Video: Auto-mogul-in-chief takes new GM lemon for a spin

posted at 4:55 pm on July 30, 2010 by Allahpundit

Hot vid from today’s speech at a Chrysler plant in Detroit, in which The One reminded Republicans that without federal largesse a whole lot of auto workers would be unemployed right now, which means America’s new electric money pit would be nothing but a pipe dream. In fact, this Volt photo (actually taken a few weeks ago) gave me the best chuckle I’ve had today. Suggested caption: “$41,000?!”

And yeah, it’s a lemon. An expensive one, too:

In the industry, some suspect that G.M. and the Obama administration decided against selling the Volt at a loss because they want the company to appear profitable before its long-awaited initial stock offering, which is likely to take place next month. For taxpayers, that approach might have made sense if the government planned on selling its entire 61 percent stake in G.M. But the administration has said it will sell only enough equity in the public offering to relinquish its controlling stake in G.M. Thus the government will remain exposed to the company’s (and the Volt’s) long-term fate…

Quantifying just how much taxpayer money will have been wasted on the hastily developed Volt is no easy feat. Start with the $50 billion bailout (without which none of this would have been necessary), add $240 million in Energy Department grants doled out to G.M. last summer, $150 million in federal money to the Volt’s Korean battery supplier, up to $1.5 billion in tax breaks for purchasers and other consumer incentives, and some significant portion of the $14 billion loan G.M. got in 2008 for “retooling” its plants, and you’ve got some idea of how much taxpayer cash is built into every Volt.

In the end, making the bailout work — whatever the cost — is the only good reason for buying a Volt. The car is not just an environmental hair shirt (a charge leveled at the Prius early in its existence), it is an act of political self-denial as well.

Suggested marketing slogan: “You paid for this thing. Why not pay a little more?” As for the clip, the Secret Service was leery about letting him behind the wheel but relented when they realized he’d only be driving it 10 feet. Which, if I’m not mistaken, is about the range you get when running off of the electric battery anyway. (I kid, I kid. Sort of.)


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Enjoy driving one of your two vehicles. Taking the truck out tonight?

No. My wife and I are taking our two Hummers to a local Hummer Enthusiast meetup :-))))

coldwater on July 30, 2010 at 7:54 PM

coldwater on July 30, 2010 at 6:23 PM

Best estimate of replacing oil (all uses): 60 years assuming it remains a national priority.
The problem with electric is the battery. It’s inefficient at storing energy and energy is wasted in both charge and discharge cycles. If you want electric vehicles to be a reality you need to find a better alternative. Otherwise we continue to use internal combustion engines.
BTW, an internal combustion engine can run on hydrogen if it is properly equipped. Problem is- hydrogen production is energy intensive-not economical.

mad scientist on July 30, 2010 at 7:55 PM

No. My wife and I are taking our two Hummers to a local Hummer enthusiast meetup :-)))

Kidding of course…

coldwater on July 30, 2010 at 7:57 PM

coldwater on July 30, 2010 at 6:47 PM

The idiotic Tesla argument again. Tesla is a rich mans toy with a base sticker price of $109,000. Tesla has stated that at 40K miles the battery pack is down to 70% of it’s original storage capacity and a replacement is $20K. BTW, Tesla is broke and looking for suckers investors to make their “second generation”.
Any questions?

mad scientist on July 30, 2010 at 8:03 PM

The problem with electric is the battery.

Absolutely. This is where a ton of research and development mula needs to go. Battery technology is progressing and is decent now, but it needs to develop significantly further. No question about it. A freakin’ Manhattan Project type effort needs to be organized to get it where it needs to be as fast as possible. Yes, internal combustion engines will not disappear overnight and in fact shouldn’t, however, I am not at all satisfied with the current expensive, finite, and terrorist-supporting fuel source.

coldwater on July 30, 2010 at 8:07 PM

In that case please be fair to the Volt then

coldwater on July 30, 2010 at 7:28 PM

Oh I am being more than fair.

Look, anytime you have a “primary fuel source” (which to be honest in the Volt is coal since that is where electricity comes from in the US) which will only take you 40 miles – if you are lucky and have a good stiff tail-wind – you are opening yourself up for ridicule. But the fact that it runs on premium gasoline to get the range of 300+ miles shows that its ACTUAL fuel source is GASOLINE.

Notice that golf carts do not have gasoline “backup” generators, because no one expects them to go very far. In order to make this “electric” car work and give it a realistic range and call it a car and not a golf cart there has to be a gasoline powered generator because electricity just doesn’t cut it.

They can call it what they want but it is all a marketing ploy. If they actually thought they could sell it for the ridiculous price of $41,000 they wouldn’t have a $7,500 rebate for it. You don’t see the government offering rebates for cars people actually want, do you? And remember that price is arrived at only after humongous amounts in subsidies have already been spent.

No one will buy it. There are plenty of gasoline powered cars that get good mileage for a fraction of that price. People who want to get mileage can do it a lot cheaper than buying a Volt. And those who want to do so. Or walk to work or do other sustainable things. The government doesn’t need to subsidize it either.

The Volt’s only hope is that there are more than a few people out there who want to make a statement about how green they are.

Lily on July 30, 2010 at 8:10 PM

The Volt’s only hope is that there are more than a few people out there who want to make a statement about how green they are.

Lily on July 30, 2010 at 8:10 PM

There are, but don’t expect them to trade their Prius in on a GM vehicle.

Fighton03 on July 30, 2010 at 8:18 PM

The idiotic Tesla argument again. Tesla is a rich mans toy with a base sticker price of $109,000. Tesla has stated that at 40K miles the battery pack is down to 70% of it’s original storage capacity and a replacement is $20K. BTW, Tesla is broke and looking for suckers investors to make their “second generation”.
Any questions?

Tesla Roadster is made to be a richman’s toy. So is a Lamborghini. WTF is your point? Toyota is the “sucker” investor who just invested in this “terrible” company with a “terrible” product. GM and Chrysler actually did go bankrupt recently and they weren’t exactly focused on electric cars at the time. Again, what’s your point?

coldwater on July 30, 2010 at 8:19 PM

coldwater on July 30, 2010 at 8:07 PM
Battery technology is poor and not likely to improve much; we’re starting to approach theoretical limits.
BTW, the early Tesla experiments with battery packs produced a number of small fires. The lithium-ion battery can generate a lot of waste heat at high discharge rates (this is the inefficiency in batteries I mentioned earlier).
The better alternative is a more efficient internal combustion engine with an electric final drive; imagine the diesel-electric locomotive power system adapted to a car.
A Manhattan Project along these lines would be much more likely of success than playing with chemical battery technology.

mad scientist on July 30, 2010 at 8:22 PM

Absolutely do have to go now. Sorry guys and gals..

coldwater on July 30, 2010 at 8:24 PM

Absolutely do have to go now. Sorry guys and gals..

coldwater on July 30, 2010 at 8:24 PM

Understand. But, the big thing to point out is this.

For the first couple of years (and perhaps many more) the Volt will have the same kind of buyers as the Hummer.

Buyers who are not looking for an economical vehicle but who want to make a statement e.g. “I’ve got a BIG truck”, or “I’ve got a green vehicle”.

This is the big point you seem to missing altogether.

shick on July 30, 2010 at 8:30 PM

coldwater on July 30, 2010 at 8:19 PM

Obviously I hit a nerve.
Tesla is bankrupt. Chevy is trying to get out of bankruptcy with a similar product that’s out of the price range of most Americans?
Last time I checked Lamborghini was still viable, so is Ferrari.

mad scientist on July 30, 2010 at 8:31 PM

I seem to be missing “be”.

shick on July 30, 2010 at 8:32 PM

Coldwater needs to dowse himself.

shick on July 30, 2010 at 8:33 PM

shick on July 30, 2010 at 8:30 PM

I agree. The problem is that they will probably use the taxpayer subsidized lease program instead of buying. It costs less in payments and lets you return the car before that big expense of replacing the batteries.
Not exactly a success story for GM.

mad scientist on July 30, 2010 at 8:34 PM

coldwater on July 30, 2010 at 8:19 PM

and Tesla got Toyota out of the NUMMI charlie foxtrot….seems a pretty a good trade for Trade to minimize risk by outsourcing R&D risk. Almost a win-win for toyota.

Fighton03 on July 30, 2010 at 8:36 PM

gah…second trade should be TMC…..

Fighton03 on July 30, 2010 at 8:37 PM

Not exactly a success story for GM.

mad scientist on July 30, 2010 at 8:34 PM

That’s my other big concern, the people working at GM. I’m sure many don’t like building junk that the government demands. I’m sure many others would like managment to stop with irresponsible leadership.

There are many good peopling working at GM. And many of their products are still good. That’s why I haven’t completely written them off as a potential maker. This silliness does make it harder to buy one though.

shick on July 30, 2010 at 8:40 PM

shick on July 30, 2010 at 8:40 PM
I have owned several GM vehicles and liked most of them (the Nova built by Toyota promptly fell apart at 100K miles). I will not buy another GM or Chrysler product as long as the government or the unions has any ownership of them.

mad scientist on July 30, 2010 at 8:45 PM

I love it when people say “we need to make this a priority, spend lots of money on X” where X is something they would like to see.

Like efficient battery powered engines, or cold fusion, or living on distant planets.

Making these things happen isn’t just we haven’t spent enough money or enough time on them. Its that given *other* technologies ( a HUGE swath of them ) its just not feasible.

Its like people in the 1920s wanting planes which are flown “over the wire” before there were integrated circuits.

DavidM on July 30, 2010 at 8:47 PM

I have owned several GM vehicles and liked most of them (the Nova built by Toyota promptly fell apart at 100K miles). I will not buy another GM or Chrysler product as long as the government or the unions has any ownership of them.

mad scientist on July 30, 2010 at 8:45 PM

Agree, and I’m kind of torn on Ford. They aren’t Obamamotors, but they are still built by UAW workers and I just hate unions with a passion. What to do?

slickwillie2001 on July 30, 2010 at 8:53 PM

mad scientist on July 30, 2010 at 8:45 PM

Just to be clear…that NOVA was built by the UAW at a plant Toyota managed for GM.

Fighton03 on July 30, 2010 at 8:53 PM

The New Chevy Volt: showing communist the world over how to build the Trabant right!

“We ARE the ones we’ve been waiting for!”

karl9000 on July 30, 2010 at 8:59 PM

Absolutely do have to go now. Sorry guys and gals..

coldwater on July 30, 2010 at 8:24 PM

We care? You’re a broken record who is spewing the same talking points as silverfox from two nights ago.

thomasaur on July 30, 2010 at 9:18 PM

Environmentalists have been on a win power/ electric power induced high for 100 years.

The owner of the place uses an electric motor car because it is free from noise, dirt, and odor but more than everything else, he gets an unlimited quantity of electricity free and without trouble. His machine is always ready for immediate use and no appreciable time or trouble is expended in keeping it in that condition. When it comes in from a trip it is run into the garage, and recharged by the wind-plant, either directly from the generator or from the storage battery.

Life in the country will be made immeasurably more attractive by the wind turbine.
– NY TIMES, April 30, 1911

angryed on July 30, 2010 at 9:23 PM

When I first saw the headline out of the corner of my eye, I thought it said “auto-mongrel-in-chief.”

exhelodrvr on July 30, 2010 at 10:16 PM

Fighton03 on July 30, 2010 at 8:53 PM

Was that the NUMMI plant in Fremont, Ca.?

mad scientist on July 30, 2010 at 11:20 PM

slickwillie2001 on July 30, 2010 at 8:53 PM

There are some good “foreign nameplate” vehicles built in the US with non-union labor.

mad scientist on July 30, 2010 at 11:21 PM

DavidM on July 30, 2010 at 8:47 PM

Not much hope of finding a non-chemical replacement for the battery; the room-temperature superconducting capacitor is still firmly in the science fiction realm.
There have been advances in automotive technology that have not been implemented; MIT had an internal combustion engine design with electromagnetically actuated valves. With no valve train and infinite control of valve timing the engine is impressively efficient.

mad scientist on July 30, 2010 at 11:29 PM

Best estimate of replacing oil (all uses): 60 years assuming it remains a national priority.
The problem with electric is the battery. It’s inefficient at storing energy and energy is wasted in both charge and discharge cycles. If you want electric vehicles to be a reality you need to find a better alternative. Otherwise we continue to use internal combustion engines.

mad scientist on July 30, 2010 at 7:55 PM

Yep. Where we gonna get 15 million barrels of oil a day worth of electricity? Coal?? Only the government could think this will work.

2ipa on July 31, 2010 at 12:01 AM

This may be his version of the Dukakis spin in the Tank. Hopefully his politicizing the car doesn’t completely kill it.

leftnomore on July 31, 2010 at 5:17 AM

check out this short buy funny column by Iowahawk filling in for Jim Treacher. Hilarious

http://dailycaller.com/2010/07/30/drove-my-chevy-off-the-levee/

ted c on July 31, 2010 at 5:32 AM

GM will sell 60,000 of these,…(55,999 of which will be bought by the government for their fleet) and this whole Fark-show will be hail a great success!

Alden Pyle on July 31, 2010 at 8:35 AM

Amtrak for the roads

Sonosam on July 31, 2010 at 8:58 AM

Anyone remember that Simpsons episode where Homer designs a car and bankrupts his wealthy half-brother and turns him into a hobo?

bitsy on July 31, 2010 at 10:33 AM

check out this short buy funny column by Iowahawk filling in for Jim Treacher. Hilarious
ted c on July 31, 2010 at 5:32 AM

What was more ridiculous: the Volt or the fact that the dancers in the video were doing Shakira and street moves to that stupid song?

Mr_Magoo on July 31, 2010 at 12:43 PM

Hitler had the Volkswagen

Obama has the Obamawagen, the car for the coupon-clippers

Does not get taxed like a Yacht and the coal plant is way over on the other side of the tracks

(tracks – thingies trains run on)
(trains – thingies that pull Obamawagens to market)
(markets – not sure anymore)

Wondering when the DC crowd will start buying the Onamawagen for agency vehicles

Still waiting to learn how they are going to recycle those batteries

entagor on July 31, 2010 at 1:17 PM

I remember 30 years ago when I was in college an electric car came out and was hyped by the news in the Denver area where it was being built. This car had a 40 mile range between charges.

Gee, things haven’t changed much, have they?

AZfederalist on July 30, 2010 at 5:47 PM

Yeppers, AZf…the Forney Transportation Museum in Denver has one on display. If I remember it was called the TriStar and it resembled a shrunken version of a AMC Gremlin. Another…milestone…car, lol. No, things/technology haven’t changed that much, electric carwise. To paraphrase what Scotty often said, “Ya canna change the laws a physics!”. Until battery physics/technology breaks new ground, electric cars will not be practical. The Prius is a good idea but so sophisiticated as to be prone to glitches that I am very wary of getting near one. I don’t care to be THAT dependent on a computer in a vehicle. Quality Control must keep up with ideas or you’re in trouble. Or, to paraphrase Scotty again, “the more fancy they make the drain, the easier it is to stop-up the plumbing”. No, thanks. I’ll stick with my 25 year old Volvo “bricks”, for their dependablility and safety. IMHO.

Roger Brown on July 31, 2010 at 1:32 PM

blink on July 31, 2010 at 2:53 AM

Ah, stupidity Blink strikes again. The solar isn’t cost efficient and electrical storage is too inefficient and costly to be useful. A battery in the diesel-electric makes sense in terms of smoothing the power flow (much like a capacitor bank in a high-wattage car stereo system) but you have to understand that for storing energy it’s a poor substitute for a chemical fuel.
Batteries are costly and inefficient; why redesign a system with a much less efficient (and short-lived)replacement?

mad scientist on July 31, 2010 at 3:08 PM

What the hell was that? My 3 year old kid drove my minivan further than that when he was messin around while I was unloading it. Urkel only coasted five feet and had a chic in the passengers seat! Why?
In case the thing got away from the lyin Pinnochio?
My kid “drove my van down the driveway across the street and into our neighbors yard. Ha beat Urkel.
Now young dhunter is tryin for a USAF Pilot spot!

This a$$clown POSPOTUS can’t even drive a car?
Suprised he didn’t put on his bicycle helmet!

dhunter on July 31, 2010 at 6:42 PM

How many here drive more than 40 miles round trip to work?

faraway on July 31, 2010 at 6:52 PM

If Obama makes this car his primary mode of transportation, I just may buy one to. But I wanna see him in it first for an extended period. Talk about upsetting the Secret Service!

I hear Nissan makes a better version with twice the range.

In fairness, battery technology has a long ways to go. It`s always the batteries.

Still the car is a piece of crap but not as big as the piece of crap “driving” it in the video.

Anyway, hydrogen is the way to go. Forget about the electrics until the battery issue is solved.

Sherman1864 on July 31, 2010 at 7:05 PM

too, I mean. Apologies.

Sherman1864 on July 31, 2010 at 7:06 PM

My next car will be a Toyota.

Fully loaded.

powerpro on July 31, 2010 at 7:14 PM

My next car will be a Toyota.

Fully loaded.

powerpro on July 31, 2010 at 7:14 PM

Yep Ford or foreign! No Gov’t Motors Union bailed out Autos for me!

dhunter on July 31, 2010 at 7:38 PM

GM will sell 60,000 of these,…(55,999 of which will be bought by the government for their fleet) and this whole Fark-show will be hail a great success!

Alden Pyle on July 31, 2010 at 8:35 AM

Wow, what a great stimulus idea for tow truck operators.

whbates on July 31, 2010 at 9:13 PM

Was that the NUMMI plant in Fremont, Ca.?

mad scientist on July 30, 2010 at 11:20 PM

sorry I missed this last night. Yes, it was the first car produced there under the joint venture. the plant improved over time but that as I recall that was always a UAW facility even though it had some special rules.

Fighton03 on July 31, 2010 at 9:25 PM

He’s driving now.

justltl on July 31, 2010 at 10:07 PM

Why so much hate for the Volt?

Is it the price? or the 40 miles on electricity? Or is it b/c GM is owned by we the people? Is it the rebate?

I see discussions of the price, well the Prius was an expensive car when it came out…..It was going for almost $40k here in California after dealer mark up. And a fully loaded 2010 Prius-V cost over $38k today. And the Prius’ electric only range is ZERO miles.

Way back in 2008, there was a sizable government rebate of about $3200, for the Prius and other hybrids; and that was when only foreign manufactures offered them.

40 miles on electricity covers about 80% of the commutes for Americans. Sure it doesn’t make financial sense to spend the cash today on the vehicle, but if you were looking at buying a new car, you could look at it as a hedge against future gasoline costs increases.

Look, I own a fleet of vehicles, and some of them don’t make sense to buy. How can you justify buying a 450hp two seater from a fiduciary stand point? You can’t.

If you want a technological tour-de-force, that can run on electric but still get you to the next state, buy the Volt. It is a great concept. I am happy that I have the choice to buy or not buy the Volt. I do wish it could go further than 40 miles, but hey, its a start.

Keep in mind that this car was designed long before Obama came along.

JeffVader on July 31, 2010 at 10:18 PM

Related GM video parody: GM Unveils More Aggressive Post-Bailout Commercial

Mervis Winter on July 31, 2010 at 11:47 PM

Why so much hate for the Volt?

yea, I don’t get it either, jeffvader.

Coldwater, good job fighting the good fight.

Allah, The New York Times calls it a lemon and you fall into line???
Wow, just wow. That’s independence of spirit and mind for you!

silverfox on August 1, 2010 at 12:55 AM

Volt: The next Edsel. It will become a collector’s item.

Smorgasbord on August 1, 2010 at 3:51 AM

After what Obama did to the last stock holders of GM stock, I wonder how many people are going to be stupid enough to buy Government Motors stock? I wouldn’t touch it since Obama wants them to build cars like the Volt. A car nobody wants and very few could afford.

Wills on August 1, 2010 at 8:15 AM

OH what a “fish story”. In six months when asked at a presser, “Are you still in favor of electric vehicles, even though the Government Rebate will still keep the average citizens from buying one because the price will still cost them almost $40,000 without additional taxes, and licensing fees.”

His response “I have personally driven one with the family to “Camp David”, and only ran out of electricity, I mean fuel half way there, we had to spend the night with the Smiths who really want one of these cars.” What he won’t tell you is that he left the Smiths to pay the electric bill for recharging of $525.78.

Well, the Smiths tried to write the President and ask for reimbursement. But, the President told them no way Jose. I have only driven that car 10 feet.

Finally, I did notice photo releases that actually showed the his Security Detail, pushing the car

MSGTAS on August 1, 2010 at 10:20 AM

What a tool. Says it rides smooth after going 10 feet. Brought back memories of Dukakis in the tank. Please, someone in the GOP step forward to assume his job.

godhelpus on August 1, 2010 at 3:38 PM

Blink,

The info is out now about the charging system, and solar will take weeks to charge this thing. So let’s just say that’s a tech not ready for automotive tech for quite some time. Your panels will simply not produce enough volts to supply the electromotive force necessary to re-order the battery.

Next, your trying to call this board “down on electric cars in general” and that’s just more intellectual dishonesty on your part. This board is not down on electric cars, they are down on the massive bail-out of a company to produce a car that said company abandoned because it wasn’t going to work. The people on this board are against making a product for political reasons that is greatly and grandly flawed as you admit.

The people on this board are against subsidizing a technology for general use on an infrastructure that is in some cases severely strained and in others completely absent and no plan on the books to correct this problem.

You’re pushing a bad product and not ready for prime time tech.

This board is angry about massive debt and the devaluation of our own wealth to produce a product everyone knew was flawed going in and which only became worse on the way out.

So now won’t you just come clean and divulge your obvious conflict of interest here and the source of your bias?

Jason Coleman on August 1, 2010 at 5:13 PM

Gotta protect those UNION jobs. The campaign money has to come from somewhere.

Exit question: Was PanAm TOO BIG TO FAIL? How about AMC? TWA?

GarandFan on July 30, 2010 at 5:20 PM

C’mon. Ever heard of Lockheed? Chrysler? There have been soooo many bailouts, handouts, favors and outright plenary indulgences in the history of this great republic that a historu prof I know would number them in the tens of thousands. But the dumber versions of us righties have to toss a fit about GM and the brakes they got. (Pun)

This myth is almost as bad as the left’s anger at the right at the favortism shown to oil companies and “going to war” over oil.

BTW, it is probably a bad idea but the Tesla is worse. $170,000 for a Lotus that goes 250 to 300 miles before a recharge. That is $100,000 over the price of a Lotus fossil burner.

Don’t mention that the Chinese are so unimpressed that they are spying on GM. Of course, asians aren’t mercantile and never steal technology and I never saw any of it happen…

IlikedAUH2O on August 1, 2010 at 5:26 PM

Lockheed and Chrysler (the first time around) investors did not have their wealth and property confiscated so the Government could run those companies. Sorry, false equivalency there on your part.

The Chinese spy on everyone.

Jason Coleman on August 1, 2010 at 5:59 PM

Jason Coleman on August 1, 2010 at 5:59 PM

Lockheed and Chrysler (the first time around) investors did not have their wealth and property confiscated so the Government could run those companies. Sorry, false equivalency there on your part.

The Chinese spy on everyone.

It is interesting that the same people who claim that GM (and every US firm) has made nothing but junk for the last four decades claim that it’s perfectly reasonable for the Asians to steal technology, employ slave labor around the world, use social and governmental influence in their own country to keep our goods out, and we should all but ban unions and workplace standards are also the most concerned about anything done for US firms.

Secondly, there was no shareholder value in GM when our government got involved. However, it is nice to see that somebody is concerned about US investors in US industries.

Maybe you and I could get together some day and talk about how we hate the UAW before we punch in for work at the local Arby’s.

IlikedAUH2O on August 1, 2010 at 7:47 PM

First of all no one said anything like your first para, certainly not me.

Next, the shareholders got screwed when the bankruptcy laws were basically bypassed, and their rights to go after the assets were denied. You know this, so cut with the BS.

As for your third, no thanks, but you go right ahead.

Jason Coleman on August 1, 2010 at 8:15 PM

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