Volt Birth Watch 64: NHTSA Calls GM's Bluff

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
volt birth watch 64 nhtsa calls gms bluff

In a move bound to raise howls of protest from the Chevy Volt's cheerleaders, GM (along with nine other manufacturers) has asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to lower the 4.5 percent annual increases in the CAFE standards projected between 2011 and 2015. To justify the request, GM stated they won't have enough Volts and Vue plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) on the road by 2015 to meet the more stringent standards. GM "strongly discouraged" any assumptions that their PHEVs would impact their corporate fleet average. Their NHTSA filing flatly stated "GM's game-changing (extended range electric vehicle) technology should be treated as a low-volume application." (Only GM could use "game changing" and "low volume" in the same sentence.) How low is "low volume"? The Detroit News reports GM plans to build fewer than 200k Volts in the first five years (40k per year average). To make matters worse– for the U.S. PHEV crowd– GM says many of those will be exported. Of course, this all assumes GM will start producing Volt and PHEV Vues in late 2010 as promised. So now, it's put up or shut time. The sad thing is that GM will do neither.

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  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Jul 10, 2008

    Let's be honest: no president since Carter has given a damn about the environment. Not one. The US needs a viable third (Green) and fourth (Libertarian) parties. Both parties (is there really a differenci--it's the right wing and the ultra-right wing) couldn't really care less. The green movement is barely on the radar for either.

  • Geeber Geeber on Jul 10, 2008
    psarhjinian: Let’s be honest: no president since Carter has given a damn about the environment. Not one. No, it's because the original pollution-control provisions amended into the Clean Air Act in the late 1960 and early 1970s worked, so pollution has been declining throughout the U.S. People can afford to take for granted that the air will get cleaner, because it has been for well over a decade. (Incidentally, the first President Bush signed into law Clean Air Act amendments in the early 1990s that further cleaned up vehicle exhaust and stationary sources, so I would hardly say that no President since Carter has cared about the environment.) The simple fact is that today's cars and trucks are remarkably clean. A brand-new Ford Explorer emits fewer emissions while running than a 1969 Ford Galaxie did while sitting with the engine turned off (primarily because of gasoline vapors leaking from the engine and fuel system). The air has been getting cleaner for years, and will continue to do so, as the older vehicles (which generate most vehicular pollution) are sent to the boneyard or the collector garage.

  • M1EK M1EK on Jul 11, 2008

    geeber, 92/94 was a bit early to be worrying again about CAFE; the improvements from the first round were just a few years back from hitting the market. It's amazing in retrospect that they thought about it as soon as '97.

  • Geeber Geeber on Jul 14, 2008

    Nice try, but no.