Ed Driscoll

Volt Fraud: Government Motors and the 'Electric Edsel'

Investors Business Daily posits that “Like ‘shovel-ready’ jobs, maybe there’s no such thing as ‘plug-ready’ cars either:”

Government Motors’ all-electric car isn’t all-electric and doesn’t get near the touted hundreds of miles per gallon. Like “shovel-ready” jobs, maybe there’s no such thing as “plug-ready” cars either.The Chevy Volt, hailed by the Obama administration as the electric savior of the auto industry and the planet, makes its debut in showrooms next month, but it’s already being rolled out for test drives by journalists. It appears we’re all being taken for a ride.

When President Obama visited a GM plant in Hamtramck near Detroit a few months ago to drive a Chevy Volt 10 feet off an assembly line, we called the car an “electric Edsel.” Now that it’s about to hit the road, nothing revealed has changed our mind.

Advertised as an all-electric car that could drive 50 miles on its lithium battery, GM addressed concerns about where you plug the thing in en route to grandma’s house by adding a small gasoline engine to help maintain the charge on the battery as it starts to run down. It was still an electric car, we were told, and not a hybrid on steroids.

That’s not quite true. The gasoline engine has been found to be more than a range-extender for the battery. Volt engineers are now admitting that when the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery pack runs down and at speeds near or above 70 mph, the Volt’s gasoline engine will directly drive the front wheels along with the electric motors. That’s not charging the battery — that’s driving the car.

So it’s not an all-electric car, but rather a pricey $41,000 hybrid that requires a taxpayer-funded $7,500 subsidy to get car shoppers to look at it. But gee, even despite the false advertising about the powertrain, isn’t a car that gets 230 miles per gallon of gas worth it?

Still though, with those specs, I know of one driveway where it would be right at home:

[youtube TKZ4RolQxec&hd=1]

Update: Not surprisingly, AOL’s Autoblog Green is much more sympathetic during their test drive. Though as they note:

GM would like to think it’s thought of everything with the Volt, and covered every contingency, and from what we’ve seen, that’s true. But there’s one crucial thing they can’t engineer in, and that’s public acceptance.

Fortunately, Government Motors has just the man at the helm, and just the right press agents, including Autoblog Green themselves, to make that happen.