By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Wouldn’t it be great if we could run our cars on alternative forms of energy, so we could get out from under the wild swings in the oil market and protect the environment?

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

And wouldn’t it be especially great if, by doing so, we could create good-paying American jobs and help restore a pillar of an important American industry?

I would say yes, and yes.

And that’s why the news about the electric Chevy Volt is so unfortunate.

GM announced late last week they’re suspending production of the Volt for five weeks – laying off 1,300 workers – in order to “match production with demand,” which means no one’s buying them.

The numbers tell the story. The CEO of GM set a target of 10,000 Volts sold in 2011. They sold less than 7,700. Now he’s backing off the 45,000 sales goal for this year.

No wonder. They sold 600 of them last month, and you can do the math yourself.

This is especially worth noting because of the emphasis the White House has put on growing green industry, and the pressure it put on GM to make that policy real with the Volt.

So, what’s the company’s explanation for the flop?

Says a top executive: “Sales in January were clearly impacted by the safety investigation and the exaggerated negative coverage.”

That must be a reference to a probe — by federal officials –of why the Volt kept bursting into flame during safety tests, an investigation that ended after GM agreed to fix design flaws.

So, yes, that news might well have suppressed sales.

But could it be that the Volt’s base price of $40,000, and the fact that it only goes about 35 miles before it needs to tap into a gas engine, had something to do with consumer behavior as well?

I hope GM’s finger-pointing isn’t a sign that they don’t know what they’re doing.

Because a whole lot of workers and taxpayers would prefer to see them start getting it right.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

Comments (108)
  1. tsalnew says:

    My husband commented the other day that we no longer make anything in this country that is worth buying. Yes he said it somewhat tongue in cheek but………………….

    The sad part is that some will see this failure and announce that a push for alternatives is clearly not the answer. We are so far behind where we should be that it is pathetic. For that we have our very own special interest groups to blame – and in America we do “special interests” VERY well.

    1. gramps says:

      Fight ‘BIG OIL’….

      Fill your tank with ‘Diesel Bongs’ & ‘Legalize Industrial Hemp’….

      “It’s a ‘Green Crop’”!

      just do it!


      Ya can’t get ‘high’ on ‘hemp’, you’ll collapse a lung trying!

      1. Dave_D says:

        gramps, are you forgetting your Ritalin lately? Adult ADD can be treated. Try to FOCUS on the subject at hand.

    2. gramps says:

      “Henry Ford’s first Model-T was built to run on hemp gasoline and the car itself was constructed from hemp. On his large estate, Ford was photographed among his hemp fields. The car, ‘grown from the soil,’ had hemp plastic panels whose impact strength was 10x stronger than steel”
      — Popular Mechanics (1941)

      Hemp seed oil can be used to produce ORGANIC non-toxic diesel fuel, lamp lighting, household detergents, stain removers, printing inks, paints, varnishes, lubricants, resins, and oils. Because hemp seeds account for up to half the weight of a mature hemp plant, hemp seed is a viable source for these products. In industrial ‘chemicals’, hempseed oil is similar to linseed oil. Superior quality paints and varnishes were made from hemp seed oil until 1937.

      Testimony before Congress against the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act:
      “58,000 tons of hemp seeds were used in America for paint products in 1935”
      — Sherman Williams Paint Co.

    3. Stephen Stein says:

      Trying to “buy American” is very tough. It DOES figure in many of my buying decisions. One of the easiest decisions for me is shoes – New Balance shoes are Made in America. Ironic, perhaps, for shoes – one of the products that was a New England mainstay, but left shuttered factories all over when the business left the area, is once more a New England manufacturing leader.

      1. tsalnew says:

        Stephen it’s not easy buying American. I haven’t had two American cars in the past 30 years – both of which were a disaster. I drive Toyotas. As much as I’d love to buy American, I cannot afford to made a bad investment decision on a car which is losing proposition to begin with. Same for most technology. It’s just too expensive to spend the same $$ for poor quality. Clothing, etc., I do my very best to buy USA labels. Food I prefer to buy what is grown in the U.S.

        It just is not easy.

      2. tsalnew says:

        I should have added that we ALWAYS support the small, local business/restaurants, etc. I love family owned and operated

      3. Stephen Stein says:

        Over the past 25 years I’ve bought 4 Toyota Camrys and 2 Dodge Caravans. The Toyotas were built in the US. The Caravans were built in Canada. Quelle irony!

        (Of course, it’s more complicated than that – 2 of the Camrys were bought used. Don’t know how THAT factors into the economics.)

      4. tsal says:

        Stephen – our current camry’s didn’t have the gas pedal problem – both built in Japan – it was ones built in US that had the problems. Go figure!

      5. JohnC says:

        My 2005 Dodge Magnum turned 100,000 miles on Monday. Although it was actually assembled in Brampton, Ontario, Canada; according to the window sticker it had 74% domestic content. No significant problems. We liked it so well that we bought a 2008 version of the same car. We would have purchased a 2011 model if Chrysler still made them.

    4. SAY IT BOBBY says:

      My 10 year old car takes me to point A to point B and gets about 36 miles per gallon. I can not afford a new car $40,000 is a lot of money and I simply can’t afford that. Since 2009 we have been struggling – cost of food is really hard on us, we took a family in (my immediate family member lost home and has been staying with us for 12 months – as a result, our food intake and cost have increased)

      I noticed in the store the other day that many items have increased in price, so I don’t think – people are buying moderate to big ticket items as much anymore.

      Government is growing larger, but I don’t think our government should be taking money from our paychecks in the form of taxes and giving it to certain FAVORITE companies to bail them out — it is wrong. Solyndra was given our tax dollars them went bankrupt and we lost bog buck$ on that fiasco. ENOUGH — we need a smalller less intrusive government. Obama is spending more money than the government is taking in – in taxes.

      We should not have our tax dollars going to companies on OBAMA’s fav list or even worst being shipped off to foreign countries…. that is our hard earned dollars he is tossing around!


  2. andyme says:

    Going skiing in Vermont this week, how do I drive to a motel, stay overnight and plug it in to charge? Lot of unanswered questions, by the way it will take electric generating capacity to charge electric cars. Good concept, long way from implementation because of logistic problems. Do you really think BHO will buy one and drive it after he leaves the WHITE HOUSE?

    1. PB87 says:

      You don’t HAVE to charge a Volt overnight. When the battery’s charge is depleted, it switches to gas power, which propels the car and charges the battery. That’s similar to a normal hybrid, but you can drive a Volt on pure battery power much further and faster than any other hybrid.

      1. SAY IT BOBBY says:

        You can buy a $16,000 Corolla and a $16,000 HONDA Civic DX for less than one $40,000 VOLT —

        The VOLT is expensive — too expensive for many.
        WE are in a bad economy — if things were better, maybe expensive cars would be on the buynow list — but I personally am not buying a new car anytime in the near future.

        Obama clearly — is the spokesman for the VOLT — I wouldn’t buy that car.

        Why is our President pushing a specific product like a GM VOLT?

        That just seems wrong.


    2. 1stackmack says:

      andy l agree with you on the electric car issues.ones it dead,better enjoy the some 5+ hours to charge it.remember the volt’s concert is not new.the volt is an electric car,but has generater on board in a four cylinder gas engine.once the battery charge is gone the engine kicks in.and its a normal the way yes the engine has its own l said this idea has been around for a while.very large off road mining trucks and trains use the same electric drive system with no actual mechanical connection to the drive wheels..

      1. 1stackmack says:

        ment concept not concert

    3. tsalnew says:

      This country will make excuses ad nauseum for why it cannot change and why it should not change. Can’t plug it in, can’t fit my suitcase, can’t this and that. Yet in Europe – for decades – they have not had these problems. Amazing isn’t it that Europe and other countries – not making the excuses – are sooooo far ahead of us. We will probably still be making excuses when we literally have no oil or gas and then shake our heads and wonder why – blaming someone else of course or some imagined inconvenience.

      1. fred says:

        Be like Europe, are you kidding me. Germany has said that they will no longer be able to sustain their green energy subsides. The green revolution has been described as a massive money pit. Germany pays the second highest electricity rates in Europe second only to Denmark. They pay 4 times the cost that we do. They wish to continue research but producing solar energy (in a country that doesn’t get a lot of sun light especially in the winter) is very inefficient and very costly and does nothing to reduce global warming gases. In other words, it has been an utter failure. Perhaps in the future, with better technology, there may be hope for success but as of now bankrupting a nation just so some environmentalist type can feel good is very poor economic policy. As fro the Volt, the power mostly comes from coal. At 40k with a Ford Escort selling for under 20k is the main reason why it does not sell. if I has 40k to spend on a car i sure as hell wouldn’t buy a Volt.

      2. tsalnew says:

        fred – europeans do not drive big cars – that’s what I was referring to. They drive. And why would you have solar power in an area that doesn’t have sun? WE have plenty of sun and wind but do we have the solar and wind power technology or do many of the European countries? How about desalinization. Farms in CA are drying up and the state is beside one of the largest bodies of water in the world. Good grief there is so much we could be doing but we can’t get our heads out of …………the sand?

      3. SAY IT BOBBY says:

        GOOOO GREEN is a sales pitch.
        Items often cost more and after the inital purchase price is factored – you might break even — if the product last long enough to off set the heavy price tag.

        I feel that when I look at a std product vs the higher price GREEN product – I look at how long the product last — if the costly higher product last the same amount as the std product and you pay twice as much, the eco savings may not work out to be an advantage.

        I can buy two US made Corolla’s for less than the VOLT. Yes the volt may get better mileage — but 2 corollas can take 2 people from Point A to Point B at around 35 MPG.

        The volt has had some problems with fires…. yes the company that makes the VOLT has received the FEDERAL regulators OK that this is a fairly safe car…. but that same company also received a huge bail out so the federal gov “may” have a vested intererst in ignoring the fire problem.

        =====>BIG GOV — is on a road to choosing certain business to drop dollars on to… this seems wrong – especially if they are regulating the company!!


  3. wowzer says:

    What is the pay back time on the original investment? decades perhaps
    What does it take to produxe the electricity? Fossil fuels perhaps.
    Realisticly is it any better financially than a regular car that gets 30 mpg?

  4. PB87 says:

    Simple: It’s too expensive. With the bankruptcy and bailout, GM didn’t have the luxury of subsidizing its price, unlike what Toyota did with the Prius until costs came down to a level where they could turn a profit.

  5. Dave_D says:

    As several have mentioned, this is a product that no one wants (why would anyone want it, it almost defines the word impractical), it is too expensive, and it is of questionable reliability..

    And as tsal mentions, in this country nobody makes anything worth buying. Sad but true. The forces of a world economy have caused all manufacturing to leave this country (leaving us with a service oriented economy, that produces nothing tangible). In ten years there may still be a GM, Chrysler and Ford (or maybe not). But, they will all be manufacturing their products overseas. The manufacturing jobs are gone forever. No government can change that. Government can, however, help prepare its citizens for the jobs that remain (or will originate in this country). Education is key to this.

    1. gramps says:

      You state:

      “Education is key to this.”

      Then educate yourself!

      Ignorance is ‘bliss’…


      1. tsalnew says:

        gramps – there is far more than just the hemp being ignored. There is no funding and if there is any new ideas are blocked by the big guys – for everything – not just alternative fuels

      2. gramps says:


        Listen to ‘Rush’ @ noontime, S/Be interesting how he’s going to extract his ‘foot’ from his ‘Mic’!


      3. tsalnew says:

        Thanks and geez – would love to hear it – where? Can’t take time to find him – Radio?? Somewhere on computer??

      4. gramps says:

        I just gave you the ink!

        Do you want me to ‘CLICK’it for ya!

        Ya can take a horse to ‘water’!


      5. tsalnew says:

        there are tons of links on there and since I’m working don’t have time to go thru all of them to find the actual show. Remember, I don’t watch these shows – know nothing about them and don’t want to. And for podcasts says I have to be a member – no way – no how

      6. gramps says:

        Not surprising, that you can’t find ‘free’ a ‘Rush Limbaugh’ feed on your computer…

        A BIO:

        Peppermint Patty is noted for her persistent habit of profoundly misunderstanding basic concepts and ideas that most people would consider obvious, leading to ultimately embarrassing situations. For a long time she seemed unaware that Snoopy was a dog, referring to him as “the funny looking kid with the big nose.”


      7. tsal says:

        gramps – :) Other than I didn’t have time to find one that I wouldn’t have to register for……………………..and I will not register for anything to do with that moron…..

        Want a definition of Charlie, Chuck??? – Charlie Brown is the wishy-washy child hero of the newspaper comic strip Peanuts. Charlie Brown is a lovable loser who dreams of hitting the game-winning home run but usually strikes out.

  6. HAL says:


    1. 1stackmack says:

      being part off peugout is for small diesel engine technology for their small cars,cruze est.l don’t think the peugout cars would do well here.l love the little fiat 500 here now,but its sales are as poor as the volts.and we’ll be interesting to see what the 2013 dodge dart does it first two years,its all alfa underneath the civic looking body..certain euro cars just don’t do well here, like saab,or opel in the 70’s..

  7. 1stackmack says:

    first off gm is still fine,their selling more than expected chevy cruzes and the new sonic to make up for the volt.the volt itself is game changer as far as technology.and because of the technology in the car it is very expensive,the base car is $40,000.l haven’t driven it,but l did sit in it at the auto show in january.l’m 6.5,its comfortable,but a little tight like most car today.its about the size of a prius,and l prius is the ugliest car today.but for mileage it has to look like a door yes the volt is no hold production wize,temporarily.but all car companies do that to reduce invintory around this time to retool for the 2013 model which are coming out now.

  8. emom says:

    WAIT HAVE YOU SEEN THE PLUG<…. They never think outside that brick box of theirs, Corporate dummies,…….. I have heard many that are ready to trade their Eco cars in cause they are small inside, have no storage for travel and well you just cant go far….. THEY ARE NOT WORTH IT for some…. unless you just go around town and go only 35v miles round trip,, before you need the gas, WASTE.

    1. 1stackmack says:

      how many electric lawn mowers do you see outside the city environment?? not many.

      1. emom says:

        1stackmack,,, I know,,, I have not seen one in about 10 years,. although I have an electric snowblower,,, was a great investment and is a work horse, BUT bought it about 7 years ago.. But those are far different than cars.
        Hey does anyone remember the electric busses, The ones that ran on the trolly lines,,,,,,,, do they even still use them. So why is the MBTA so broke if they use electricity,, on the trains,,,, have to wonder….

      2. 1stackmack says:

        yes the T uses the “trackless trolleys ” or electric bus as we call them in cambridge and alike.

      3. emom says:

        SO if they still use them in Cambridge and the street cars are still electric, then explain their rational babble for cutting service and asking for more money… Electricity is far cheaper than gas any day, the rails are electric, only the commuter rails are diesel or are they too electric..

      4. tsal says:

        emom – there are not many – they go from Belmont to Cambridge – I’m not even sure if Watertown still uses them. Maybe – minimal usage compared to entire system

  9. MJB says:

    John, you need to do a little more research before talking and writing about this stuff.

    Electric is old technology now for cars. Natural gas is the new craze due to its abundance and relatively cheap cost in North America. GM is about to announce that it will be building pick-up trucks that will be fueled by natural gas which is what Ford is already doing.

    Companies such as Westport Innovations (WPRT) are building natural gas engines for trucks and UPS, Waste Mgmt and other companies are buying them.

    Where will natural gas vehicles fuel up? Look at what Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE) is doing. They are first building natural gas super highways (installing nat gas stations along major trucking routes) so trucks can transport goods more cheaply coast to coast and border to border. They also build natural gas refill stations for companies like UPS so they can send trucks out and come back to refuel at their own depot.

    BTW, CLNE is creating all kinds of jobs by installing these refuelling stations.

    GM isn’t moving away from alternative fuel, They are in transition to natural gas like their competitors.

  10. Stephen Stein says:

    It’s worth noting that the first-year sales of the Volt (and the comparable Nissan Leaf) are very similar to the first-year sales of the Prius.

    Consumers are (understandably) wary of the cutting edge – version 1.0 of anything may be “cool” but not for everyone.

    1. 1stackmack says:

      the volt and nissan leaf are nothing alike.ones just an electric car,once its dead you need to plug it is an electric car, with its own generator sorce,once its dead,your not strandid for hours.

      1. Stephen Stein says:

        Ah. Thanks for the distinction.

  11. HAL says:


    1. 1stackmack says:

      as l said before saab should have been killed off 20 year ago.or even after the sonet.bon’t on guy cause they only sold a hand full a year.saab globally hasn’t done much,except for scania.l’m not alone,ever watch top gear(the original version ) . the last one they tested was horrible.

  12. 1stackmack says:

    gm already had cng concerted trucks.and the white or yellowish green massachusetts DOT pick ups are cng.mack trucks inc.who’s owned by volvo ce( yes volvo own’s mack,but the volvo company doesn’t own a piece of volvo cars,ironic isn’t it.)offers a cng cummins engine for all terra pro model’s which is the cabover commonly used for garbage truck chassis’s.but the real fuel of the future is hydrogen.look up honda clarity.its the first production car to use it.only in california though.leno has one…

  13. Cat fight says:

    Why.. because i can find better way’s to piss forty thousand dollars away. not on a golf cart that’s for sure… Nope love my Ford and the service at Ford. if i cant drive it.. ill buy a horse. All these cars Prius, volt, smart cars are embarrassments .that doe’s nothing for the planet.

    1. BostonIrish says:

      Cat fight, Up until a year ago I drove a Nissan Murano. Loved it. 20mpg. In 4 days I had to fill it twice at $55 a tank when gas was only $3.40/gal.

      I traded it in for a Prius, and it was half that price. I have not changed my driving habits at all. In fact I drive the Prius more often than trading off with my wife and use her car because IT WAS THE SMARTEST PURCHASE I’VE MADE IN A WHILE! No matter HOW you slice it, I average, AVERAGE, 50mpg AND I fill it about every 8 days, and it barely breaks $30/fill. It may be doing nothing for the rest of the planet, but it’s saving me a bundle. Not an embarrassment, either.

      1. tsal says:

        oh it’s doing something for the planet and for you – it’s a win-win. At the moment the camry mileage is not far off from the camry hybrid and both of ours are relatively new so trade is not justifiable. When we retire in a few years hybrid it will be – glad to hear you enjoy yours. Wise move.

    2. tsal says:

      I know a person who swore up and down that Toyotas were junk and Fords were to die for. That was said while the not too old Ford she owned was in the service station for a major repair. You see the difference is that I can’t really tell you about Toyota service because none of the 12 we and other family members have owned haven’t needed service. The only time any of our cars were in for service (other than routine) was for the accelerator problem (mostly media hype) and Toyota picked the cars up at our home/place of business, dropped a car to use, and returned ours same day. And I’m talking about cars that run well over 150,000 – we keep them forever.

      And my guess is we paid less or equal to what you paid for your Ford. I don’t have the money to Pi$$ away on repairs when it should simply work right. In the end with the only two American cars I’ve had in 30 years, I paid far more than $40,000 (including car cost) for fixing the things and BOTH were Fords

    3. tsal says:

      oh and watch out for those horses – they’ll take you right off a cliff – similar to the American car manufacturer now that I think about it

      1. Cat fight says:

        That’s because they saw a sucker coming and sold you a Murray pre owned Ford. Horses have great instinct… they would take you off a cliff out of embarrassment . just like Prius owners should do…

        All four of my Fords and a Major college has nothing but great luck with ALL of our fords that beats yours and your buddies piddly few purchases..
        these cars blow and if i had to buy a car it be a 58 impala.. not these piece’s of $……

      2. tsal says:

        cat fight – both fords were new and top of the line – never bought pre-owned/used. Both stunk. Had a 69 Mach I – raced it and would love to have it back – even though it was a piece of junk. Parents always drove tbirds – junk – never figured why they kept buying them. Son had a mustang – loved it until it cost thousands to fix a problem that ford knew existed but also knew when to stop the warranty BEFORE problem occurred.

        Have owned enough horses to know they do have great instinct but are flight animals first. Got some for you to ride if you are interested. Just sign a waiver first please! Would love to have you try him out!

      3. BostonIrish says:

        Cat fight, that was original. But that’s the “lawyer” joke.

        “What do you call a busload of lawyers driving off a cliff?”

        “A good start.”! Ba-Da-Boom! Moron.

  14. mikey says:

    Battery fires? The bad economy? It’s too expensive?

    I save a lot of money these days by driving less.

    1. 1stackmack says:

      too expensive yes,the fire issue was brought up in front of congress,they couldn’t prove anything,like the toyota thing two year ago.l’m car guy,can you tell yet.l read everything into the automotive industry.especially durring my winter lay offs.

    2. SAY IT BOBBY says:

      I purchased a Honda years ago – it was a great deal about $16k and the car is a good car, I simply can not afford to buy a $40k car at this time.

      Economy Bad? Oh yes…. they say it is recovering but if it is it is at a snails pace. The cost of food, utilities and gasonline is making families struggle — so yes the President might toss money for a new car, but many Americans will have to do with what they have — while BIG GOV spends the tax dollars and borrows more!

      TOO EXPENSIVE: In my opinion, I could buy a Toyota Corolla base price about $15,900 and a Honda CivicDX that cost about $15,900 — combine both the HONDA AND TOYOTA and you would spend less than one VOLT.

      Maybe the BIG GOV push to buy the VOLT – or any specific item is what turns people off! First it was buy this lightbulb, then it was this food is best (remember looks into lunchbags) now — cars. ENOUGH!

  15. tsalnew says:

    And then we have the mindset of Santorum who claims green tech is an unfounded political science and that Obama is just trying to scare people away from Big Oil……………..translated – Santorum is cozy in the bed of the oil company lobbyists.

    1. 1stackmack says:

      l’ll agree with santorum on the green job thing,l just don’t like santorum.but you can’t deny we need more off of our oil to come from here.big oil or not.l’ll always buy gas from the little guy,not mobil or alike.but to get less from opec would bee great..

      1. tsalnew says:

        onestack – it would take years to even get set up to get the oil and not so many years to deplete it. There is not that much left and we are using it like crazy. We are going to run out. I also never buy gas from the big guys.

  16. HAL says:


    1. 1stackmack says:

      l’m not just a gm guy.l’m a car guy who likes all domestic brands.saab owners are loyalties l’ll agree.and it sucks seeing any brand die no mater what brand.but most car owners are loyal to there brand.and since their both dead( and saab can’t be saved,read the trade magazines) which brand of cars will be worth more.pontiac or saab in the collecter car world.a 1964 pontiac tempist with gto op. or the very first saab moneys on the goat.

      1. HAL says:


      2. 1stackmack says:

        hal,l get layed off every year cause l’m in landscape construction,ie football fields,park play grounds .lf we new it wasn’t going to snow this winter,we would’ve bid out winter jobs.l’ll be back at it soon since we can’t take anytime off unlit the last week in july.this is vacation time for me until the flower show went we start trucking in mulch.and with all manufacturers,unfortunately brands come and go.pontiac oldsmobile mercury desoto plymouth.and some brands come back.when freightliner bought the ford heavy truck line in 1997,the brought the name sterling back from the its death in the late 40’s.but your saab situation freightliner for 10+ year didn’t change much to keep up.and now datsun’s coming back..

  17. 1stackmack says:


  18. SAY IT BOBBY says:


    One article wrote this:
    Battery fires broke out in three Volts after safety crash-testing last year, but federal regulators determined that the car was no more risky than vehicles with conventional gasoline engines. GM and federal officials believe that the fires were caused by coolant leaking from damaged plastic casing around the batteries after side-impact test crashes.




    1. tsalnew says:

      so far we haven’t done very well creating alternative sources on our own

      Just sayin’

  19. Jaygee says:

    I have to assume that most people over the age of 40 simply do not trust a vehicle that you have to charge with electricity to run. I haven’t checked into the positive & negatives of the Volt because I don’t believe I would ever by one. I’m still trying to figure out how the two countries we defeated in WW-2, Germany & Japan for those who are unaware of history, sell more cars in this couontry than we do. Could this possibly mean that in 50 years we will be importing cars that run on sand from Iraq?

    1. tsal says:

      It’s really simple, jaygee – They make cars that actually work. I also get really good gas mileage. It isn’t rocket science – quality, resale, economical Makes you wonder why we can’t figure it out here – in the greatest country in the world – does it?

      1. tsal says:

        not to mention their TVs and other tech products. And don’t discount the older Americans. They in many cases seem to be the ones who have figured out that you don’t need a BIG engine to actually get places.

  20. TRUE VOLT FACTS says:

    Mr. Keller,
    I have been a loyal listener of yours on WBZ for many years now and you are usually spot-on. However, I feel the need to clarify some serious misinformation that you spoke of on Monday morning, March 5th regarding the Chevrolet Volt. Your commentary started off on the right direction, but when it came to the NTSB tests and reasons for the lack of sales, it went horribly awry.
    First off, the tested Volts did not explode into flames on impact during the crash testing. They did not catch fire at any point during the test. In fact, two of the cars did not catch fire until several days after the test and the other, several weeks after the test. The fires were not a really a result of the crash directly, but a failure of protocol, as the battery packs were left connected as the cars sat in the testing yard. It is a matter of procedure that after any serious accident with any car, be it a regular gasoline powered car, hybrid or electric, that the batteries should be disconnected after a crash, and when possible removed. Emergency responders and tow service drivers know this from coast to coast. However, the NTSB did not disconnect or remove the batteries. Since lithium-ion batteries run very hot and since the protective cooling system ruptured in the crash, after a period of time sitting, the batteries overheated and caused the fires. The NTSB did fully clear the car and has called it safe. GM reviewed the crash data anyhow and made changes to re-enforce the barrier around the cooling system to further protect it in a crash.
    Please note that no Chevrolet Volt sold to the public has had a fire occur. But in fact, hundreds of regular all-gasoline powered cars catch fire everyday, for what ever reason.
    Regarding the additional misinformation. You referred to the Volt as an electric car. In actuality, it is a plug-in electric/gas hybrid. The 35 miles of charge that you state is actually the low end of the battery range. In actuality, the car will get 35-48 miles on a charge, based on the weather and driving conditions, before seamlessly switching to gasoline power. The car is perfect for those with a short commute, to and from work. On weekends or other occasions, when making a longer trip, you use the battery power and then switch to gasoline power. This is something that all-electric cars cannot do. They may go up to 90 miles or so on a charge, but you cannot venture more than 40-45 miles from home without a plan on how to recharge before returning home.
    Did GM overstate the production target? Yes. They never should have released any targets. Unfortunately, the auto business often announces pie-in-the-sky sales targets that they have to back-peddle on later. But please note that the car is selling in very similar numbers to the Nissan Leaf electric. The only other “electric” car on the market by a mainstream manufacturer.
    Now the price. While $40,000 sounds like a lot, it is only slightly higher than the average car being sold today. The Nissan Leaf starts at around $34,000 and the new Ford Focus electric car will also be priced at $40,000. The Fiskar gas/electric, that is mechanically similar to the Volt, starts at over $85,000!!! Also, please note that all of the mentioned cars come with a $7,500 alternative energy discount provided by the government. That said, even if we wish that these cars cost less, new technology comes at a price. Early adopters will gladly pay additional dollars for something new. Plasma televisions, lap-top computers, even the hand held calculator cost significantly more when they were new technologies. They found a select audience. But as the price came down over time, the audience grew and the product eventually became mainstream. The same will happen with the Volt, if the media allows it to survive. The right-wing polls like to claim that this was a creation of the Obama administration, as a condition of the government controlled bankruptcy. And the left-wingers actually like to take claim that it was! But in reality, this car was conceived by ex-GM product guru, Bob Lutz, years before the bankruptcy. The car had been in development for several years. Several years more than usual, because of the new technology to get it on the road. But because Obama sat in a pre-production car during the bankruptcy and had some good things to say about the car, suddenly it was all his idea! As much as it pains many to do it, one needs to give GM the credit where it is due. They put a lot of R & D into this technology. They have taken quite a chance on it. But they have been mercilessly beaten down by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly who have called the car a boondoggle created by the Obama administration. It is just simply not true.
    Owners of the Volt love their car. Consumer Reports magazine, often accused of being biased against the American automakers, has reported that the Volt has the highest level of owner satisfaction that they have ever reported, over 90%. The car is comfortable and well appointed, performs very well on the road and feels like an expensive car, as it should. Future versions will have better battery performance and better gas mileage. GM is already claiming that they have the technology to bring the car much further. The problem is that the perception of GM and the perception of the Volt is so damaged, that the car may now have trouble reaching the mainstream masses, even as the price comes down. And that is a real shame. As this car and this technology works and works well. It is just being held back by those with microphones that cannot see the future clearly.
    FYI, I am not in the automotive industry, nor do I own a Volt. I am a person that follow the industry religiously and I make my conclusions based on the facts. Not on uninformed conjecture.

    1. tsal says:

      VERY interesting and thanks for posting. Remember also that both parties are afraid of the big oil companies but while the left is scared the right is terrified. There is a reason Limbaugh and O’Reilly are panning the car.

      BTW – I’m fairly competent in knowing what my cars are about (not as much now as when I was younger) and didn’t know why after a recent major accident the battery was not only disconnected but replaced.

    2. PB87 says:

      Usually when somebody makes a post that long, it’s filled with misstatements, factual errors, and conspiracy theories. Thank you for disproving the stereotype.

      1. TRUE VOLT FACTS says:

        I don’t ususally post at all, as I am disgusted by the mis-infomation that spreads on blog posts. But as an informed listener on this subject, I did feel that I had to get the straight facts out there as reported by the industry and technology media, not the political media. Politicians and pundits should stick to bashing each other, not bashing American technology and inginuity!!!

    3. 1stackmack says:

      that was the point l was talking about on the fires.exorbitant blog,hopefully john will bring it up.l doubt it..

  21. Cat fight says:

    New technology or not, these prices show intent on a profit and not for the general good for people , fuel and environmental concerns. They are ( way ) over priced to begin with. you would think to warm everyone to this is make them available so most people can afford them.. you would think that a good marketing ploy..

    They may tout Hi Mileage, low consumption. big deal even if this whole country were swarming with these cars the Government and the state will still stick it to us to get to work.
    Till then ill keep driving my Fords something that works and a great track record.

    Ok looks and size aside and a lot of money for a lot of nothing ill bite my tongue..
    but the prices is criminal. we all have to travel to work… unless they plan on the few privileged will work. our leaders still are not
    serious about making us a manufacturing nation again that’s for sure. so it sounds like they want to squeeze a good number of people from freedom to move around.. that sounds more plausible

    1. tsal says:

      on the majority of what you said we can agree – until the jobs come back we do what we have to and the companies continues its free fall.

      1. Cat fight says:

        They just say nothing about jobs and about pulling us out of the hole ..Money thrown at company’s by his majesty. they pulled up tents and left the country or still have their hands out.

        Ok concede that looks are unimportant in cars that they are not 58 Plymouth impalas mores the pity.. the prices of these cars are over whelming for what you get. and they tell us for the common good is a reason for pushing these cars on us. To get everyone on board make it available for most, and the profits will follow . I have 07 vehicles excellent servicing they are cherry…even with us to get us on board with this scheme you would think someone would dangle a carrot to win you over. That’s why i think there still not serious
        and a good reason for the Volt shorting out.

    2. 1stackmack says:

      l’ll agree with that.the government is forcing auto makers to build cars this to get the cafe or mileage up to a standard.ln order to keep building fun cars,camaro,mustang,and others.they have to build ultra fuel efficient volt,fusion hybrid, is just this month rolling out the 2013 malibu’s great car read ups in the magazines.but the same with the fusion next year,no V6 power because of the mileage standards.l personally like the lmpala myself,its the last car to offer a column mounted shifter.l’m 6,5 l like a bench seat with no console cramming me in.that why l drive a colorado pick up.and like you,never had a problem with gm products.l’ve even owned a late 80’s cavalier without major issues.just routine maintenance all vehicles will many antique cars are still going out on weekends.

      1. Cat fight says:

        My 66 sport fury days are long gone sad to say i bought my firs new cart 1990 crx but the height of the kuwait oil crises no one was buying cars, so i got a 9400 car for 6400.– i look at the price of cars today and i want to hurl… and i don’t need a loaded car.
        and i like to crank down my own window . and don’t need reconditioning.

        i see a lot of mandating and arm twisting, and yes theft… that’s not how to win us over.

      2. Tsal says:

        CAt fight. Sorry you missed the muscle car era. Best time there was. 56 or maybe 57 Chevy. Nice

      3. Tsal says:

        Will try to post again. I am on phone. Small screen. Thought you said 86.

  22. F says:

    People are using Europe as a model cause they drive much smaller cars.
    Okay then.

    In Europe you buy gas by the liter, not by the gallon. 1 Gallon is approx. 3.78 liters. Lets call it 4 liters to 1 gallon.

    In Denmark they currently pay 15 DKK for 1 liter of Gasoline. Ie, to get a gallon they would pay 4 times more or 60 DKK. That is equal to $10.00 for a gallon of Gasoline in Denmark.

    In ex. Italy, the liter price is Euro 3.65 +/-. That would make for Euro 14.60 for a gallon or $19.30 for a gallon of Gas.

    Europeans in general drive smaller and more gas efficient cars than we do here in the States.

    The grand oracle in the WH is fixed on the idea that the solution to high gas prices is driving more gas efficient models.

    Okay, anyone care to explain, why Europe – where they DO drive those cars, have prices for a gallon of fuel at 10-20 dollar ?

    Obama is clueless.
    Open up for drilling in the US. Make use of our own resources for a change.

    1. tsal says:

      You need to eliminate the tax to accurately compare. Fuel taxes in Europe can be 70-75% as compared to our 11% avg.

      Make use of what resources?

      The US has 2 percent of the worlds proven oil reserves. It burns 25 percent of the worlds transportation fuels. We will hit our peak in 22 years. See the problem here?

      Worlds first oil well was in PA in 1959 – the earth then had 6 tril barrels of crude oil – est. We have used 1 tril. Of the original 6 the industry can extract only about half – 3 to 4 tril. 1st tril were easiest to get at – no more gushers and no more instant millionaires. It’s harder to get and harder to get means more $$ to get it. Harder to get and a tremendous increase in demand spells disaster. Demand is overtaking supply.

      1. F says:

        I live on the 3rd floor in an apartment complex.
        I could barely afford the Mazda 3 I am driving now which is rated at 40 mpg and half the price of the Volt.

        How would I afford double the price and would I throw an extension cord out the window at night to charge the sucker ?

        You see the problem ??

        I am all for alternative energy, but don’t think for a second that we are anywhere close to even remotely have a sustainable alternative to oil and gasoline.

        And the solution per the big boys. Buy Volts, Hybrids etc which all are much more expensive than other elsewise gas efficient cars ??

        What about the trucks delivering to supermarkets for instance ?
        Tsal, right now people can barely afford food let alone 40k electric cars. Gas is going up. People will be even more strained at the supermarket line.

        Here is a crazy thought. We start drilling here, no one ever claimed that we would be selfsustaining. I know I didn’t. But if we start producing even a quarter of our consumption here instead of buying it in the middle east, well let’s see..

        Prices will drop
        People will have money to spend = improving the economy
        Improve the economy = more funds to expedite the research in alternative energy
        Increased research = quicker results = less dependency of foreign oil = less need to go to war everytime a dictator coughs

        We have oil and we have natural gas. Currently not even a fraction of it is being brought up.

      2. Tsal says:

        Youn have pretty much listed every reason to be developing alternatives. Anything we get now in the area of fossil will be huge $$. The real problem is because of people who insisted 30 years ago that we didn’t need alternatives. If we had the tech in place then the price would not be so high now. We knew we needed it but it’s far too easy for Americans to keep thei head stuck in the sand and think it’ll all,just work out. We are very far behind in all areas – not just cars. Technology to name one. We knew and we made the same excuses im hearing here. Didn’t work then. Isnt working now. New tech is always more expensive. See a well written previous post re that. Even more expensive is not realizing we need to keep up because we are dying here

      3. Tsal says:

        How much fossil fuel do you think we have. And how long do you think it will last. A decade or better to get at it and a few decades to use it up. Then what

      4. F says:

        We have enough to make an impact against big oil and the middle east if done right.

        It will last long enough to boost the economy so we can afford research into alternative energy at which point the middle east can get the middle finger all together

      5. tsal says:

        how much F? How long will it take to get to it? What will it cost when we finally get it – years from now? How long are you willing to continue putting off something we should have started decades ago?

  23. Cat fight says:

    F.. is correct

    i could say about the many trucks roaming Mass streets and highways burning fuel and in rest stops and some carrying freight that can fit in my F150. most times.

    Then all these freelance workers thanks to getting it stuck up their>>>>> losing their jobs , are out on the road doing what they can.

    I think i can say those that are lucky to have some kind of employment , most are driving , self contracting. just seeing rookies with the snow plows that aren’t pitched the right way and more house paint spilled on the roads tell me more people are in jobs that they clearly never did before. which means we are going nowhere with gas conservation. this is again for those that can afford these cars and many are company bought rentals… and are not the (us) majority driving these HF cars… .and its all to suck more money out of people while Bozo wants to see 5 bucks a gallon….its all crud.

    1. Tsal says:

      You are right. We are not going anywhere because our heads are stuck ………… In the sand

      1. Cat fight says:

        True ..and all im saying if this is really the case as much as i love my vehicles trade them in for a sensible alternative “to be a team player” give a choice and incentive to play ball . not mandates demands and……….extortion because that what im seeing

      2. Tsal says:

        Point well made.

    2. 1stackmack says:

      there is two alternative fuels out there that work.hydrogen,its plentiful and all the makers are work that out,look up honda clarity which is on sale in california.ethonal.we alread have E 85 capable cars here.but we’re using corn based fuel for that now,there working on a nother none food sorse alternative fore far as diesel truck mpg.thats the latest battle for truck sales.bigtrucks in the 70’s got about 4 mpg.with the advent of streamlining in the late 80’s with kenworth’s t 600 mpg only went from 4 to 5 mpg.some 30 years latter ,with computer controlled engines,single rear wheels instead of duels,truck and trailer skirts,the most efficient truck is still only getting maybe 7.5 mpg.its all about tenths of a mpg.but it still needs diesel to get moving,and two 150 gallon tanks full of it..

      1. Tsal says:

        One stack. Husband does a lot of testing on the. Govt red tape is delaying it BIG time. Oil interests want no part of it

  24. Tsal says:

    F it’ll cost wayyyyy too much and take too much time while we get further behind

    1. F says:

      Define too much Tsal. Solyndra received 535 Million dollars to research in alternative energy and well, …..

      We know oil, we know how to process it, we know how to get it out of the ground.

      I am not saying that we shouldn’t invest in research into alternative energy but define the too high cost.

      When gas hits 5 this summer, diesel probably 6.50 or more, people who can’t afford food now, will stand no chance then.

      Yes it takes time to bring up oil and natural gas but we have it, we know where it is and it will be a heck of lot quicker than trying to invent alternative energy out of thin air.

      It is a patch solution at best and not aimed to be a long lasting eternal solution, but you have people starving. More and more people go on food stamps every day. People can’t find work.

      While it is a noble and admirable thought to seek alternative energy, the cost to people of the United States in ignoring our already existing natural resources is too high vs the cost of bringing the oil up.

      1. Tsal says:

        Too much as in it’s far more difficult to get to and the cost of the gas as an end result will be far more than what we are seeing now. Look it up. In addition it will take years. I can guarantee you that as long as the focus is on fossil this country will get further behind with alternatives. It’s a given and the oil companies are banking on it.

        Alternatives are not out of thin air. The technology is alive and well in other countries and once you get the special interests out of the picture you’ll find they are blocking a lot of it here. Time to stop thinking the US leads. We are so far behind it is pathetic. As I said in tech too.

      2. Tsal says:

        As far as people starving. Nothing to do with energy and all to do with the need to protect the top 10% at the cost to the majority. That’s a discussion for another day.

      3. F says:

        Tsal, Energy actually do have a say in people starving. As fuel goes up, so does the delivery cost for food to stores. That being everything from items flown in, shipped in and/or delivered by truck

        The saying goes. If you bought it, a trucker brought it

        As the cost of especially diesel goes up, the cost of food goes up. Without any countermeasures as in, jobs, pay increases etc it becomes more and more expensive to shop for food.

        So yes, energy prices most certainly have an impact on the cost of food hence the amount of people who can’t afford to eat.

      4. tsal says:

        F – as gramps says look it up – anything we dig out of the ground now will be charged at a high cost when it reaches the pumps. And there are all sorts of alternatives to diesel being tested and developed right now – except they are for the most part running up against roadblocks from the oil lobbyists. My husband tests they all the time and has been for years. They are almost there and would be available a whole lot sooner than anything we’ll start working on now. Just can’t get them past the big oil companies.

      5. 1stackmack says:

        diesel is here,now and in can de diluted ie bio diesel,but it jells up worse than reg diesel in a cold climate.diesel was cheaper than gas until california CARB started pushing green than we got ultra low sulfur can say ship by train.unless you want a train depo in every town,its still takes a diesel powered truck to bring it to market.want fresh vegetables in the dead of winter,a diesel farm tractor,loaded them on diesel truck with refrigeration unit powered by diesel to lumpit cross roads plowed by diesel snowplows.we are the country in the world (canada too) that reliese on gas powered cars.if vw getta gas gets say 30 mpg and the same diesel version gets 50+.theirs the alternative fuel. yes maybe alternative fuel s would be nice,but down the road,not now.drill baby drill is in effect.

  25. 1stackmack says:

    lts funny that john didn’t mention this piece on the news tonight,we must’ve read truth about volts comments.all of that blog was true to the word.on that note.great topic today,the phone went off at 5pm tonight l’m working tomorrow running fill in keep your stick on the ice kids,and play nice..10-4

  26. FireGuyFrank says:

    You ask why, Jon? Simple. Ask yourself this question: Would I rather heat my home with natural gas, oil, or electric? If you said to yourself, “No way am I heating my home with electric heat,” then you have your answer.

    Electricity, unless created by solar or wind power, is too expensive. Add in that the cars themselves are small and have less horsepower, and electric cars will not sell.

  27. rpm272 says:

    Environmentalists are all for electric cars but against all forms of electric power generation. What about the problem of being covered with battery acid in a minor collision.

  28. Mike B says:

    How much cheaper & better mileage would the Volt have/be if they had kept an all electric drivetrain, as works just fine on electric cars? Would that have made it cheap enough to be a high selling car?

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