Earlier this month, Motor Trend named the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt its 2011 car of the year.

The magazine's editor-in-chief, Angus MacKenzie, said, "The more we think about the Volt, the more convinced we are this vehicle represents a real breakthrough."

However, radio personality Rush Limbaugh does not like the Volt one bit.  On an episode of his show that aired in July of this year, Limbaugh weighed in on the electric vehicle (EV) that could revive GM.  Here are some quotes from the transcripts of that show:

  • "Everybody's all excited today, the Chevy Volt has announced a price at 41 grand.  However, you can get it for less -- there's a $7500 tax credit, which means that Obama and the government are admitting that nobody wants this, nobody wants it."
  • "Why don't you try this, Mr. Obama, and the rest of you at Obama Motors, just put it out there at 41 grand and let the market decide."
  • "I'm not going to recommend people go buy an electric car that gets 40 miles to a charge. It takes three to four hours to charge the thing, 40 miles to the charge.  And then there's a backup gas tank that gives you 375 miles."
  • "The charging station is your house, so that 40-mile range has gotta include you getting home and then staying home for three to four hours to charge the thing.  It's 20-mile range.  So I'm saying to myself, I can't in good conscience recommend that."
  • "Now look what it costs you liberals, 30 to 41 grand to show you're superior, that you care more than the rest of us."

I'll address the "Obama Motors" dig and the driving range misinformation.

The U.S. Treasury owns 61 percent of GM, 56.3 percent of auto finance firm Ally Financial, and a 10 percent stake in Chrysler.  It was President George W. Bush who agreed to a $17.4 billion bailout of GM and Chrysler in 2008 as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) program. President Barack Obama then loaned $45 billion to the ailing firms in 2009 and put them in government-sponsored bankruptcy proceedings.  So, the proper term would be Bush-Obama Motors.  And the alternative was to watch those firms potentially perish and force their employees to look for work in a collapsed economy. 

GM executive Bob Lutz actually introduced the car years before Bush gave GM its first TARP bailout.  Note that the recent $23.1 billion GM IPO has been mostly positive news for GM, the government and the U.S. taxpayer.

As for the "20-mile range" comment, well, that's just ignorance of the facts.

The Chevy Volt is a gas-electric hybrid that can travel 40 miles on a battery charge and has a gasoline-powered engine that can power the vehicle for another 340 miles. As Michael Kanellos reported, the Volt hybrid EV contains a 16-kilowatt-hour battery pack and a small gas engine that recharges the battery while driving.  Mr. Kanellos reported on the varying mileage claims here.

General Motors said that the Volt will sell for $41,000 before federal tax credits of $7,500, as well as any applicable state tax credits. The total credits can run up to $12,500, which would bring the price down to below $29,000. 

You can lease the Volt for about $350 per month according to The Detroit Free Press.


Despite that misguided attack and the shaky argument Limbaugh makes, he's not done impugning the automaker and the the Volt.

Last week, Limbaugh said of the Motor Trend award, “Folks, of all the cars, no offense, General Motors, please, but of all the cars in the world, the Chevrolet Volt is the Car of the Year? Motor Trend magazine, that’s the end of them. How in the world do they have any credibility? Not one has been sold. The Volt is the Car of the Year.”

Todd Lassa, one of the magazine’s editors, noted that GM hasn’t sold any Volts “because it’s not on sale yet."

Motor Trend continued its response to Limbaugh as follows: "All the shouting from you or from electric car purists on the left can’t distort the fact that the Chevy Volt is, indeed, a technological breakthrough. And it’s more. It’s a technological breakthrough that many American families can use for gas-free daily commutes and well-planned vacation drives. It’s expensive for a Chevy, but many of those families will find the gasoline saved worth it. If you can stop shilling for your favorite political party long enough to go for a drive, you might really enjoy the Chevy Volt. I’m sure GM would be happy to lend you one for the weekend. Just remember: driving and Oxycontin don’t mix."

The magazine goes on to remind readers of the extensive government support that German and Japanese car companies enjoy.

Mr. Limbaugh's personal automotive fleet includes a Maybach 57S, which has a base price of $405,500.