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September 20th, 2009

In the Street Talk section of the September issue of Panorama (the official magazine of the Porsche Club of America), there’s a blurb about the upcoming Chevy Volt.  To quote, in part:  “The retail price of the car now would be approximately $40,000, as compared to the initial target price of $25,000 or thereabouts.  …  The current configuration of the Volt shows that this car is a plug-in, not a hybrid, with lithium-ion batteries which give the car a range of about 40 miles.  There is a small gasoline engine that can recharge the battery, but not run the car.  Let’s see, $40,000, 40 miles, that’s a grand a mile, by our slide rule. … The car has too limited a range and way too high a price to be a success, so GM is working hard to try to trim the cost.

What?  First of all, I’m aware of no initial price target of $25k for the Volt (though I may just be unaware).  And, it’s a “plug-in, not a hybrid”?  Of course it’s a hybrid – it has an electric motor and an internal combustion engine.  It’s a serial hybrid, meaning that the wheels are driven only by the electric motor.  And to imply that the car only has a 40-mile range?  Uh, that’s a 40-mile all-electric range, and you’ll get about 360 more miles once the internal combustion engine kicks in…  (It’s sort of like me saying, “The new Porsche Panamera has a top speed of 50 mph!” and then leaving off the “in 1st gear” qualifier.  …And by the way, I made up that statistic…)

GM is actually working hard to reduce costs, so there’s one point they got right.  But, why the misinformation?  In print, in a magazine?!  …Granted, this is a small, member-only car-club publication – not one of the major auto-rags that generally get their facts straight.  But, I’m a believer that one should know what one is talking about before one starts talking.  Shouldn’t one?

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