Monday, December 06, 2010

Motor Trend's Enviro-Wacko Idiocy: Chevy Volt Car of the Year

Yes. it cost twice as much as a similar vehicle and runs on premium gas. No, it's not a high-end BMW or Mercedes. It's the "electric" Chevy Volt and it's Motor Trend's 2011 car of the year. 

Electric cars don't work, they've never worked and there's no electric car that proves this better than the Chevy Volt -- the "electric" car Motor Trend's editors are slobbering all over. "101 mph and 127 mpg" is what the headline on their car of the year issue is screaming this month. What a happy load of crap. 

Did you think the Volt was actually an electric car? That's a perfectly understandable mistake. It isn't. What the Volt actually is is a gas car with an engine that runs a generator which charges a battery which powers the car rather than just using the gas engine to power the wheels. So it uses one source of energy -- gas -- to create another source of energy -- electricity. Perfectly idiotic and inefficient. Imagine the folks at Trek or some other bicycle manufacturer producing a bike where the pedals turn not a gear set that turns the rear wheel but instead powers a tiny generator hooked to a motor that powers the rear wheel and you have an idea of the idiocy of the Volt.

So the "electric" Volt is really a gas Volt (might as well call it the Fart). As far as the fuel efficiency of the Volt's gas motor goes, it's no more efficient than your typical sub-compact beater like the Chevy Aveo -- 37-42 mpg from what I've been able to gather. The BS about the "127 mpg" lies in the fact that Volt cheerleaders like MT dump the car's minuscule all-electric cruising range -- 25 - 50 miles, or less than 15% of it's total cruising range -- into the total mileage figures. The simple fact of the matter is that this car spends 85% or better of it's time running a gas motor that gets about 40 mpg. In other words, if you don't actually drive a Volt like most normal people drive their cars, the Volt is an "electric" car. But for a Volt buyer who actually has to get to work and back home, then get to the store, then get junior to basketball practice, then get back home again all in one day, the Volt is a gas car that is a highly sophisticated, better looking Chevy Aveo or Toyota Yaris for better than twice the price.

Did I say better than twice the price? Why yes I did. The 4-passenger Chevy Volt costs more than $40,000. Even with the government's $7500 welfare payment (I mean tax credit) it costs damn near $33,000. Gonna be a whole lot of families buying these, aren't there? Compare this to a typical minivan that comes loaded with a dual screen DVD system, dual zone automatic climate control, leather seats, a great sound system and a host of other amenities, and holds up to eight people for well under $40,000. Which is the more practical vehicle? Sure the minivan only gets about 20 mpg but try throwing six people and all their luggage into ONE Chevy Volt for a trip to grandma's house in Pasadena from out here in flyover country. Ain't gonna happen, bud. This kind of trip takes ONE minivan that gets about 25 mpg on the highway. It would take TWO Volts (minimum) at 42 mpg.Where's the savings there? And which is the more environmentally friendly of the two choices? Obviously the one that carries all the people and luggage on four tires with one gas tank and one motor. Which means that the impracticality of this "car of the year" reduces it to a novelty item for rich Hollywood types to drive as a testament to their enviro-Nazi bonafides. The same could be said for a bunch of slobbering enviro-nazi car editors -- the Volt is, in fact, a novelty item that a bunch of  "car editors" on a pilgrimage to An Inconvenient Truth land can plaster on their battle flag to make enviro-Nazis think that all car magazine editors aren't evil incarnate.

And what of the dependability and durability of the Volt? It's pretty easy for a car magazine to flog the hell out of an "electric" car for a few days and pronounce it fit for duty. How's this thing going to hold up in 50,000 or 100,000 or even 150,000 miles? We already know that current hybrids require expensive battery replacements after 100,000 miles or less. We're talking five or six grand a pop -- more than what it costs to replace an internal combustion engine. And if you maintain your gas-powered car you can go for literally hundreds of thousands of miles without an engine rebuild or replacement. How well do you suppose a battery that is potentially in charge mode 85% of the time is going to hold up after years of use?    

Verdict (as if you couldn't guess): The Volt is a moronic vehicle designed for morons. It's just the latest example of the idiocy of  premature "green" technology that should have been stillborn (those wind turbines that require a fleet of trucks and an armada of pilot vehicles to get them to their destination are another). This type of dysfunctional technology (an "electric" car being powered indirectly by a gas engine, for God's sake) is a perfect example of what you get when the government mandates and incentivizes stupidity in the name of "saving the planet". Do you honestly think the Volt would stand a chance in a free marketplace -- without giving incentives to offset a huge chunk of the bloated cost? (By the way, did you know that the feds have orders in for tens of thousands of them? Nothing like the feds purchasing tens of thousands of these gas-fueled generators to skew the sales figures.) And while Motor Trend is heaping car of the year honors on this Rube Goldberg contraption that uses gas to power an engine that runs a generator that simultaneously recharges batteries and powers the car, the federal government is blocking nearly all attempts to boost our energy independence using the hundreds of billions of barrels of domestic oil and natural gas we are awash in. Meanwhile, our arch enemy China is buying up all the offshore oil leases it can get its hands on while our president places a seven-year moratorium on our own offshore oil drilling causing drilling rigs to take off for other parts of the world to extract oil for China and Venezuela and other enemy countries. Leading the charge in this crazy back-asswards scenario, you have a bunch of nuts at a car magazine championing a by-product of the politicians attempts to make us all victims of their stupidity. Sorry Motor Trend, I won't be buying your idiotic magazine anymore but maybe you'll be able to pick up a couple envirno-Nazi subscribers.

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