Did the Government meddling turn Chevy Volts into Chariots of Fire?
By: Ed Farnan | Published Tuesday, April 10, 2012, 10:15 AM | Updated Tuesday, April 10, 2012, 10:15 AM
Last month it was announced that General Motors was going to suspend production of their all electric car known as the Chevy Volt, due to disappointing sales.
Sales for this car have been slow in spite of massive government subsidies and getting the spotlight of every green organization you can think of. It seems no amount of taxpayer money is going to entice a buyer, so the cars sit in showrooms and inventories, unsold.
The Volt was the recipient of such "green awards" as: 2009 Green Car Vision Award-2011 Green Car of the Year-2011 North American Car of the Year-2011 World Green Car-2012 European Green Car of the Year. All very prestigious honors to have for a new model of car.
But getting "green" awards, doesn't insure a company will "get the green" when it comes to competing in the free marketplace. Below the hoopla, awards and marketing glitz, there has to be a compelling reason for the public to purchase a small car with a price tag of 46,000. Even with a 7,500 federal tax credit to soften the sticker shock, the price is a big problem. Especially when you can buy a similarly sized gas powered Chevy Cruze, rated at 36 MPG highway and has an average selling price of $19,656.
When the Government stepped in and bailed out General Motors in 2009, it allowed, in many peoples opinion, undue influence in the design of this car by an administration without any business or car manufacturing experience. But what the administration lacked in practical experience, it more than made up for with a green agenda. So instead of designing a car that could be competitive in a free market with appeal to millions of potential buyers, it produced the Volt.
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To add to the bad public perception this car has had, there are reports of battery fires in collision tests and fires starting during battery charge, hence the nick name "chariots of fire"
Actual users of the car have reported as little as 25 miles on a full 12 hour charge before it switched over to the gas drive. Really nothing to brag about when you pay that much for a car. Someone said perhaps the reason to buy a Volt is to do something good for the planet rather than buy a good product.
But even if your intentions are truly green and your desire is to do something good for the planet by purchasing these electric cars, remember most of our electricity is produced by coal fired/fossil fueled power plants. Any savings in "carbon credits" that the car buyer may think he is accomplishing, is being burned up by coal to produce the electricity which charges these cars.
To many people in the private sector this is a prime example of why government should stay out of determining winners and losers in the energy sector as well as manufacturing sector. The government sunk 50 billion into GM to bail it out and it still hasn't paid us back, in spite of what is reported in the media. The Treasury Department says nearly 70 executives at American International Group Inc., Ally Financial Inc. and General Motors Co. had their annual compensation reduced by 10 percent. All three companies have yet to repay what they received from the $700 billion bailout and therefore are subject to pay cuts.
In the meantime, around the world, countries are reversing their decisions on solar energy and backing out. Germany earlier this year announced they were cutting back on solar subsidies. China will accelerate the use of new-energy sources such as nuclear energy and put an end to blind expansion in industries such as solar energy and wind power in 2012, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao says in a government report published on March 5.
China's national policy means they will direct their resources into developing nuclear and hydro electric power. Certainly doesn't mean they won't keep producing those solar panels to make profits at the expense of governments that force their countries economies down the path of solar.
Chariots of fire are ancient descriptions first appearing as paintings on cave walls. Then the name was borrowed for a 1981 movie. Now a battery powered car bears the honor.