In defense of the Volt

The original Chevy Volt concept | (C) General Motors

With the presidential election mud-wrestling season in full swing, a lot of mud has been flung at the Chevy Volt. So it’s time for me to express my righteous anger by flinging some mud back. The Volt has rather unfairly become a punching bag or a surrogate for President Obama and his prudent pursuit of renewable energy. I don’t know if the GOP supporters are mad at the Volt because it survived the bankruptcy drubbing to emerge successfully as a full fledged car or because it represents a threat to the auto industry’s reliance on oil. The oil industry and the GOP should have seen this coming. The oil energy is, to paraphrase Rumsfeld, old energy. The auto industry is now interested in new energy. In one fell swoop, it will allow auto sales to be independent of oil prices.

So lets examine the evolution of the Volt. The Volt was introduced at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show and as is the case with all GM show cars, dazzled only to deceive – aesthetically speaking. If the concept was the prince, the real thing looked like a frog. 

But it’s coup de grace was its power-train. It had a surprisingly sophisticated transmission. A gas engine in addition to its 40 mile range lithium ion battery took care of the electric car owner’s biggest headache – range anxiety. None of its primary competitors- the Nissan Leaf or the Ford Focus Electric can lay claim to that benefit.

The production Chevy Volt | (C) General Motors

It almost seems to me that everyone outside the Great Lakes state wanted the Volt to fail due to the anger over the bailout. Never mind the fact that the defense industry, the oil industry and the corn industry have been recipients of government largesse for years. That’s a minor pimple to be glossed over. 

Self styled pundits on the political right have treated the Volt like a piñata charging it for everything from increasing CO2 emissions to Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction to snapping topless pictures of Kate Middleton. There is enough of hot air over this issue to float a hot air balloon so I won’t regurgitate the silly charges. It makes me barf. But if you wanna throw up, you can read about them here.

If you want the straight story, you can read about it here and here

Long story short –

  1. There were no fires in Chevy Volts on the road.
  2. There was a fire in a Volt …. after the car was put through a severe crash test and hung upside down. The fire occured three weeks later after some coolant had leaked into the battery and the high voltage electronics. I assume three weeks should be enough for the most dim-witted drivers to exit the vehicle.
  3. After a lengthy investigation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Authority gave the Volt a clean bill of health. If you have a lot of time on your hands, you can read about it here.
I think the conservative media assumes that Joseph’s Goebbels dictum that, if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth – is true.

But also remember what ‘Ahnuld’ said – Assumptions are the mother of all f!@#-ups!


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