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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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Nice propaganda regurgitation there, Lutz.
By MeesterNid on 4/29/2011 9:45:56 AM , Rating: 1
So let's see, the government gives GM a massive bail out, or rather takes tax payer money (since the government produces $0) and give it to GM. And low and behold GM is pushing for what just happens to be this Administration's favorite way to...wast...errr..."invest" money, "green" cars.

It's just awesome how great ideas come together to form epic ones! You're a visionary Mr. Lutz!

I, for one, would rather the government stay out of picking the winners and losers in this or any other industry. That car may well be perfect for a lot of people's needs, but not at that price. And on top of that we're also subsidizing that thing!?

RE: Nice propaganda regurgitation there, Lutz.
By Brandon Hill on 4/29/2011 9:59:34 AM , Rating: 3
The Volt design concept was conceived in 2005 and the development of the production model began in 2007.

So how again is this Obama's doing?

By MeesterNid on 4/29/2011 10:27:09 AM , Rating: 2
I didn't say it was Obama's doing, I just have a feeling GM would've dropped the Volt if they didn't have a massive wad of cash (with strings attached) to give them life support.

I don't believe that them producing a $40k plus midsize car would've been the way out of bankruptcy.

RE: Nice propaganda regurgitation there, Lutz.
By Dorkyman on 4/29/2011 11:32:22 AM , Rating: 2
It's "Obama's doing" in several ways.

I share no ill will against the car, for heaven's sake. It's a fascinating design and we will see if it is what the driving public needs.

But I strongly disagree with how our Messiah in the White House manipulated things. If GM was sick, it should have been allowed to go to bankruptcy, where the promising portions (i.e. Volt) would have been retained. Instead, Obama threw many billions of taxpayer money down a rathole to prop up his union buddies.

On top of that, they decided to offer a generous credit to Volt buyers, since without one, the vehicle would be of very limited appeal. So they are deliberately distorting the market and using taxpayer dollars (again) to support--you guessed it--his union buddies.

I could design an amazing car that easily gets 100 mpg. Oh, but it would cost $100,000. So the fact that a car can be built to meet a mileage target doesn't mean it would be PRACTICAL. Right now, a little Ford that gets 40mpg and sells for $20k is practical. Obama, with his bias, doesn't want that.

RE: Nice propaganda regurgitation there, Lutz.
By voronwe on 4/29/2011 12:20:19 PM , Rating: 2
Dorky Man,

As the Republican "Car Czar", Steve Rattner, put it, they were looking at losing 300,000 jobs overnight in a section of the country that was already in trouble, they went around and around about it, and in the end they didn't think the economy could take another hit that size.

Regarding the generous credit, GM most likely figured out the maximum amount of money they could get away with charging for the car, factoring in the credit. That kind of thing is quite common in capitalism.

And regarding "distorting" the market, the government has paved the way for many industries to get started in this country, including shipbuilding, railroads, most of our military industrial complex, cryogenic chemicals, aviation, virtually everything based on graphite.

Humans invented capitalism. It isn't holy. We're allowed to look for things we want and then tweak the system to get them.

By MeesterNid on 4/29/2011 1:15:00 PM , Rating: 2
There is a difference between paving the way and propping up failed businesses. GM had clearly failed and was on the verge of bankruptcy.

RE: Nice propaganda regurgitation there, Lutz.
By shin0bi272 on 4/30/2011 12:09:55 AM , Rating: 2
1) Regardless of party its not the government's job to make sure you have a job
2) From what I remember even at the price tag of 40k (before government "incentives" to buy a "green" car) they are still losing money on it... how is that capitalism?
3) as I said in #1 its not the government's job to make sure you have a job. In fact the government refused to get into aviation until world war 1 and then the engines in our planes were only rated for 12 hours of use! The military industrial complex is the bane of our existence and needs to be put to an end... and Im sure the world of pencils and spray lubricants could have gotten along fine without government assistance.

Humans invented capitalism but you cannot "tweak" it without turning it into something other than capitalism.

By tim851 on 5/1/2011 5:30:42 PM , Rating: 2
There is more than one definition of capitalism and surprisingly few actually rule out government intervention.

By grant2 on 5/22/2011 6:07:11 AM , Rating: 2
"If GM was sick, it should have been allowed to go to bankruptcy, where the promising portions (i.e. Volt) would have been retained."

That's exactly what happened.

RE: Nice propaganda regurgitation there, Lutz.
By Reclaimer77 on 4/29/2011 12:10:31 PM , Rating: 2
This whole thing reads like a huge propaganda piece. I might have expected this from Jason, but Brandon man, come on. Lutz speaking about others credibility? This is the man who whored GM out to the unions and ran the company into the ground!! Hello? What credibility!? Of course he supports the Volt and the Obama administration, they bailed his sorry ass out and his union lackeys.

Give me a break. This article is so offensive on so many levels and really insults the intelligence of not only the reader, but ALL Americans who had to sit and watch this debacle unfold before their eyes.

Bob Lutz, the man who once stated that hybrids like the Prius made "no economic sense" , is tired of all the hate for his heavily subsidized $45,000 dollar Volt. Is that irony or just stupidity? Either way, he has zero credibility.

By cruisin3style on 4/30/2011 11:06:49 PM , Rating: 2
Give me a break. This article is so offensive on so many levels and really insults the intelligence of not only the reader, but ALL Americans who had to sit and watch this debacle unfold before their eyes.

I didn't see the part of the article that mentioned the FLorida debacle from the 2000 elections ;)

On another note, just in case you are one of those people I run into now and then who thinks of themselves as an independent...reconsider

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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