Chevy Volt Uses No Gas – Unless it’s Cold Out

Volt in snow phtotoHere’s another surprise for Chevy Volt owners. Autoblog reports that General Motors is holding an online chat with Volt owners about winter driving. Part of the chat reveals that, despite the fact that GM claimed the Volt is purely electric for a range of about 35 miles, the vehicle will use gas in cold conditions. GM states, “Please be aware: when starting your Volt in these colder months, in some instances, your gas engine may engage regardless of the state of charge of the battery. This was designed into (the) Volt to generate heat for the battery when temperatures are well below freezing.”

I guess those environmentally conscientious Volt owners will have to wait for warmer weather to save the planet by being totally gas-free. They can settle for being “mostly green” in colder weather. That is, if you consider it green to drive a vehicle that runs on coal … Read More ➡

Media Suppressing NHTSA’s Suppression of Chevy Volt Fire?

You may have heard of the announcement that there will be a congressional investigation into why NHTSA waited six months to notify the public of the crash-tested Chevy Volt which burst into flames three weeks after the crash-test. If you have, it was probably not through mainstream media networks, which seem to be keeping fairly quiet on the story. I have not been able to ascertain a logical reason for General Motors and the Obama Administration’s transportation safety agency to withhold reporting the incident.

At the least, they should have immediately publicized the safety protocol that was developed as a result of the risks that come from a new technology that has been thrust upon motorists at the taxpayers’ expense. Do we have a “Fiery and Fallacious” scandal on our hands, or was there justification for NHTSA and GM withholding the information?

We may have to wait for the congressional … Read More ➡

Frito-Lay/PepsiCo Cashes in On Electric Truck Subsidies

Frito Lay Electric Truck

Last week Frito-Lay, the $12 billion snack foods division of PepsiCo, boasted it would add 10 all-electric delivery trucks in Orlando, Fla., as part of its plan to deploy 176 such vehicles in the U.S. and Canada by the end of year.

As is custom with corporate announcements that proclaim their eco-accomplishments, so as to pacify persistent climate alarmists, Frito-Lay said the vehicles would emit “zero” pollutants from tailpipes and release 75 percent fewer greenhouse gases than diesel. The ETs (electric trucks) can allegedly run 100 miles on a single charge, and Frito-Lay says the groundbreaking new haulers provide “a long-term economically viable solution” – apparently to solve global warming.

Regular readers of NLPC should know the Chevy Volt sticker price, before the $7,500 tax credit, is $41,000, and for the Nissan Leaf it’s $35,200. So the cost for an electric delivery truck must be somewhat higher, right? And … Read More ➡

Ethics Group Files FOIA on Chevy Volt Fires

Volt fire photoThe National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) today filed a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for any and all communications with General Motors (GM).

The NHTSA is investigating three fires in the battery packs of GM’s Chevy Volt following collision tests, but may have withheld information of this potential safety problem from the public for several months.

The United States government still owns a significant stake in GM.  There’s an obvious conflict of interest in a government agency investigating a government-owned company. Moreover, the NHTSA cannot be impartial because it has become a cheerleader for electric vehicles. A November 25 NHTSA statement reads, in part:

NHTSA continues to believe that electric vehicles have incredible potential to save consumers money at the pump, help protect the environment, create jobs, and strengthen national security by reducing our dependence on oil.

Read More ➡

NLPC Shareholder Proposal Challenges Pfizer’s Support of ObamaCare

Ian Read photoNLPC has filed a shareholder proposal challenging Pfizer’s support for ObamaCare. The resolution actually asks for a report on Pfizer’s lobbying priorities. Here is the supporting statement submitted to Pfizer for inclusion in the proxy:

Pfizer played a key role in the passage of ObamaCare, even though a majority of Americans were opposed. CEO Jeffrey Kindler organized pharmaceutical CEOs in support of the bill, promoted a massive advertising campaign, and partnered with Left-wing groups normally hostile to Pfizer’s interests. For these actions, he received a multi-million dollar bonus.

According to media reports, Pfizer and other companies in 2009 made an $80 billion deal with the Obama administration. In return for support of ObamaCare, the companies received promises of a guarantee of customers and insulation from certain kinds of competition. This kind of back room dealing corrupts the political process, generates public outrage, and is inappropriate for an institution like Pfizer

Read More ➡

Congress Investigating NHTSA Chevy Volt Report Delay

Detroit News reports that Congress will hold a hearing to determine why NHTSA waited six months to report a spontaneously combusting Chevy Volt which went up in flames three weeks after a crash-test. The news comes three weeks after I first questioned the delay. While there was no justification for NHTSA to keep the incident secret from the public, the skepticism towards a government agency of the Executive Branch being in charge of investigating the safety of President Obama’s favorite car is fully justified.

The realization that NHTSA’s delay in reporting its Volt fire may have been motivated by allegiances to Government Motors came after a former NHTSA administrator, Joan Claybrook, stated, “Not to tell them anything for six months makes no sense to me. NHTSA could have put out a consumer alert and I think they should have done so.” She went on to say, “I believe they … Read More ➡

Did U.S. Taxpayers Boost Bailout of British EV Investors?

white Coke can

NLPC readers by now have learned there is more than meets the media’s eye when it comes to the Obama administration’s “Green” initiatives, and specifically, the government-subsidized electric vehicle program. Particularly egregious might be how American taxpayers have helped save a troubled EV company in the United Kingdom for its burdened investors.

Under the surface in this case is Kansas City-based Smith Electric Vehicles Corp., a company that did not exist in its U.S. form until January 2009. The company does not make passenger vehicles, but commercial trucks. Once Smith-U.S. established itself in Missouri, somehow that was enough of a track record for the Department of Energy to award the company $10 million in August 2009, and an additional $22 million in March 2010, for an ET (electric truck) demonstration program. 

The founders of Smith-U.S. did not come from the automobile or electricity businesses, or anything even … Read More ➡

Chevy Volt Buyback Sets Stage for Tax Credit Abuse

General Motors has announced it is buying back Chevy Volts from any purchasers who are concerned about safety risks associated with the vehicle. NHTSA is currently investigating fires that occurred after crash tests of the vehicles when the volatile lithium-ion batteries ignited days after the tests. Any buybacks of the vehicles sets the stage for wealthy purchasers to take advantage of lax rules for the $7,500 tax credit available on the vehicle. Essentially, many purchasers can return their Volts and then go ahead and apply for the credit, even though they do not currently own the vehicle and received a refund of what they paid for the car.

Overall abuse of the tax credits for plug-in vehicles is costing taxpayers millions of dollars. A USA Today article back in February estimated false claims for the credits at 20% equaling $33 million just for the first seven months of 2010. It … Read More ➡

Chevy Volt Sales Disappoint

On Thursday, I discussed disappointing Chevy Volt sales figures with Neil Cavuto on his Fox Business Network program. Here’s a transcript:

Neil Cavuto: It’s not just me. It is now official. The Volt is a dolt. You’re hearing me all you bloggers? It stinks. The car you have to plug in ain’t exactly selling out, not even close. Get this, for all of last month, 1,139 cars. That is 1,139.

Compare that to Toyota, which sold more than 23,000 Camrys in the same month: 1,139 to 23,000. And now news from GM that the Volt could be in for yet another jolt. Company CEO promising today to buy back Volts from customers worried about reported battery fires.

To a disgusted former GM bondholder Mark Modica. Mark, what do you make of this?

Mark Modica (National Legal & Policy Center): Well, I have moved on from being a … Read More ➡

Do Analysts Finally Realize They Were Gamed on Chevy Volt?

Akerson and Volt photoI made an appearance on the Cavuto show last night to discuss low sales for the Chevy Volt. This came after I had listened in on the sales conference call by General Motors. I recognized a major shift on the call regarding the Volt, which is that GM management is finally starting to hedge on the potential for Volt sales after having hyped the vehicle as being a game changer with projections of demand that far exceeded supply.

Statements such as “It’s much more than just being about sales, the Volt is a magnet to showcase our brand.” give evidence that GM management has been gaming auto journalists regarding the true demand for the vehicle while using a bait and switch strategy to lure consumers into showrooms, all at the expense of taxpayers. More importantly, it seems the pundits may finally be catching on.

Other statements by GM execs that … Read More ➡

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