Electric-drive vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt are getting hammered by a lot of critics for a lot of different reasons. What's interesting is that many of the public policy criticisms were also hurled at hybrid-electric vehicles a decade ago, signaling that EVs and plug-ins may follow a similar adoption path as hybrids.

Motley Fool reports that groups such as the libertarian Cato Institute once said subsidizing hybrid production wasn't worthwhile because demand levels would never be high enough for cars like the Toyota Prius to be profitable. The Cato Institute also accused both automakers and the media of overstating the popularity of such advanced-powertrain vehicles, according to the Motley Fool, which added that today's plug-ins are being adopted at a faster rate than hybrids were when they first became available. Plug-ins accounted for about one in every 600 new vehicles sold in the U.S. last year. Demand is not constantly high, though, so, earlier this month, GM said it would shut down Volt production for five weeks in order to thin out inventory.

Honda debuted the first version of its Insight hybrid in the U.S. in 1999, but Toyota, which launched the Prius in the U.S. the following year, has since become the world's largest maker of hybrids. Last April, Toyota said it sold its millionth Prius in the U.S.

Debates over cars like the Volt and the all-electric Nissan Leaf are heating up since they qualify for big government incentives at a time when the federal government looks to cut its budget deficit. The DOE has also supported advanced technology vehicles with loan guarantees, a project that will reportedly cost taxpayers much less than previously expected.






I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 107 Comments
      Ladson
      • 2 Years Ago
      Battery technology is a disruption to the current technologies of internal combustion engines. After all, this technology is over a hundred years old and lots of people depend on it for a living, especially the oil people. Why wouldn't they try and kill it? But, forces are at work that will force us to a new method of transportation; look at the price of gasoline; watch how dependent we are on middle-east oil; remember smog?; well it's still here. These are but a few things moving the U.S. toward BEVs. No question that when the auto makers are able to offer a 200 mile range, at freeway speeds, in a battery car, the game will change. And, if the batteries that are currently in the labs can be mass produced, there will be a run on electric cars and the first company to market will be the race winner. I expect that to be Nissan because as I write this I'm sure they have such a car on the drawing boards.
        Ele Truk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ladson
        Manufactures already can offer 200 mile EVs, just not at an everyday affordable price. The Tesla Roadster gets 245 miles. The model S will have up to 300 miles as an option. But these vehicles aren't priced in the range that makes them competitive with everyday gas vehicles. Lithium batteries are the first generation of disruptive battery technology. They beat lead-acid batteries all around. Once lithium batteries get to production rates that compete with lead-acid (they make millions of them every year) then the price can also be competitive with lead-acid.
          nbsr
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ele Truk
          Which is fantastic, as it means we only have to solve an economical problem, not a technical one. Most Li-ion cells are still manufactured for portable electronics market. While that is great for piggy-backing to a new market, we still need many dedicated BEV cell factories. Once mass-manufactured the batteries shouldn't be more expensive than a petrol engine - the process is repeatable, the cost of raw materials isn't a problem either. In a long term it is probably better to detach from portable battery designs. Cars have to store a lot of energy so we can afford e.g. sticking an electrolyte tank or pump in it etc (not that it makes sense now, but we should think outside the box when going forward).
        Ladson
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ladson
        Sorry, I threw you a curve ball: Remember and don't forget The Tesla's range rating is 300 miles at 55mph, I indicated "200 miles at freeway speed." The extra 15 mph makes quite a difference in the amount of aerodynamic force applied to the auto; but, you are right in that the cost is a definite factor.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Title: "Electric Vehicles...." Image: Chevy Volt FAIL EV1 = EV Volt = Plug-In Hybrid
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        Oh don't be a whiny purist.
        electronx16
        • 2 Years Ago
        Ah, the old is the Volt an EV discussion....yes it is....for the first 35 miles. After that: gas vehicle. Remember this is about energy, not about the intricacies of what exactly it is that drives the wheels.
          marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @electronx16
          @electronx16 True, but it's also about what sort of technology will find mass acceptance. Prius and Toyota, have proved the technologies success with over 3 million sales (and counting). All steps in evolution......
        marcopolo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ Matthew K Wow ! That comment is so profound ! I'll bet it took you simply ages to think that up all by yourself !
        EVSUPERHERO
        • 2 Years Ago
        The Volt has not failed yet Mathew K. True the Volt is not a EV, no matter what GM and others prefer to call it. Will the Volt be taxed as a EV? "I rest on your face, I mean, I rest my case." "Bevis & Butthead" Yes, EV1 was a EV. If it uses gas it is not a EV. I wish people would buy a Volt and only go 40 miles per day so my groceries, clothing, EV Parts/ exedra, were not so expensive. You oil lovers are driving up prices for me and you want me to pay a tax, you should be paying me.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EVSUPERHERO
          If one goes to and from work without the gas motor turning on, it's an EV.
      usbseawolf2000
      • 2 Years Ago
      Those were the similarities. Here are the differences: - A barrel of oil was $23 in 2001. But it was $87 in 2011. - Prius started at $20k but Volt starts at $40k. - Prius tax credit ($3,150) started in 2006 (after 5 years in US). Volt's $7,500 tax credit started with the first one was sold. Here is a better article: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/dan-akerson-says-first-year-sales-of-volt-as-good-as-prius-grows-long-nose/
        Alfonso T. Alvarez
        • 2 Years Ago
        @usbseawolf2000
        Anyone, ANYONE who ever uses an article from TTAC as verification for ANYTHING has absolutely and unequivocally lost any and all possible validation that their opinion has even the remotest chance of being looked upon with even a minuscule amount of consideration! Seriously!!! They are the Tabloid News of the automotive interwebs! NEWS OF THE WORLD (WEIRD): TTAC verifies that the 250 MPG supercar with 0-200MPH in under 1 second acceleration will sell for $745.85!!
          usbseawolf2000
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Alfonso T. Alvarez
          If you want to ignore their subjective view, fine. Look at the data they provided from reputable sources. The sales numbers and the price of a barrel are facts and we can't change them.
      Smurf
      • 2 Years Ago
      I was a big hybrid fan from the first days when I read about Ford & GM developing hybrids in the early 90's. The criticism today is not much different in my opinion than it was 10 years ago, with the exception of the additional political criticism towards the Volt due to it being a GM product. The anti "tax break" rhetoric is a little more vocal today as well. Republicans don't like tax breaks for buying products that they don't like. They prefer just to give a tax break just for being rich. But.... This criticism will die out over time, as gas prices remain high. Even the political rhetoric will die out as EV's gain momentum. History has a habit of repeating itself.....
      Mary Keana
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why is a HYBRID Volt pictured in an article about Electric Vehicles? Last time I checked, the Volt has a gas tank.
        sirvixisvexed
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mary Keana
        Did the Prius have an All Electric range last time you checked too?
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mary Keana
        So does an EV - it's just that you don't need to wait for AAA to show up with a flatbed.
          Ernie Dunbar
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Yes, because I'm the kind of moron that drives until the tank is empty.
      S
      • 2 Years Ago
      You have to buy the car before we can show it to you. Obama's next plan for GM.
      Chris M
      • 2 Years Ago
      When hybrids started selling well in 2001, a lot of silly hybrid myths kept popping up, Those myths have been totally discredited, but they still sometimes pop up in comments by people who are remarkably resistant to evidence. It's not surprising that the plug-in revolution is getting the same types of myths in opposition, made worse by political demagogery. Those EV myths are also being discredited, but will keep popping up for years.
        goodoldgorr
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Chris M
        I never heard hybrid myths or were they spread by you like the myths against hydrogen fuel for motorists. http://www.virtual-strategy.com/2012/03/13/hydrogen-fuel-produced-lowest-cost-using-new-catalyst
          Naturenut99
          • 2 Years Ago
          @goodoldgorr
          Then you were not alive 2004~2006 (or at least you were not paying attention to green cars yet), when FUD was rampant.
      S
      • 2 Years Ago
      Here's the problem. “Chevy runs Deep” into the taxpayers pocket. Chevy Volt. we just shell out $7500 per car and they want to raise it to $10000 , to buy cars that no one wants, so that GM will not tank and produce even more cars that no one wants. The average volt buyer makes $150000 per year. Remember that $23 billion that the US government gave to GM and we the tax payer will never get back. Well, General Motors has done so well this year- in fact, they have enjoyed record-breaking $9 billion profits- that next week they’ll be giving out $7,000 in bonus checks to 47,500 UAW workers who already make about $116,000 dollars per year in total wages and benefits (with about $58,000 of that in just wages and the rest in benefits).
        Chris M
        • 2 Years Ago
        @S
        That tax break applies to any plug-in vehicle with a sufficiently large battery, not just the Volt. Buyers of the Nissan Leaf and cars from Tesla Motors are also eligible, and several other cars coming on the market soon will be eligible. It was NOT set up to support GM. The motive for this tax break is to encourage the sale of vehicles that use little or no petroleum derived fuels, thus reducing petroleum imports and reduce petroleum prices. That tax rebate comes from a law supported by Republicans and signed by President Bush, it was not President Obama's idea.
        pmpjunkie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @S
        That $7500 tax credit doesn't do jack for me. If I get myself a nice and shiny BMW X5 I get a 90K straight deduction, worth over $30k. Now thats what I call subsidizing toys for the better off. But you knew this anyways, didn't you. Just keep up the good fight and don't let facts get in the way. /s
        Grendal
        • 2 Years Ago
        @S
        @S Yeah, those undeserving UAW workers getting bonuses. How dare they. Don't they know they are supposed to cheap grunt labor? I'm being sarcastic for those that didn't catch it...
        Smurf
        • 2 Years Ago
        @S
        I never get too hung up on who likes and dislikes tax breaks. 1. People typically support tax breaks that "they" get 2. People are against tax breaks that "someone else" gets..... The tax break for EV's is not so that poor people can buy EV's..........it is used to "stimulate the EV industry". I don't have a problem with people who make $150,000 getting these tax breaks. These are the people who typically buy new products, when they are higher priced and help them become successful. Tax breaks of this type can actually help accelerate getting EV's to mass production, so that people that make less than $150,000 can afford them sooner. As far as the bailout.... As you said... GM is having a great year... Proof that the bailout worked, and evidence that the Gov't "will" get their money back...
        EJ
        • 2 Years Ago
        @S
        You don't shell out Jack. It's a tax credit. Remember that $63 billion we spend every year just protecting our oil transport routes? Over the last 10 years it makes GM's bailout look like chump change, not to mention the next 10 as you oil sippers keep voluntarily giving me your money.
      throwback
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hybrids still represent less than 3% of the US market, and my guess is in Europe they are even a smaller percentage of the market. The question I have is will EVs (not including plug in hybrids) take off in Europe and Japan? Two parts of the world with very high fuel prices and where folks drive relatively less miles than in the USA.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @throwback
        Hybrids and EVs are doing well in Japan, partly because it's supported as national policy. They don't have half their country listening to d-bags like Rush spouting inaccurate, ignorant blather.
          nbsr
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Japan has just a different set of d-bags, which incidentally happen to be on our side this time.
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Gay marriage attacked with same arguments previously used against inter-racial marriage . . . Mexican immigration attacked with same arguments previously used against Irish immigration . . . Muslims attacked with same arguments previously used against Mormons . . Fortunately, we get through these things eventually. But it takes time, patience, and education.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        We're not killing mormons or forcing them westward anymore.. just sayin..
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          If we did, we'd drive them into the ocean. And likely be blamed the heads for polluting the seas!
        marcopolo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        @Spec You are partly correct. However, there is a large percentage of the population, (myself included) who would rather see the term 'marriage' reserved for a man and woman. This does not mean that all citizens should not be entitled to the same civil union service, with the same protection and entitlements in law, regardless of gender. Just that the word 'marriage' be preserved out of respect for those, who by tradition or religion, have a deep commitment to the word. Surely the object of Gay Union is to achieve the same status as other couples? Why should gay couples want to deprive others of the right to the older more traditional terminology?
          Tagbert
          • 2 Years Ago
          @marcopolo
          Do you really feel that your marriage is weakened by my marriage? How would that work, really? Does your wife know that your feelings are so tentative? I doubt it. I think that you are fearing something that, in the end, will turn out to be inconsequential to you. I don't want to deprive you of anything. I just want my chance to get married. Its not about you.
          marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @marcopolo
          @tagbert I'm sorry I overlooked your reply until now. The historically traditional term 'Marriage' , has always been defined as between a man and a woman. (Mostly for religious reasons.) Civil unions, are for everyone, and include any coupling of gender. The legal rights and protections are identical. Preserving the word "marriage' is simply about preserving the original term within it's original context. How does allowing the preservation of a traditional term 'deprive you of anything'. Why would you create resistance, animosity, and hurt to traditionally married couples, simply to prove an issue. Surely once your have achieved equality, why would you want to insist of depriving others of their traditions, for no practical purpose other than to hurt others. This insistence will only increase resistance, not increase understanding of gay rights. Convenience of usage would, over time, accomplish your purpose without all the bitterness!
        Car Guy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Your comments are full of FAIL 1) No the same arguments against gay marriage have nothing to do with inter-racial marriage. Marriage is between a man and woman........anything else is not a marriage and not an issue in the inter-racial case. 2) The Irish were not sneaking into the country illegally in clear violation of the law. 3) Your Muslim/Mormon comparison makes no sense whatsoever. I would just add it's not Mormons, Christians, Jews, Hindus, or Buddhists following scripture teaching to kill the infidels....
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Car Guy
          1) The same arguments are being made against gay marriage. What you wrote does not dispute that fact. 2) Many Irish did and still do sneak in illegally. 3) You need to learn some history about Mormons in this country. Then you might understand.
          super390
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Car Guy
          1. less rights = less human. It's not about marriage, it's about making up institutions and morals and gods to make someone else a ni**er so you can feel superior. Humans will kill for this pleasure. 2. Immigration quotas have always been rigged to favor whites over non-whites. Conservatives love to squawk about how hard-working and entrepreneurial Asians are, but in the '20s a GOP congress passed quotas to keep out Japanese and Chinese because "everyone knew" they were genetically inferior. If Mexicans were a few shades paler, the laws would be different, as always. 3. Spec below is referring to a notorious massacre committed by Mormons of non-Mormon settlers, which led to the military being sent to retaliate, which was barely settled short of war between the USA and Utah. And if you don't know about the long history of Christian butchery in the Crusades - even of other Christians - you're not much of a Christian. Hindus? The Tamil Tigers invented car bombs in Sri Lanka. Jews? Future Israeli PM Begin belonged to a terrorist group that blew up a British barracks in Jerusalem. Buddhists? Government and troops of Myanmar. I'd note that 1000 years ago Moslems were more advanced than Christians in arts, sciences, philosophy, trade, navigation, and treatment of Jews. That's WHY Christians were barbaric enough to fight off Islamic expansion instead of assimilating. Now, irony of irony, the shoe's on the other foot. You really think that won't all happen again, and again, with different actors each time?
        DarylMc
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Cmon Spec Volt has enough troubles with some politicians already. Are you trying add sexuality, race and religion as well:)
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        "Muslims attacked with same arguments previously used against Mormons . . " Um, we still hate Mormons - haven't you been watching the talking heads in the Republican primaries?
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Why do people vote down my factual statement? I understand when you don't like my opinions but that was just a fact!
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          There is certainly still some resistance but the candidate with the most delegates is a Mormon.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          I'm guessing the voters are preferring the giant douche to the turd sandwich. And at the end of it all, we'll be back to the same damn cow.
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        you think pedophilia will be accepted too? male homosexuality will never be accepted
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          Seriously? You're now coming out as a homophobe? Really?
          marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          SVX pearlie Oh, DF's against most things, why should that include gay's?
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      History repeats itself..
        Ernie Dunbar
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        You do too, apparently by double-clicking the "submit" button.
      Mladen Kalinic
      • 2 Years Ago
      LOL why does anyone bother arguing with someone who voices stupidity such as 'electric cars will never catch on' It's like arguing with religious people about fairytales they believe in
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mladen Kalinic
        And Global Warming isn't a religion?
          DarylMc
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Mind you Volt hardly qualifies as mechanically simple. But it does cover all bases in a way that no one else is doing right now.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Correlation (the evidence) isn't causation (the religion).
          Ernie Dunbar
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          No, global warming is a consensus of experiments. Of course, the easy and obvious evidence comes from where the arctic ice shelf goes today, and where it went 50 years ago. Other easy and obvious evidence comes from antarctic ice cores that correlate atmospheric CO2 concentration to global temperature averages. But *you* don't want to give up your cozy SUV when it's raining outside, so instead of making the recommended changes to your lifestyle you just stick your fingers in your ears and shout "I'm not listening!".
          marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          @SVX pearlie No, global warming isn't a religion. However, there are similarities. Like many religions the words and concepts of the founding truths have been distorted and manipulated by demagogues to become a sort of religious fervour. Blending global warming with leftist ideology and Utopian conspiracy theories to invent a new 'crusade' as a means to power. The adherents of this false 'crusade' count the usual fanatics and misfits among their number. Sadly these adherents with their intolerance and persecution of 'heretics' do terrible harm to the adoption of the science in the minds of the populace.
          DarylMc
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          I would say Global warming is very comparable to a religion. People believe the scientists or they don't. But I struggle to understand how a lot of Christian folk I meet take the opposing view to the majority of scientists. What's with that. I'm an evil bugger either way since I just like EV's because they are quiet and mechanically simple. Cleaner air, quieter streets and less fuss over oil is a win for everyone as far as I can see.
    • Load More Comments