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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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RE: Good on him
By Reclaimer77 on 4/29/2011 1:50:48 PM , Rating: 0
Like it or not, what he's saying is VERY clear. In 2004 he didn't think hybrids were viable or even made economic sense.

A few years later when Obama was throwing money his way and bailing him out from his own short sightedness, suddenly the Volt is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Lutz is a flim-flam man

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?

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