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Steve Wozniak May Swap His Tesla For A Chevy Bolt (siliconbeat.com) 286

An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes a San Jose Mercury News article about "Apple co-founder and electric vehicle fan Steve Wozniak." Woz posted a picture of himself, smiling, next to a new, white Chevy Bolt. General Motors gave Woz the fully electric sedan for an extended test drive. He liked it. "I expect to be switching cars soon!" Woz wrote in a photo caption.

The battery-powered Bolt is due for release late this year. The four-door hatchback has an advertised range of 200 miles per charge, with a sticker price around $37,500. The EV will compete head-to-head with the Tesla Model 3. The Tesla entry-level sedan, expected to start at $35,000, will be released late next year.

It's interesting to read Wozniak's later comments on the post. "A lot of things wrong with the Tesla model S are done correctly (my opinion) in this car... It gets down to my product ideas of balance and getting the most from the least. Try to make things simple and affordable but very adequate. This car hits my sweet spot."

And in response to the obvious question, Woz replied "Maybe one Segway would fit. And a seat can be folded down."
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Steve Wozniak May Swap His Tesla For A Chevy Bolt

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  • by sid crimson ( 46823 ) on Sunday September 11, 2016 @02:43PM (#52866833)

    As someone who'd love an electric car, I'm already out of the running with a family of four children. I don't have the cash for a "second" car - it make better financial sense for me to spend that cash on gasoline.

    That said, I was salivating over the Model 3. The Bolt looks good, and is a step in the right direction, but it's a MUCH smaller vehicle. Plus, as a Chevy owner, I don't hear ANY stories of how my car's manufacturer goes above and beyond to support me. Shoot, my car company even declined to honor a transferred warranty from the previous owner (I paid my fee) and then later declined to honor a voluntary recall because my vehicle was beyond their mileage limit by 100 miles.

    Seems like all I hear about Tesla is "we're working to become awesome" and from their owners "it's true, they are awesome." Aim for that level of satisfaction, Chevy, and I'll purchase an Acadia.

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday September 11, 2016 @02:54PM (#52866883)

      As someone who'd love an electric car, I'm already out of the running with a family of four children. I don't have the cash for a "second" car

      Electric cars are still bleeding edge. The amount you save on gasoline, even over the full life of the car, will not pay for the premium price. You don't buy them to save money. You buy them to help change the world (and maybe for the convenience). If battery improvements continue at their current pace, the financial break even point is still five or ten years away.

      Seems like all I hear about Tesla is "we're working to become awesome" and from their owners "it's true, they are awesome."

      My wife has a Tesla. Yes, their customer support is awesome. So are their cars.

      • I own my autos for a looooong time, enough time (you saw my note about the extended warranty?) for there to be a financial return. So, yes - I *can* purchase an electric car "to save money". ;-)

        • by atheos ( 192468 )
          yea, I heard similar arguments before purchasing the Hybrid that I drive daily. That was 200k miles and 13 years ago, pretty sure I'm money ahead.
      • You know why I want an electric car? It's all about time.

        - I can drive on the HOV lane and reduce my commute time by half.
        - Maintenance required is dramatically reduced (i.e. no oil changes.)
        - No more weekly trip to the gas station (I couldn't care less about the $30 it costs to fill my tank; I make that much money in a very short amount of time.)

        Still, a tesla model S is beyond my price range, and I'm presently saving the cash to buy a house during the next financial and real-estate collapse (which I'm pre

        • regarding the HOV...that may not exist for long.

          I live in VA outside DC and have hybrid plates that let me get in the HOV solo. That allowance is federal rule that ends when the roadway is classified as 'degraded' in terms of traffic flow. I-66 in VA fully meets that classification :( so as of 2017 any 'Clean Special Fuel', including full electric, vehicles will no longer qualify for HOV exemption.
          • by rfengr ( 910026 )
            You just need to GTFO of NOVA; I did 20 years ago. Hell, they can't even keep the damn metro working.
      • by pixelpusher220 ( 529617 ) on Sunday September 11, 2016 @05:10PM (#52867487)
        The thing about electrics though is the gas is a small part of the savings. There just aren't significant parts to break and need replacement; though obviously depending on design.

        No ICE, no oil, no maintenance. No transmission, just a straight connection from motor to wheel (linkages as necessary but no gears, etc).

        Replacing a battery isn't cheap but it is a very very straightforward thing. Unlike replacing an engine, which your transmission isn't engineered for.

        The 'life' of an electric vehicle should realistically be multiple years beyond even the best ICE vehicles...bringing the ownership cost down even farther.

        And then take into account that if you can put in a house battery and solar, you could get your 'fuel' entirely for free. You'll never do that with an ICE even with ethanol. This perhaps ties to your 5-10 years prediction which is reasonable. But there are still lots of savings involved beyond the fuel.

        The cheapest option of course is a used ICE car for $5-10K ;-)
        • by runningduck ( 810975 ) on Sunday September 11, 2016 @05:35PM (#52867633)

          The problem with electric cars is that windshield wipers are horrendously expensive to replace. With my previous car windshield wipers were way less than 1% of total maintenance over five years. My Leaf is about to turn 5 years old and windshield wiper replacements 75% of my total maintenance costs. This is outrageous!

        • This is part of the reason trains outlast buses... the oldest NYC subway cars (built 1964) are being complained about as having a "low" mean distance between failure at 35,000 miles, versus 400,000 miles on the newest cars. Streetcars in many cities see daily operation at well over 30 years old, some even 70.

          If my car only needed service every 35,000 miles after 50 years I would say it was a piece of machinery handed down from the gods...

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          I asked some Tesla owners for tips on buying a used one, and their response was "don't, unless you get it from Tesla direct."

          The earlier cars in particular seen to have a lot of issues. You really need that support from Tesla. It's a shame because I'd like to get one, but spending that amount of money I'd want to know it was well covered.

      • by FrankSchwab ( 675585 ) on Sunday September 11, 2016 @05:38PM (#52867643) Journal

        The amount you save on gasoline, even over the full life of the car, will not pay for the premium price.

        Not for current cars, but that's where the Model 3 is so exciting. $35000 is the median car price for new cars in the US, and that's where the Model 3 is intended to hit. There certainly was a premium for the Model S, but the premium is no longer there for the Model 3. Heck, if Chevy is going to try to sell the compact-sized Bolt for 35000, you could say that the Model 3 will be selling at a discount being as it's a bigger car with more features (like, say, a charging infrastructure).

        By my calculation, I'll save about $1000 / year on energy costs over my Honda Civic. I normally keep cars for 10 years or so, so I'll be about $10,000 ahead at the end of my ownership - which is about the premium I'd pay over buying a new Civic. That's assuming that gas stays at it's current low price - let it climb back up to $4 or $5, and I'll be way ahead.

      • Electric cars are still bleeding edge. The amount you save on gasoline, even over the full life of the car, will not pay for the premium price. You don't buy them to save money.

        I did, and it worked. The payoff period for my LEAF ended up being a bit longer than expected because when I bought it (in 2012) I was projecting that gas prices would continue increasing, when in fact they dropped dramatically, but it has paid for itself. Note that that calculation does include just over $9K in tax credits, and charging partially at work. Without those, my payoff period would have been about 10 years, which is a bit long, but about the amount of time I keep a car. Actually, it's probably a

      • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

        My wife has a Tesla. Yes, their customer support is awesome. So are their cars.

        My wife has a Toyota, I have no idea what their customer support is like, since in 8 years (so far), it has had zero problems.

    • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Sunday September 11, 2016 @02:58PM (#52866895)

      Seems like all I hear about Tesla is "we're working to become awesome" and from their owners "it's true, they are awesome."

      You can afford to be awesome when you're selling $100k luxury cars with probably a profit margin (excluding R&D costs) of $10k-$20k each.

      When you're building $30k cars with razor-thin margins of a few hundred dollars each, it's a whole 'nother ballgame. I would love it if Tesla can keep up their current policies and support with the Model 3, but I seriously doubt they'll be able to. Even the free supercharges for life is questionable for the Model 3.

      • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Sunday September 11, 2016 @04:21PM (#52867247) Journal

        Even the free supercharges for life is questionable for the Model 3.

        No, it isn't questionable. It's not going to exist.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          They have already let slip that it will be pay as you go. There might be an unlimited option but the code for adding credits is already on their site.

    • Tesla is the modern-day Saturn. Companies like that are worth supporting.
    • The interior of the Bolt is probably larger than the Model 3.

      The Bolt does have its downsides, though. The Model 3 is faster, has better aerodynamics and probably handles better. The Model 3's charging network is much superior, especially since GM is relying on the market to supply chargers.

      Nonetheless, like the Woz, I think I'd prefer a Bolt. None of them will handle four children, though.

    • First, if you've got one in most major cities there's an EV/Carpool lane on the freeways you get to use. So if you've got the scratch for one you can cut your commute in half. Second, a lot of the emissions regulations are based on car companies having/selling a certain amount of low or (in this case) zero emission vehicles. This lets car companies sell gas guzzlers like the Charger/Impala and still meet the regs. The extra cost is (mostly) offset by tax incentives (e.g. you and me paying for it).

      As usu
      • The carpool exemption is coming to an end. It's a federal rule that ends when the roadway is classified as 'degraded' in traffic flow. I-66 HOV in VA is losing the Hybrid/Electric/Special fuel exemption in 2017.
        • The carpool exemption is coming to an end. It's a federal rule that ends when the roadway is classified as 'degraded' in traffic flow. I-66 HOV in VA is losing the Hybrid/Electric/Special fuel exemption in 2017.

          In CA, carpool access for pure EVs (and hydrogen vehicles) is guaranteed until early 2019.

          • An inflatable doll still costs about $30 and gets you carpool lane access.

            • Some people assume that is true, but cops work a lot of hours and have trouble maintaining a social life... if he owns the same model doll and recognizes her, he won't be amused. At all.

      • Car companies have to buy guzzler credits from Tesla. No tax money.

  • It gets down to my product ideas of balance and getting the most from the least. Try to make things simple and affordable but very adequate.

    I'd love to see more MPG stats on flywheel vs battery hybrids. Flywheels are much more efficient, but realistically have much lower energy storage capacity than batteries. Flywheels, CVT, and a small engine might be a way to get the most from the least $ right now: the Bolt's battery costs GM about $9k.

    • by guises ( 2423402 )
      They're using flywheels in cars? How does that work? Flywheels have to be massive to function, cars need to be light to be efficient.

      Not to mention the danger of having a flywheel in a moving object that's prone to crashing. I mean, I get that the car itself has a lot of kinetic energy when it's moving, but the flywheel has to have even more if it's the thing that's pushing the car.
      • by mysidia ( 191772 )

        They're using flywheels in cars? How does that work?

        I personally prefer Unicorn-powered cars. The range between refuelings is much much higher, they never need to be replaced, and there's practically zero maintenance required..

        • But do they get along well with the hundreds of horses living under the hood?

        • by dryeo ( 100693 )

          The requirement that the driver be a virgin is fine for most users here, but in the real world...

        • I personally prefer Unicorn-powered cars.... they never need to be replaced, and there's practically zero maintenance required..

          You have to tap their vascular system if you want to make use of their power. They're not going to last forever, they may live thousands of years in the wild, but being strapped to a car with their blood draining out? No. You're going to need to catch a new one every few years, talk about a time sink.

          And if you don't think any maintenance is involved, you just don't realize what all that rainbow-colored sherbet squirting everywhere really is. I'll give you a hint, it isn't a laser light show. And it will ea

      • For hybrids they don't have to by massive. Volvo tested a 6 kg one in an S60: the extra 80 hp meant a 0-60 time of 5.5 seconds. The flywheels are typically made out of carbon fiber composites that pretty much turn into dust if the vacuum chamber gets busted in an accident, so there isn't much shrapnel.
        • by guises ( 2423402 )
          Well okay then, that's pretty neat. It does seem like a bursty thing though - the link the other person gave had 80 hp for six seconds. That's a supplement to batteries rather than a replacement. Could make a fine replacement for a super capacitor maybe.
      • Don't know what's actually being used, but I recall 10-20 years ago reading about flywheels being made to target cars - small, but spun at truly insane speeds while magnetically suspended in vacuum. Made from wound carbon fiber so that they wouldn't rip themselves apart under normal operation - and if they *did* come apart, they basically vaporized, with individual fragments too small to penetrate the casing.

    • by dattaway ( 3088 )

      Have you ever seen a commercially sold flywheel anything?

  • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Sunday September 11, 2016 @02:51PM (#52866871)
    When I'm trying to decide which car I should buy, the first people I look to are billionaires. Since their lifestyles and mine are so similar, and since they're obviously so much smarter than I am, I just assume that their decisions are the correct ones.
    • When I'm trying to decide which car I should buy, the first people I look to are billionaires. Since their lifestyles and mine are so similar, and since they're obviously so much smarter than I am, I just assume that their decisions are the correct ones.

      Steve Wozniak is no billionaire
      But to your point, his ~$100mil net work means he can purchase scores of bleeding edge lemons and still have enough left over for the emergency uber ride or two.

  • Obvious question? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    And in response to the obvious question, Woz replied "Maybe one Segway would fit. And a seat can be folded down."

    I'm trying to see the obvious here, but all I can come up with is "Do you have any random comments? About the car, life, universe or anything?"

  • Why is Wozniak's opinion relevant ?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I hired a Tesla Model S with Insane mode for a day so I could properly try it out and do all the things one does with a car in normal use. While it does feel like driving a spaceship and is absolutely phenomenal performance-wise, I'm not going to buy one for a number of reasons. Chiefly, the user interface is atrocious and it's impossible to safely do anything with the main screen unless you are pulled over. I also found the rear seats to be very low and hard to get in and out of and Tesla's paint color opt

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