The big green car news today was that General Motors revealed that the 2011 Chevrolet Volt actually does have a direct mechanical connection between the gas engine and the wheels. For most everyone out there who's thinking about dropping $41,000 on the car (minus $7,500 in federal tax rebates and any local incentives), this little distinction won't make a lick of difference, especially since GM says the car's all-electric performance has been improved because of the connection.
For others, well, the Internet was ablaze today with claims that GM lied to us all (the Car Connection was a contrarian voice). There certainly is a case to be made either way, but we wanted to remind readers of Bob Lutz's appearance on the Late Show with Dave Letterman in May of 2009. Back then, Lutz said:
Emphasis obviously added and you can watch the video after the jump (the comment comes at about 1:50).A typical hybrid is (where) the gas engine drives the vehicle most of the time. So, you're using less gasoline, but you're still basically driving a gasoline-powered car and the gasoline engine actually will drive the car through the transmisssion and then sometimes the electric motor will drive it. In the case of the Volt, the batteries always drive the car.
We don't know enough about patent law to know if what GM told us today – that it couldn't reveal all the details (like the mechanical link between the gas engine and the wheels) before today because it was waiting for a response from the U.S. patent office about the patent's status – hold legal water, but we don't know of any law that says you have to say what Lutz said on national television.
Whether today's "GM lied" meme turns out to be a big deal in the national media or not, the truth is that you can still use the Volt as a daily driver and use no – or very little – gasoline. How, exactly, that works doesn't matter to most people. Does it to you?