Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Europe is Officially a Testosterone Free Zone

Europe's 2012 Car of the Year
Guess what car was named the Europe's Car of the Year for 2012? The classy Audi A6? Nope. What about the BMW 6 Series? Not quite. Surely the sexy Mercedes SLK made it to the round of 9? Sorry no soap. In fact none of these made it to the second round. What super cool classy make-ya-wanna-drive-all-day automobile was the selection committees' number 1? Drum roll please - Why the Chevy Volt of course! Wait, say WHAT?

The joint candidacy of Opel/Vauxhall Ampera and Chevrolet Volt, with 330 points, has been distinctly preferred by CotY 2012 Jury members, who put Volkswagen Up! second with 281 points and Ford Focus third, with 256.

First of all please tell the marketing folks at Volkswagen to NOT put an exclamation point in their products name, if you need to put it in that's probably a problem. Second tell your design team to stop stealing their ideas from the Fischer Price Little People Mover Bus.

That being said, is there any doubt that the European car show is trying to make a statement here? Here is their summary:

Volt/Amperaoffer is a mature product, after years of development and perfectioning by General Motors, and the first example of an electric vehicle with extended range. Others will come along this path. The concept, addressed to the fears of potential customers in front of an incipient recharging net of electricity for vehicles, implies energy generated on board, to continue the journey, once exhausted the rechargeable batteries. In the case of the Ampera/Volt, that means a 1.4 petrol engine working in semi-stationary regime. The balance between electric drive range and combustion-engine help takes in account the usually short daily displacements of the average car user. The electrical autonomy is rated at around 60 km with normal driving, then it comes the 1.4 to the rescue.

Mature product they say. I guess it's mature if you are on a golf course. But according to the committee GM supposedly addressed the fears of potential customers of incipient recharging - Really, from their own FAQ section of their own website it states that it will take 10 hours to charge the car while only going about 35 miles. And according to Eric Bolling, of The Five, he only got about 25 miles. So that's a whopping 2.5 miles per hour charged. Mature they say, mature my backside.

But what about the, um, you know, the little exploding problem? Oh yea of little faith, the committee is confident that GM addressed that too:

Some stringent crash test in USA recorded heat control problems in the battery pack, and the possibility of a fire. GM has thoroughly addressed the matter and applied new solutions, with better protection of the batteries and more efficient cooling systems, so customers can be assured.

Damn, I feel better already! Why? Because GM has thoroughly addressed the matter silly. Oh wait a sec, who did the investigation? Oh, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - as in the US government - the same folks who are trying to shove this fiery piece of crap down the American public's throat. I certainly feel assured now.

Well the good news is that we are exporting again. The bad news is we are exporting rolling bombs.

Exit question: how can the Chevy Volt be the Car of the year in Europe and not even make the top 12 'green cars?' Oh yeah, the same way the Swedes give a Nobel Peace prize to an untested Community Organizer - Both awards were given by testosterone-free political hacks.

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