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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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Not for me
By Beenthere on 4/29/2011 9:46:26 AM , Rating: 3
Bob is a good guy and a car guy who has done a lot for auto enthusiasts. The Volt may be GM's future but it's not mine and I doubt it's the future for the auto industry as a whole. The major car makers will offer hybrids or even EVs for the Tree huggers, but the majority of folks will not buy these vehicles so car makers will be forced to supply what consumers want of go bust because there ain't enough Tree Huggers to buy these vehicles and keep all of the major car makers in Biz.

RE: Not for me
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 4/29/2011 11:29:50 AM , Rating: 1
The Volt is merely a plug-in parallel hybrid. The only difference between this and any other car-based hybrid (Prius, Insight, Civic, Altima, Fusion, etc) is the plug-in component. So this vehicle is not revolutionary. There are many after-market plug-in kits for existing car-based hybrids, and Toyota, Nissan and Ford will be coming out with their own plug-in variants soon. Then the Volt will just be an expensive plug-in parallel hybrid option.

Why do people think this vehicle is an EV in any manner, or a series hybrid? Early marketing hype only. GM admitted that this was only a parallel hybrid, but only after they made enough people believe it was an EV series. Now you can't shift it from their heads.

RE: Not for me
By Gurthang on 4/29/2011 1:09:12 PM , Rating: 4
If we are going to nit-pick as to what the Volt is and is not. It is a "plug-in" hybrid able to operate as either pure EV, series hybrid, or parallel hybrid modes as determined by the software running it.

And as to the "kits" if people here are complaining about the additional costs and time to recoup of the Volt and standard Prius bringing up these very expensive warrany breaking kits is almost laughable.

Ultimately I feel the Volt is mostly a platform for GM to develop and refine their hybrid and electric drivetrains that so many see as the future. I doubt it will ever be terribly profitable car for them. But the tech that comes from it will likely be used to build better vehicles later on.

RE: Not for me
By Tabinium on 4/29/2011 12:16:28 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure you have a much better outlook on the future of the auto industry than this Bob Lutz guy! In fact, instead of selling EV/Hybrid vehicles to "tree huggers" to improve the company imagine and the overall state of technology, Lutz should avoid the market altogether and tell them to just buy bicycles!! GM doesn't need "tree hugger" money anyway; let Toyota with their Prius take all their money!

RE: Not for me
By Reclaimer77 on 4/29/2011 12:55:37 PM , Rating: 3
Bob Lutz is an incompetent idiot who ran GM into the ground. End of story.

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