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It has long been apparent that the more successful a talk radio host is, the less relevant the facts become. Case in point is this week's apparent tirade by Rush Limbaugh against the 2011 Chevrolet Volt. No doubt the Volt's sticker price came in higher than most of us had hoped at $41,000, and Limbaugh may have had a slight point there. However, suggesting that the federal $7,500 tax credit for plug-in vehicles like the Volt and the Nissan Leaf was there as an admission that no one wants these vehicles strikes us as disingenuous at best, especially when you recall the tax write-offs that were available to people buying Hummers and other large SUVs just a few years ago. As far as we know, Limbaugh also made no mention of the more palatable $350-per-month lease deal available for the Volt.

The Detroit Free Press reported that Limbaugh also ripped into the Volt's 40 mile range, implying that the 40 miles of range from the battery is all that is available. He was either unaware of or chose to ignore the fact that in charge-sustaining mode, the car's onboard engine-generator can keep the battery going for another 300 miles on a tank of gas. If you don't have time to sit around while the battery charges, you can just take a couple of minutes to fill the tank and be on your way again, just as you would in a normal car.

Perhaps we should just give Limbaugh the benefit of the doubt and assume his cochlear implant was on the fritz.

*Update: When this story was originally posted, we were unable to find a transcript online. After reviewing the transcript post-publication, it's clear that the Detroit Free Press took Limbaugh's comments out of context just as much of the media did last week in the case of Shirley Sharrod. Limbaugh is clearly aware of the range-extending capabilities of the Volt powertrain, although he didn't make any mention of the lease deal.

Until a caller informed Limbaugh of the Department of Energy-funded Charge Point America program, he was apparently unaware that over 4,000 free home 240-volt chargers would be available. However, the reality is that the Volt can be charged from a standard 110 volt outlet in 8-10 hours because of its smaller capacity batteries. Speaking of its range, the continual harping on the 40 mile range neglects the fact that for the vast majority of trips that will be perfectly adequate and the car can continue on after that on gasoline essentially without driver input.

From where we sit, comparisons of the Volt (and other EVs) to the Apple iPhone are also flawed. At launch, the iPhone did not have a carrier subsidy from AT&T and while it did well, sales didn't really take off until a few months later when the service provider cut the cost. Those subsidies have been more than recovered by AT&T (and other cellular companies) through very expensive smartphone service plans. The groundbreaking aspect of the iPhone was its software, not its hardware which was not significantly more expensive than other phones. While it remains to be seen if battery-powered vehicles can change the game, there is no argument that they are currently substantially more expensive to manufacture. As long as the United States has significantly lower gasoline prices than other countries, EVs are unlikely to thrive at their true cost.


  • Bob Lutz, Vice Chairman
  • Bob Lutz, Vice Chairman
  • The Chevrolet Volt "Freedom Drive" across the country concludes at Pier 92 during the annual Macy's Independence Day fireworks display over the Hudson River in New York, Sunday, July 4, 2010. The "Freedom Drive" began four days and 1.776 miles ago in Austin, Texas where Chevrolet announced New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Texas would join Michigan, California and Washington, D.C. as launch sites for the Volt later this year. (Photo by Emile Wamsteker for Chevrolet)
  • The Chevrolet Volt "Freedom Drive" across the country concludes at Pier 92 during the annual Macy's Independence Day fireworks display over the Hudson River in New York, Sunday, July 4, 2010. The "Freedom Drive" began four days and 1.776 miles ago in Austin, Texas where Chevrolet announced New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Texas would join Michigan, California and Washington, D.C. as launch sites for the Volt later this year. (Photo by Emile Wamsteker for Chevrolet)
  • Chevrolet announces Thursday, July 1, 2010 it is adding Texas, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to the launch markets for the Volt electric vehicle. The retail launch in Texas and New York will begin with Austin and New York City in late 2010. The balance of Texas and New York, as well as New Jersey and Connecticut, are scheduled to begin receiving Volts in early 2011. The Chevrolet Volt (pictured here) in front of the Texas State Capital in Austiin, Texas Wednesday, June 30, 2010. (Photo by Steven Noreyko for Chevrolet)
  • Chevrolet announces Thursday, July 1, 2010 it is adding Texas, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to the launch markets for the Volt electric vehicle. The retail launch in Texas and New York will begin with Austin and New York City in late 2010. The balance of Texas and New York, as well as New Jersey and Connecticut, are scheduled to begin receiving Volts in early 2011. The Chevrolet Volt (pictured here) in front of the Texas State Capital in Austiin, Texas Wednesday, June 30, 2010. (Photo by Steven Noreyko for Chevrolet)
  • A pre-production Chevrolet Volt passes a trolley while navigating the steep climbs of the San Francisco Bay area while on an engineering development drive Saturday, April 25, 2010 in San Francisco, California The Volt will be available in California during the last quarter of 2010. (Photo by Martin Klimek for Chevrolet)
  • A pre-production Chevrolet Volt drives near the Golden Gate Bridge while on an engineering development drive in San Francisco, California Saturday, April 25, 2010. The Volt will be available in California during the last quarter of 2010. (Photo by Martin Klimek for Chevrolet)
  • A pre-production Chevrolet Volt navigates the steep climbs of the San Francisco Bay area while on an engineering development drive Saturday, April 25, 2010 in San Francisco, California The Volt will be available in California during the last quarter of 2010. (Photo by Martin Klimek for Chevrolet)
  • The new Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range on display at Columbia University on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, 2010 in New York, NY. (Photo by Todd Plitt for Chevrolet)
  • The new Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range drives through campus at Columbia University on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, 2010 in New York, NY. (Photo by Todd Plitt for Chevrolet)
  • The new Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range drives through campus at Columbia University on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, 2010 in New York, NY. (Photo by Todd Plitt for Chevrolet)
  • The Chevrolet Volt �Freedom Drive� across the country continues in Fairfax, Virginia Saturday, July 3, 2010 as the Volt participates in the annual Independence Day Parade. The Volt, an electric vehicle with extended range. will finish its four-day, 1,776 mile route in New York City on Sunday. (Photo by Mark Finkenstaedt for Chevrolet)
  • The Chevrolet Volt �Freedom Drive� across the country continues in Fairfax, Virginia Saturday, July 3, 2010 as the Volt participates in the annual Independence Day Parade. The Volt, an electric vehicle with extended range. will finish its four-day, 1,776 mile route in New York City on Sunday. (Photo by Mark Finkenstaedt for Chevrolet)
  • The Chevrolet Volt �Freedom Drive� across the country continues in Fairfax, Virginia Saturday, July 3, 2010 as the Volt participates in the annual Independence Day Parade. The Volt, an electric vehicle with extended range. will finish its four-day, 1,776 mile route in New York City on Sunday. (Photo by Mark Finkenstaedt for Chevrolet)
  • A pre-production Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range travels around Pier 92 during a media test drive in New York, NY on Monday, March 29, 2010. (Photo by Steve Fecht for Chevrolet) (3/29/2010)
  • A pre-production Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range travels around Pier 92 during a media test drive in New York, NY on Monday, March 29, 2010. (Photo by Steve Fecht for Chevrolet) (3/29/2010)
  • The first pre-production Chevrolet Volt rolls off the line at the Detroit-Hamtramck manufacturing plant Wednesday, March 31, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. The pre-production versions of the Volt will not be sold at dealerships, but will be used to assure all steps in the production system will meet the quality targets set by the Volt engineering team. (Photo by John F. Martin for Chevrolet) (04/01/2010)
  • A Chevrolet Volt battery at the General Motors Global Battery Systems Lab in Warren, Michigan Wednesday, June 30, 2010. The Chevrolet Volt will offer customers an unprecedented standard 8 year/100,000 mile warranty on its lithium-ion battery. GM engineers have completed more than 1 million miles and 4 million hours of validation battery testing since 2007. Each Volt battery pack has nine modules and 288 cells. GM designed and engineered 99 percent of the 155 components in each battery. (Photo by John F. Martin for Chevrolet)


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  • 200 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Probably just super high on pills, as usual.

      What a moron. Seems like there must be some well hidden organization that pays Limbaugh and fox news to promote oil use....
      • 4 Years Ago
      My mazda 3 will get 335 miles to a tank... I'm not lugging around any batteries, and I don't have to plug it in.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Everyone including msnbc, cnn.. we all need to just ignore this guy and maybe he will cry and disappear.. this guy is NOT news...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Having actually listened to this yesterday, the facts of this article are incorrect. He did mention that it could run 300+ miles with the gas engine after the battery runs out.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I used to really like him, but for ages he is "mostly" way of the mark and more often then not he talks like someone who is paranoid to the extreme -- conspiracy everwhere.

      I had a friend whose brother became schizophrenic. My friend told me after a while you can understand the world they perceive; and he had thought that by talking to his brother he could show him through debate that "his world" was totally crazy in impossible.

      But what is interesting, is that my friend said that he kept loosing the debates as the LOGIC and understanding behind his brother`s perceptions were far more solid then anything my friend could say about the "real world". He said the logic and how things all pieced to gether was perfection (his brother previously had done VERY well at school and was working on is doctorate).

      The only catch my friend said, was that it was based on something .. central .. that was just not true or real. But if you take that one element as fact; the logic that flows from is simply outstanding and undebatable is so perfect. He said he would walk away and have to firmly remind himself that it was not true -- and found it quite un-nerving.
      • 4 Years Ago
      @ BoxerFanatic

      What you just posted has Epic Fail written all over it.

      Conservatives attacking POLICY not personal?
      Wow!
      Are you freakin' kidding me, trolling, or are you THAT bamboozled by your propoganda?!?

      Clearly you are rewriting history and erasing all traces of Willy Horton ads, Attacking Kerry's Vietnam record when he was running against someone that didn't even serve in Vietnam, or more recently how about these 'Birther' idiots? I could go on and on and on, but you've proven to be too much of an idiot to bother with.

      Keep on thinking that one should be tolerant of a person that has no tolerance for others. If it was up to you, we should I guess defend the Na zis too, right??

      Congratulations on being a complete imbecile.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Kerry used his own record to demonize the US military, and he is a public figure.

        He wasn't threatened, the way you threatened Rush Limbaugh, without knowing what he actually did say.

        Nobody called for Kerry to be run-over because he called the military out in front of the US senate, for his own benefit.

        The birther thing is just as much a vilification of the right, as it is a controversy for Obama. I only ask why the records are sealed, if there is nothing to hide, and the Constitutional mandate for a natural born citizen is fulfilled.

        You call Rush intolerant. How is he intolerant? What FORCE has he brought to bear to incarcerate, threaten, or impede anyone based on race, creed, or anything else?

        Simply calling people out on their public commentary, and exposing liberal policy and world view, is not impinging on people's right to be liberal. It is just identification of such.

        He hasn't prevented anyone from keeping their political positions. He hasn't threatened anyone, or called for anyone's DEATH, just as you have.

        Again, I ask, what has he done to you, that you feel no compunction about asking for his death?

        You don't have to agree with Rush Limbaugh. He isn't making you do so, nor am I. He isn't calling for someone to run over you, like you asked someone to run over him.
      Ken Sula
      • 4 Years Ago
      Instead of this $ 41000 price tag , why don't everyone wanting one just buy a Toyota Prius for around $ 23000 ? 45 miles to the gallon & NO Plug In !! Its a great car . They also say you can lease a Volt for $350 per month , ay the end of the lease you own nothing , and many people with poor credit can not get a lease ? So the only people that can buy one are people with $ ? Sorr , this is another Obama B.S. line !
      • 4 Years Ago
      I read Autoblog to get away from politics. I didn't hear Limbaugh's comments and am certainly not going to seek them out, but considering the other factual inaccuracies in the author's post, perhaps he should consider getting away from politics as well.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yeah people defeinitely don't want them considering the Volt is sold out for what...two years or something?
      otisj82
      • 4 Years Ago
      So its not gas powered. The battery powers it for 40 miles where then the gas is used to power the battery. The liberal mindset never ceases to amaze me.
      vettman454
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is a sham put on by GM (Government Motors) and the administration. Has anyone mentioned the problem with the recycling of the batteries? Also, what happens when Obama gets his energy bill "Cap & Trade" passed? He promised during the campaign that electric rates would necessarily go up. How much will it cost to charge your electric vehicle? How much coal will have to be burned to produce the additional electric needed? Those 240 volt chargers may be free but electric to run them is not! If you want to see a practical all electric vehicle look at Tesla. It's not getting the press the Volt is getting. Could that be because this administration has not taken over ownership of them? Think about it!
      clemsonmom58
      • 4 Years Ago
      Who cares what Rush likes or dislikes??? With his millions, earned from naive and ignorant racists who thrive on deception and discord, he wants to continue to drive a vehicle that gets between 6-8 miles per gallon while he laughs at those less fortunate!
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