General Motors is on an all-out push to ensure that its new Chevy Volt becomes the electric car of the mainstream U.S. market. On July 1 the company launched a cross country tour introducing American communities to the car from Austin, Texas to New York, New York. It’s pretty clear that the symbolism-freighted trip is designed to spur U.S. car buyers to hop aboard a revolutionary change in passenger car technology: the route covers 1,776 miles on a journey timed to end today, Independence Day.
The reference to the American Revolution also shows that GM is right up in the grill of any skeptics who still doubt the viability of an electric car in the U.S. market. After all, the world pretty much figured that the American experiment in self-government was doomed to fail and hey, 234 years later we are still proving them wrong. The choice of Austin and New York City as bookends is no accident, either. It’s a pretty clear indication that GM’s mainstream market includes everybody no matter where they live, without dividing the country into “real Americans” and whoever else.