General Motors has been quick to allay concerns that the Chevy Volt had anything to do with an explosion at a testing facility that appears to have injured five workers, one possibly seriously. The explosion has been attributed to gases from a lithium-based prototype battery being developed at GM's tech center. While the incident should not serve as an indictment against the Volt, concerns about volatile lithium-ion batteries are legitimate.
Just as the Department of Energy gave A123 Systems a vote of confidence by extending a deadline until 2014 to spend down its $249 million stimulus grant, the deeply troubled electric vehicle supplier experienced another setback.
Another important story goes unreported by TV networks receiving millions of dollars in ad revenue from General Motors. Viewers getting their news from Obama-friendly sources continue to hear about how great GM is doing. For those getting their news from internet sites not beholden to Government Motors, the reports aren't as good. March US market share for GM fell to 17.5% in March, the lowest level for "Old" or "New" GM since 1922.
The report by the NY Times that it would take up to 27 years for Chevy Volt buyers to save enough money in gas costs to make up for the high price of the car must be very confusing for apologists of the vehicle. The normal defense for any criticism is to accuse sources of having a right wing hate of the car. But the NY Times? The very vocal Volt defenders, who are quick to attack anyone who doesn't agree that the car is a technological marvel worthy of billions of dollars of taxpayer largess, will have to attribute the left-leaning Times' criticism to something other than a political agenda.
One thing that I have realized about the rhetoric surrounding green energy initiatives and the proclamations by Team Obama glorifying companies like General Motors while vilifying others like ExxonMobil is that the claims and the facts are worlds apart. Voters are led to believe that evil oil companies like ExxonMobil are getting a free pass and not paying their fair share while the supposedly patriotic GM is an American success story which now contributes to society and builds miracle cars like the Chevy Volt which will free the US from foreign oil dependence. One set of facts that is very easy to check on is the amount of taxes each of these companies pays. Following are the facts from the SEC annual financial reports (10Ks) of GM and ExxonMobil.
Fresh off the heels of its European Car of the Year award, the Chevy Volt has been named "Vincentric Best Value in America." You just can't make this stuff up. I didn't know that there were so many awards in the auto industry, but the less that the Volt sells, the more awards it seems to win. After this latest award, it dawned on me that the Chevy Volt is eerily like Wilbur, the prize-winning pig from the classic children's tale, Charlotte's Web.