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President Obama with a Chevrolet Volt

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA)  (Source:
Despite recent issues with the Chevrolet Volt's battery, GM expects increased Volt sales for November and a recent survey found that Volt customers are satisfied. A GOP lawmaker may, however, ruin EV success by fighting the $7,500 tax credit

General Motors Co. may have hit a few speed bumps this year with the Chevrolet Volt extended-range EV's battery-related incidents, but things seem to be looking up with an expected increase in November Volt sales and a recent survey that confirmed Volt customer satisfaction.

The Chevrolet Volt had its best-ever sales month in October 2011, but according to GM Spokesman Jim Cain, November Volt sales are expected to surpass the previous month.

In October, GM sold 1,108 Volts, which was the first time it had outsold the Nissan Leaf EV since April. For the year through October, GM sold a total of 5,003 Volts.

Experts say that it is now very unlikely that GM will meet its sales goal of 10,000 Volts sold in 2011, but GM predicts increased sales in November over the month of October. The final sales figures for November have not yet been released.

Perhaps the reason for increased sales expectations is Volt customer satisfaction. According to a recent survey by Consumer Reports, Chevrolet Volt owners "love their cars."

The Consumer Reports survey, which was released Thursday, is based on over 314,000 opinions of 2009-2012 model year vehicles. The survey found that 93 percent of Volt owners who participated said they'd buy the EV again.

However, the survey was conducted only a few months after the Volt hit showrooms, and mainly consisted of early buyers and enthusiasts. The survey was also taken before the formal investigation of Volt/lithium battery safety began.

Earlier this year, the Volt underwent a series of tests at a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) facility in Wisconsin. Three weeks after a side-impact crash test on May 12, the Volt went up in flames while parked at the facility, catching nearby vehicles on fire.

This sparked a NHTSA investigation, where three more Volts were tested November 16, 17 and 18. One battery had normal results while another emitted sparks and smoke, and the third caught on fire one week later. The NHTSA is now conducting a formal investigation of the vehicle's safety.

The Volt may be seeing the upside of a nasty situation for now with a potential sales increase and customer satisfaction, but one GOP lawmaker is looking to throw a wrench in the EV industry's success by fighting the $7,500 tax credit.

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) told Congress Wednesday that he wants the $7,500 tax credit for EVs to cease because he says electric vehicles have not met desired goals and the tax credit only benefits the wealthy. He specifically noted that the annual income of Volt owners is $175,000.

"[The Volt] has become the poster child of President Obama's failed green agenda," said Kelly. "Like many green initiatives promoted by this administration and bankrolled by the American taxpayer, the electric car is better in theory than in practice; has limited consumer demand; is heavily subsidized; and has fallen short of reaching targeted goals. Despite the fact that the federal government has no business subsidizing a product that a manufacturer could just as easily promote through rebates and other buyer incentives, the tax subsidies are largely going to the affluent few who can actually afford to buy an electric car, which costs anywhere between $40,000 and $97,000."

Kelly's "like many other green initiatives promoted by this administration" comment was more than likely referring to this year's Solyndra disaster, where the U.S. government loaned solar panel company Solyndra $535 million in 2009 despite warnings that the company would go bankrupt. Solyndra filed for bankruptcy on September 6, 2011.

Sources: The Detroit News, The Detroit News

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RE: You know why he wants to protect big oil
By SandmanWN on 12/1/2011 12:55:08 PM , Rating: 2
So? What's your point?
You don't seem to understand that raising taxes on oil causes more problems for the poor than any other tax bracket.

Tax breaks on expensive electric vehicles have no bearing on the poor... Why are you protecting rich people? For a progressive you really have your priorities jacked up.

RE: You know why he wants to protect big oil
By room200 on 12/1/2011 1:56:13 PM , Rating: 2
But you have to decide if your going to adopt a position and stick with it; if we're talking a PRIVATE business, such as an oil company, we should not be subsidizing them or protecting them. They have plenty enough cash to hire the BEST security and we shouldn't be doing it for them. The problem is, they blackmail us and tell us that if we take away the subsidy that they'll raise the price of oil. This is sheer craziness that we allow them to get away with this. THAT'S why we have to become energy independent and find alternatives to big oil.

RE: You know why he wants to protect big oil
By jimbojimbo on 12/1/2011 2:29:22 PM , Rating: 3
I agree that we need to get away from oil but if we take away the EV subsidy hardly anybody except may be EV manufacturers will be affected. If we take away oil subsidies everybody in the country will be directly affected not only in gas prices but because those higher gas prices will increase the price of everything. The people it would hurt the most are people on set budgets, primarily the poor or lower middle class. The people making $175,000 a year could care less.

By Dorkyman on 12/2/2011 10:07:56 AM , Rating: 2
I don't agree at all that we need to "get away from oil."

Hydrocarbons are a remarkably-compact source of portable energy. Modern society is built on them, and will continue to run on them. New extraction technologies have recently demonstrated that we are centuries away from reaching depletion.

I am reminded of a panicky article written in, of all places, the Scientific American around the early 1900's that concluded that, at current rates of increasing horse populations in Manhattan, by 1950 the city would be buried under 6 feet of manure.

By Ringold on 12/2/2011 11:18:47 AM , Rating: 1
The problem is, they blackmail us and tell us that if we take away the subsidy that they'll raise the price of oil. This is sheer craziness that we allow them to get away with this.

Fail, fail fail.

I'm almost 100% certain that is not what they would ever say. They'd never say it, because they have zero direct control over the price of oil. Oil and natural gas are set by the market, by supply and demand. Notice that natural gas is awfully low, thanks to all the new supply the US has brought online over the past ten years.

What they might say is that with different government policies, supply may decrease or expand more slowly along with investment (as different policies can impact the economics of different energy projects), leading logically to higher prices than there otherwise would've been.

By mufdvr3669 on 12/1/2011 6:42:15 PM , Rating: 2
So? What's your point? You don't seem to understand that raising taxes on oil causes more problems for the poor than any other tax bracket.

Raise taxes on oil, end tax breaks for oil companies. If poor are hurt by this then the monies that would have gone to oil companies could go towards the poor instead. Would rather a poor person receive direct help then a rich oilman.

By kingmotley on 12/1/2011 9:18:28 PM , Rating: 2
I think the point is that he has a vested interest in making sure that EV technology doesn't take off since that would hurt the oil/gas industry if it did. He's not voting with an unbiased mind, rather he's doing what benefits HIMSELF regardless of what is good for the public.

As for the tax breaks, the idea is that by subsidizing the first few years of EV technology, progress is made, and economies of scale kick in. You don't think this would affect the poor? Really? How would you like to see your train/bus ticket price drop significantly when they are able to run off electricity instead of the $10/gallon of gas that we're likely to see in the next 5-10 years? You don't think that would help? Or cheaper plastic containers that would come from a surplus in oil? Or god forbid if EV cars could eventually become cheaper than the gas alternative. Poor people don't need inexpensive cars that they can "gas" up for free using the sun. Stick $10/gallon to them, they like it.

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

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