Who Will Kill the Plug-In Hybrid?

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


Hopefully no one.

As we move toward $3/gallon, at the Detroit Auto Show yesterday General Motors unveiled the Chevrolet Volt, a commuter concept car with the curves of Corvette and the credo of a Prius. GM boasts that the Volt’s hybrid-electric battery will be able to plug into the electrical grid. When charged, the car can run independent of its fuel engine, only needing to draw on petrol if traveling 40 miles or more.

Not bad, but efficiency enthusiasts may be skeptical. Many are still smarting over GM’s forced-recall and demolition of its first fleet of electric cars. The ill-fated life of that model, the EV-1—including the manner in which the State of California’s Air Resource Board caved to automakers instead of standing by its zero-emissions mandate—is well documented in Who Killed the Electric Car?.

The Volt “is not a public relations ploy,” GM’s vice-president told the New York Times. “We are dead serious about taking this technology into high-volume production.”

But GM is vague about the car’s future, including a not-so speedy release date. GM says the lithium battery it envisions still needs to be invented. Godspeed if GM is to get out the Volt in time to compete with Toyota, which has already announced that it’s readying a hybrid of its own. In any event, you need not wait for a concept car to improve your gas mileage. Check out our latest issue for some fuel-saving tips from Wayne Gerdes, the World’s Most Efficient Driver.

—Koshlan Mayer-Blackwell

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate