The Volt Is Dead, Long Live the Volt

Alex Planes looks at the predictions of the Cato Institute on both the early Prius and the Chevrolet Volt.

Published: 08-Mar-2012

News that General Motors (NYS: GM) is idling its Chevy Volt plant shouldn't come as much of a surprise. In the short run, the electric car hasn't lived up to the high expectations that have bubbled up over the past few years. That doesn't mean electric cars are failures. In fact, despite the idling -- a temporary five-week shutdown -- GM's Volt sales improved markedly in February after a disappointing January.

The cars aren't perfect, and the technology isn't fully mature. But the Volt is only one early entry in what's likely to soon become a crowded field. The last thing the electric car needs is more hype, but that's something every transformative technology succumbs to in its early adoption phase. In the long run, cautious optimism is the best attitude to adopt while waiting for the electric car to take off.

Counting Your Plugs Before They're Charged
The sad truth is that any technology attempting to move us away from fossil fuel becomes a political football to be punted around. Plug-in electric cars are one glaring example, but hybrid vehicles were no exception. Here are a few comments that could apply to either the Volt today or the Toyota (NYS: TM) Prius a decade ago. Try to figure out which quote is referring to which car.

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Retired oil company executive James Brazell takes delivery of his Volt at Lindsey Chevrolet in Virginia.

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Besides NHTSA rating, the Volt also has been named a 2011 Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Interior of 2012 Chevrolet Volt. Car will come with 7 trim options.

For 2012, consumers will be able to choose from a total of seven option packages compared to three in 2011.

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