Relentless attacks on the Chevy Volt from Rush Limbaugh and Republican politicians have taken their toll, as General Motors has announced a five-week suspension in production of the range-extended electric car. Conservative enemies of clean energy and the Obama administration seized on isolated reports Volts with battery fires, calling the cars “Obama-mandated death traps.” Limbaugh even said GM was a “corporation that’s trying to kill its customers.”
These conspiracy-tinged partisan attacks have now cost American jobs, with 1300 workers temporarily laid off in the face of lower than expected demand for the innovative cars, even as gas prices rise. In January, GM CEO Dan Akerson bemoaned the effect of the barrage of ideological criticism on the popularity of the 37 – 93 mpg car:
We did not design the Volt to become a political punching bag and that’s what it’s become.
Oh, and about those attacks? After an investigation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determined that the Volt is just as safe as any gasoline-powered vehicle on the road.