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Crazy Chevy Volt Assumptions, & Why The New Volt Commercial Emphasizes Its Gas Tank

I recently expressed how much I disliked the most recent Chevy Volt commercial, which ran during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in some locations. I took it as an attack on 100%-electric cars, and further hyping of the ridiculous range anxiety meme. I still think the latter is true, but the perspectives of several Volt owners makes me think the former is actually wrong. From discussions with Volt owners on Twitter and posts by Volt owners elsewhere, I’ve come to understand that it’s extremely common for people to think the Volt only runs on electricity. Even worse than that misconception, check out some of the others:

The misunderstood Volt!!

Have the 2014 Volt for about 3 weeks now and get lots of questions from my clients who arrive at my office. Some of my favorites are: 1..Gee, don’t you have to go to some sort of special charging station at the dealership to get recharged? 2. You can’t go more than 50 mph, can you? 3. Don’t you think that you could run out of charge and be left stranded? Well, I pause and take a deep breath and explain how the car actually works and they are very very surprised. I guess the Volt is not a vehicle for everyone, but I think GM could have done a much better job of marketing and advertising the Volts appealing features and driving impressions. If more are not sold and I really do not see many in my state of Florida, I am not sure what the future is for the Volt. But, at this time, I am very pleased with the car and no buyer remorse.

This person is not alone. The first response on that thread is as follows:

You are finding out what we have been saying here for years!

GM management does not understand what a jewel the designers, engineers, and assembly people have created with this car!!!

We get those kind of questions all the time.

Wait till you start to take some people for a ride in your new Volt. Then they are REALLY impressed!

Enjoy your car. I still smile every time I get into mine. And it is over 28 months old now…..

Here’s another gem:

Six people in my office asked me “so what are you driving in these awful snowstorms?” and then give a surprised “really??” when I say that the Volt actually works in snow. These are college educated professionals.

Frankly, many of the other responses convey how very sad the level of EV awareness is today. Nonetheless, I recommend checking out the thread. What is currently the final comment offers an excellent way to explain the Volt to the uninitiated:

My simplest explanation is:
It costs about a buck 20 in electricity to go the first 30-40 miles, then it turns into a 40 mpg Prius.
Haven’t bought gas in a long time!

Getting to the new Chevy Volt commercial that I mentioned at the top, Jeff Cobb wrote an excellent article countering that and further explaining why so many Volt drivers were thrilled with the commercial. I think it’s worth a read, so reposting here:

New Volt commercial explains a simple concept

Has Chevrolet been outgunned? Its Volt commercials have been criticized as inadequate, but aside from that, how many critics have pumped out far more against GM and its E-REV?

GM has had to face everyone from the indifferent, uninformed, misinformed, and outright malicious.

Now Chevrolet has a new 30-second spot as it continues trying to get the message out about what the car can do.

This is not to say anyone needs to understand the mechanics of it, but even understanding that this is a car that, 1) runs for 38 miles more or less on electricity until the battery runs out, and 2) has also a gas generator that seamlessly takes over.

According to Volt media representative Michelle Malcho, who I spoke with in January, simply explaining things along these lines and other fundamental aspects of the Volt have somehow been difficult to some would-be consumers.

Would-be (adult) buyers don’t just don’t get it. Chevy’s latest advertisement avoids suggesting anything so blunt, and instead has a dad explain a simple message so that a child can understand.

Oh, and by the way, if you are a grownup and you did know either, well there you are.

But maybe it is not only consumers’ fault that as Chevrolet observes, a lot of people simply do not understand what the Volt can do for them.

Some have heard false things from other sources leading them to shy away from the Volt without even knowing if the Volt would make sense for their lives and budget.

Just one example of negative reporting. — Autoblog Green found and posted this one just recently.

In addition to Fox News, a laundry list of other critics have been very vocal against various aspects of the Volt.

The ad plays on at least one misconception that yet persists that the Volt might be a pure EV and unclear to the uninitiated is that it has the “range extender.”

As people following this space generally know, the Volt has been the subject of very little love in some circles since it launched over three years ago.

Critics have confused or blurred the positive benefits while playing up the negative sides.

A simple message: Chevrolet’s latest commercial

At the same time, the Volt enjoys a fan base who say they drive an average 900 miles between filling up its 9-gallon tank – 100 mpg average with the battery helping boost the average, and electricity costs a fraction of gas.

And, yes the Volt takes premium gas, but staying in the EV zone for the most part means the gas need not be burned.

The idea according to those who do like the car is it’s a right-sized battery to do the average daily driving distance studies showed a good three-quarters of Americans need.

If they want to go visit grandma several states away, or otherwise take a longer trip, they may still get mpg in the mid 30s or better in real-world highway driving. The EPA rates it at 37 mpg combined on gas only, not factoring the battery assist.


You probably heard about the sinkhole that swallowed eight classic Corvettes alive and whichGM is now fixing? Security camera footage follows:

Random entertainment:

Also, as we are so immersed in today’s automotive world, here is 1957 footage from The Old Motor of a bygone era for your general interest:

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Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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