Coal-fired Electric Car

November 30, 2010

Coal-fired Electric Car

By James Lewis


Yet another example of crony capitalism rolls off the assembly line soon, in the form of the GM Volt — an electric hybrid that’s absurdly overpriced and woefully underperforms.

It’s set to sell for $41,000, and travels an underwhelming 40 miles before needing a charge (340 miles when the gas engine is invoked, defeating the basic purpose). It seats four, uncomfortably (thanks to the battery pack down the middle).

But there’s more to the story than just a poorly designed, expensive car subsidized with taxpayer money.

Rush-Limbaugh-chevy-voltRush Limbaugh has coined some of the best words for saving our PC-corrupted public language, but I think this gem should be remembered: Rush says that electric cars are “coal-fired.”

Which is exactly correct, and it’s funny, too.

Millions of fanatics in the media think the GM Volt is supposed to be the answer to our energy needs. It is of course a fraud, as GM actually admitted after it hyped the new Volt. It’s not a “hybrid electric,” as GM lied to the hearty applause of Obama and the New York Times. Rather it’s a gas-powered car for 340 miles per tank, and you can run it for 40 miles on batteries that will have to be replaced when they stop taking a charge, as batteries do. That’s why your laptop battery has to be replaced after a while.

But the real fallacy, as Rush points out, is that electrical energy for your hype-mobile has to come from somewhere. It’s a scientific law called the Conservation of Energy. You start out with 10 million ergs and turn it into 40 miles of driving your putt-putt down the highway. You lose half of your original energy at every step in the chain from your coal-fired generator plant to the rubber wheels moving your shiny new Volt.

In most of the world electrical energy comes from coal, with a lot less from nuclear. Both of those are sinful energy sources. The Greenies imagine the planet slowly dying from all that stuff.  But that little Volt you drive around is really fired by electricity from a carbon energy source: coal. It’s the “coal-fired car.”  And it’s China that is now building coal-fired plants fast enough to outpace the rest of the world. That’s because the Chinese power class listens to engineers, not ignorant headline writers.

Rush dropped that phrase a few weeks ago, and I hope it doesn’t disappear down the vast collective memory hole, because “coal-fired” tells the exact truth.

It takes all the steam out of the GM Volt… just another coal-fired hype-mobile.

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