A GM exec famously noted that the Volt had become a political football. However, the endless back-and-forth in the media about Chevy’s plug-in seems more like a long and drawn-out tennis match.
In 2011, a volley of anti-Volt columns and cartoons came from the right side of the court, as the fact that some Volt batteries caught fire during crash testing morphed into a conspiracy tale about mysteriously exploding cars, which was being covered up by the liberal media. Volt-hater number one seems to be Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, who ridiculed the Volt dozens of times on his show.
VIDEO: Neil Cavuto’s Bizarre Hatred For The Chevy Volt
In February, Volt champion and outspoken conservative Bob Lutz returned fire with a column in Forbes, pointing out that no Volt, or any other factory-produced EV, has ever caught fire in normal use or in an accident (although 278,000 gas cars catch fire in the US in a typical year), and that the NHTSA awarded the Volt its highest crash-safety rating. Lutz waxed irate as he asked why the conservative media “feels it’s OK to spread false information [and] OK to hurt American employment in Hamtramck, Michigan, as long as it damages the Obama administration’s reputation.”
In March, media magnate Lee Spieckerman debunked the Obama connection on Fox & Friends: “I love oil, I’m a drill baby drill guy and…I love Fox News. But [some Fox commentators are] perpetuating this myth that the Volt was some kind of Obama Administration green energy fantasy that was forced on GM during the bailout. It had been in development two years before Obama was elected…and the tax break for buying the Volt was implemented by the Bush administration…So, unfortunately, there have been a lot of myths perpetuated.”
Advantage: Volt. However, this week, like a tennis player picking up some old threadbare balls out of the gutter and putting them back into play, the web site Fox Nation ran a new story that repeats several of the anti-Volt talking points, including one that Fox’s own Steve Doocy rejected back in March. The progressive blog Media Matters quickly returned the ball, restating the facts and rebutting five falsehoods from the latest article.
Meanwhile, the only referees who really matter, car buyers, gave the Volt a thumbs-up. The American-made Volt was the top-selling plug-in vehicle in the US in June, selling 1,760 units for the month. Volt sales reached 8,817 units for the first half of 2012, up from 2,745 units in the first half of 2011.
So, game, set and match for the Volt in this game of fantasy tennis? Don’t bet on it.