General Motors is at it again with a new Chevrolet Volt TV commercial. Viewers of the Winter Olymics (at least in some markets) recently saw a TV ad in between the skating and the skiing that made no mention of the environmental benefits or freedom from the power of Big Oil that electric vehicles provide. No, this one was based on pure survival instinct.

In the video, a father is driving down a highway, perhaps through the Mojave Desert. His young son is sitting in the Volt's backseat and asks what happens when the EV's battery runs out. "We'll have to cross that burning desert with snakes and cactus until we make it back to civilization," the dad tells his son as they pass the skeleton of a fallen bull.

The fine print makes it clear that the actual maximum range is 342 miles.

But there is hope. The father tells his son, with a beaming smile on his face, that the gas generator has kicked in and they're going to make it through the desert. As they wend their way to the horizon, a voice over says that Volt drivers who charge up regularly are making it 900 miles between fill ups. The fine print makes it clear that the actual official maximum range before you need to either plug in or fill up is 342 miles.

This theme that emphasized range anxiety has been utilized by GM since the extended range Volt was launched in late 2010, despite the fact that Chevrolet now offers an all-electric vehicle in the Spark EV. Volt fans are praising the commercial, called The New Freedom, on the GM-Volt forum and you can see for yourself below.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 199 Comments
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'd buy one, but i'm concerned about range extender anxiety too much.
      Ziv
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think the ad works. It speaks to the Volts strengths in a cute way, and no robotic dogs were allowed on set. The Volt is a full utility car, and Chevy ought to note the difference between a full utility car and a limited utility car like the Leaf, or the Spark, for that matter. Short range BEV's have a great market niche to fill, but the Volt type EREV niche could be decidedly larger. Tesla is another BEV niche entirely. It is a full utility BEV, and that is the niche I hope to be able to buy some day soon. Til then my Volt will do nicely.
      taser it
      • 1 Year Ago
      Here's a trick, the Volt EREV offers a freedom that EVs cannot. Freedom to choose the road you want, not the road that was deemed acceptable for a charging station. Choose the fuel that is most convenient, electric when they want it, gasoline when they need it. Allow GM to display the benefits of its platform. Don't be a sourpuss.
        m_2012
        • 1 Year Ago
        @taser it
        Freedom to still be tied to oil and ICE maintenance. Oil changes, fuel filters, exhaust systems, spark plugs, air filters, transmission services, etc. You have a charging station in your own home. More and more people have them at work and many places in between. Why do I have to go to a station to fill up? This is 100 year old tech that makes a few people rich, let it go. If gasoline was invented today, it would never be thought of to use as a fuel. 25% efficient and the pollutants that go with it. It would be DOA. It only made it in the time when mercury and lead were good for you. And cigarettes. We didnt know any better. I think we have learned how wasteful and dangerous this fuel is over the years.
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @m_2012
          Calpine isn't local. They're a Texas company, have been for years. And what if it were? Local companies don't make a few people rich? CPUC doesn't regular Calpine's profits all that much. I mean, they do approve contracts, so it does come into play, but really the CPUC is more concerned with PG&E's profits than Calpine's. My solar panels were made by a big multinational. Have I done wrong by making a few people rich to drive my car? I don't think the way to choose a technology is by how many people it makes rich.
          rubley00
          • 1 Year Ago
          @m_2012
          "If gasoline was invented today, it would never be thought of to use as a fuel. 25% efficient and the pollutants that go with it. It would be DOA. " - hahaha, you're clueless! Oil is effectively free energy, that's what brings it to market - price! Do you see people trying to ban it right now, when we know everything wrong with it??
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @m_2012
          So now it is "Production of EV's" instead?? Once an EV is built.. it is not "tied" to anything. You are splitting hairs to cover yourself and your ignorance of how an EV works.
          rubley00
          • 1 Year Ago
          @m_2012
          "Oil used in Production does not "tie" the driver to Oil. A gasoline vehicle stops dead as a door nail and becomes a brick if oil were to become unavailable.. an EV would not even slow down if oil were to stop flowing. That is why EV's are NOT "tied" to oil." Hahahaha nice try at dodging that one. Hahah. Production of EV's would stop too. Jesus you're clueless. Yes, the Drive is tied to it because the driver bought it - if the driver wasn't there to buy it, it wouldn't be produced.
          JakeY
          • 1 Year Ago
          @m_2012
          @Rotation I think he's talking mainly about the gasoline, not the gas station. The difference between Calpine and Chevron is Calpine is much smaller, local, and deals with domestic energy. Chevron is much larger, multinational, and deals with global energy. It's much easier to regulate local power companies (CPUC regulates power company profits quite heavily for example) than companies like Chevron.
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @m_2012
          I don't see how gas stations make "a few people rich" more than home charging does. Most gas station owners aren't rich, and above that there isn't a lot of corporate difference between Calpine and Chevron (for example).
          rubley00
          • 1 Year Ago
          @m_2012
          "Freedom to still be tied to oil and ICE maintenance" - Pure EV's are still tied to oil too, why are you acting like they're carved out of wood? 'Why do I have to go to a station to fill up?" - I visit a gas station twice a year in my Volt, its not a big deal
          rubley00
          • 1 Year Ago
          @m_2012
          "ignorance of how an EV works" I have a degree in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Mathematics, I don't have any trouble understanding how EV's are produced. If the buyer never purchsed the car, it wouldn't be built, and the oil used to produce it wouldn't be consumed. So yes, the buyer is responsible for the fossil fuel energy that went into creating it. Stop acting like EV's magically appear out of thin air with zero lifetime oil consumption.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @m_2012
          --"Pure EV's are still tied to oil too" Oil used in Production does not "tie" the driver to Oil. A gasoline vehicle stops dead as a door nail and becomes a brick if oil were to become unavailable.. an EV would not even slow down if oil were to stop flowing. That is why EV's are NOT "tied" to oil. BTW, the oil consumption from vehicle production is less than 5% of the lifetime oil consumption from fueling a typical gasoline vehicle.
        usbseawolf2000
        • 1 Year Ago
        @taser it
        Plugin Prius does the same but more efficient with midsize interior. EV ratio varies depending on you commute distance. If your commute is 20+ mikes, it is greener to relocate anyway.
      JIM
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hey Jon LeSage, Range-anxiety is a reality, not an old-trick. Stop misleading people. You might not like GM, but at least tell people the truth. And this is not difficult. Jim.-
        Joeviocoe
        • 5 Months Ago
        @JIM
        Range anxiety does exist... but why does GM have to exaggerate and mislead people to make that point? 900 miles is a gross misleading tactic, that deserves to be derided.
          rubley00
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Nice attempt at explaining your delusions.
          Joeviocoe
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          This is how propaganda works. They know that people will associate a long desert drive and the 900 miles as if they were connected. Yeah... done in the same casual voice that pharmaceutical companies explain the side effects of a drug... while showing big bold font numbers on the screen.
          rubley00
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Its not misleading when the announcer specifically says "owners who charge regularly". You'd have to be looking for another interpretation to find a problem with it.
          Joeviocoe
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          nice rebuttal.. nothing to add to the argument I see.
      Joeviocoe
      • 5 Months Ago
      Yeah... done in the same casual voice that pharmaceutical companies explain the side effects of a drug... while showing big bold font numbers on the screen. They know that people will associate a long desert drive and the 900 miles as if they were connected.
      Joeviocoe
      • 5 Months Ago
      The "test" was never accepted by the EPA and was never official. It was nothing more than an advertisement gimmick... that went away. And now, instead of "230 MPG"... GM is claiming "900 MBF"
      scraejtp
      • 1 Year Ago
      @ Rotation You can top one stat but not all. That is the point, the versatility of the Volt. You can not go 400 miles without stopping in you Leaf, let alone a
      usbseawolf2000
      • 1 Year Ago
      @Smurf: I drive less than you. My commute is shorter. I use less energy. You use more electricity to bloat the high MPG which may be fine with you but not I. My goal is to reduce energy usage by increasing efficiency. No surprise we both picked the most suitable cars for us.
      rubley00
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Pure" EV's represent embodied energy, fossil fuel based embodied energy. And the buyer is responsible for it. If the buyer wasn't there, it wouldn't be produced, and the fossil fuels needed to produce it wouldn't be consumed. "Pure" EV's don't magically appear out of thin air. In the final tally, a "pure" EV and a Volt both represent oil consumption, no amount of hand waving changes that.
        rubley00
        • 5 Months Ago
        @rubley00
        Ha, yeah right. Most of time when I see people post about EV's they can't even tell the difference between kW and kWh and what they mean. Get real
          Joeviocoe
          • 5 Months Ago
          @rubley00
          --"people post about EV's they can't even tell the difference between kW and kWh and what they mean" So tell them. Instead of fostering ignorance with more ignorance, instruct them. Tell them how an EREV works with two very different modes, and two very different metrics for measuring efficiency. Don't just answer their ignorance with more ignorance, by 'ignoring' MPGe.
        rubley00
        • 5 Months Ago
        @rubley00
        I'm not ignoring any energy, unlike the EV purists who want to ignore the oil that goes into every car so they can deride the Volt. 230 MPG gimmick? I've driven 22,000 miles and used 61 gallons of gas for "360 MPG". I know, you hate that number, but when you want to explain to an average person who has no understanding of how a Volt operates, its the easiest way to explain the efficiency. You think I should say I've achieved 99 MPGe, and then go into explaining the conversion factor of BTU's in kWh's to explain the efficiency to people who don't understand what BTU and kWh even mean?
          Joeviocoe
          • 5 Months Ago
          @rubley00
          --"when you want to explain to an average person who has no understanding of how a Volt operates, its the easiest way to explain the efficiency. " It is laziness and insults their intelligence at best, and misleading at worst. THAT is why the EPA rejected it... in favor of two numbers. You cannot "dumb down" a car like the Volt.... it has TWO primary modes and both need to be given to have any type of accuracy.
        Joeviocoe
        • 5 Months Ago
        @rubley00
        A minor part of the energy consumption as a whole. The Fuel (whether electricity, gasoline, or both) accounts for the vast majority of the energy consumed. So why are you ignoring the majority of energy? Just so you can keep the GM marketing "230 MPG" gimmick?
        Joeviocoe
        • 5 Months Ago
        @rubley00
        So the crux of your argument is that you want to freely use the metric that GM invented in 2009 to be used in official EREV ratings (which the EPA rejected in favor of a two number system). So when I showed how silly that metric is, by saying that "BEVs get Infinity MPG using that metric".. you then tried to tack on the production energy as part of the MPG calculations. --"NO EV gets infinity MPG. You need to include the oil consumed in producing it." Actually you don't.. why? Because the G stands for Gasoline, not oil. And even if it were the same, the oil used in production of the vehicle is NOT a function of the miles driven, so it cannot be included in Miles/gallon (MPG).
      rubley00
      • 1 Year Ago
      Here's some CO2 numbers for the "pure" EV fans who think they're car is untainted by oil and emissions. "Producing a medium-sized new car may produce 17 (metric) tons or about 37,400 pounds. The U.S. EPA estimates that the average passenger vehicle in the U.S. emits 5-5.5 metric tons CO2e per year, assuming 12,000 miles driven. If you do the math, this means the embodied CO2e emissions to make a car is about 3-3.5 years worth of tailpipe emissions from driving." Your precious "pure" EV already has 3 years of typical CO2 output built into it. Let's do some calculations. There are 8.92 × 10-3 metric tons CO2 output per gallon of gasoline. So 17 tonnes of C02 output is the equivalent of burning 1,905 gallons of gasoline. Let's see, Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt Day 1 emmissions: tied at 17 tonnes. My Volt after 28 months and 61 gallons of gas: 17.54 tonnes Nissa Leaf: 17 tonnes Difference: 0.54 tonnes ( 3% ) Wow, my Volt has output a whole 3% more emissions than a Leaf after 28 months, I feel so dirty. http://www.globalchangeblog.com/2010/09/whats-the-carbon-footprint-of-building-your-car-and-how-does-that-compare-to-tailpipe-emissions/
        Joeviocoe
        • 5 Months Ago
        @rubley00
        So now it is not "Oil" anymore? You are changing your argument to CO2 emissions now? First you were going on and on about MPG for a pure EV cannot be technically "infinite" because Oil is used for producing the car. Neverminding the fact that oil is not the same as gasoline (which is what the G in MPG stands for). Now, you want to change your argument to CO2? The EPA calculates GHG emissions in a separate metric on the sticker, and it is NOT strictly tied to the MPG or MPGe. BTW... do you really feel the need to post on the main thread as if this were a new topic? Or must you be 'top comment'?
      rubley00
      • 5 Months Ago
      "To use your logic, one would criticize a person for the exact same thing when eating a hamburger from mcdonalds." Yes, of course. Which one represents more embodied fossil fuel energy: 1) A hamburger ( 5,000 Fossil fuel calories ) 2) A hamburger that is never produced ( 0 Fossil fuel calories ) http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/plugged-in/2011/08/11/10-calories-in-1-calorie-out-the-energy-we-spend-on-food/ Everything in our economy takes fossil fuels to be produced/delivered. You don't get to start counting the fossil fuel use of an EV after you purchase it.
      rubley00
      • 5 Months Ago
      The number is above 0. Don't like my number, show me the math.
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