Low Voltage Sales May Mean End of People’s Green Car

…but not an end to the impulses that led to the latest, or soon to be latest, green disaster.

The Volt is likely soon to join distinguished company: The Edsel, Gremlin, Pinto, and of course, the Yugo (Image: Sodahead)

GM said it would sell 10,000 of its signature electric, the Chevy Volt, a key component of Obama’s “Green Jobs” push.  Reuters reports that final sales for 2011 were “around 8000.”

The spin never quite stops.  While mathematically, it’s fair to round up, the actual figure of 7,671 looks even worse.  On the bright side, that’s 329 massive,toxic batteries that will not have to be disposed of one day.

Although its hard to track down totals( Neil Cavuto on Fox wasn’t quit able to), a large portion of  2011 Volt sales are to fleet buyers, prominent among whom is GE.  No surprise here, as GE has long since ditched its role of a quality American producer of electrical and industrial goods, from light bulbs to locomotives, in favor of the security of being a government favored enterprise.  Municipal governments have also been buyers in Michigan, Florida, where federal funding was used, New York City, Las Vegas, and of course the Feds are in for a few as well.  A more exhaustive search might well come up with further examples.

GM’s agreement to build  Volts in China leads some to think that production might be offshored entirely, while others think that line production will soon end, with volts being made only to order,


Some commenters on an earlier posthere on the Volt defended the government’s

The Volt has done better than this 70s Soviet Electric, with a total production of 47.

role in electric vehicle development by citing spin offs from defense research and development.  They have it backwards.  The internet wasn’t invented so I could write this post; GPS wasn’t developed so amateur hikers who couldn’t run compass courses didn’t get lost.  The government developed these technologies in carrying  out its constitutional mandate to defend the nation. Further developments in the private sector brought the technology to the consumer, and government uses privately developed technology as well.  The drone operator using a joystick is utilizing technology developed for missile control, game playing, and industrial uses, a  continuous cross fertilization going back many decades.

German prisoners near Giesen, 1945. Remarkably advanced engineering. There was nothing like it in America. Yet the disciplined German collective lost .

The German National Socialists did have  a vision of prosperous citizens zipping about the autobahn in “people’s cars”, but the Volks with its air cooled engine and the advanced road network were developed for military purposes. The Russians didn’t put the first Sputnik up so I could one day watch American cable here in Bali, but to develop their military communication and spying capability.

Soviet irrigation projects dried up most of theAral sea, ending a productive fishery.

The Soviets wanted to build a Socialist man.  Stalin thought he could change the drainage of Eurasia, and Khrushchev made the deserts bloom, and then added the Aral sea to the expanding sands.  The Volt springs from a softer, but quite recognizable  collectivist impulse

This is the hubris of the Left.  It waxes and wanes, but never changes.  The Left sees the world as it is and then tries  to reshape it, without reference to human nature, laws of economics,  or even physics.  Obama and Chu want us driving electrics, and  bring the influence of government to bear, so that we who need instruction, learn, and follow the proper path.

A momentary triumph of the collective.

But while our leaders work from a collectivist impulse we are not yet a collective.

Reality never matches the collectivist ideal.

Consumers in the old East Bloc had a limited choice of goods, many of which no one wanted in any case.  In the United Sates, the administration and GM cannot force the Volt on us, and have instead used borrowed dollars for subsidies to supplement moral suasion in trying to induce consumers to want the car. One would hope that the President and his faction would learn from this, but given the history of the Left, this is unlikely. Rather , should this administration continue in power, more likley, while compulsion is not yet possible, incentive may be replaced with penalty.  Rather than a bayonet, six dollar gasoline.

(Meanwhile, in other news: BMW sales reach record highs…)


Chevy Volt Recall: A Statist Trifecta

Not yet a full-fledged recall….but according to a widely quoted AP story( which, curiously, I was unable to find on the AP site or as a search result), GM, while insisting the cars are safe, will buy them back from worried customers, and may consider recalling the entire fleet.

So, we have a  largely State owned company, the new General Motors (Us Treasury along

"L'etat, c'est moi." But Louis XIV got a gilded carriage, a better deal if you ask me.

with the Canadian and Ontario governments). Well, there are the unions, and the bondholders from the old GM( the stockholders were hung out to dry), in other words a union of government, labor and capital, in classic Mussolini style corporatism.

And this company manufactured a vehicle using a power train technology that the government chose.

I'm not going to do the math, but with less than 7000 units sold so far(2011 first model year), and future propects bleak, I bet they could have just bought all their customers a Hummer, fueled it for the vehicle's life, and still saved a big chunk of change.

The technology choice was an  act of faith: a good work in service of the state religion  of Global warming, Anthropogenic GlobalWarming, Climate  Change, or whatever they decide to call it next week.( I guess: how do you charge the thing if you don’t have any coal or natural gas to run the power plants; we wont talk about nuclear or hydro)

The result was predictable.  A politically correct ( a term with origins in the old Soviet Union) automobile fails in the market place.  There is no third way: command and control can only work in economies where you can command people to buy stuff.

Really, the old East bloc way made more sense  They just made crappy cars because that was the best they could do.

We aren’t lost yet: there were never any recalls for Trabants or Moskiviches.

A Volt goes for $41,000(OK, there is a $7500 tax credit that may apply, for which all the suckers who don't itemize pay), but wouldn't you rather have one of these at around $37,000?

Whether there is a timely perestroika in the U.S. before statism calcifies, is another question.