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Chevy Volt Begins Production, New Hybrids From Hyundai And Nissan

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On: Thu, Apr 8, 2010 at 3:55PM | By: John Welch

Chevy Volt Begins Production, New Hybrids From Hyundai And Nissan

The first Chevy Volts hummed off the assembly line in Hamtramck on Tuesday, making good on a fuel-efficiency promise first made at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show. The General was going to give Americans a car that achieved triple-digit efficiency, 700 miles on one tank. It was ungainly, some might say ugly, (though I found the odd Volvo-esque cutline running between the fenders to be pleasing), but its value went way beyond its poorly-styled exterior. The Volt drank gasoline, but was not propelled by it. The Volt needed to be charged at home, but would not slow to a stop if the charge ran out. EEeeeeenteresting.

There is more good news for the Volt, besides the near-miracle that it is even going to see the light of day: GM's silent partner, good 'ole Uncle-conflictofinterest-Sam, called 'dibs' on the first hundred Volts a week ago. On March 31st, President Obama released a plan for off-shore drilling (Finally!! Refineries, anyone? Wanna get to work on those now, please??!). Obama also set a goal of one million plug-in hybrids, like the Volt or the upcoming Cadillac XTS by 2015. Then, in a move that wasn't difficult to predict, the administration upped its order of Volts from 100 to 2,500 and then to 5,000. Too bad these cars will be destroyed in the first few months- being relegated to company/rental car status and all, operated by US government employees no less.

I can almost visualize the carnage now- a Democratic Senator's aide drills a Republican staffer as he crosses the street. The combination of a silent, government-owned eco-car and a buffoon using a Bluetooth while jay-walking turns out to be deadly. Political and social backlash ensues; the Democratic Senator begins receiving death threats at 3 am; the Republican Senator has to pour himself a stiff drink and find a new boyfriend. And the Volt is run through the muck by any self-righteous goof with a camera in front of him. Both parties.

"We need these cars to have warning sirens and spray water fifteen feet in front of them so that the blind and jerks with headphones won't be ground to hamburger meat beneath the wheels of this rolling abomination!!"

"Who gave a Democrat under the age of forty-two a Gee-Deee drivers license??! This is what happens when you let people abort babies!"

"The RNC placed that young man in the way of our staffer's Volt on purpose, attempting to sabotage a "green" vehicle's reputation! That's what they do, those Nazis!"

"Where am I? How did . . . is this Washington D.C. . . . ? Oh Gawd, this is the Hall of Representatives??! Uhg, I'll give you a sound-bite, just let me go clean all this cocaine and hooker-blood offuh my new loafers!"

Ahem, more news about the Volt, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, and the Nissan Leaf, inside yon post . . .

Obama has changed his (or, rather, his administration's) tune a little since the US Government got in the business of building cars. A year ago, Obama's auto task force questioned whether GM was spending too much to develop the Volt, saying, "it will likely be too expensive to be commercially successful in the short-term."

But the President has hardened his resolve to champion the plug-in hybrid, saying "We’re going to lead by example and practice what we preach: cutting waste, saving energy, and reducing our reliance on foreign oil," Gawrsh, I Haven't heard that cliche-salad since I was twelve or anything . . . Still, the USA needs to be a solid Number One again, the envy of the world, and Obama's rallying cries followed by actual action are a good start.

Hyundai is planning to release a hybrid version of the new-for-2011 Sonata, and it is a . . . looker? Eh, I'm not
real smitten by the new Sonata and its swoopy late-nineties-Taurus looks; but the move to differentiate the Hybrid
version should be applauded, whether it is attractive or not. I really do find this car oddly stimulating, though it's difficult to explain why. Every fiber of my being is screaming at me to come up with some sarcastic quip about how catfish-faced this car is, but really, I don't mind it. Maybe I simply respect the balls it took to redesign the Sonata's front-end completely, or maybe this is the first mid-sized hybrid that actually looks like a hybrid, instead of just another "sticker and badge" mark-up. Chevy and Toyota might want to take notice . . . just a thought.

Another new competitor for the Chevy Volt is the Nissan Leaf. This car truly is sinfully ugly. If there was a car to be driven by sissies, this is it. Look at that drooping snout, the weird faux-hatchback rear-end. Yuk. Does it come with complimentary castration? It's a full-on electric, to be plugged in using a $2,000 (extra!! Cha-ching!) charging system. The Volt comes with all the equipment it needs to be charged; from the factory. Oh, and it doesn't necessarily have to be charged in the first place. Advantage Volt.

I'm sure it's a lovely machine to operate, but it looks like a Polk County Soccer Mom who has a deep-rooted love for Big Macs. It's ugly in all the worst ways. It's a Versa with awful, over-wrought headlights and Tyler Perry's ass. You 'Murrikens go and buy more Nissan Leafs than Chevy Volts and I will have had it with this country! Hypocrites! We say we like attractive cars, we say we like Domestic cars-- this Leaf business will be very telling of the American car-buying conscience. Very telling indeed . . .

And just in case you're currently making me out to be some sort of GM-apologist . . . a shill for the General, I remind you of this. Courtesy of your tax dollars, the Chevy Volt Dance! God Bless America! . . .

. . . good day.

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RoadKill | 2:50PM (Fri, Apr 9, 2010)

What the hell! I thought they would be available in November??? Not that I want one

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