The devil wears a green halo
When it comes to the Chevy Volt, I am not on the same page as Rush Limbaugh. Despite the fact that GM’s bankruptcy might still ending up costing tax payers more than the $25 billion or less loss from the original $750 billion TARP fund according to the latest CBO estimates, I’m still a bit of a closet Volt fan.
Nevertheless, it’s time for GM to lead with green actions, not green marketing.
Thus, GM’s hiring of 1,000 battery researchers today was undoubtedly a nice step in that direction, but just a step. And, really, just a tiny step from a company that has perpetually over-promised and under-delivered (PS — Will somebody please send me an e-mail when GM leads in US fleet fuel economy?).
Surely, the ‘new’ GM might truly be new — only time will tell — but Rick Wagoner would have done everything the Obama task force did during bankruptcy if he had the ability. He didn’t, and that UAW specter will rise its head yet again. That’s money.
Anyway, just a week ago at the LA Auto Show, GM called the Chevy Volt a “moonshot”. Earlier today, however, GM claimed the Volt just a “first step in a long journey to develop the technology in this country, in this company.”
Wow. You mean the Volt isn’t the answer to all the world’s energy problems?
You mean at $41,000 not only is the Volt not profitable, but it’s not helping to recover the billion dollar development costs? You mean at $41,000 not only is the Volt $20,000 more than a Toyota Prius, but only saves consumers less than $300 per year compared to the Prius?
That’s a revolution? A game changer?
Seriously, couldn’t ANY automaker have developed the Volt? The point isn’t developing something like the Volt, it’s developing something like the Volt, the Prius, or the Leaf, in a cost-effective way that can lead to more than just a few percent market penetration.
Did the Volt accomplish that goal?
Hmmmm. Let’s see. That’s $20,000 divided by $300. So, in just 67 years the Volt will prove itself a better investment than the Prius. Too bad only rocket scientists will understand the power behind that math. I guess you gotta smoke a lotta green in order to understand that kind of green investment.
Anybody got that kinda green?
Despite rave reviews from MotorTrend, for instance, I’m still not buying the Volt hype, despite my early advocation. Thus, maybe I’m more in line with Rush than I imagined. Of course, I also remember MotorTrend’s promise that GM’s dual mode hybrid powertrain would put Toyota to shame many years ago — MT sure nailed that one!
This time, of course, I’m sure MotorTrend believes they have it right — at least right enough to secure some serious GM advertising dollars. And with a few billion at stake per year, who can blame MotorTrend for wanting a taste of that kind of spend?
Recently, at the LA Auto Show a Detroit-based contact told me, “You have to get your priorities more in line with the man” after I expressed my concerns regarding not just GM’s real intentions, but the entire auto industry’s.
How can I trust “the man” when one day he tells me he just conquered the moon, and the next day he tells me it was just a nice step towards the moon?