Bob Lutz Responds to the Spread of False Chevy Volt Information
Conservative automotive product guru Bob Lutz sounded off in response to last week's House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, which focused on the potential fire risks associated with the Chevrolet Volt—and the steady stream of misinformed anti-Volt rhetoric spewed by Fox News and other media.
Lutz, former General Motors vice chairman, wrote an exclusive column for Forbes taking direct aim at the politically motivated false allegations. Lutz's article, entitled "Chevy Volt and the Wrong-Headed Right," doesn't mince words. In his typical style of brusque bravado (and great wit, I might add), Lutz took umbrage at characterizations of the Volt as a government-funded project by "an army of evil enviro-Nazis, intent on forcing vehicle electrification on a good-ole’-boy, V8-lovin’ populace" and a "failed Socialist-collectivist flop." He sets the record straight with the fact that the $7,500 EV tax credit was enacted under the Bush administration.
The Oscar for totally irresponsible journalism has to go to The O'Reilly Factor on Fox News, with, as its key guest, Lou Dobbs. Amid much jocular yukking, the Volt was depicted as a typical federal failure. In attempting to explain why Chevy has sold fewer than 8,000 Volts, Dobbs states, flatly, "It doesn’t work." He elaborates, "It doesn’t go fast and go far on electricity. What happens is it catches fire," adding that Chevy has recalled some 8,000 Volts. Bill O’Reilly, nodding approvingly, helpfully interjects: "So they’ve recalled cars that haven’t been sold." Boiled down to the subtext, Dobbs’ message was this: "All Volts catch fire, and therefore all Volts have been recalled." That simply isn’t the case.
Lutz seems most irked by how attacks aimed at President Obama ultimately undermine American innovation and ingenuity—and domestic production of electric cars as a means for improving the economy and putting Americans back to work.
What on Earth is wrong with the Conservative media movement that it feels it’s OK to spread false information, OK to damage the reputation of perhaps the finest piece of mechanical technology our country has produced since the space shuttle, OK to hurt an iconic American company that is roaring back to global preeminence, OK to hurt American employment in Hamtramck, Mich., as long as it damages the Obama administration’s reputation?
While Lutz says that he shares the Republican's goal of damaging the Obama administration's reputation, he doesn't back destroying "credibility through the expedient spreading of untruths." In fact, Maximum Bob—who infamously described Global Warming as a "crock of shit"—says now that he's embarrassed to describe himself as a Conservative.
This doesn't mean that Lutz is ready to give up on his political affiliations or his doubts about Global Warming. Giving a nod to his Conservative media brethren, he writes, "Come on, you guys. Shape up! There’s plenty of legitimate fodder out there. Let’s leave the 'invention of facts' to the left-wing climate-change alarmists."
These jabs notwithstanding, Lutz deserves the admiration of EV supporters of all political persuasions for using his prestige to make one salient point crystal clear. "On average, 278,000 cars with gasoline engines caught fire in the US each year between 2003 and 2007, according to the National Fire Protection Association," he writes. "No factory-produced electric vehicle has ever caught fire, to the best of my knowledge."
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