The Obama administration has hailed the Chevy Volt as the electric savior of the American auto industry, but in fact it’s not an all-electric car and gets nowhere near the mileage General Motors claims.
The Volt, which will go on sale in the coming weeks, carries a price tag of $41,000, and the federal government is offering a $7,500 taxpayer-funded subsidy to get people in the showrooms of GM — which is largely owned by the U.S. Treasury.
After President Obama visited a GM plant in Michigan a few months ago, Investor’s Business Daily called the Volt an “electric Edsel.”
Now in a new article headlined “Volt Fraud at Government Motors,” IBD states: “Advertised as an all-electric car that could drive 50 miles on its lithium battery, GM addressed concerns about where you plug the thing in en route to grandma’s house by adding a small gasoline engine to help maintain the charge on the battery as it starts to run down. It was still an electric car, we were told, and not a hybrid on steroids.
“That’s not quite true.”
GM engineers now admit that rather than just extending the range of the battery when it runs down or the car nears speeds of 70 miles per hour, the Volt’s gas engine will directly drive the front wheels along with the electric motors.
Back in August 2009, GM claimed the Volt would get 230 miles per gallon in city conditions.
But Popular Mechanics found it will average about 37.5 mpg in city driving. Motor Trend said its fuel economy should be in the “high 30s to low 40s,” according to IBD. And the Los Angeles Times reported that the Volt averaged 39 mpg on a 400-mile trip at freeway speeds, using its battery and gas from its 9.3-gallon tank.
“In 2008, candidate Obama pledged to put 1 million plug-in vehicles on the road by 2015,” IBD noted.
“Not likely. It was a tough sell when we thought it was all-electric and could get 230 mpg. It will be a tougher sell now that we find it’s a glorified Prius with the price tag of a BMW that seats only four because of a battery that runs down the center of the car.”