Category Archives: Autos

Chevrolet Launches…a Hedgehog?

Chevrolet Sonic Sega Sonic the Hedgehog

ONE

In what may be the most brilliant marketing ploy of the new year, yesterday at the 2011 North American International Auto Show (aka Detroit Auto Show) Chevrolet launched the Sonic.  The Sonic, which  apparently is a revision on the Aveo, comes in two models; one that is very typical of a dreary sedan, and a hatchback that…well…looks an awful lot like Sonic the Hedgehog.

TWELVE

If  you want to learn more about the car, please go elsewhere as this is probably the most poorly researched article you’ll find (something at which I excel).  That’s because upon hearing the news I immediately went to Google images to compare photos of the  popular Sega character with the car, the results of which are above.

SEVENTEEN

Now, I did see a tweet that claims GM had no intention of leveraging off the absolutely HUGE fanbase of Sonic the Hedgehog players, but being the father of an eighteen-year-old boy who grew up fanatical about this game, I have my doubts.  What better way for an older established brand to break through to a young generation of car buyers than through a beloved video game character. I’m almost certain there’s a clever marketing genius at GM/Chevrolet that is delightfully rubbing his or her hands together at the thought of this coup.

TWENTY ONE

So what next?  How soon before racing versions of Sonic the Hedgehog come out with cars that are identical to the  Chevrolet Sonic?  Will Ford panic and scramble to put out a Mario Kart version of the Escort?  Only time will tell, but the lines between virtual and reality appear to be blurring.

Oh…and regarding those numbers above. As I started this post I sent the image above out on Twitter and those are the number of clicks so far.  Game, Set, Match GM.

C2G Launches Electric Car Commuting Calculator for Detroit Auto Show

To coincide with the start of the North American International Auto Show (also known as the Detroit Auto Show), C2G, LLC announces the launch of the Electric Car Commuting Calculator, a Facebook application that calculates how much money you’d save driving an electric car to work.

Already a Top 10 application in the Facebook Auto category, the Commuting Calculator determines the amount of money you’ll save commuting to work in an electric car compared to your current vehicle. It does this by calculating the fuel cost of your daily work commute  and subtracting the electricity costs associated with driving an electric vehicle to arrive at a monthly and annual cost savings.

Although simple in appearance, there are actually some sophisticated processes running behind the scenes.  For example, the Commuting Calculator identifies gas prices near your home address from 80,000 stations across the US which makes the commuting cost personally relevant to you.  It also identifies the proper grade of fuel for your vehicle (regular, premium or diesel) from a vehicle database of more than 20,000 vehicles going back 20 years.  The electricity costs are determined by the EPA’s cost-per-mile findings for both the Volt and the Leaf.

You’ll note we’ve also built the application on the Facebook platform to make it  easy to share with friends, but you don’t have to be a Facebook member to use it as its available for free to anyone with access to the Internet.

To visit the application go to http://apps.facebook.com/costtodrive or go to Facebook.com and type in ‘Commuting Calculator’ in the search box.

Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Why are gas prices so high?

Gas Prices Hit 2-Year High, Panic Ensues..

It’s like that horror movie we’ve all seen, where we’re certain that the monster has been slayed, but just when we think its safe to go back in the water again….

Over the Christmas holiday you may have noticed the signs. No, not the tell-tale signs, the actual retail signs at the service station heralding a new era of gas prices above $3, and if you’ve been reading the press lately the predictions are that its going to get worse, possibly much worse.

Around Thanksgiving AAA set things in motion by predicting gas prices of $3.50 by this spring.  This was enough to get the journalist circling as they could smell blood in the water.   Soon after Thanksgiving analysts further baited them with predictions even higher, up to $4 a gallon.  Without skipping a beat, many of them bit.

And then, right on the heels of Christmas, the ultimate chum was thrown in the water, $5 gallon by 2012!  Let the feeding frenzy begin!  There’s no telling where the actual price will end up, but one things for sure…we’re gonna need a bigger boat (or at least a more fuel-efficient one).

What do you think of these rising gas prices? Share your comments below.

Electric cars hit the market…will they save you money?

As prospective owners of the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf begin receiving their eagerly anticipated cars in the coming weeks, a growing debate is raging over the actual cost of driving these vehicles.  A few weeks ago the EPA finally released the official fuel efficiency ratings for both the Volt and the Leaf, and it couldn’t have come at a better time as this past week gas prices in the US hit a 2-year high.   However instead of settling the issue it appears the EPA may have  added fuel to the debate (pun intended) by attempting to apply an MPG rating to an all-electric vehicle like the Leaf.

Chevrolet Volt EPA Sticker

Nissan Leaf EPA Sticker

Amidst the confusion one thing is becoming crystal clear; the primary motivation for purchasing an electric car will be cost savings.  Recent consumer research by J.D. Power and Associates and Consumer Reports confirm this indicating that the most important “green” factor in purchase decisions will be the greenbacks in your wallet.

So the question foremost in  consumers’ minds is ‘How  much money will I save in fuel costs by driving an electric car and does it justify the premium price of the vehicle?’.

Today we’re excited to announce the launch of an application that helps answer this question: C2G’s Commuting Calculator.

The Commuting Calculator determines the amount of money you’ll save by commuting to work in an electric car compared to your current vehicle. It does this by calculating the fuel cost of your daily work commute  and subtracting the electricity costs associated with driving an electric vehicle to arrive at a monthly and annual cost savings.

Although simple in appearance, there are actually some sophisticated processes running behind the scenes.  For example, the Commuting Calculator identifies gas prices near your home address from 80,000 stations across the US which makes the commuting cost personally relevant to you.  It also identifies the proper grade of fuel for your vehicle (regular, premium or diesel) from a vehicle database of more than 20,000 vehicles going back 20 years.  The electricity costs are determined by the EPA’s cost-per-mile findings for both the Volt and the Leaf.

You’ll note we’ve also built the application on the Facebook platform to make it  easy to share with friends, but you don’t have to be a Facebook member to use it as its available for free to anyone with access to the Internet.

I'd save $523 per year driving an electric car to work. Is it worth the $5,000 premium price of an electric car?

 

How much would you save driving an electric car to work? Find out here and let us know what you think!

Happy Driving!

What does it cost to drive a Chevy Volt?

Chevrolet Volt

For our inaugural post on the Cost2Go blog I thought it might be fun to look into the future by adding the Chevrolet Volt into our Galculator (fuel cost calculator) on Cost2Drive.  The timing of this coincides with two conferences in Texas this week; TravelCom 2010 in Dallas and the SXSW music/film/technology conference in Austin where Chevrolet is a sponsor, and will be hosting a Chevy Volt Recharge lounge at the event.

So what would it cost to drive a Chevy Volt if we had one in our hands today?  Well, first we need to understand the fuel economy of the vehicle.  We looked to a CNN/Money article from last summer to learn that the Volt is expected to get 230 mpg for commuting-type driving and 62.5 mpg for longer distance highway driving where the route extends the 300 mile range of the vehicle (based on a 6 gallon fuel tank).

We’ve plugged this information into our Galculator on Cost2Drive so you can now select the 2011 Chevrolet Volt as your vehicle and find the cost of driving any route in the US.  Our Galculator also calculates the cost of flying for trips over 200 miles so you can see if its cheaper to drive a Chevy Volt or cheaper to fly.  You can also use it to compare the cost of driving your own car versus the Chevy Volt.

Just for kicks we entered the route from Lansing, MI to Austin, TX (location of the SXSW conference) driving a Chevrolet Volt and the  cost is $59 each way based on current fuel prices along the route.  The cheapest airfare for that route is $277 (roundtrip on Delta) so in this case its definitely cheaper to drive…if you don’t mind spending 2 days on the road.

Check it out here and select the 2011 Chevrolet Volt and let us know what you think!

Happy Driving!

Jim

(Note that our Galculator does not yet include the cost of electricity so that cost, though likely nominal, is not factored into the cost calculations)