Audi President Wimps Out: "I Don’t Think The Volt Is A Car For Idiots"

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Last week Audi of America president, Johan de Nysschen called the Chevy Volt a “car for idiots” which kicked up a good old fashioned internet kerfuffle.

The author of the GM-Volt–the non-GM associated fan blog–reached out to de Nysschen to figure out what the heck he was talking about. De Nysschen cleared up what he was thinking in an hour and a half conversation.

He says the Volt is not a car for idiots, but he thinks the Volt is “an idiotic business case,” because drivers “cannot amortize their incremental fixed investment in the cost of the car to the savings in fuel consumptions.” Or, in English, the fuel savings don’t make the car worth buying.

But what about the extra value that comes with driving a cleaner, greener car? You can’t put a price on the psychological value of helping the environment, right? Maybe, but de Nysschen says the Volt isn’t all that green.

He brings up the argument that coal powered electrics are dirtier than gasoline powered cars. GM-Volt mentions a study from the EPRI-NRDC that disproves that theory. De Nysschen says he’s never heard of the study.

Regardless, De Nysschen says the Volt won’t have very good range, so it won’t be all that clean or electric. If the car is driving at 10 mph in stop and go traffic, then you’ll be fine. If you get on the highway and ride 30 miles each way to work, like he does, then you’ll be using gasoline before you get to work. And when you get to work, there won’t be a charger, so it doesn’t really do much, he says.

One more reason it’s not a good deal–it costs $40,000! And it’s not even a premium car. While he hasn’t driven it yet, he sniffs, “it’s not exactly a Cadillac.”

All that said, Audi plans showing off its own electric car next week at the Frankfurt Auto Show. So, maybe this is just some early trash talking.

The full interview is well worth reading →

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