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Chevrolet Volt

Bob Lutz is a legend among auto enthusiasts  (Source: Patrick Arena/The Car Lounge)
Bob Lutz is tired of the Volt haterz

The Chevrolet Volt has been a bit of a lightning rod in the automotive industry and political arena. The vehicle was first shown as a concept back in early 2007 and went into production in late 2010. 

The Volt can travel from 25 to 50 miles on battery power alone before the gasoline engine/generator kicks in to keep the vehicle moving. All of this technowizardry comes at a steep entry price, however. The Volt's base MSRP is $41,000 before a $7,500 tax credit

Because of the Volt's high price tag and GM's past bankruptcy, the Volt program has come under a lot of scrutiny. Rush Limbaugh was a vocal critic of the Volt, noting in July 2010

I'm not going to recommend people go buy an electric car that gets 40 miles to a charge.  That would shoot my credibility.  It takes three to four hours to charge the thing, 40 miles to the charge.  And then there's a backup gas tank that gives you 375 miles.   

So who's kidding who here?  And all this is 41 grand.  This is the most expensive Chevrolet outside a Corvette.  

Bob Lutz, former vice chairman and "Car Czar" for General Motors, is fighting back at the critics in a new book due out next month. Lutz, who identifies himself strongly with conservative ideals, had some harsh criticism for some of the more vocal critics in the media according to Motor Trend magazine

Animosity towards the Obama administration is so intense among the right-wing talk-show hosts that any vulnerability, however tenuous, must be attacked and blamed on ‘socialist influence’, with no regard to truth or to the damage these reckless claims can make to GM, an American corporation, to the dedicated and hard-driving members of the Volt team, and to a now-misinformed public that may be steered away from a transportation solution that would fill their needs perfectly.

Lutz went on to say that these people hurt the credibility of the Republican Party. The outspoken Lutz doesn't take too kindly to people criticizing the hard work that went into developing the Volt, and feels that the Volt is just the beginning of a new wave of advancements in automotive powertrain design.

The skeptics, the pundits, the GM haters, and those who detest lithium-ion as a chemistry will all be dragged, however unwillingly, to the same conclusion. Volt paved the way; Volt was the first with the extended-range EV concept; Volt demonstrated the will and the technological capability of General Motors.  And to all the doubters, opponents, critics and skeptics… [including] Glenn Beck, I say: ‘Eat your hearts out. Volt is the future’. 

The Chevrolet Volt (EPA classified as a compact) is definitely not for everyone – its high price of entry (before tax credit) makes it a non-starter for many people. And in many cases, sub-$20,000 compact cars that can achieve 40 mpg or greater on the highway and roughly 33 mpg combined make better buying options. Likewise, hybrids like the Prius, Fusion, and Sonata offer more room than the Volt, excellent fuel economy, and much lower price tags.

However, for those that like to stay away from gas pumps as much as possible, but still want the added security of a gasoline backup when needed, the Volt makes a credible alternative to all-electric vehicles like the Leaf.

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Good on him
By wushuktl on 4/29/2011 7:57:24 AM , Rating: 5
I've never been much of a chevrolet kind of guy but I think this car is awesome and I agree with Lutz that anybody who is talking crap on the car now is too short sighted to see how this could really be a revolutionary car. I hope it does well in the market place to validate that and all the hardwork the GM engineers put into the car.

RE: Good on him
By Dr of crap on 4/29/11, Rating: -1
RE: Good on him
By Wombat27 on 4/29/2011 9:11:20 AM , Rating: 4
Agreed! $60,000($40,000 + $20,000 dealer mark up)? if you have $1500-2000/mo to pay for this car.... you don't care about the gas mileage or the price you have to pay to fill it.

RE: Good on him
By allometry on 4/29/2011 11:02:04 AM , Rating: 4

People tend to get a bit more defensive when it comes to these types of cars, because it's political. But, if you look at this like a piece of technology (ipad, phone, etc), then the picture gets a little clearer.

If Apple came out with a new iPad that only had 16gb of memory and they wanted to charge 999 for it, we'd all say it's price is too high.

This is the same thing. It looks like a good car, it has some nice features, but within the 40k to 60k range, I can get a lot more car somewhere else. I'm not going to slap down this kind of cash, based on politics or ideology.

RE: Good on him
By Tabinium on 4/29/2011 12:29:58 PM , Rating: 5
I'm going to avoid the political comment, but it's interesting that you bring up something like the iPad.

I don't think it's a stretch to say that even $500 for an electronic device that is inferior in every tangible way to a netbook. It sells on "cool factor" alone. The Volt is the automotive equivalent to the iPad to the average consumer. However, this car is built for those who value the hybrid equivalent of the "cool factor" - the "smug factor". :)

RE: Good on him
By YashBudini on 4/29/11, Rating: 0
RE: Good on him
By Tabinium on 4/29/2011 1:37:45 PM , Rating: 3
If you're trying to make a point you've failed.

RE: Good on him
By YashBudini on 4/29/2011 5:15:39 PM , Rating: 1
I've seen may teachers make points students either can't or won't grasp. Neither reflects on the teacher.

RE: Good on him
By Skywalker123 on 4/30/2011 6:15:53 PM , Rating: 3
That's because you're in "special ed" classes.

RE: Good on him
By YashBudini on 5/1/11, Rating: 0
RE: Good on him
By grant2 on 5/22/2011 5:58:01 AM , Rating: 1
"AND it costs WAY TO MUCH for the AVERAGE family to buy!"

According to republicans, the average family makes over $250,000/year (and therefore needs more tax breaks). You think a family with that much income can't afford a $45k car?

RE: Good on him
By callmeroy on 4/29/2011 8:58:51 AM , Rating: 1
You were down-voted for THAT comment?

There's not one nasty thing you said in it or curse word or anything...just your opinion...

(thus proves my point that the forum voting system is meaningless)

RE: Good on him
By Tabinium on 4/29/2011 9:31:59 AM , Rating: 2
I rated it back up...but it just goes to show the haters outnumber the fan boys.
I'm not sure I would call the Volt "revolutionary" from a general motoring standpoint, but I agree that it is in terms of engineering technology. No current production vehicle has a powertrain anywhere near as sophisticated or efficient (yes, not even the Prius!). The battery technology is the limiting factor with hybrids, yes, but vehicles like this are needed drive battery innovation.

RE: Good on him
By mondo1234 on 4/29/2011 10:17:31 AM , Rating: 2
I rated it back up..

How did you do that and still post....Hmmmm

RE: Good on him
By DanNeely on 4/29/2011 10:46:30 AM , Rating: 2
It's not hard to make the claim as long as you're unaware that making a post also cancels your earlier votes.

RE: Good on him
By Lerianis on 4/30/2011 2:35:09 PM , Rating: 2
Which it shouldn't, to be blunt. You should be able to post AND to also uprate posts, save your own.

RE: Good on him
By Shadowmaster625 on 4/29/2011 10:48:59 AM , Rating: 4
Anybody who thinks that paying well over $60,000 (SIXTY FREAKING THOUSAND FREAKING DOLLARS) once you factor in financing, dealer gouging, taxes, etc... anybody who thinks it is cool to spend THAT MUCH MONEY for so little car is cracked out of their freakin gourd.

RE: Good on him
By DanNeely on 4/29/2011 1:54:24 PM , Rating: 2
Extreme dealer gouging really shouldn't be factored into the normal price. Stupidity like this goes away after the initial sales because only the most fanatical early adopters are willing to pay it; and headline gouge attempts often fail to sell at all.

RE: Good on him
By Sheffield on 5/20/2011 12:28:48 AM , Rating: 2
Anybody who thinks that paying well over $60,000 (SIXTY FREAKING THOUSAND FREAKING DOLLARS) once you factor in financing, dealer gouging, taxes, etc... anybody who thinks it is cool to spend THAT MUCH MONEY for so little car is cracked out of their freakin gourd.

Nice to hear you say that about me. Actually it was $44,000 (MSRP - no add-ons or extra profit. As good a deal as anybody can get these days,) plus 8% sales tax. Financing was at 3%.

It adds up to less than I have spent on other cars. BUT this one is damn fun to drive. I am not supporting tinpot dictators in other countries, price-gouging oil companies, or gasoline speculators. I'm averaging over 100 miles a gallon on my lifetime average. Once Clipper Creek updates the charger located across the street from my office, I'll be all-electric the vast bulk of the time.

Go to a dealer and drive one of these cars before you tell the world that it's not worth the money. It drives wonderfully. Full of all the right kind of touches. AAA crash rating. Looks sharp. Handles great. Very much like a luxury sports car that has 4 seats.

On top of that, it's from an American company, creating American jobs.

Yeah, it's more expensive than a Hyundai. In this case, you get what you pay for. Fifty years from now you will find them in lists of the greatest cars of all time. So maybe you'd like to get grounded in reality before you criticize my sanity, eh?

RE: Good on him
By YashBudini on 4/29/11, Rating: -1
RE: Good on him
By Reclaimer77 on 4/29/2011 12:13:54 PM , Rating: 5
"Hybrid cars like those made by Toyota make no economic sense, because their price will never come down."
-Bob Lutz 2008-

Yeah umm Wushuktl, who's short sighted again?

RE: Good on him
By Tabinium on 4/29/2011 12:17:11 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Good on him
RE: Good on him
RE: Good on him
By Tabinium on 4/29/2011 1:45:01 PM , Rating: 2
The only quote from the CNN Money article (which was written in 2004, not 2008) is: '"Hybrids are an interesting curiosity and we will do some," he said. "But do they make sense at $1.50 a gallon? No, they do not."'

The D magazine article does not have the quote either, just a few paraphrases that may or not be out of context.

I don't care one way or another what he said...but I do care about whether he said it at all.

RE: Good on him
By Reclaimer77 on 4/29/11, Rating: 0
RE: Good on him
By DanNeely on 4/29/2011 2:00:41 PM , Rating: 2
No, it means he's an economic realist. The economics have changed significantly since them, in ways that boost the value of hybrid systems.

And at $1.50/gallon for gas they didn't. At $3 or even $5/gallon fuel economy is a much larger factor in the total cost of ownership; and paying more up front to get lower fuel usage is a much more reasonable proposition.

The other half is the large increase in CAFE numbers needed over the next few years. Meeting them will require major changes in powertrains that drive cost up; basically the cheaper low efficiency engines/etc will be going away, and the price gap between a turbo and a hybrid is much smaller; which makes them cost efficient at lower fuel prices.

RE: Good on him
By Reclaimer77 on 4/29/2011 2:33:54 PM , Rating: 3
No, it means he's an economic realist.

LOL yeah that's one way of putting it.

When everyone else was going to smaller more economical cars, his failing company was still cranking out the same old crap and going bankrupt. Some "realist".

And at $1.50/gallon for gas they didn't.

I sure as hell don't remember $1.50 gas in 2008, do you? I remember it being almost as high as today.

RE: Good on him
By Tabinium on 4/29/11, Rating: 0
RE: Good on him
By Reclaimer77 on 4/29/2011 5:35:59 PM , Rating: 3
In 2004 GM was making a killing selling trucks, not cars. Oversight, yes, but not quite as simple as you make it sound.

In 2004 GM was either in serious trouble or the signs were all there that they were soon going to be. Lutz was either negligent or asleep at the wheel. Either way, it's just so funny to me that when his company was crumbling around him, he's sitting there proclaiming what mistakes Toyota and Honda were making with "unsustainable" hybrid vehicles. Can you seriously not see that?

RE: Good on him
By YashBudini on 4/29/2011 5:40:53 PM , Rating: 2
You may find that taking time to learn your material and read opinions opposite yours will help you make better arguments.

You have no idea how many times people have said that in nicer and less nice terms, all of which fall on deaf ears.

but not quite as simple as you make it sound.

Oversimplification has always been a requirement for incomplete and/or irrational arguments. It what allows them to stand up to every argument they encounter, at least in their minds.

RE: Good on him
By Aloonatic on 5/1/2011 2:17:59 PM , Rating: 2
Not a big fan of Reclaimer77... but, to be fair, the thread is about the rather simple notion of people throwing around claims of other people/companies being short sighted.

The comment you made about GM selling trucks, not cars in 2004 not long before petrol prices went up (which we've all seen coming, it's not like there's a crude oil manufacturing breakthrough around the corner, it was always going to get more expensive) shows how GM were a little short sighted.

I'm just going on your comments in this thread though, and I don't really know too much abut GM's product line. Do they make/were they making small cars too? Are they one of those companies who re-badge Korean cars?

RE: Good on him
By YashBudini on 4/29/11, Rating: 0
RE: Good on him
By eomhS on 4/29/2011 3:50:28 PM , Rating: 2
This is not a well designed car. Series Hybrid is an excellent technology, unfortunately the battery technology is not where it needs to be, and the Volt requires a MECHANICAL TRANSMISSION. which eliminates alot of the efficiency a series hyrbid has to offer via weight & drive train drag. Read the reviews this car has nothing revolutionary to offer. It's far too heavy, costs far too much, and the battery technology is still not there.

RE: Good on him
By Sheffield on 5/20/2011 12:31:11 AM , Rating: 2
Go drive one. Then come back, having some actual knowledge rather than opinions that belong to somebody else.

“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs

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