us believe? This much-maligned vehicle has won seven major "car of the year awards," including the 2012 European Car of the Year, the first time a U.S.-built vehicle has ever taken that coveted spot.
So much for the critics. But what of those who know the Chevy Volt best --the consumers who purchased the Volt with their hard-earned dollars? When Consumer Reports surveyed Volt owners for its annual April 2012 auto issue, it found that 93 percent were extremely satisfied.
Chevy Volt owner and local NBC 4 (Detroit) news anchor Devin Scillian has driven his Volt nearly 15,000 miles in 12 months while using only 78 gallons of gas. His fuel costs total $300. Add this to the $480 he's spent on charging his Volt and the cost to drive his Volt comes to just over five cents per mile. Compare that with about 19 cents per mile for a similarly sized Chevy Cruze.
Evidence in favor of the Volt's value is not all anecdotal, however. A recent study by Dr. Chris Kobus, director of engineering and energy education for Michigan's Oakland University, projects that, after eight years, a Volt owner can save about $25,000 over a vehicle that averages 20 miles per gallon.
Yet on a recent Dollar Signs segment, Stewart Varney quoted Consumer Reports as saying the Volt "just isn't worth the money."
(I could not find the quote Varney cites in any of Consumer Reports' coverage of the Chevy Volt. Nor could a representative of the magazine itself point me to these words, referring me instead to what they have published on the Volt since its introduction. The Volt, which is on the Consumer Reports list of "recommended" vehicles for 2012, received a "Very Good" overall road-test score.)
Varney then goes on to say that if one takes the hybrid component out of the car and looks at the price; it is simply a very expensive, small car.
Never mind that the Volt isn't technically a hybrid (it's an extended-range electric vehicle), is it "just" an expensive small car? Not really. The Volt costs about the same--$45,000 before tax credits--as a similarly sized BMW 335i, a car that certainly lacks the Volt's cutting-edge technology under the hood.
The Volt isn't for everyone, nor was it designed to be. It was developed as a solution for the roughly 80 percent of the driving public with daily commutes of 35 miles or less. If you're in the market for a four-seater in the $40,000 price range, the Chevy Volt will allow you to get to and from work without directly burning a teaspoon of petroleum. (And while intending to build a daily commuter for the 21st century, GM engineers actually ended up building a car that can be driven from coast to coast, averaging 35 miles per gallon and without any range anxiety.)
Lambasting the Volt out of disdain for the president is not the way to solve our dependence on imported oil. And spending precious airtime disparaging "Government Motors" in an effort to connect the dots between the automaker and President Obama is not just disingenuous, it's dangerous. Millions of people tune in every day for Fox News' trademark fair-and-balanced coverage. If they're not getting it with the Chevy Volt, won't they wonder on what other topics the network deserves to lose their trust?
Fox News hosts should focus on the election and stop using the Chevy Volt as a political football. They owe it to their viewers to set the record straight with some old-fashioned reporting, or stick to editorial commentary on subjects about which they are better versed.
January: Barack Obama seated as the U.S. Senator from Illinois.
February: Bob Lutz proposes development of an extended-range electric vehicle to senior GM management.
March: Anthony Posawatz appointed vehicle line executive, signifying the official start of the Volt program.
April: Engineering starts on the Chevy Volt with a goal of a concept debut at the 2007 North American Auto Show.
January: Chevy Volt Concept premieres at 2007 North American International Auto Show.
February: Barack Obama announces he will run for president.
June: GM awards contracts for the development of advanced lithium-ion batteries to Compact Power Inc., a subsidiary of Korean battery manufacturer LG Chem and Frankfurt, Germany-based Continental Automotive Systems.
May: Bob Lutz drives the first Volt prototype at GM's Milford Proving Grounds; the car is approved for production in June.
September: Lehman Brothers collapses, triggering the 2008 economic meltdown. Bankruptcy looms for GM.
November: Barack Obama elected president.
December: President George W. Bush approves the first auto bailout, $17.4 billion for GM and Chrysler.
January: GM announces that the Chevy Volt will use battery packs manufactured in the United States by General Motors.
June: GM declares Chapter 11 bankruptcy, takes $50 billion in TARP funds, and begins worldwide reorganization.
June: Manufacturing begins on the first pre-production Chevrolet Volts at the GM Technical Center.
December: California selected as the first Chevy Volt market.
January: The first pre-production Volt comes off the assembly line at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant.
July: President Barack Obama drives a Chevrolet Volt at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant.
November: The Chevy Volt is named Motor Trend's 2011 Car of the Year.
December: First Chevy Volt retail delivery is made to Jeffrey Kaffee at Gearhart Chevrolet in Denville, New Jersey.
January: The Chevy Volt is named North American Car of the Year at the 2011 North America International Auto Show.
January: Chevy Volt demo units begin arriving at dealers in the seven initial launch markets: California, Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
June: The 2011 Chevy Volt earns a five-star overall vehicle score from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
January: NHTSA concludes its investigation into battery-related fires in the Chevy Volt; no defects are found. GM CEO Dan Ackerson says, "Chevy Volt not designed to be a political football."
March: Chevy Volt (Opel/Vauxhall Ampera) named the 2012 European Car of the Year at the Geneva Auto Show.
March: Chevy Volt production suspended for five weeks due to slowing sales in the aftermath of the NHTSA battery investigation.