It’s ok to lie if you’re selling green

The Chevy Volt is coming our way, courtesy the U.S. Government. The Volt will go on sale no time soon; it was unveiled at the Los Angeles auto show this month. Development has been a tinge rough, to say the least.

It remains an open question as to whether there is any market for something radically new from the General, given the bloated crapulence of much of its production. As for the Volt, it will cost north of $40,000, while wearing the skin of a $15,000 Chevy POS. Oh, and it will go a huge, huge 40 miles between charges. You need to go more than that? Just drive out on your friendly interstate and wait until the government builds free charging stations every five miles.

It will, GM claims, have a gasoline engine when someone has the radical notion they want to go more than 40 miles. Chances are, it will handle 0-60 in about a day or so, and be dangerously underpowered for actual driving. Unlike the Toyota hybrids, in which the battery and gasoline power sources work in close tandem, I suspect that Volt owners, all three of them, won’t especially like it when it transitions from all electric to all gasoline power.

But wait, those selling the green snake oil tell us, there will be a government tax credit or rebate or some nonsense. Right now, a figure of $7,500 is being bandied about. That could change, but here’s a question: assuming you’re not a community organizer or Hollywood star who is doing this for show, for the same money: would you rather buy a 3-Series BMW or a Mercedes GLK or, drum roll, maestro, a Chevy subcompact that can only make 40 miles before it dies and goes on gasoline life support?

Last but not least is the hype that the Chevy Volt is “emissions-free.” The vehicle itself will not emit anything while under electric power, except the waves of smug self-satisfaction that one can sense emanating from many Toyota Prius drivers. But wait: what will be the source of the electricity used to power the Volt? Won’t those coal- and oil-fired generating plants have emissions?

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