The Chevy Volt – which, despite its name, runs on less than 1.21 gigawatts – is the car being asked to “save” General Motors. This electric model will produce zero emissions for most Americans (those that drive less than 40 miles per day) and goes from zero to 60 in nine seconds. (No word on how soon it gets to 88 miles per hour.)
The full model isn’t due until next year, and it’s going through some growing pains. In the meantime, as Wired reports, the Obama administration is trying to kill it. The task force appointed by the President to oversee handouts to the auto industry doesn’t think the zero-carbon electric car will be profitable anytime soon. According to this blue-ribbon panel – which, incidentally, gets paid whether or not GM goes belly-up – GM should focus on more immediately marketable vehicles, rather than vehicles which will be marketable long-term.
Somehow, the Obama Administration has succeeded in being more nearsighted than Detroit auto manufacturers.
If GM was flush with profit, it would be a good time to experiment with new technology. Unfortunately, they are currently being propped up with someone else’s money. The Obama Administration wants a return on their investment, and they won’t let things like the long-term viability of GM get in the way.
That’s the downside of asking for money from a controlling interest that doesn’t understand your business.