Here’s a simple way to help the auto industry without writing them a blank check, while still promoting the idea of better fuel efficiency: The government ought to replace it’s current fleet of vehicles with new electric cars manufactured by the Big Three.
The government buys 20,000 new vehicles each year, so it’ll help the auto manufacturers sales figures, and theoretically it could provide the much wanted “halo” effect, wherein the public at large would see more electric cars driving around and warm up to purchasing a Chevy Volt. It’s probably not enough to stave off bankruptcy, but it could help restore faith in the companies. Perhaps this is a naive solution, but it seems like a logical start.
AutoBlogGreen: Lyle Dennis, one of the world’s biggest Chevrolet Volt fans, has an idea on how to help the new halo car roll off the assembly lines at high numbers and help General Motors out of its current economic programs. The idea was inspired by the effort the US made during the Depression and World War II and would make the US General Services Administation, which is responsible for procuring government vehicles, buy massive quantities of Volts to replace the current government fleet. These Volts would be sold to the government at premium and without a battery warranty. This would be a very symbolic move, and would really help GM’s bottom line while also boosting the car’s development. For one thing, the critical batteries would be massively promoted and publicly tested. Dennis thinks 100,000 vehicles would be a good number for the US fleet. According to the Federal Fleet Report for 2007, the government operates a fleet of 231,213 vehicles. About 22,000 are replaced each year, so this is a five-ish year plan. Now, is it a good one?
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