Traditionally, such controversial
remarks have been made by the likes of Tesla Motors product architect
Elon Musk, or GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz. This time, though, it
was Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen who went a bit too
far in what he said.
Mr. Nysschen was talking with
veteran auto journalist Lawrence Ulrich about the future of fuel
efficient vehicles. As a strong believer in diesel, Mr.
Nysschen is critical of electric vehicles. He told
Mr. Uhlrich that the Chevy Volt was "a car for idiots"
and commented, "No one is going to pay a $15,000 premium for a
car that competes with a (Toyota) Corolla. So there are not enough
idiots who will buy it."
He went on to predict the car's
commercial failure and subsequent government intervention to prevent
another GM collapse. He also expanded more about pure electric
vehicles like the 2011
Nissan Leaf EV. He complains, "[Pure EVs are] for the
intellectual elite who want to show what enlightened souls they
He said that diesel was the smart way to go, though
to address one driving problem -- that diesel fuel quality in the
U.S. is much lower than that in Europe.
Nysschen's remarks angered many and had an embarrassed Audi
backpedaling. Mr. Nysschen issued a half apology on Facebook
claiming that he can't remember using those exact words, though he
does agree with the sentiment. While stopping short of his
claim that Volt buyers are "idiots" he reiterates his
stance that electric vehicles don't make sense from an economic
standpoint and that the government is damaging the free market in
subsidizing them. He says that EVs may be viable in the long
term, but that among other things, the current grid can't support
Many have pointed out that his remarks are
particularly ironic since Audi is debuting a new concept EV at the
Frankfurt Auto Show in just a couple of weeks.
President is not alone in his attack of the Volt and EVs in general.
In July Toyota Motor Sales' national manager for the advanced
technology group, Bill Reinert, said that EVs like the Chevy Volt
were "not plausible" and too expensive.
quote: Current generaton EVs are not worth the price premium and their benifits for environment are unproven at best.
quote: Bolivia holds half the World's lithium reserves, but is reluctant to damage its untouched salt flats in order to exploit this potentially lucrative resource.Almost all new electric car models appear to rely on Lithium for their batteries and one of Japan's leading battery makers is warning there could be a shortage of Lithium within just a few years. BBC NEWS | Business | Bolivia's lithium mining dilema (9 September 2009) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7607624.stm
quote: Only idiots struggle to make payments on things they own, which is most of America.
quote: With the Volt you will pay the hefty premium but you will not get the luxury.
quote: fact, it will be as crappy as all the cars in it size (Toyota Corolla
quote: Audi R8 when it came out, which was just a great deal considering it backed up its super car looks and handling with the quickness of a 15 year old c4 corvette
quote: "No one is going to pay a $15,000 premium for a car that competes with a (Toyota) Corolla. So there are not enough idiots who will buy it."
quote: hey but more to the point is how often do you use that utility/towing capacity etc?
quote: Yeah they totally should have allowed the companies to go in to Chapter 11 outright, that would have been great for the bond and shareholders.
quote: The Volt is kind of cool from a technical perspective, but it looks like a failure from the business side.
quote: No, it's a business failure because they'll never get return on investment pumping out the Volt in small numbers.
quote: Seems like a bad bet, if you ask me. More likely, hybrids are the future.
quote: No, but they do seem to be forcing them to make "green" junk now that they control the purse strings.
quote: It was in development for years,
quote: The Prius just like every purposely built Hybrid is as ugly as death
quote: EVs might be OK for southern states but in the cold the battery will have a degraded performance.
quote: Just get a European diesel and start fueling once a week.
quote: I don't think the Volt or the Ford Fusion are ugly as death -- certainly not as ugly as the Prius.
quote: Really? I wasn't under the impression that low temperatures hurt the performance of EVs.
quote: More than a few things to consider when putting a different lump in the car. :-)
quote: I want to see a Volt road test conducted after 100 miles of driving - I'm betting it's a pumpkin with a depleted battery.
quote: He complains, "[Audis are] for the intellectual elite who want to show what enlightened souls they are."
quote: The slighty more expensive image here is mostly due to advertizing and people with a lack of negotiating skills at the buy itself.
quote: Just make it efficient, low energy cost and affordable.
quote: The current cost per mile of electricity to charge and run the volt is about 60% of the gas cost per mile for the Prius or Volt,
quote: Also, you can help the grid problem by offering an optional solar recharging station for your house.
quote: The only affordable electric cars are home-built D.I.Y. cars
quote: 10k < 40K Just in case you missed that part.
quote: During the "Cash for Clunkers" fiasco, GM sales decreased.
quote: I think it would be dumb to pay that much for a car with these capabilities and I doubt many people will.
quote: As of July 2008, 83.6 % of the population of the United States lives in a Metropolitan area.[
quote: He says that EVs may be viable in the long term, but that among other things, the current grid can't support them.
quote: He complains, "[Pure EVs are] for the intellectual elite who want to show what enlightened souls they are."
quote: He said that diesel was the smart way to go, though to address one driving problem -- that diesel fuel quality in the U.S. is much lower than that in Europe.