Mixed reaction to Chevrolet Volt media launch
Tuesday 12 October 2010
General Motors launched the Chevrolet Volt to the US media October 10, provoking a storm of criticism from the world's journalists and bloggers.
In its official launch, GM described its long-awaited vehicle as reinventing "automotive transportation in a complete, no-compromises electric package," although it quickly discovered that some commentators disagreed.
Most damningly, Motor Trend's Frank Markus took an in-depth look at the vehicle's powertrain and discovered that, contrary to GM's claims, the Volt's gas engine doesn't just recharge the battery - it also turns the wheels, sometimes.
Motor Trend said that at speeds above 70 mph (113 km/h) when the battery is depleted, the Volt's engine both powers the car to enable electric drive and couples to a gear to get a "more efficient direct mechanical connection" to the wheels, meaning that, in Markus's words, "on paper the Voltec has more in common with a Prius than anyone suspected."
Influential auto website Edmunds.com took a stronger line against the Detroit giant, entitling its blog post "GM Lied: Chevy Volt is not a true EV."
While CNET's Wayne Cunningham declared "Rather than a revolutionary automotive powertrain, GM has merely delivered something evolutionary," others such as the Economist were more sanguine, admitting that "as most drivers do not have much of a clue about what is going on under the hood of their car, this may not make much difference to anyone other than the most techy of drivers."
The furore over the Volt's launch could bode well for the Nissan LEAF, which is (as far as we can tell right now) 100% electric, although if you ask the Detroit Free Press, it doesn't matter anyway.
"The furor over whether the Volt is "really" electric amounts to debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin," opined the paper's Mark Phelan, pointing out that the car can't move using the engine alone.
"It's a short trip from poorly reported blogs to 'everybody knows' GM lied about whether the car is really electric."
Life & Style blogs
When did the Eiffel Tower open to the public? Six things you didn't know about iconic structure
Google Maps Pacman: company offers chance to play arcade classic on streets around the world
Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Worst time to be a parent revealed: Dinner, baths and bed time push stress levels to peak
American Apparel gets another ad banned by advertising watchdog for sexualising children
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
- 1 Tidal launch: The most pretentious lines from Alicia Keys' valedictory speech
- 2 Trevor Noah: Jon Stewart's replacement faces online criticism over 'anti-Semitic' tweets
- 3 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 4 Martha Stewart accuses Snoop Dogg of 'smoking for four hours' during Justin Bieber Roast
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
£27000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing cloud based I...
£35000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Product Marketing Manager...
£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An expanding B2B exhibition and...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading manufacturer of re...