Soon the vaunted Chevy Volt will be introduced to the market, and so in “celebration” I ask that you read the two paragraphs below by Patrick Michaels of the Cato Institute:
“Drive the Chevy Volt more than 30 or so miles and it will be powered by a generator — not a motor — inefficiently powering a 3,500-pound car. No one knows the true fuel economy, but it’s not even likely to beat the Prius in real-world driving. That leaves us a long way from 80 mpg.
“The above information about the Volt was what I was told by a GM engineer at the Detroit auto show last January, while sitting in the very car. GM revealed on Oct. 10 that the internal combustion engine indeed will drive the wheels at high speed. This is no breakthrough automobile; on the freeway it is a conventional hybrid.)”
Indeed, regarding the political motivation of facts and figures, GM announced in October 2009 that the Chevy Volt would get an astounding (and disingenuous) 230 mpg.1 Alas, this hyperbolic mpg rating was borne of politics, based upon a driver consistently driving only 47 miles per day.
This enables the driver to get an imaginary 230 mpg, because he gets his first 40 miles for “free”, and then only uses the internal combustion engine (ICE) for the other 7 miles. So while the 230 mpg figure is perhaps mathematically correct, it represents a huge waste of resources to lug around a 1400 cc ICE for such minimal use.
If miles per gallon are calculated based upon driving the vehicle until it runs out of gasoline after the battery dies, the Volt will supposedly get about 38 mpg, according to Popular Mechanics.2 At this moribund mpg rating, even with the tax credits available most consumers will never recover the premium paid for the Volt over the all-gas equivalent, the Chevy Cruze (28 mpg overall rating).3 Indeed, even at 230 mpg compared to 28 mpg, and including $12,500 of tax credits, it would take more than 8 years to reach the break-even point on the premium paid.4
The EPA (read: Obama’s enviro-fascist Lisa Jackson) has yet to determine the ‘actual’ mileage rating of the Volt, but can there be any doubt that the final mpg numbers, once released, will be primarily a product of political wrangling rather than of engineering expertise? Of course, that won’t matter to the effete snobs who will buy the car; they can take heart that we middle-class minions have contributed as much as $12,500 in tax credits to Leonardo DiCaprio and his ilk.
The wrangling over the correct mpg figure is really beside the point, as it is extremely dependent upon how an individual uses the car and thus is easily manipulated. However, it is difficult to imagine that this car would ever have seen full production had it not been for the green fascism pervading the world today. I am all for R&D to bring a practical plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle to market, and the Volt is perhaps a good first step (or second step if you count the GM Impact/EV1) as a prototype.
What is reprehensible is the use of government subsidies to “bend the curve” to produce imaginary viability—and the subsidies are going almost exclusively to the wealthy. By encouraging the production of an impractical, unprofitable automobile, the government prevents GM from pursuing other more viable investments. It cost $1 billion to produce 800 EV1 autos, yet GM could manage to lease only 800 in four years. Who knows what they have spent to produce the Volt (the number doesn’t seem to exist on the Internet), but certainly that capital would have been better spent had the government (and the union) not become owners of GM.
The above-cited mpg hype is to be expected from General (Government) Motors, a company owned by the US and Canadian governments to the tune of almost 75%.5 Central economic control is a hallmark of fascism, and I submit we are not far from it with the current administration. The Volt is just one of several manifestations of our government’s desire to control every aspect of our lives.
I am becoming more and more certain that the Volt is a perfect metaphor for The Anointed One’s administration, to wit:
• It will be adored by the mainstream media when it first emerges;
• Its internal workings will have been misrepresented;
• It won’t perform as promised;
• It will cost more and you will get less;
• Part of the bill will be paid by your children (they will inherit less);
• It will use resources inefficiently;
• Facts and figures will be politically motivated;
• It will require big government to keep it going;
• It will be panned by all but the most ideological consumers.
One difference exists to which I will begrudgingly agree: The Volt won’t break the law at every turn1but only because the laws of physics are immutable—much to Obama’s chagrin, I’m sure.
4: 15,000 miles/year. Gas = $3.00/gallon