One More Reason to Own a Volt. It Drives Wingnuts Crazy.

November 24, 2012

Gallon of Regular Gas -$3.64

Kilowatt/hour of electricity:  $0.11

Watching a dittohead’s head explode: Priceless.

Edmunds.com

Most Volt owners, like Earl Weinstein from Los Angeles, report that strangers who approach about the car are more likely to be curious than confrontational. “When I was parked at Helen’s bike shop in Santa Monica to buy a new bike rack a few weeks ago,” he relates, “at least three people came up to me to ask about it, one of whom had just leased a new Prius and started to regret his choice after I described how awesome the Volt is.”Muse, who lives near Detroit, says, “I also get people who come up to me telling me that they worked on the Volt at GM, and want to know how I like it.” He tells them, “It’s easily the most fun car I’ve ever driven and worth every penny I’ve spent on it.”

With the long election season now over, can Volt owners expect its politicization to subside? “I’m hoping to see the issue fade into the background,” Muse says. “[The] Volt will eventually be accepted as well as any other hybrid is today.”

Leapman also hopes that the Volt-bashing will stop. “Maybe everyone will realize just how great an American car it is,” he says.

One of the last sounds Dave Muse probably expected to hear as he drove his Chevrolet Volt past the massive crowd at the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise in Detroit was the sound of people booing. But there were indeed catcalls for his car, although it was Detroit-built and one of the most technically advanced and highly acclaimed vehicles ever to come from that city.

To be sure, there were also plenty of cheers for the Volt from the crowd, which annually numbers more than 1 million. But the undercurrent of condemnation was clear.

It was clearer still for Muse when a stranger approached him in a parking lot, “complaining loudly about my choice of transportation,” he says. As Muse attempted to exit the Volt, the stranger pushed his car door closed, forcing him back into the driver seat, and then stormed off.

During a polarizing election year, the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt has become an unexpected focal point, touted by supporters of President Obama as a shining symbol of a resurgent American auto industry and a model choice for climate-conscious drivers. At the same time, it’s been painted by right-wing pundits as an icon of big government excesses, a sentiment that officially entered the presidential race when Republican candidate Herman Cain proclaimed the car “Obama’s baby” and alleged the President is “subsidizing the sale of every Volt to the tune of $7,500 in taxpayer money.” The right-leaning Drudge Report recently highlighted an Edmunds/Inside Line news story on the Volt’s involvement in a Texas “smart home” project as an example of wasteful government spending. The story drew more than 200 comments, many of them politically charged.

Volt owners like Muse are finding themselves caught in such crossfire. Some have reported acts of vandalism — tires slashed, expletives on the windshield — and one even found himself being intentionally run off the road. General Motors spokesperson Michelle Malcho says she is not familiar with these stories, but notes that “the car isn’t political” and urges people to drive one before making strong judgments against it.

Most Volt owners, like Earl Weinstein from Los Angeles, report that strangers who approach about the car are more likely to be curious than confrontational. “When I was parked at Helen’s bike shop in Santa Monica to buy a new bike rack a few weeks ago,” he relates, “at least three people came up to me to ask about it, one of whom had just leased a new Prius and started to regret his choice after I described how awesome the Volt is.”

Muse, who lives near Detroit, says, “I also get people who come up to me telling me that they worked on the Volt at GM, and want to know how I like it.” He tells them, “It’s easily the most fun car I’ve ever driven and worth every penny I’ve spent on it.”

With the long election season now over, can Volt owners expect its politicization to subside? “I’m hoping to see the issue fade into the background,” Muse says. “[The] Volt will eventually be accepted as well as any other hybrid is today.”

Leapman also hopes that the Volt-bashing will stop. “Maybe everyone will realize just how great an American car it is,” he says.

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6 Responses to “One More Reason to Own a Volt. It Drives Wingnuts Crazy.”

  1. Kiwiiano Says:

    “Herman Cain proclaimed the car “Obama’s baby” and alleged the President is “subsidizing the sale of every Volt to the tune of $7,500 in taxpayer money.””
    When people make that claim they need to be asked how much subsidy the petroleum industry is currently sucking up.


  2. Ok, that is fine, BUT:

    a) how many people can actually buy that car without going into the debt?

    b) the car and the baterry still needs to be manufactured, and it needs a lot of raw materials

    c) what is good about sustaining the car “culture”?

    d) new study published in Journal of Industrial Ecology argues that one need to drive around 100 000 miles on renewable low-carbon electricity in order to be less carbon polluting than classic fossil car, study is here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2012/oct/05/electric-cars-emissions-bad-environment If you drive your electric car on coal powered electricity, carbon footprint is worse,

    Alex

    • climatehawk1 Says:

      d) seems like crap to me. If you have a gasoline-powered car, then it’s always going to be fueled by gasoline. If you have an electric car, there is no real limit to how clean the utility system can become that fuels it–especially with coal plants being shut down right and left because of competition from super-cheap natural gas.

      • pendantry Says:

        How can it possibly be ‘crap’? It’s a no-brainer that building a car — any type — uses energy and resources (that we can ill-afford at this point in history). ‘Super-cheap natural gas’ is itself a fossil fuel; another finite resource. And it, too, is certainly not ‘clean’. (The marketers chose well to label it ‘natural’!)

        Alexander is absolutely right at (c): we should be moving away from the car culture entirely, as it is totally unsustainable (in the true sense of that word, not the hijacking used by those in lala land who would rather believe that our entire economic system is itself somehow ‘sustainable’).

        • Kiwiiano Says:

          We need to reduce our carbon footprints to about 10% of what we currently take for granted, that means driving vehicles that are 1/10th their current size/weight, feasible but unlikely in communities where too many people are driving Hummers and other bloated, gas-guzzling behemoths. The alternatives are to change our lifestyles radically, live where we can walk or bike to work/school/shop, become at least part-time vegetarians, reduce the size of houses, furniture, wardrobes, etc to a tenth, forget tourism or even football/baseball/car racing as forms of recreation.

          Volts may be a very nice car, but they don’t have a place in our brave new world.

          Note the 10% number derives from the time were were targeting a 2°C rise. We’re staring down the muzzle of a 4°C rise unless we really pull finger!! That will enforce a REAL lifestyle change that we won’t enjoy at all.

        • climatehawk1 Says:

          It is crap for the reason I said–it posits that electric auto “emissions,” by which is meant the emissions from generating the electricity to power them, are sometimes greater than those of gasoline autos. In doing so, it overlooks (or ignores) the fact that it is possible to reduce utility systems emissions dramatically by using different energy sources. If you buy a gasoline auto, you’re stuck with it. If you buy an electric auto, its “emissions” may magically improve–either because the utility improves its fuel mix or because you move to a different place where the mix is already more advanced.

          I’m not sure how this meme about electric autos got started, but it plays into the right-wing narrative: “See, we told you electric cars (and especially the evil Volt) were just a stupid environazi attempt to make you pay more for transportation. Heck, they don’t even reduce emissions!” If what you want is more gasoline autos indefinitely, just keep beating up on electric autos and that is what you will get.

          I’m NOT singing the praises of natural gas, just stating a simple fact–coal-fired power plants in the U.S. are being deferred and shut down because the price of natural gas is at an all-time low. My uneducated, unresearched guess is that electric auto emissions are only greater than those of gasoline autos in areas with a high proportion of coal in the fuel mix, and those are going away anyway, which means that the original rap on electric autos is, well, crap.


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