Why Did GM Build The Chevy Volt? Because They Were “Gagging” On The Deification Of Toyota For Building The Prius

Robert Lutz, Former Chairman of GM and the Chevy VoltI love it when executives take off the gloves and speak their mind – in this case, it’s Robert Lutz, the former Vice Chairman of General Motors. Mr. Lutz spearheaded GM’s development of the Chevy Volt and for the article in the SF Chronicle, The Chevy Volt’s unlikely father, he didn’t mince words when it came to describing what finally motivated GM to pursue their hybrid Volt: “Basically, it was born out of frustration at the deification of Toyota, because of the Prius.”

According to Mr. Lutz, the Prius has elevated its status to the point that consumers might mistakenly assume Toyota was only in it for benevolent purposes and cared less for profits than their positive impact on the environment. “I was gagging on this stuff, because it was all so patently untrue”, said Mr. Lutz.

It’s great to hear that competition can be a driving factor even though it seems to run counter to our ideas about sustainability and conservation. Maybe a competition to consume less is next. [SF Chronicle]


Marketing The Chevy Volt For The Savings Not For The Greenings

[youtube width=”425″ height=”239″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuYRpmCDzdw[/youtube]Great article on Good about Chevy Volt’s marketing message. Rather than surrounding their product with an overly green message, Chevy is pitching the Volt as a money saver for car owners who are just like the rest of us. Volt owners even use the drive-thru. Contrast it with the Prius commercial below.[youtube width=”425″ height=”239″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tq4nrmnqY9o[/youtube]


All Traffic Moves Faster With Hybrids In HOV Lane – Even The HOV Lane

Clean Air Vehicle Sticker - CaliforniaResearchers from UC Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS), Michael Cassidy and Kitae Jang, just completed a study about the effect on traffic speed caused by the inclusion and now exclusion of Hybrid cars from the HOV lane. Since 2005, California has allowed Hybrid vehicles access to the HOV lanes as an incentive to purchase low emission cars. That all ended in July 2011 when lawmakers decided to do away with that perk.

What happened? According to Cassidy and Jang’s analysis, it slowed down traffic in all lanes – even the HOV lanes with carpoolers only. It seems to go against logic but the now less-congested carpool lane drivers slowed down to match the reduced speeds of the more-congested highway traffic. And safety may be another reason HOV/carpool drivers are slowing down; they’re anticipating cars jumping in and out of their lane. [NY Times]


Mythbusters: What Is More Jubbling, Motorcycles Or Cars?

Mythbusters - Adam Savage and Jamie HynemanThe latest episode of Mythbusters, Bikes and Bazookas, tackles the issue of what mode of transportation would have less of an environmental impact – motorcycles or cars? Everyone knows that motorcycles are more fuel efficient and require less raw materials to build – but the Mythbusters wanted to find out if they emit more greenhouse gases. The LA Times Greenspace has a nice recap explaining their tests and results. Here’s an excerpt from the LA Times on the Mythbusters “Bikes and Bazookas” episode:

“the motorcycle used 28% less fuel than the comparable decade car and emitted 30% fewer carbon dioxide emissions, but it emitted 416% more hydrocarbons, 3,220% more oxides of nitrogen and 8,065% more carbon monoxide.”

Maybe it’s time to kick the motorcycles out of the HOV lanes…