High VoltagePosted on August 17th, 2009 No comments
Right now there is a lot talk about the Volt. With a provisional “MPG rating” of 230 MPG, there is no doubt GM will crank the hype machine into high gear. It’s really what the Volt project has been about, created positive publicity for GM.
One thing is clear to me, GM is still floundering, badly, with poor management, in whatever random direction seems to work at the moment.
This is great little piece which highlights one small problem with GM, promising more than they can deliver. At this point we don’t know exactly how the production Volt will perform. But GM is sure that talking about 230 MPG is the right thing to do.
It’s arguable that plug-ins should not be measured in MPG at all. BusinessWeek’s Ed Wallace argued the same thing here. Consumers need a touchstone, something to compare one vehicle to another but MPG on a plug-in a dangerous guide but MPG usefulness may have jumped the shark. With Nissan claiming 367MPG for it’s all electric Leaf, we see the ridiculous get downright insane. Yes, that’s right. Nissan is claiming their all electric vehicle will get 367MPG (or the equivalent of it) even though it will never use an ounce of gas. Wallace also points out that over-promised and under-delivering has been about the only thing GM has been good at it and it’s never helped them in the past and it won’t help them here.
EDIT: originally the above piece was credited, incorrectly to a blogger from Automobile when it fact it seems the piece was written by Ed Wallace at BusinessWeek. Apologies to Mr. Wallace and BusinessWeek. Link and attribution has been changed.
And then, we still have far too much of the media trying to reduce issues where they shouldn’t be reducing. Here’s CNN/Money‘s latest travesty, it’s about which car makes sense, the Prius or the Volt. Funny, comparing a car that’s been out for a decade to one that doesn’t exist yet. Seems like an odd thing to do. And of course, being CNN/Money, they try, once more, to go down the “which car makes sense based on gasoline costs” which is odd for numerous reasons I’ve pointed out here again and again. CNN/Money dabbles in the typical comparing the Prius to a standard gas car half its size, to try to make the math make sense. I guess that’s why I was an art major.
Head, meet desk. Let the pounding commence.
What’s more, the work that Toyota and to a lesser extent, Honda have done in delivering reliable, long-lasting battery electric hybrids could be undone by a spectacular failure of the Volt’s (or the Leaf’s) battery pack. Batteries are still a huge question in most consumer’s minds even though the Prius has been on the road for a decade now. Add in a nationwide, media saturated, Volt flame out and we could see a backlash against any car with more parts more comlpex than fuel injection. That would be sad but it could happen.
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