The Chevy Volt debuts next year at a price tag of $40,000+.

Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen recently called Chevy Volt buyers "idiots", then claimed to have forgotten what he said. Ironically, Audi is expected to unveil a new concept EV in just a couple of weeks.
Audi releases Facebook apology after controversial statements about Volt buyers

The 2011 Chevy Volt is arguably America's hottest upcoming electric vehicle.  This marquee billing makes it an attractive target for noisy executives in the industry looking to throw a bit of mud at their competitor. 

Traditionally, such controversial remarks have been made by the likes of Tesla Motors product architect Elon Musk, or GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz.  This time, though, it was Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen who went a bit too far in what he said. 

Mr. Nysschen was talking with veteran auto journalist Lawrence Ulrich about the future of fuel efficient vehicles.  As a strong believer in diesel, Mr. Nysschen is critical of electric vehicles.  He told Mr. Uhlrich that the Chevy Volt was "a car for idiots" and commented, "No one is going to pay a $15,000 premium for a car that competes with a (Toyota) Corolla. So there are not enough idiots who will buy it."

He went on to predict the car's commercial failure and subsequent government intervention to prevent another GM collapse.  He also expanded more about pure electric vehicles like the 2011 Nissan Leaf EV.  He complains, "[Pure EVs are] for the intellectual elite who want to show what enlightened souls they are."

He said that diesel was the smart way to go, though to address one driving problem -- that diesel fuel quality in the U.S. is much lower than that in Europe.

Unsurprisingly, Mr. Nysschen's remarks angered many and had an embarrassed Audi backpedaling.  Mr. Nysschen issued a half apology on Facebook claiming that he can't remember using those exact words, though he does agree with the sentiment.  While stopping short of his claim that Volt buyers are "idiots" he reiterates his stance that electric vehicles don't make sense from an economic standpoint and that the government is damaging the free market in subsidizing them.  He says that EVs may be viable in the long term, but that among other things, the current grid can't support them. 

Many have pointed out that his remarks are particularly ironic since Audi is debuting a new concept EV at the Frankfurt Auto Show in just a couple of weeks.

The Audi President is not alone in his attack of the Volt and EVs in general.  In July Toyota Motor Sales' national manager for the advanced technology group, Bill Reinert, said that EVs like the Chevy Volt were "not plausible" and too expensive. 

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

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