The Chevrolet Volt received an interesting accolade this week. Writing for Fox News, Marty Padgett of High Gear Media listed it in an Independence Day article titled “Patriotic acts: The most important American cars of the past 25 years.”
Noting the Volt was conceived prior to GM’s bankruptcy, following is the bulk of the write-up:
It was born into controversy: of “Government Motors,” of “killing the electric car,” of then-GM vice chairman Bob Lutz calling global warming a “crock of s—.” Lutz, who played a role in developing seven or more of the cars on this list, later changed his tune, and said that electrification was inevitable–and had a hand in the Volt’s survival through GM’s 2009 bankruptcy.
It’s been politicized as a “car designed by Congress,” and been glowingly described as a Space Shuttle for the U.S. auto industry. The Chevy Volt does have a moonshot mission: to replace the horizon of today’s cars with something that reaches further, while staying tethered to today’s expectations. It’s capable of 40 miles of pure electric driving, but carries enough gas for another 300 miles or more of extended-range power. To some that makes it superior to the electric Nissan Leaf or Ford Focus Electric, while purists disagree.
That’s the writer’s two cents, and we’ll add many would also argue that other American vehicles have had bigger impacts on the finances of their manufacturer, or that they enjoyed more successful sales, and the author does name a few other vehicles that had a great impact.
But no one can contest the fact the Volt paves the way towards a different mindset and the production of a different breed of cars in America, in the same fashion the Prius did around 15 years ago in Japan.
The author ends by saying, “Has the market spoken? The $42,000 Volt is finally selling in decent volumes, and it took home honors as the 2011 North American Car of the Year. In time, it may be seen as an engineering triumph or as a political novelty, or both – but there’s no doubt it’s the most historically significant car of the past 25 years.”
That Fox said the Volt deserves such a distinction is especially noteworthy in light of frequent past criticism from several of its commentators for the car, its maker, and politics surrounding it.
What do you think? Are things really turning around in the Volt’s favor, even at Fox, or is this only qualified praise for a vehicle that its writer says may either be an “engineering triumph” or alternately nothing more than a “political novelty?”