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Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen is a big fan of diesels (no surprise), and during a recent chat with veteran auto journo Lawrence Ulrich, de Nysschen imparted a few choice morsels on the pitfalls of electric cars, with an extra helping of wrath aimed at the Chevrolet Volt.

To start, he said the Volt is "a car for idiots." Adding that they're too expensive and, "No one is going to pay a $15,000 premium for a car that competes with a (Toyota) Corolla. So there are not enough idiots who will buy it." He predicted that the Volt will fall flat, which will cause the federal government to step in and subsidize the Volt in order to save face and boost sales.

And what about pure electric vehicles? According to de Nysschen, "they're for the intellectual elite who want to show what enlightened souls they are." Maybe de Nysschen should check with the corporate mothership on that last point, considering Audi's set to unveil its own EV concept this month at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Whoops.

[Source: MSN Exhaust Notes | Image: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 149 Comments
      citizenofur
      • 3 Years Ago
      That's pretty funny because I always thought that Audis are just overpriced Volkswagens for idiots who wouldn't be caught dead driving a VW. What a schmoe.
      • 5 Years Ago
      As an engineer, I find this whole debate so full of lies and misstatements that it is preposterous to think any of you actually possesses an "education" beyond MTV and MSM sources.

      I'll try to tell you the facts as we engineers see them today, but it willl have to consume more than thirty-seven syllables and will require more than the eight second attention span that most people possess the capability for.

      1. All-electric cars will NOT be allowed in California. This is not by law or other political force, but by the simple physical fact that the first hundred thousand of them plugged into the wall will cause immediate brown-outs and black-outs on an already overwhelmed power grid. The Democrat-controlled Legislature made it impossible for us to build new power plants in "Cawafornia."

      2. If you think you can get another hundred nuke power plants built, or lay down a couple of hundred square miles of solar collectors, and integrate these sources with the national power grid in anything less than three decades... Well, I'd like to analyse that suff you're imbibing. You may have discovered a portal to an alternate universe.

      3. The carbon footprint for manufacture, maintenance and use of all-electric vehicles is about three times that of a well designed infernal combustion engine, especially the new diesels showing up in Europe and elsewhere. Also the diesel engine has a far better life-span than any gasoline, hybrid or all-electric system possible at this time.

      4. The sole reason we use fossil fuels to power vehicles is that it is clearly the most economical and most compact "safe" fuel possible. One gallon of gasoline contains the energy equivalent of ~43 lbs of the explosive, TNT! Nothing else available is so powerfully compact and safe as that. Even at $4/gallon and only 25 mpg peformance, the fuel cost per diesel mile is but $.16.

      For but a few pennies more per mile than fossil diesel fuel, we can more easily produce bio-diesel than bio-gasoline, and that allows us to have a "sustainable" domestic fuel source.

      We already produce a small amount of bio-diesel fuel from algae, which means an expansion to service the needs of the entire continent will not cost us even one acre of food producing land. That certainly cannot be said of alternates such as corn-based ethanol fuel production.

      Float the algal production facilities on sunny lakes and our vast oceans, then pipe the algal feed stock to on-shore fuel production facilities anywhere you wish. The entire fuel cycle becomes self-contained and carbon emissions neutral. A side benefit to the ocean scenario is that this space may also be shared by high volume aquaculture, thus further relieving the pressure on our depleted coastal fish stocks.

      5. Lithium is NOT a very common metal, and building tens of millions of battery sets per year will exhaust the avialable lithium very quickly. The world's largest reserves of lithium are located in the high desert plateau of Bolivia. That location alone makes lithium battery technologies of all kinds economically unfeasable to trust an economy to. If you think OPEC has us under a gun, Bolivia is a cocain exporter, and doesn't exactly "like" America at all.

      The presently used battery of choice, NiMH is produced from a caustic salt of the element nickel. Very "dirty" to utilize and recycle, as it has to travel over three continents in order to process and make into battery packs that will last less than 100,000 miles. Now, add the "real" price of $30K+ to produce, power, replace and recycle one battery pack and you have a total "fuel" cost of >$.30/mile, not exactly cheap or clean transportation.

      This leaves us with nothing all-electric that is worth the complete cost it really generates. Thus, Audi's two-pronged approach. First build the most efficient and economical diesel engines in power ranges that are suitable for delivery to a performance driven marketplace. Second, to develop an "economical" all-electric model that the idiot rich elites can have as their "conscience car."

      Both vehicles will deliver large markets for Audi's prescient management.

      6. All-electric vehicles will only become commercially and environmentally feasable when ongoing research into "super capacitors" is mature enough to commercialize. A super capacitor is an electrical device that can charge or discharge a virtually unlimited number of times, and at hundreds of times the current draw and faster than any batteries ever can. Because of this unlimitd life span, these may also be swapped into a new chassis at a significant per vehicle savings over any battery powered electric vehicle.

      When coupled to off-grid renewable electrical sources, these will become t
      Tracy
      • 5 Years Ago
      As an American, I will never buy another GM vechicle again. They should have declared bankkrupcy and all union contracts would have been null and void. Only at that time could they rebuild and come back stronger. With Obama and the unions running GM ......failure and coruption!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I didn't even read the article. A car for idiots? I LOVE THIS GUY!!!

      Absolutely the prius, the volt, and electric plug in anything is for stupid people. Basically anyone who voted for Obama.

      Now we don't have to check who you voted for to find out if your stupid. We can look at what car your driving.

      I love technology. : )
      • 5 Years Ago
      In response to "No one is going to pay a $15,000 premium for a car that competes with a (Toyota) Corolla. So there are not enough idiots who will buy it."

      Sounds a lot like the Audi A3 and the Volkswagen Golf, doesn't it?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Base model of both cars is about an $11,000 difference. That's close enough, the end.
      • 5 Years Ago
      BUY AMERICAN!!!!!!
      Think about the people that are losing their jobs, home, and have nothing to fall back on!

        • 5 Years Ago
        the only american i buy is apple, the rest all sucks.

        apple is the only american company that knows how to create a slick design and produce actualy something that works.

        the remote on my 10 year old philips tv stil looks like new, the remote of the (cable provider provided) motorola set top box is les than 1 year old and has almost no more paint on it and the software often crashes.

        no sir, if it aint apple, i don't want anything made in USA.
      Jimmy
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm sure most of the world feels America and it's products are for idiots. After that beast Ronald Reagan was elected to the presidency, our nation became the laughing stock of the world. Reagan was an evil man and is the very reason our nation is in peril today. Ronnie is the anti-Christ and the members of the GOP are his demon followers.
      qweqweqwe
      • 5 Years Ago
      a big fan of diesels ( no surprise ) Audi A4 2.0 TDI gets 70 mpg!! do your homework http://www.fourtitude.com/news/publish/Audi_News/printer_4122.shtml
      • 5 Years Ago
      Thanks for the update,Zamafir.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This man is VERY insightful. Can you see ANY other outcome than the Obama administration subsidising this tree-hugger pipe dream?
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Volt is for someone who hasn't done the math and only falls for the hype. The celeb idiots and the tree huggers will buy the first batch. The people with the everyday money will say "why should I buy $40K when I need and $20K Civic for every day". Ok....if oil runs out and we build Nuke plants and puff up the infrastructure to support plugs...but at that point we will be planting corn and converting cars to E85 and the remaining oil from Alaska and the Gulf will be used for the trucks.

      Let recall the media is as much to blame...the rice storage from last year, oil will run out, E85 is the answer, Hummer are the devil, hybrids are like planting trees for the rain forests...it just goes on and on.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You're comparing apples to tulips. A person interested in a Civic is NOT going to be considering a Volt and vice versa. It's comparing like a Mustang to a BMW 3-series Coupe. Both target a specific demographic (performance coupes) but the prices are very different and buyers are extremely unlikely to cross-shop.
      • 5 Years Ago
      230mpg?
      Lol, i wish.
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