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Chevyvolt
The talks of bailing out GM (and other auto-makers) are dominating the headlines, it’s an interesting debate and I think we (the USA) will end up “bailing them out” – not because it will save them, but because it will postpone an even harsher economic reality. I’m curious what the makers here think – it’s energy, it’s engineering, it’s what MAKE is all about.

I love GM, our Detroit automakers and the heritage of American made cars – but that doesn’t mean they get a free pass… Here are my quick thoughts – I suppose what makes this sting the most is what GM was saying a few years ago.

While Toyota was introducing the Prius, ‘s Vice Chairman Bob Lutz was quoted as saying it was a publicity stunt and “it was kowtowing to the shrill screams of a handful of a nutty environmentalists living in California communes, or something like that.”

Harsh!

During the same time – At GM he “introduced car buyers to the V-16 Cadillac Sixteen concept car, sporting a 14-litre engine (a typical four-cylinder engine is about two litres.) GM also introduced the new Camaro at around that time, and other muscle cars, all under the watchful eye of the Czar… (who also gave us the Dodge Viper in a previous life.)”

GM also owns Hummer, but they’re trying to sell it off now – so far no buyers.

There was more… “DETROIT (Reuters) – General Motors Corp Vice Chairman Bob Lutz has defended remarks he made dismissing global warming as a “total crock of s—,” saying his views had no bearing on GM’s commitment to build environmentally friendly vehicles.”

So here we are getting asked to bail them out, most of the people I know don’t have the same sentimental thoughts towards GM as our parents and grandparents do.

We’ve all heard the famous 1953 quotation from the former General Motors president Charles E. Wilson — that what was good for our country was good for G.M.

I think it’s extremely important to debate and research global warming but to not address the market with more fuel efficient cars that consumers want and to also taunt an entire state in the USA didn’t really help in the past and I think it’s still not helping in the current crisis. What good for GM *is* good for the USA – It’s an odd place we’re in right now, it took decades to get here and unfortunately it will take decades to get us out – can GM (and all of us) wait that long?

Mr. Lutz is now heading up the Chevy Volt launching in 2010 – I’m looking forward to it and I hope this is a new beginning for GM. I don’t mean to single Bob out but he’s the one that talks to all of us.

The Extended-Range Electric Vehicle that is redefining the automotive world is no longer just a rumor. In fact, its propulsion system is so revolutionary, it’s unlike any other vehicle or electric car that’s ever been introduced. And we’re making this remarkable vision a reality, so that one day you’ll have the freedom to drive gas-free.

Chevy Volt is designed to move more than 75 percent of America’s daily commuters without a single drop of gas.(2) That means for someone who drives less than 40 miles a day, Chevy Volt will use zero gasoline and produce zero emissions.

Unlike traditional electric cars, Chevy Volt has a revolutionary propulsion system that takes you beyond the power of the battery. It will use a lithium-ion battery with a gasoline-powered, range-extending engine that drives a generator to provide electric power when you drive beyond the 40-mile battery range.

I’m sure our elected officials have long memories too, we’ll see what happens – if and when a bailout happens there might need to be really specific goals for fuel efficiency, it’s lame that government and not the free market would need to do that but here we are. In 2005 the auto-makers defeated a bill that would have raised fuel efficiencies – it doesn’t look like they’ll have the same clout for awhile.

Thoughts? Post up in the comments!

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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