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All Da King's Men

Meet The Chevy Volt

By Da King Published: August 17, 2010

The latest "great success" of the Obama administration is the newly announced Chevy Volt, a plug-in electric/gasoline hybrid automobile from General Motors (a subsidiary of ObamaCorp).

The Obama Volt has all the luxurious amenties of a Honda Civic, but at twice the price. Retailing at $41,000, the Volt is sure to be a big hit with wealthy Al Gore greenies all across the country, though it's price will be beyond the range of most buyers. Who knows, the Goreacle himself may purchase one to drive from his Gulfstream private jet to one of his mansions. That's just the way the "energy-conscious" Goreacle rolls. One of his swimming pools uses up more energy than an average person's house. The Goreacle is clearly committed to the cause (not sure what that cause is, other than to further enrich himself).

The Obama Volt is so attractive to prospective buyers that ObamaCorp is offering a $7,500 tax credit to lure people into buying one. ObamaCorp is offering another $1,000 tax credit for homeowners who install a charging system for the Volt. The free market is great, isn't it ? Those who don't have a way to charge the Volt at home, such as apartment dwellers, can go to their local charging stations to get their Volt buzz on. One slight drawback there - the charging stations don't exist (another $50 billion ObamaCorp subsidy should fix that).

Barack Obama, the President and CEO of ObamaCorp, said he wants a million plug-in electric vehicles on the road by 2015. If his vision comes true, that would cost taxpayers $8.5 billion (or maybe the Dems can cut food stamps a third time to pay for it). In fact, Obama's vision may be a bit blurry. GM only plans to produce 40,000 Volts in 2013. I don't know how you get to a million vehicles that way. Perhaps the President will be "forced" to use his command-and-control powers to buy other major automobile manufacturers in order for his vision to be made real.

A fully-loaded Obama Volt would cost nearly $45,000. The Volt will run 40 miles on a fully-charged electric battery. After that, the gasoline backup engine extends the Volt's range to 340 miles. As an additional bonus for the non-wealthy, the Volt's engine runs on premium gasoline. What genius decided to do that ? Sounds like ObamaCorp wants to discourage trips longer than the 40-mile battery range.

Naturally, the "right-wing noise machine" has been critical of the Obama Volt. Here's one of those radical right-wing naysayers against progress and all things holy, Edward Niedermeyer of the...New York Times ??? Wait a minute, that can't be correct. The Times is a noted left-wing newspaper. Hmmm. Anyway, Niedermeyer (wasn't he in the movie Animal House ?), explains what a deal America is getting with the Volt in his op-ed column, GM's Electric Lemon:

Three and a half years — and one government-assisted bankruptcy later — G.M. is bringing a Volt to market that makes good on those two promises. The problem is, well, everything else.

For starters, G.M.’s vision turned into a car that costs $41,000 before relevant tax breaks ... but after billions of dollars of government loans and grants for the Volt’s development and production. And instead of the sleek coupe of 2007, it looks suspiciously similar to a Toyota Prius. It also requires premium gasoline, seats only four people (the battery runs down the center of the car, preventing a rear bench) and has less head and leg room than the $17,000 Chevrolet Cruze, which is more or less the non-electric version of the Volt...

In the industry, some suspect that G.M. and the Obama administration decided against selling the Volt at a loss [like Toyota did with the Prious] because they want the company to appear profitable before its long-awaited initial stock offering, which is likely to take place next month. For taxpayers, that approach might have made sense if the government planned on selling its entire 61 percent stake in G.M. But the administration has said it will sell only enough equity in the public offering to relinquish its controlling stake in G.M. Thus the government will remain exposed to the company’s (and the Volt’s) long-term fate.

So the future of General Motors (and the $50 billion taxpayer investment in it) now depends on a vehicle that costs $41,000 but offers the performance and interior space of a $15,000 economy car. The company is moving forward on a second generation of Volts aimed at eliminating the initial model’s considerable shortcomings. (In truth, the first-generation Volt was as good as written off inside G.M., which decided to cut its 2011 production volume to a mere 10,000 units rather than the initial plan for 60,000.) Yet G.M. seemingly has no plan for turning its low-volume “eco-flagship” into a mass-market icon like the Prius.

Quantifying just how much taxpayer money will have been wasted on the hastily developed Volt is no easy feat. Start with the $50 billion bailout (without which none of this would have been necessary), add $240 million in Energy Department grants doled out to G.M. last summer, $150 million in federal money to the Volt’s Korean battery supplier, up to $1.5 billion in tax breaks for purchasers and other consumer incentives, and some significant portion of the $14 billion loan G.M. got in 2008 for “retooling” its plants, and you’ve got some idea of how much taxpayer cash is built into every Volt.

In the end, making the bailout work — whatever the cost — is the only good reason for buying a Volt. The car is not just an environmental hair shirt (a charge leveled at the Prius early in its existence), it is an act of political self-denial as well.

Now for the good news. GM says it will only cost the average American who drives less than 40 miles $1.50 per day to charge the Volt. That comes out to a low, low energy price of $547.50 per year. That sounds pretty good. Let's compare that to the comparable Chevrolet Cruze gasoline-powered car. For someone who drives 12,000 miles per year (32.8 miles per day), the 2010 Cruze, which will get 45 miles per gallon, would cost $666.67 per year if gasoline averages $2.50 per gallon. The Volt would save around $120 per year, if my calculations are correct. Obviously, the difference is more or less depending on the variable prices of gasoline and electricity. At a savings of $120 per year, the Volt ($33,500 after tax credit) would pay for itself over the Cruze ($17,000) in a little over 137 years, assuming maintenance costs are the same. I hope the Volt comes with a really great warranty. Of course, without taxpayer assistance, it would take longer by half for the Volt to pay for itself. Without the taxpayers propping up the Volt, it would take around 200 years to pay for itself.

But what if the price of gasoline skyrockets, as many left-wingers desire (only to HELP people, of course) ??? Well, if the price of gasoline went to $5.00 per gallon, the Volt would pay for itself over the Cruze in just over 20 years.

Even the good news isn't so good. I can't see this automobile catching on unless the price becomes much more competitive.

Conservative radio talker Rush Limbaugh, who would be hanged as a traitor if liberals got their wish, also weighed in with criticism of the Volt, prompting White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to hysterically claim that Limbaugh wanted a million people to lose their jobs. The Democrat Governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm, called Limbaugh "unamerican" for his criticism. I suppose such nonsensical stances are to be expected from a White House that compared those opposed to the ObamaCare insurance mandate to opposers of the Civil Rights Act (who were mostly Democrats, btw). The more desperate the White House gets over it's unpopularity on political issues, the more of this inanity you can expect from them.

Hey ! I know how Obama can make the Volt become profitable ! A Volt mandate ! I'm sure the Commerce Clause would allow Obama to force us to buy electric cars, since he's already forcing us to buy health insurance. To heck with that mustly old Constitution. Anything goes. The sky's the limit, because Obama won. Yes We Can !

On a related note, government-owned General Motors, which still hasn't paid back it's bailout money, just got into the subprime mortgage business. Nothing could possibly go wrong there, could it ?

Two and a half months until election day, America.



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