The Chevy Volt is not another Solyndra, but the victim of preposterous propoganda

The current wave of using the Solyndra mess to tarnish other Green policies comes from a ridiculous piece of reporting published by Reuters. That reporting used incorrect accounting practices to misleadingly come up with a cost per Chevy Volt of $89,000 meaning that each Volt sold is costing GM an extra $49,000 in overhead.

On the GreenTransportation I collected the data about this on: Political flap over price to manufacture 2012 Chevy Volt … Basically the Reuters piece relied on amortizing R&D costs over the first year of Volt production, which simply is not the correct way to determine whether a car project is successful or profitable. I hate to say it because Reuters is usually such a good news source, but in this case they seem to have published a politically motivated hit piece.

One thing that has happened is other supposed news articles are using the Reuters piece as the basis for other negative press about the Volt.
An example is: Chevy Volt: Solyndra on Wheels which is such a completely ridiculous piece of writing that I hesitate to link to it. But it is an example of how this bad reporting on Reuters is being used to tarnish the Volt.

The Morris Daily Herald writer starts by calling the Volt a “green Edsel”, over engineered, over expensive, a Solyndra on wheels, and has to be subsidized by the government. It also talks about government subsidizing of expensive cars so rich people can feel good while driving on coal powered electricity. That The Volt sales have not met GM’s stated sales projections.
The “subsidized by the Government” line is referring to the supposed $89,000 cost for each Volt. We already went over how that number is based on bogus reasoning. But what about the rest?

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Green Edsel? I suppose the writer is propogandastically looking to tie the Volt to a failure, just like the “Solyndra on Wheels” line. Is this a correct comparison to make? Looking over the Edsel Wikipedia page, I see that the Edsel program was short lived because actual sales did not live up to projections. There is a parallel to how the Volt is not living up to sales expectations, but the causation is different. The Edsel had bad quality problems, but still sold over 80,000 units over a couple years.

In the case of the Volt there have been no quality problems, the issue is the high price and the fact that it is “different” than “normal” cars. The now-popular Toyota Prius also had low sales for a couple years, but with the Gen 2 Prius sales took off and it is now a popular car. The same is likely to happen for the Volt and other electric cars.

Over engineered? Eh? That, I think, is a matter of opinion. Fact is that Volt owners honestly love the cars and are excited to be Volt owners. Fact is that Volts have been very safe and reliable. If it too “over engineering” to do this, then great.

Overly expensive? This is the same as the introduction of any new kind of technology. The first models are always expensive until the manufacturers work out things and sales volume rises. How much did the first DVD or BluRay players cost?

In July the McKinsey quarterly published a report claiming electric cars would become inevitable and cost competitive, largely because of falling component prices, largely because of increasing sales. This would take a few years to unfold, with a tip over point in 2020ish. See Electric cars to become inevitable, cost competitive, by 2020ish says report.

Where that writer shows their true colors is with a pair of statements defending the use of Oil. First: “After Romney replaces Obama this fall, let’s hope he’ll pull the government plug on the Volt and concentrate on making us energy independent.“. Second: “Not me. I own a Ford Expedition. I get 12.5 miles per gallon. I love it. When it gets too old, I’ll buy a new one. The government is going to get us one way or the other. I say, go out and buy the biggest damn SUV you want. Enjoy your life. Light a cigar. Step on the gas. And don’t waste a watt on a Volt.

In other words, this was a politically motivated piece of propoganda. Written by someone who is quite comfortable with polluting the atmosphere, with the consequences of global warming, climate change, and sea level rise. Who doesn’t care that Americas financial strength is being wasted exporting money to countries that are enemies of the US just to buy Oil. That is participating in the delusion that America can significantly increase oil production, when in fact we passed the peak of oil production in the US long ago, and that any new oil production in America would only be a drop in the bucket.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

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