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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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Volt is 100% viable
By ol1bit on 4/29/2011 6:08:06 PM , Rating: 2
As a commuter car it works great for most people. 5 days a week to and from work, and then a trip on the weekends.

It doesn't cost $60,000.

This is a great site for volt info:

RE: Volt is 100% viable
By dkapke on 5/2/2011 11:33:52 AM , Rating: 2
Amen. My wife and I bought a volt two weeks ago. Yeah, they're harder than heck to find. Every dealer we went to had 7-8 people who had already put their $1,000 down and ordered one. We just happened to get lucky that the one on the floor that was already sold...the deal fell through and we got it.

We paid sticker for it - no price gouging to be seen at any dealer (in Houston) that we went to. And, we leased it. I will agree with everyone that the price is stupid, but leasing it is a steal. $370 a month? heck, it was cheaper than her Mustang.

Cool factor? The people complaining about it not being cool obviously don't own one. I can't tell you how many times, in the two weeks we've owned it, we've had to "show it off", give people drives, show the tech. EVERYONE is in awe of the car and I'd bet half now want one. The cool factor on this car is beyond anything I've ever driven, and I've owned 'vettes, camaro SSs, Cobra name it I've probably owned it. NOTHING I've ever owned has made people just drool sitting in it. Heck, even the performance has awed quite a few people. Nothing like having all 270ish fp of torque available instantly. It's not a speed demon, but it sure feels fun to drive in Houston traffic.

The best thing so far? 350 miles and only .9 gallons of gas used (one day of errand running and a night out and we had to use gas). I'd happily trade that in for $20-$40 more on the electric bill (which we'll find out in another two weeks).

Hate on these all you want, but I'm telling you - drive one and most of you will be converted.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

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