I never thought I’d see the day when an American political party would cheer for the demise of any American company, never mind an institution like General Motors. Yet the Republican party has consistently and consciously lied, slandered, and invented its own facts when it comes to the Chevy Volt and GM’s government-sponsored bailout. Bob Lutz, one of the chief arcitects of the Volt, has stepped up with the hopes of setting the record straight. Too bad he is playing for a deaf crowd.
The Forbes article, entitled “The Chevy Volt and the Wrong-Headed Right” is “Maximum Bob” Lutz’s matter-of-fact counter-argument to a growing chorus of conservative haters. Among the many lies spread by Fox News and pundits like Glenn Beck is that the Volt can only drive 35 miles, period, that President Obama forced GM to make the Volt, and that the recent NHTSA fire investigation is proof that electric vehicles are dangerous. It’s all non-sense, but then again we live in a culture that celebrates airheads like the Kardashians and Jersey Shore.
Lutz lays out six simple, indisputable facts in regards to the safety of the Volt, and its Genesis.
1) Not one Chevrolet Volt has ever caught fire in normal use or in accidents. Not a single one.
2) The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, even after the highly artificial crash test (placing the car on its back, even though it did not roll over in the test) nevertheless awarded the Volt NHTSA’s highest crash-safety rating: 5 stars. Volt is supremely safe.
3) The crashed Volt, its battery shorted by coolant from the period unjustifiably spent “feet up,” caught fire three weeks after said test. (I submit that this would provide adequate time for surviving passengers to exit the vehicle.)
4) On average, 278,000 cars with gasoline engines caught fire in the U.S. each year between 2003 and 2007, according to theNational Fire Protection Association.
5) No factory-produced electric vehicle has ever caught fire, to the best of my knowledge.
6) The Volt, the most technologically advanced car on the planet, was conceived by me and my team well before any federal bailout of GM.
What is even more damning is that Lutz, a self-described conservative Republican, is simply ashamed of the right-wing talking heads who are knowingly spreading mis-information against the Volt in an attempt to harm GM and President Obama. I am all for a healthy discussion on the pros and cons of new technology, and the Chevy Volt certainly isn’t a panacea for all our energy problems. There are plenty of legitimate criticisms of the too-expensive Volt, and sales certainly have been less than stellar.
It’s borderline slander, a purposeful and malicious mis-representation of the facts to the detriment of not just a car or a company, but the entire country. Republicans seem to think it is OK to lie and cheat, so long as they get Obama out of office. That is a scary thought, and gives me even more reasons to distrust the GOP as a better alternative to Obama. If they’ll lie about a car, what else are they willing to mislead the public about?