There has been much written and said about the operating costs of the Chevy Volt. Proponents and critics have both been a bit deceptive on claims about just how much the Volt can save or cost you by mostly running on an electric charge before switching to gas. Snopes.com gives a fairly accurate picture of the true fuel savings in a recent analysis.
I discovered an interesting fact while reviewing the 2011 IRS form 8936 used for the $7500 EV tax credit. While under most circumstances it is the wealthy purchasers of Chevy Volts and other high priced plug-in vehicles that get the taxpayer-funded handout, it appears that General Motors' dealerships that sell the vehicles to government entities are benefiting by being able to claim the credits. These dealers are able to double-dip into the seemingly endless pool of taxpayer funds designated for cronies of the Obama Administration under the guise of green initiatives. Not only do taxpayers pay for Chevy Volts purchased by various government "units," the sellers can claim the credits which were designed to help individuals be able to afford the costly vehicles.
General Motors reported year end earnings figures today. The company made about $9 billion dollars in 2011. How much of its "fair share" is GM paying in taxes? Zero. In fact, from GM's financial report, they actually received a "benefit" of $110 million for the year. The UAW benefited as well, as they are set to receive $7,000 per worker in profit sharing bonuses.
How did a start-up electric car company that raised more than $1 billion suddenly fail to meet government-lending standards, to the point where it can no longer draw on an awarded Department of Energy loan and has therefore halted renovation work on a Delaware plant?
Now Wall Street analysts are wondering the same thing, and the beleaguered lenders at the Department of Energy must be deeply concerned about what they will do next. As Forbesreported yesterday, the close ties between the two speculative companies could produce “two Solyndras for the price of one."
In the words of Yogi Berra, it looks like déjà vu all over again as General Motors plans to "relaunch" the Chevy Volt. Just in case you missed the first rollout that saw certain financial news networks dedicate loads of airtime to help GM build the hype surrounding a vehicle that was to be a savior for GM as support was garnered for a taxpayer bailout and subsequent IPO, we now get a second take on the failed first production.
It is mostly unanimous that Clint Eastwood's Super Bowl ad appearance was a stirring and emotional tribute to America and Detroit. The ad was heartfelt, despite the fact that bailed out Italian-owned auto company, Chrysler, paid for it. Unless NBC offered some significant discounts to their ad rates, the ad cost Chrysler about $14 million. Considering the political nature of the ad and the fact that Chrysler vehicles were not touted in the ad, I must ask the cynical question; what's in it for Italian-owned Chrysler?
President Obama said in his State of the Union speech last month that he would not “walk away from the promise of clean energy,” and according to a Politico report, he “doubled-down” on the promise by highlighting (more) commitments to federal grants and incentives for wind energy, solar power and natural gas vehicles in quasi-campaign speeches out West.
I recently questioned the existence of a binding "no-strike clause" that the media reported on back when General Motors was making a plea for its taxpayer-funded bailout. The claims were that the UAW could not strike at GM or Chrysler until 2015. UAW Communications Coordinator, Tom Brune, has responded and gave a bit of clarification as to what the so-called no-strike clause actually means.