Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Will the Chevy Volt suffer from the "Osborne Effect?"

Way back around 1980 Adam Osborne, founder of Osborne Computer Corporation, the maker of the world's first "portable" computer, announced that he was planning a more poweful version of their highly successful Osborne 1 computer. That announcement was the beginning of the end of Osborne Computer, as people stopped buying the Osborne 1, content to wait for the next machine.

Is that what will happen to GM's Chevy Volt electric car, now promised for 2010?

Speaking for myself, I don't want to buy another low mileage gas powered vehicle; I would much rather have an electric car, or at least a high mileage hybrid, or phev. Sure, gasoline prices have now fallen to $1.82 in my Minnesota town, but I won't be fooled again. I know that if I buy another SUV, I'll soon see $5 gasoline.

So here I sit, driving my 2004 Mercury Mountaineer, still pissed off from being gouged this year by expensive gasoline. The car is paid for now, and as a trade-in vehicle it has approximately zero value. So I see no compelling reason to ditch this vehicle today (especially now that gas is cheap again) for a new one and then have to assume car payments again. No, the rational decision to me appears to be to simply drive my old SUV for two more years and then buy the electric or phev vehicle that I really want.

General Motor's stock is now at a 65 year low. Its a shame they didn't move on their early advantage with electric cars. I hope they live long enough to realize the tremendous success that I see coming their way with the Chevy Volt. Lets hope they won't be done in by the Osborne Effect.