Sunday, July 29, 2007

Is GM Playing Games with the Volt?

As I've blogged previously, I want to believe as much as the next guy that the Volt - GM's announced plug-in hybrid - is real. I believe enviros have spent way too much time pushing for higher CAFE standards and ignored alternative methods of getting clean cars on the road. The enviros gave up on electric cars, let the automakers and California off the hook just as the cars were proving themselves viable and popular. Sierra Club, UCS and NRDC should have been indicted along with CARB and Big Oil in the film Who Killed the Electric Car? The ZEV mandate offered a way to get plug-in cars - zero-emission, zero-petroleum, zero-carbon producing cars - on the road outside the CAFE protocol.

Now the shoe is on the other foot. GM wants us to believe they are serious about the Volt, but continue to fight over CAFE. They tell us they will produce the Volt in serious volume. Serious volume is enough to significantly effect their fleet average. If they are serious about the Volt, they've got no reason to fight efforts to raise CAFE. Edmunds Inside Line reports Chevrolet Volt Goes to Washington To Underline GM's Anti-CAFE-Increase Argument.

Joe Romm asks the question on Grist Is the Chevy Volt just more GM greenwashing?.

I'd like to see enviros point out that CAFE can be achieved with plug-in cars.


Anonymous said...

This ploy is nothing new to GM. With the EV1, they went full bore and developed a great automobile that could meet the new regulations. At the same time, they fought the regulations. When the lawyers won, they crushed the cars.
Why should it be any different this time?

greenlib said...

I think the problem with CAFE standards are the fact that they're an indirect route to achieve positive change. I think if government really wanted to get something done on this they would provide more incentives to develop this type of technology and more tax breaks for consumers who buy them - government forcing companies to do stuff like CAFE standards really doesn't work and doesn't affect consumers at all. I do some work with the AAM and CAFE standards in the Senate bill have the potential to do more harm than good - the House compromise in HR 2927 has the best chance since its a bipartisan agreement in my opinion and because it has an increase in CAFE standards thats more likely to be achievable. There's a lot of good info over at on it.

Anonymous said...

One web site covering this story showed a picture of a dog with a gun to its head to get the reader's attention. Of course, rather than be outraged that GM continues to operate like a yo-yo, everyone was up in arms with a gun being pointed at an animal.

Anonymous said...

GM is the last company I'll buy from, but if they build it and sell it (not lease it) I'll take a serious look. But a plugin Prius from Toyota and a Whitestar (50K range) from Tesla motors is more likely to be in my driveway in a few years. I'm all for Govt trying to impose standards but I have no faith that they will.