Electric Car Promise “Undoable”


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President Obama, enthralled with electric automobiles in the near future, sees the Chevy Volt as a hot car. It is hot; so hot in fact that its batteries are catching on fire.

The government is looking into new fires involving the lithium-ion batteries in the General Motors electric cars to judge the potential and frequency of fire risk in these vehicles after crashes.

One Volt battery pack that was being monitored caught fire Nov. 24 after a government crash test, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said. It began a formal investigation of fire risk.

Obama grandly promised in his 2011 state of the union message that the United States would be “the first country to have one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.” He counted cumulative auto production and sales during the 5-year span.

The federal government has invested billions in research and development to improve electric vehicle batteries, all part of the attempt to reduce petroleum use. The large, high-voltage batteries used in plug-in cars can be damaged more easily than traditional batteries in gas-powered vehicles in the event of a crash. Even isolated problems “related to their safety or reliability can affect how consumers and investors view them,” as a New York Times story Nov. 11 pointed out.

The Chevy Volt has a gasoline engine, in addition to the battery. The gas engine takes over when the battery is depleted.

As GM’s stock prices fell in recent months, so did Chevy Volt sales. The 281 Volts sold nationwide last February didn’t exactly make the 125 sold in July a whopping sales month. A GM spokesperson claimed that the company was virtually “sold out.”

But associate fellow Marc Modica at the National Legal and Policy Center said, in effect, that assertion was bogus. He said a search on the cars.com site showed close to 500 Volts for sale across the country. “The demand for Chevy Volt is not as strong as GM would have us believe.”

The president also had proposed that Congress turn the $7,500 tax credit into a rebate for consumers who buy “an advanced technology vehicle,” such as the Volt or Nissan’s Leaf (which is all electric, rather than a hybrid). Anything to save more fossil fuel, because of the baseless fear of global warming. That’s the administration’s almost religious faith.

Despite Obama’s romanticized view of technology, electric cars appeal to a relatively tiny demographic group of “only young, very high income individuals”—those making $150,000 to $200,000 a year—who would be interested in buying an electric car.

According to Deloitte Consulting, which interviewed industry experts and 2,000 potential buyers, found that purchases would be small over the next decade and that by 2020, electric vehicles may makeup about 3 percent of total auto sales. Only 17 percent of potential buyers said they were willing to spend 8 hours recharging their car batteries.

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  • Thomas Smith

    I started to take offense to this articles huge misrepresentation of facts. I then read several other "articles" by this author. I no longer take offense, as obviously Tait Trussell has a mental condition that interferes with his logical reasoning. I wish him the best for his recovery.

    • cic100

      Absolutely agree.

  • UCSPanther

    Why are people wasting their time with electric cars?

    • cic100

      Because in many situations they are a better car. Which one did you go test drive?

  • Peter

    "Despite Obama’s romanticized view of technology, electric cars appeal to a relatively tiny demographic group of “only young, very high income individuals”—those making $150,000 to $200,000 a year—who would be interested in buying an electric car."

    Where does this information come from? This writer is a dinosaur writing to protect the interests of failing Detroit car companies. His grandfather may have written an article article saying that the T Model Ford would never replace a horse.

    When Chinese cars enter this market we had better be doing something new.

  • Peter

    The Detroit gang of three are hiring out of work writers to write negative articles about electric cars. Why? No exhausts, no radiator hoses, no oil changes, no fan belts.

  • Luddetrutt

    Author didn’t mention that the fire occurred a week after the crash test. That’s when you realize this is anti EV propaganda and should stop reading an asinine article like this one.

    • cic100

      Agreed…actually it was 3 weeks.

  • nAmYzArC

    And gasoline doesn't catch fire????

    • cic100

      Yep, 250000 garage fires a year caused by lots of things…just put a Volt in your garage and presto chango that's what started the fire! Anyone ever count the number of policeman killed by fires in Crown Vics?

  • Guest

    I wonder how much money he got from the oil companies to write this stuff!

    • cic100

      Good question…

  • Robert

    One Volt catches fire after a specific set of very suspicious circumstances and after proper procedure was not observed. Now idiots are crowing about the demise of the electric car. Meanwhile, 250,000 gasoline powered cars catch fire every year in this country causing hundreds of deaths. Which car is dangerous? Which car is a dinosaur?

    Not to mention the fact that oil is depleting and getting more expensive. Not to mention the fact that energy security is a huge problem for this country. Not to mention the fact that climate change is killing people now…

    The article writer is a Luddite, a fool and an idiot. I'm keeping my Volt. And I'm never going back to a full gas vehicle. Not on your life.

  • ChaosFreak

    Putting aside the issue of the fires, here's the real danger of Trussel's thinking: http://www.zapworld.com/zap-alias-electric-car
    The Chinese are poised to destroy Detroit with a brand-new manufacturing base for electric vehicles, unencumbered by sunk cost in legacy equipment and supported by Chinese government subsidies and cheap Chinese labor.
    Anyone who thinks China only makes cheap toys, think again.

  • http://www.bilprovning.se/ gasolkontroll

    President Obama approach is appreciative indeed. Electric car is very Eco-friendly and energy efficient as well. By 2015 hopefully more than million users will inspired to drive electric cars. Thanks.

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  • Diaz

    Chevy Volt is an electric vehicle which is enthralled by President Obama, considered as a hot car and the batteries are responsible for catching fires. It is the good job of Government that takes valid and sincerer steps to stop this type of fire catching and approve it after its revolution.
    Volvo Repair Dallas