The Chevy Volt is a Joke

The Volt is a joke.

In pure electric form, the Volt will be charged by a wall outlet in the garage. Save the few cases where Volts will be charged by confirmed renewable sources, this vehicle merely shifts carbon footprints elsewhere, often to filthy, coal-fired generating stations. At best, electric vehicles (EVs) charged from these sources are 5% cleaner than their conventional counterparts. You can reduce your emissions by 5% by driving 5mph slower on the highway.

The Volt has a gas engine on-board to generate electricity for the motor and batteries when needed. GM states this to be at the 40 mile mark, but if they’re being as optimistic about this figure as they were about paying back their loans and bailouts earlier this year, I wouldn’t hold my breath. If Volt drivers are anything like the Prius owners I see every day during my commute – one person in the car, drag racing away from the metered on-ramp, aggressively cutting across four lanes of traffic to the HOV lane – I definitely wouldn’t hold my breath.

To make things more appealing to potential consumers, GM has announced exciting lease terms! $350/month for 36 months, $2500 due at signing. Many media outlets will be quick to point out that this lease pricing is competitive with the Nissan Leaf, but it strikes this gearhead that people who buy into this scheme will be giving GM almost $15,000 and, at the end of three years, won’t actually own anything of value. American taxpayers should be used to this by now!

Speaking of American taxpayers, aren’t there millions of us unemployed going on a year these days? Aren’t there millions of us facing foreclosure, eviction, and bankruptcy? Come to think of it, isn’t the whole, global economy in the shitter right now? Perfect time for GM to demonstrate they’ve been paying attention. They understand the market, especially the American market. That’s why they’ve just announced the Volt – which costs over $40,000.

Let me put that in perspective for any non-gearheads still reading at this point. $40,000 will buy you any one of the following vehicles:

–    Audi A5
–    BMW 5-series
–    Land Rover LR2
–    Lexus IS C Convertible
–    Saab 9-5
–    Volvo C70
–    Porsche Cayenne

Okay, so that last one starts about $3000 more than the Volt and for that price, you get the crappy, poseur V6 model, but whatever. The point I’m trying to make is the economy sucks, everybody’s broke, but GM, the great American car company, who builds $100,000 Corvettes that are almost as good as Ferraris, who builds $60,000 Cadillacs that are almost as good as BMWs, now brings a $40,000 compact car to market that’s almost as good as a Hyundai.

In the interest of being fair, the Volt isn’t going to end up costing you $40,000 if you buy it outright. You see, Uncle Sam has promised a $7,500 tax credit to anyone who purchases one of these things. This brings the price down to somewhere in the low thirties, but when do we stop funneling money to GM? The bailouts weren’t enough? The cash for clunkers fiasco wasn’t enough?

I’m sure there will be plenty of people lining up to lease or buy these things in the initial markets later this year. Some of them might recharge the vehicle from certified renewable sources and they might carpool with others and within the 40 mile range of this thing, but many will buy into the false environmental impact benefits, many more will simply buy into nu-math miles per gallon estimates, and the rest of us will just watch more cash end up in GM’s undeserving hands.

Knock, knock. Who’s there? Stupid.

Posted in commentary, rants
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  • Ben

    Your forgot to mention that is looks nothing like the concept car & it only seats 4

  • Was it supposed to seat more than four? I spotted that it didn't share many
    of the design elements of the concept as I was sourcing images for the post.

    I'd chalk it up to GM lying, but that might imply they know the difference
    between right and wrong. 😉

    Gearbox Magazine | Sharing stories of automotive enthusiasts worldwide.

  • I will withhold judgement until I drive one. I would tend to agree for the most part though.

  • You are wiser and more moderate than I, AudiTT.

    Perhaps you'll stop back by and share your thoughts once you've had the
    opportunity to drive one. (Maybe I'll try to score some seat time too.)

    Gearbox Magazine | Sharing stories of automotive enthusiasts worldwide.

  • roboto

    No dynamic breaking. No charging the 400 pound, $8,000 battery from the gasoline engine. $20K premium expected from dealers. It is a true joke. Reminds me of the G.M. Vega from the 70's.

  • My understanding of the way Dolt works is this:
    – runs on battery power until battery is drained to a certain level
    – gas engine engages to power the electric motor until the batteries can be
    – extra juice not needed by the motor goes back into the batteries

    And dealers will be charging a $20k premium? LOL. Like Bill said, GM isn't
    half as interested in this car as they say they are.

    Gearbox Magazine | Sharing stories of automotive enthusiasts worldwide.

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  • JC

    I'm now a Ford man. I will not give one red cent to GM EVER EVER again.

  • Landis

    People are really getting excited over this, saying “This is the next step to an electric age.” Same for the Leaf. It's old technology. What's truly Innovative is Tesla, they had an all electric car on the road which was years ahead of the Volt and Leaf. They are the future not this crappy car

  • Plus, you have to use premium gas – Volt becomes less and less attractive as it moves to its grand release date. Volt is now officially off my radar screen. And they call this innovation! It might have started that way. But on the way to the show-and-tell it turned into a to-big-to-fail joke. Whatever happen to mass production's cheaper – better! Capitalism at its worst!!! We're screwed! It looks like a joint project between big oil and GM during production to get this kind of result. Who's the terrorist?

    By the way – driving it is not going to make me feel any better on a deal where I shell out $40k and take all the risk on ownership and my return-on-investment. Plus, at this price – where is the savings in over all operating cost during the products life cycle? Who's the bigger sucker on this deal? I'll sit back and wait for some real innovation at reasonable prices which makes sense as an evironmentally cost concious and biggest-bang-for-the-buck consumer. Next!

    P.S. I guess in today's economy, if you got a lot of money to blow you don't have to think to much about what you are buying – it's all about looking good and keeping up appearances. Sounds familiar – Matoff, bailouts, to-big-to-fails. Yep, that's where we are at…

  • Nail on the head, Bob. Where is the value? In providing a better

    alternative, or merely spinning more of the same as somehow better?

    I noticed a new commercial on the radio this week for the Volt. “It's more

    car than electric,” they say. Yet, it's a “100% electric vehicle” when they

    talk to the government, who only offers the $7,000 tax credit for electric




    Brian Driggs*

    *Gearbox Magazine <http:””> | Sharing stories of

    automotive enthusiasts worldwide.*


  • Ravshalum

    chevy volt is bicycle that what it is

  • ADAM

    why does american cars suck??? like this volt??? you do just shift the pollution from the car to factory…and then when the government raises cost of electricity now what???? HMMM??? Honda has it right with its hydrogen fuel car. no need for liquid cool battery…restructure the gas stations to be hydrogen. burns cleaner..and is the most ubundant fuel source in the don't need a car with the big ass battery taking up half the car and all night to charge just for some 40 miles of saved gas! whoohoo…(insert sarcasm here) the leaf gets 100 miles to a charge and battery is smaller.

  • Rcarter1

    One correction. The Volt engine does NOT drive generators which charge the battery. Nor does it use regenerative braking like the Prius. It is either-or, battery or gasoline. It sucks!

  • Matt

    If you're gonna go green, just buy an electric vehicle. There's already one out there.

    The Volt is a half-assed attempt to capitalize a certain market; GM did it before with the EV-1 and in a decade these (leased!) Volt cars will be in the scrap yard when GM buys them back.

    Even the technical specs of the car seem a bit odd. Imagine the expenses in trying to fix a hybrid/hybrid. Not to mention the reliability of such a device.

  • I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who hates the Volt. 🙂

    Thanks, guys.


    Brian Driggs*

    *Gearbox Magazine <http:””> | Sharing stories of

    automotive enthusiasts worldwide.*


  • Cosmicavenger

    Government interference at work! GM should have been allowed to die a peaceful death. A viable company with innovative ideas would have replaced it by now. Instead we have a company that can't stay afloat without government cash. (Our cash!) And, they produce a joke like the Volt. So sad for America. What is happening to our wonderful country?

  • Fearingisnotliving

    Awesome! I couldn't have said it better myself. I will never buy GM again, and I fear we will once again be bailing them out because their logic is tragically flawed. Let's introduce a $40,000 car, never mind the economy.

  • SinMan

    The Volt is indeed a joke. The only legit electric car that has come out is the Tesla Roadster, which can get around 200 miles a charge. It costs $100,000 or so after the tax credit. But as you mentioned, the use of “dirty” electric sources actually means the impact of the Roadster is equivalent to a car getting 44 mpg.

    Agreed that this is just another ploy from Government Motors.

  • Extremedriver

    You need to find a different line of work. GM has already paid back everything they owed. Oh and you can nock off the Almost as good coments because the Corvette, and Cadillacs are better than what Europe's got because we can soup them up(Hot Rod Style)!

  • Extremedriver

    You are correct about the Volt being a joke though. The world does not need these type of cars because Global Warming doesn't exist. It is just a bold face lie that's being spread around by the radical environmentalists of the world. In fact! Many scientist have poven that the world is actually freezing by one degree every year, and that it's all just part of the earths natural cycle which always fluctuates.

  • Dude, you crack me up. “Different line of work!” Haha. This blog is just me speaking my mind. It's not work. If it were, it would be my third consecutive line of work – after a day job in knowledge management for a NASDAQ listed organization and a free time venture in Gearbox Magazine.

    I really appreciate your taking the time to leave not one, but two well-written comments. It shows education and intellect and I appreciate that, however, I stand by my claims the Cadillac, Corvette, and the like are inferior to their European “competition.”

    Performance modifications are not a uniquely American proposition. BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, even Ferrari and Lamborghini are tuned by aficionados all the time. The reason it might seem they aren't “souped up” as often as domestic fare is likely a function of A) they're far more rare, B) the price of entry into the realm of tuned exotics is substantial (a Lamborghini turbo kit can cost $55,000), and C) they present a superior long term investment when left alone.

    Let me put it this way, we modify our vehicles to improve them; they way they perform; the way they look. To that end, the original product is “good enough” – not ideal. Furthermore, my position on their models being “almost as good as” stems from their investing greater effort in marketing their products as superior than in actually producing a superior product.

    I suspect you're a GM fan. To each gearhead his own. We may never see eye to eye on this matter, but perhaps we can agree on this – quality speaks for itself.

  • Pa8baller

    well if you build a solar panel you could do all your daily commuting for free

  • John

    I agree about the Volt, but one thing – I would take a new Caddy CTS-V almost over any BMW…they are sick automobiles.

  • your all f’ing fools.

  • Your all F”ing retarded.

  • tekwyzrd

    This is the first time I’ve seen someone actually address the power plant vs conventional vehicle emissions. Not only do the coal plants produce nearly as much co2, they also produce ash containing significant levels of toxic metals.

    The tax credit is useless to a lot of potential buyers like my mother who is living on social security. At her income level the tax credit is meaningless. I feel sorry for anyone in areas that get long periods of cold weather who get suckered into buying one. If you don’t keep it plugged it while not in use I have no doubt that one winter would be sufficient to destroy the batteries.

  • tekwyzrd

    I can’t believe how many people are foolish enough to believe the anti global warming rhetoric spewed by the oil industry flunkies. I have no doubt that the “studies” you mention were funded by the oil industry.

  • tekwyzrd

    GM has no clue about “right or wrong”. Just look at the billions of dollars worth of IOUs they gave the union for the retiree health care program. Then they went bankrupt and handed the union stock to pay for what they still owed. Then they re-hired a former exec to run the company (Bob Lutz, the former ceo who ran Exide into bankruptcy). To me, GM stands for Generic Motors since nothing they make is really distinctive or worth praise. They make junk and spend billions convincing people to buy it.

  • Bobby_b5

    I worked on this POS … and trust me when I say>>> this is the last car anyone would want to own.

  • Bobby B5, you made my day! #higgh-5!

  • Morginie

    I am taking Earth and Atmospheric science classes at a University.  There is evidence to support global warming and evidence to decrease it’s credibility.  From what I have picked up, in a scientific environment, is that a lot of the ideas about global warming not being real have less evidence to support them than the ones that do support this theory.     I am not saying you are wrong, but I really am assuming you got your information on global warming off of the internet: consisting of articles and videos which have no credible scholarly or scientific sources supporting them.  I am open to the fact that global warming is not real.  BUT, because I have actually taken the time to learn and study the science, I am VERY open to the fact that it is real.  I find it amusing how you claim “Global Warming doesn’t exist” and then leave us no real facts as to why.  Just merely that some random scientists (whom you have no idea are) said this.  You can’t give us a real explanation.  This is because you don’t understand the science to even argue for or against it.  “The earths natural cycle which always fluctuates,”  like listening to a little child trying to describe something he doesn’t understand.  How can you even make a decision for yourself if global warming is real or not, if you haven’t even taken the time to understand the science?     This quote, in my opinion, sums up many of the non-global warming believers who became converted from word of mouth or off of the internet:
    “It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.”

  • I appreciate your taking the time to leave a well thought-out comment, Morginie. It is also refreshing to see others open to the idea that it doesn’t necessarily matter whether “global warming” or climate change is taking place and/or whether or not man is to blame for it. We should not require the threat of catastrophe before we’re willing to be responsible stewards of our own backyards.

    I believe it was Churchill who said, “Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing – once they’ve exhausted every other possibility.” As I see it, personally, those who so vehemently argue one side or the other, with such broad, sweeping generalities fall into one of two camps:

    1. Those who do not fully understand the issue, but feel the need to speak up, either for fear of their way of life being threatened, or irritation at the debate being framed almost entirely in terms of proving the other side wrong. (As opposed to proving one’s own side better explains things.)

    2. Those who DO fully understand the issue, but have a personal stake in the game and stand to benefit (profit) from their side “winning.” Could be the filthy coal industry, which would likely cease to exist (and perhaps should, imo). Could be the auto manufacturers hyping hybrids like this Chevy Volt.

    One thing I’m sure of, the more focused on proving others wrong someone is, the less stock I place in anything they have to say. This form of debate is rife with strawmen, red herrings, and enough logical fallacies to fill a primer on Latin. We must all strive to prove ourselves right, but temper that position with openness to being wrong, else, how is my proving myself 100% correct anything more than a subtle way to prove my opponent 100% wrong?

    The crux of the matter is understanding and openness to new data and ideas. We can’t adhere strictly to what a group of scientists have said without also understanding why they said it and without understanding that the scientific method depends upon hypotheses, which are well-educated guesses.

    Again, appreciate your taking the time to share intelligent thoughts. We are part of the solution, part of the problem, or part of the landscape.

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  • Ron Jamison

    says the man who doesn’t know the difference between “your” and “you’re” … who’s the retard now?

  • Charlie_loves_girls

    once COAL is gone……EVERYBODY will MISS it

  • Charlie_loves_girls

    charlie only buys TOYOTA…never GM(government motors) EVER again!!

  • Ken

    Just to say GM is part of a global industry and we are doing our bit too in Europe, speaking personally as someone who likes and has bought american cars I think the Volt is one of the most exciting cars to come out of the states an I am trying to figure out a way to buy one. The US leads to way in so many technologies and it should not be forgotten that all of the clean air vehicle de-smogging legislation that started state-side in the 70s found it’s way over here and we now all benefit. I say, keep doing what you do from an appreciative Brit.

  • “It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.” [ that is what is being said on the internet] so you made up your mind already !!!
    thanks for you gospel according to Gore and the musings of a closed mind

  • marquez666

    Ooohhh shit you told him dexter!!!

  • Franmarine

    Volt ain’t a joke here. In Quebec, where 95% of our electricity produce 0 emission.