Even Bob Lutz Hates "The Volt Song"

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

The first time we posted the video for They Might Be Giants’ song “Electric Car,” TTAC commentator rollosrevenge noted:

I love EVs and am pretty fond of They Might be Giants, but that was the one of the most annoying songs accompanied by the one of the stupidest music videos ever. It belongs as the theme song/video for the Volt.

And guess what? If Bob “Chrome” Lutz had his way, it could have been.

Greencarreports.com explains

former marketing chief Bob Lutz wanted to license the song “Electric Car,” by whimsical rock group They Might Be Giants.

Lutz passed the song along to Chevrolet Marketing, the folks who are now responsible for promoting the 2011 Volt to target buyers and the public at large. What happened?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

He wasn’t overruled; we heard he was simply ignored. Chevrolet Marketing seemingly felt it could do better. Just like at the old GM, the one that went bankrupt, where everything generated inside the company was by definition better than anything from outside.

Like “Electric Car,” which is is off of TMBG’s third educational album “ Here Comes Science,” the Volt song and accompanying dance number that GM commissioned to promote the Volt was aimed at children. Still, rhyming “adventure” with “pressure” and “it’s so simple like a dimple, plug it in and see” is insulting to the intelligence of children of any age. Besides, telling kids the Volt “could make a cleaner world, the greener car that powers itself” and “charge the car right in your home, it costs next to nothing, it’s cheaper than your phone” isn’t educational, it’s just irresponsible. In contrast “Electric Car” captures the ambivalence towards alternative-energy powertrains perfectly with the line “electric car, so good so far.” Lutz was right about this one.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Mhadi Mhadi on Dec 17, 2009

    Nice. I like it. And the video too.

  • Zarba Zarba on Dec 17, 2009

    TMBG. even with their (annoying to me) politics, have long had very inventive lyrics and videos. And my kids love 'em. Why would anyone let their kids listen to Barney or The Wiggles when TMBG are available?

  • Dartdude Having the queen of nothing as the head of Dodge is a recipe for disaster. She hasn't done anything with Chrysler for 4 years, May as well fold up Chrysler and Dodge.
  • Pau65792686 I think there is a need for more sedans. Some people would rather drive a car over SUV’s or CUV’s. If Honda and Toyota can do it why not American brands. We need more affordable sedans.
  • Tassos Obsolete relic is NOT a used car.It might have attracted some buyers in ITS DAY, 1985, 40 years ago, but NOT today, unless you are a damned fool.
  • Stan Reither Jr. Part throttle efficiency was mentioned earlier in a postThis type of reciprocating engine opens the door to achieve(slightly) variable stroke which would provide variable mechanical compression ratio adjustments for high vacuum (light load) or boost(power) conditions IMO
  • Joe65688619 Keep in mind some of these suppliers are not just supplying parts, but assembled components (easy example is transmissions). But there are far more, and the more they are electronically connected and integrated with rest of the platform the more complex to design, engineer, and manufacture. Most contract manufacturers don't make a lot of money in the design and engineering space because their customers to that. Commodity components can be sourced anywhere, but there are only a handful of contract manufacturers (usually diversified companies that build all kinds of stuff for other brands) can engineer and build the more complex components, especially with electronics. Every single new car I've purchased in the last few years has had some sort of electronic component issue: Infinti (battery drain caused by software bug and poorly grounded wires), Acura (radio hiss, pops, burps, dash and infotainment screens occasionally throw errors and the ignition must be killed to reboot them, voice nav, whether using the car's system or CarPlay can't seem to make up its mind as to which speakers to use and how loud, even using the same app on the same trip - I almost jumped in my seat once), GMC drivetrain EMF causing a whine in the speakers that even when "off" that phased with engine RPM), Nissan (didn't have issues until 120K miles, but occassionally blew fuses for interior components - likely not a manufacturing defect other than a short developed somewhere, but on a high-mileage car that was mechanically sound was too expensive to fix (a lot of trial and error and tracing connections = labor costs). What I suspect will happen is that only the largest commodity suppliers that can really leverage their supply chain will remain, and for the more complex components (think bumper assemblies or the electronics for them supporting all kinds of sensors) will likley consolidate to a handful of manufacturers who may eventually specialize in what they produce. This is part of the reason why seemingly minor crashes cost so much - an auto brand does nst have the parts on hand to replace an integrated sensor , nor the expertice as they never built them, but bought them). And their suppliers, in attempt to cut costs, build them in way that is cheap to manufacture (not necessarily poorly bulit) but difficult to replace without swapping entire assemblies or units).I've love to see an article on repair costs and how those are impacting insurance rates. You almost need gap insurance now because of how quickly cars depreciate yet remain expensive to fix (orders more to originally build, in some cases). No way I would buy a CyberTruck - don't want one, but if I did, this would stop me. And it's not just EVs.
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