Sunday, August 1, 2010

The "Green At All Costs" Chevy Volt

Go here for a brilliant analysis of Government Motors' new Chevy Volt.  In the words of the email that brought this to my attention,  This was printed in the New York Times!  How bad have things gotten when Bammy can't even trust Pravda on the Hudson to shill for him anymore?

GENERAL MOTORS introduced America to the Chevrolet Volt at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show as a low-slung concept car that would someday be the future of motorized transportation. It would go 40 miles on battery power alone, promised G.M., after which it would create its own electricity with a gas engine. Three and a half years — and one government-assisted bankruptcy later — G.M. is bringing a Volt to market that makes good on those two promises. The problem is, well, everything else.

For starters, G.M.’s vision turned into a car that costs $41,000 before relevant tax breaks ... but after billions of dollars of government loans and grants for the Volt’s development and production. And instead of the sleek coupe of 2007, it looks suspiciously similar to a Toyota Prius. It also requires premium gasoline, seats only four people (the battery runs down the center of the car, preventing a rear bench) and has less head and leg room than the $17,000 Chevrolet Cruze, which is more or less the non-electric version of the Volt.

In short, the Volt appears to be exactly the kind of green-at-all-costs car that some opponents of the bailout feared the government might order G.M. to build. Unfortunately for this theory, G.M. was already committed to the Volt when it entered bankruptcy. And though President Obama’s task force reported in 2009 that the Volt “will likely be too expensive to be commercially successful in the short term,” it didn’t cancel the project.
You know, somebody should have known this would happen before we put all this money into it.

Oh wait, we did.

1 comment:

Nick Rowe said...

My first new car was a Geo Metro, marketed by GM with a 3 cylinder engine. It was built by Suzuki.

In a typical month I would get over 50 mpg. On one long trip from Colorado to Georgia I averaged 60 miles per gallon. On a trip to Wyoming with a good tailwind, I got 66 mpg. Coming home into the wind, I got 35 mpg.

That car was built in 1990 and I paid $8000 for it. Why can't we build, 20 years later, a car with the same fuel efficiency and better performance characteristics at a low price? Geo is now defunct.

Americans DO NOT WANT fuel efficient cars at the expense of other features they want. Look at GM's recent sales increases and they're almost all attributable to big pickups and SUVs. Half the cars in San Francisco are gas guzzlers.

Billions of dollars thrown at UAW and greentech for a pipe dream. There will be blood.