The Revolting Volt

Cheap Little Car With a Hefty Pricetag

“No one is going to pay a $15,000 premium for a car that competes with a Corolla. So there are not enough idiots who will buy it.” John de Nysschen, President of Audi of America.

It’s more like a $25,000 premium if you take in appearance and actual value. The VOLT costs $40,000+ -$44,000+ and it looks like a $15,000 car, but the souped up version does have a backup camera. There is a $7500 tax credit after you buy the car – another waste of taxpayer dollars.

I saw the VOLT up close and personal today and had the opportunity to ask a few questions of the salesman who had no interest in answering them, at least not accurately. The salesman said it isn’t a hybrid. So, if that’s true, why does it have a 9.3 gallon gas tank? I’ll tell you why, because it’s a hybrid, just not a conventional one.

The range for the battery-driven electric motor is 25-59 miles and the latest stats show it’s averaging 25 miles before the gas kicks in. Once the battery is depleted to a certain level (about 30%), the VOLT has a range of 325 miles using the onboard gas generator. Now if you figure that out mathematically, you get just under 35 miles to the gallon plus the cost of the electric. The salesman said he can get 175 miles to the gallon. Fact is, if you could drive only on the electric, you could drive infinitely without gas. This car needs gas I’m afraid. Let’s not forget electric comes from coal so I wonder how the greenies justify that.

The VOLT is a small unimpressive looking car which seats four as long as the two in the back have skinny legs. Much of the trunk space is taken up by the generator/battery contraption which has an 8 year warrantee. My guess is you might as well junk the car when the warrantee is up because the salesman wouldn’t tell me how much it would cost to replace it.

After you use your 25-59 miles on the electric, you have to charge it for four hours if you want to avoid using the gas, which kicks up the generator. The claims about electric costs are also bogus since they average the cost nationwide and, here in NY, we pay double what they pay in Virginia as one example of why that doesn’t wash. It’s comparing apples to oranges and then making a stat out of it.

Anyway, it’s the Motor Trend Car of the Year because, “At the end of all the noise, the VOLT delivers exactly what GM promised. The surprising part is that it works so damn well,” says senior editor Johnny Lieberman. Auto veteran, Chris Theodore, said “I expected a science fair experiment. But this is a moonshot.” If this is a moonshot, I would rather see it go NOVA. It’s one experiment that needs to go back to the drawing board.