I’m headed to Detroit this morning, for the Business of Plugging In conference, and to participate in one of the “waves” of the Volt launch experience that GM is holding for the media. I’m curious to hear from the source the new explanation for the Volt’s operating design that made everyone go so darn nutty yesterday in an episode dubbed “Voltgate” by those who play on the internets.
I was going to write something more substantive about all of this, but it’s already been flogged within an inch of its life. So I’ll call your attention to John Voelcker’s excellent piece of perspective, through which y’all will be stuck getting a dose of me too.
I don’t want to let GM completely off the hook here; they could have handled this piece of information a lot better, and I don’t buy the “we were waiting on patent approval” excuse. Even if, there’s no reason to have fallen so stubbornly on the EV sword, especially given the sensitivity around the semantics, and persistent cynicism among some about GM being in this space at all. But from a technical perspective, this is not likely going to meaningfully change the everyday experience of driving this car. The first 40 miles (depending on your right foot) are what will matter most to consumers, and the Volt will continue to deliver those miles in EV mode. And most drivers won’t be able to tell which component is doing exactly what even after that, any more than they can explain how their current car operates. But obviously, I’ll see for myself soon enough how much any of this matters- and you’ll no doubt hear about it.