Chevy Volt – bucket loads of deception

EV1 - snapshot from “Who Killed the Electric Car?” movie
When I first saw news about Chevy Volt, it was in Green Car Journal where the author of the advertorial (Kellen Schefter) had proclaimed that GM is “back in the electric car business”. Never mind strange remarks from the advertorial like “truly wonderful but now infamously defunct GM EV1” (why defunct if truly wonderful?) and “GM admits that it’s still waiting (my emphasis) for technological breakthroughs to produce a large Li-ion battery pack”. I went on GM’s website and watched the car roll on stage and Bob Lutz, GM Vice Chairman give a speech about “electrically powered vehicle by GM”.

Wow, I though to myself, they mean business this time around. Well, not so fast. Read on for some bucket loads of pure fun ahead:

The more I drive a hybrid car, the more I’m interested in a fully electrical one. It is impossible to miss Tesla Motors site while researching about electrical cars. These guys not only do indeed mean business but they also go quite out of their ways to explain the technology behind their flagship offer – Tesla Roadster 100 on their blog. I was reading it one night and jumped on a link to Darryl Siry’s personal marketing blog. This one is not to be confused with his personal car blog. Darryl is a talented and a prolific writer, qualities you would expect from a VP of Marketing for a technology startup.

On his marketing blog Darryl has a great write up about his opportunity to peek under the hood of Chevy Volt. He was also quick enough to snap a few pictures that are definitely worth thousand words each. Anyway, I think you should head over to Darryl’s blog right now to check it out. I just want to spoil the fun by saying that the most impressive feature under the hood of the showcase Volt is … a plastic 5 gallon bucket! Well, you know, the kind you might buy laundry detergent in. Well, OK, the steel wire handle is removed but the rest (including the product sticker which, unfortunately, is not possible to see clearly) is there for you to laugh at.

All in all, the insides of the motor compartment look very empty. There are just three lead acid (!) batteries and a rather small DC motor. I am almost ready to say that the motor is actually a re-purposed starter from a larger truck but it is difficult to say.

Chevy Volt - a movie prop car
So, you decide for yourself but I say: “Volt is Fake”. Design – Chevy Colt, powertrain – nonexistent. A movie prop per say. What did you expect? The show was TED – Technology Entertainment Design.

Now here is the kicker. There was another interesting post on Darryl’s blog yesterday about the ways Volt was presented to the public at TED. In a private dinner conversation an investor said that GM rep manning the booth told him that they cannot let anyone test drive the Volt because they gave it to some Hollywood star and he crushed it. Ha? Hollywood stars are not able to drive cars that can only go 5 miles per hour on a flat surface? This was not very cool of GM indeed. Lying never helps PR except of course if you don’t get caught, which they did.
The post is no longer at the blog though. I think Darryl went a bit too open there giving names of people present at the dinner where the lie was uncovered. Being a competing company’s official he probably decided it is un-cool to leave that in the open. Or maybe GM manufacturers parts for Tesla? Who knows.

EV1 vehicles crushed - snapshot from “Who Killed the Electric Car?” movie
So, to round this rant up: Let’s all watch development of Volt at GM but don’t hold your breath. It is going to be lo-o-ong. Now, think about where would they be now had they not kill EV1 program four years ago.

Now I want to add something to the post above that I wrote earlier: when on Darryl Siry’s blog post, do read comments by Chris Preuss, GM’s Executive Director Product Communications (for Volt?). he does sound very reasonable for a GM official and he provides some additional insight on production times and battery development issues. He seems an honest person himself but he does sound like all those ex-EV1 guys at GM in “Who Killed the Electrical Car?” movie: “The interesting thing on the Volt is what it’s doing internally at GM — it’s become a real rallying point for a pretty embattled group. I can’t say haven’t earned much of the grief that many are and have heaped on us…”

6 Responses to “Chevy Volt – bucket loads of deception”

  1. James Says:

    Excellent point….not many people would catch the bait-switch, and bait-again tactic that GM is using. Its funny to see how well the Prius is doing especially since it was conceived based on fears that the EV-1 would corner the market.

  2. Hybrid Car - More Fun with Less Gas » Saturn Aura Green Line: What do you call a “hybrid” Says:

    […] should have) and design from scratch a new model built with electrical powertrain in mind. And no buckets under the hood, […]

  3. - Opel Says:

    General Motors mir Rekordverlust 2007


    alle gepresst

  4. Kill A. Watt Says:

    Great article.

    100% wrong, but still great article.

    What a difference a year makes.

  5. no Says:

    Kill a Watt what are you talking about?

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