Car reviewers rave about GM’s PHEV while Rush fumes.
Rush Limbaugh is so dedicated to destroying Obama at any cost that he is doing everything he can to undermine the prospects for GM’s revival (see Granholm: Limbaugh’s attacks on American-made electric vehicles are ‘un-American’). While General Motors is gaining business and sharply reducing the government ownership share, the Politico reported Limbaugh has been on the warpath against “Obama motors“:
Limbaugh told listeners that his radio program last year canceled an advertising campaign with General Motors because he “knew this was coming.”
Good for you, Rush. Hey, why not just discourage companies from hiring people, since that would only help Obama in the end.
Now GM’s plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) the Chevy Volt has opened to rave reviews by car magazines (see below), and was named 2011 Motor Trend Car of the Year, which raved:
This is a fully developed vehicle with seamlessly integrated systems and software, a real car that provides a unique driving experience. And commuters may never need to buy gas!
… This automobile is a game-changer.
So Limbaugh has been forced to broaden his attack to include the venerable car enthusiast magazine. ThinkProgress has the story — and MT’s pushback:
Last week, the influential auto magazine Motor Trend announced that it had named the breakthrough plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt as its 2011 car of the year. Conservatives immediately picked up on the story and attacked Motor Trend. The magazine “awarded the Obama-approved, government-subsidized Chevrolet Volt its annual ‘Car of the Year’ appellation,” the Weekly Standard whined. Referring the federal government’s auto bailout “” which turned out to be hugely beneficial for GM and the ailing industry “” conservative Washington Post columnist George Will complained about the government “spending some of your money” to produce the Volt.But right-wing radio blow-hard Rush Limbaugh was perhaps the most vocal critic. The Volt has been a Limbaugh nemesis for quite some time. He even launched a campaign last August to undermine the innovative car. And this week, Limbaugh said of the Motor Trend award, “[O]f all the cars in the world, the Chevrolet Volt is the Car of the Year? Motor Trend magazine, that’s the end of them. How in the world do they have any credibility? Not one has been sold [and] the Volt is the Car of the Year.” Last week, one of the magazine’s editors, Todd Lassa, shot back at Limbaugh, noting that GM hasn’t sold any Volts “because it’s not on sale yet“:
So, Mr. Limbaugh; you didn’t enjoy your drive of our 2011 Car of the Year, the Chevrolet Volt? Assuming you’ve been anywhere near the biggest automotive technological breakthrough since “¦ I don’t know, maybe the self-starter, could you even find your way to the front seat? Or are you happy attacking a car that you’ve never even seen in person? [...]
All the shouting from you or from electric car purists on the left can’t distort the fact that the Chevy Volt is, indeed, a technological breakthrough. And it’s more. It’s a technological breakthrough that many American families can use for gas-free daily commutes and well-planned vacation drives. It’s expensive for a Chevy, but many of those families will find the gasoline saved worth it. If you can stop shilling for your favorite political party long enough to go for a drive, you might really enjoy the Chevy Volt. I’m sure GM would be happy to lend you one for the weekend. Just remember: driving and Oxycontin don’t mix.
Lassa also noted that the Volt isn’t some left-wing “tree hugging, Obama-supporting Government Motors” conspiracy, but was in fact conceived of well before Democrats regained control of Congress in 2006 and well before Obama began his campaign for the presidency. Lassa even points out that former GM executive “Bob Lutz, who famously decreed, ‘Global Warming is a crock of shit’ introduced the car two years before Bush gave GM its first bailout from TARP pocket change.”
“Limbaugh’s beef with the Volt isn’t a question of automotive aesthetics or engineering,” MLive.com’s Jeff Wattrick notes. “He just doesn’t like the Volt because it’s one of them librul eel-eck-trick cars that Muslim-Socialist Obama forced on the real ‘Mericans in Detroit.”
Kudos to Motor Trend for deflating the hypocritical right wing blowhard.
In fact, plug-in hybrids are not merely a core climate solution, but electricity is the only alternative fuel that can lead to energy independence. The world’s top energy economist from the traditionally staid and conservative International Energy Agency warned last year of impending peak oil: “We have to leave oil before oil leaves us.” It is PHEV and EV “” or bust!
And so the only hope for the US auto industry in the medium term and beyond is more fuel-efficient cars, which, thankfully, the administration understands (see “White House rolls out details of fuel economy, emissions standard “” The biggest step the U.S. government has ever taken to cut CO2“).
Finally, many other independent reviewers are raving about the Volt. Here’s Dan Neil, the Pulitzer prize-winning automotive columnist for The Wall Street Journal (!) in “Chevrolet Volt: A Win for the Home Team“:
A lot of people don’t like GM because: 1) the bailout, or 1a) Obama; or 2) the United Auto Workers; or 3) because some Monte Carlo or Cutlass Sierra or deuce-and-a-quarter left them walking a long time ago. That’s understandable. These are sour times. But for the moment, we should suspend our rancor and savor a little American pride. A bunch of Midwestern engineers in bad haircuts and cheap wristwatches just out-engineered every other car company on the planet. And they did it in 29 months while the company they worked for was falling apart around them. That was downright heroic. Somebody ought to make a movie….
… it works like a champ. Actually, it’s extraordinarily efficient….
Around-town, stop-and-go traffic is where the Volt shines, sluicing effortlessly to speed on a hushed carrier wave of electrons. Zero-60 mph is about 8.8 seconds, GM says….
I caution against what author Rebecca Costa calls “extreme economics,” the pecuniary mindset that says every choice is reducible to a simple cost/benefit ratio. There was a moment last week when I borrowed a Volt to drive to a local mall. It was raining. I was alone. And I had a moment when I felt, ever so slightly, less of the problem and more of the solution. That feeling was priceless.
Exactly. We are going to hear endlessly about the “payback” or lack thereof for a feature that has multiple benefits, many of which are very difficult to monetize. One of the things I like about the Prius, for instance, is that I waste a lot less time going to gasoline stations.
USA Today notes, “Chevy’s easy-driving Volt could be your only car“:
Most impressive, though, is that the Chevrolet Volt is a premium execution of a pleasant-looking, easy-driving small car “” one you’d probably be satisfied to have as your only vehicle (assuming you don’t need a big car or roomy back seat)….
Instant torque of the electric motor made the car quick in traffic, less so at highway speed.
Volt lacked the road racket and wind noise that mark some small cars. The drivetrain was quiet, free of the whine and other faint, unpleasant noises that accompany some electric machines. Smooth, too “” electrics inherently are….
There’s an undercurrent of criticism about that, as if Volt’s somehow impure. But so what? Most of the time, you drive on battery power only. Some of the time, you burn gas to keep the juice flowing. No place to plug in to recharge? No problem. Fill the gas tank and drive on.
How, exactly, is that anything but genius?
Here’s CNN/Fortune/Money’s judgment from “Chevy Volt can go the distance“:
The Volt, it turns out, is a really good, fully functional automobile that could just save you a lot of cash on gasoline, too….
The Volt has a sophisticated, almost luxury-like, feel over the road. The steering is very responsive and the battery pack, which runs down the center of the car and across the back, provides a nice weight balance. Braking, often a weak point in hybrid and electric cars, is also smooth and predictable.The Volt’s interior is trimmed out in a way that makes it look appropriately high tech. It has few buttons or knobs, mostly touch-activated bumps. It all works pretty nicely.
Bottom line, the Volt is a very good car and oh, it can drive for 40 miles without using any gasoline.
Car & Driver raves after its “full road test“:
The Verdict: The ideal, near-term EV solution….
Is it cheap? New technology never is. Still, the Volt strikes us as the closest in concept to the winning formula of the Prius, albeit with the next generation of propulsion and the whole thing inverted. Nothing else has so successfully incorporated all of the key aspects of Toyota’s golden child””big fuel-economy numbers, a unique name and styling, and enough range and people and cargo space that it can be an only and everyday car. Those traits have enabled the sales of nearly 2 million Priuses worldwide since its 1997 debut. With the possible exception of a fairly cramped back seat and an undersized cargo hold, the Volt checks all the boxes, plus it outdrives the hybrid competition. This is without a doubt the most important new car since the advent of hybrids in the late ’90s, and GM has nailed it. Is this the handing off of the Prius’s very illustrious torch?
Here’s Cars.com “Expert Review“:
After years of anticipation and inflated expectations, the Chevrolet Volt still manages to impress, bringing a new type of motoring in a package that’s remarkably refined, comfortable and livable.
For certain buyers, it’s perfect. Who are those buyers? People who want two things: to drive an appreciable distance on electric power and to not worry about what happens if the battery runs out”¦.
With time it could prove to be the model that makes drivers comfortable enough with the experience of plug-in motoring that they’ll consider a battery-electric without the safety net of an onboard generator as their next car….
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what the Volt is or how it works under the surface. What matters is how it works out in the real world “” and at first blush, it works damn well.
And the Detroit News reviewer’s column, “Volt test drive quiet, efficient “” and fun” opens
Who knew a revolution could feel so normal?
This revolution will be televised — but apparently it won’t make it onto the radio, at least for the Ditto-heads.