So, it was a bit puzzling that everyone is going so ga ga over the GM Volt.
General Motors said Tuesday its Chevrolet Volt rechargeable electric car should get 230 miles per gallon of gasoline in city driving, more than four times the mileage of the current champion, the Toyota Prius
Yes, I realize that the number quoted is eye popping, but so was a map that could you anywhere in the mid 1980's. Yet, I don't remember the hoopla surrounding that concept car when it rolled out of the auto show in 1986.
It's true that the Volt isn't so much a concept car but one that is near ready for production. Of course, this same Volt has been ready for production for the last four years. In fact, at the last three auto shows I attended, the Volt was supposed to be out the very next year. Now, it's once again scheduled to be officially rolled out at the end of 2010.
Yet, the hoopla surrounding this announcement has been fierce and overwhelming. A spokesperson for Center for American Progress called the Volt a "game changer". Here's a car that won't be out for a year and a half at a minimum and it's being characterized as a "game changer". In fact, the success of the Volt is integral to the success of the Obama administration. Its out of this world gas mileage, not verified yet by the EPA, fits into an overall strategy of turning us green, energy efficient, and away from oil. Its success would mean that GM would be successful and thus would make the government's takeover of GM be seen as a success.
So, it's not surprising that the Center for American Progress, run by former Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, would consider this car the "game changer". Don't get me wrong, I hope the Volt is everything that they say it is. That's still far from clear. First, it will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $40,000 per year. Second, a plug in is not exactly perfect for everyone. Third, at the last auto show, the numbers were significantly more conservative than they are now. What I don't want is for news to turn into propaganda. A car still a year and a half, minimum, from being ready for sale shouldn't get this kind of hoopla. All concept cars have innovative technologies and so the Volt is no different. What's different is that the Volt is owned in part by the government, and it's part of an overall vision that the administration has for the industry and the country. I hope that's not what's driving the hoopla surrounding the roll out of this news. The hoopla seems to be way over done. After all, so far it's made exactly ZERO dollars for GM. Maybe, we should all temper the excitement until we have an actual car to examine.