options. All this car trama hasn't made it feel like Christmas for me yet. I did feel a sense of relief though this past weekend when deciding to repair rather than buy. I am saving money that could be put to better use. I am keeping my carbon footprint relatively low by not consuming more hardware. And finally I am squeezing a little more out of what I have, staying within my means. I think those are good lessons for this Winter Solstice 2008.