Chevrolet Volt Setting The Industry Back? We Think Not.
While the plug-in industry as a whole has been on a unprecedented run since the first of the 'next generation' of EVs were introduced 4 years ago, not all plug-in vehicles have done their fair share advancing the segment. Some have crashed and burned in spectacular fashion.
When The Th!nk City Was First Announced It Had A US MSRP Of "Just" $41,695
According to the Wall Street Cheat Sheet, there are 7 EVs that have most set the industry back in North America.
Here is their short-list (and an abbreviated reason why):
- Cadillac ELR - too pricey, not enough of a step-change, "If you are going to build the first electric car in a luxury brand’s history, either make it an improvement upon everything else in the corporation’s past or don’t do it at all."
- Mitsubishi i-MiEV - on Edmunds list of "17 Worst Cars To Buy", too much "golf cart"
- Fisker Karma - corporate failure to deliver meant the death of one of the highest profile EVs on the planet
- CODA - no explanation needed; visual confusion with 90s Hyundai products be damned, the company went bankrupt in May of 2013
- Lexus LS 600h L - its not an EV, so its shouldn't even be on the list...although it was a ridiculous offering just the same
- Th!nk City - it was $36,495, made of recycled plastic, and about 10 years too late to the market to be a success
- Chevrolet Volt - more on that below
CODA - So Depressing It Hurts
While we can appreciate some of the names on the list, the inclusion of the Chevrolet Volt at #7 pretty much shoots any credibility the Wall Street Cheat Sheet had coming into the thought experiment in our opinion.
Here is what they had to say about the Volt:
High Profile Failures (like the CR breakdown pictured), Fires, Technical Problems And Bankruptcy Made The Karma Everything The Volt Wasn't
"Is the Chevy Volt a lemon? No, it would be unfair to call this GM electric offering a terrible car. Then again, as the main electric vehicle on the market prior to the Chevy Spark EV (which no one knows is on the market), the Volt is a relatively weak product from the biggest automaker in the world at the time of the car’s development. It wasn’t until Tesla disrupted the industry that Dan Akerson, then chief executive, dedicated a task force to studying the EV maker in order to confront the challenge.
Since the debut of the Volt in 2010, the automaker has not managed to get the car’s electric range beyond 38 miles. In some respects, GM did improve the car’s exterior styling, interior, and technology. The only problem was it is called the Cadillac ELR and costs $75,000."
Clearly the financial paper missed the fact that GM opened up the world's eyes to the possibility of driving a plug-in car without the fear of range anxiety, and thus bridging the gap to a more and more electric future.
Since the Volt's debut, more PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) have been sold in America (and worldwide) than pure electrics, while the short term advancement of the EV industry is heavily dependant on the success of the plug-in hybrid model. Today, new PHEV debuts outnumber PEVs by more than a 3 to 1 margin.
Past the introduction of the PHEV business model to the mainstream, the Chevrolet Volt's level of refinement and over-engineering has helped to solidify plug-in vehicles as inherently safe and highly reliable - something that could not be said of many of the vehicles left off the list.
While we will stop short of making our own list, we will ask "Is this list a fair one? Which plug-ins should not have been included? Which were missed?"
Check out Wall Street Cheat Sheets list (and reasonings) here.