TTAC’s long been used to playing the “heel” of the auto journalism world, and sure enough, our skeptical approach to the Chevy Volt is already renewing accusations that TTAC “hates GM.” For the record, this accusation doesn’t fly. We have the tendency to obsess on GM because that company’s rise and fall is the most compelling story in the automotive world. To read GM’s history is to watch a person claw their way up a cliff by his bootstraps, and upon reaching the top, spend the next several decades strangling himself with the very same bootstraps. I challenge anyone who is interested in the world of cars to look away from that.
In any case, our Volt coverage has focused thus far on dispelling myths, so in the interest of seeking the truth everywhere, I thought we should take a moment to make a few Volt myths of our own. After all, despite planning to build only “10-15k” Volts next year and 60k in 2012, Automotive News [sub] says
And even though my personal and professional obligations to the truth make me the worst marketing candidate ever, I may just have an idea of where to start…
The Volt was conceived around a simple vision: 40 miles of gas-free driving, and gas-powered operation thereafter. The problem, as I have noted elsewhere, is everything else. Most significantly, the price and presentation of accurate mileage ratings. Though GM is in the “final throes” of getting EPA approval for a Volt-appropriate window sticker, GM’s Doug Parks admits that
it’s possible the [electric range] figure will be below the 40 mile range that GM had long advertised… [because] “We’re kind of hoping we’ll over deliver.”
Still, after several years of throwing the 40-mile range number around, backing away for marketing purposes (even if real-world range meets or exceeds it) will be a tough pill to swallow. Besides, there’s still the issue of the gas-mode (aka Charge Sustaining, or CS mode) efficiency. What’s GM’s position on that important metric?
Parks said on gasoline-only mode, the Volt is currently getting in the “mid to high 30s” on a combined city/highway driving.But it’s not clear yet what figures the EPA will assign on the vehicle’s gasoline-only range.
It’s a 35 MPG car… but the first gallon of gas is on us**except that it’s electricity, not gas, and you have to buy it yourself
If G.M. were honest, it would market the car as a personal donation for, and vote of confidence in, the auto bailout.