We’ve come a long way baby:
As the New York Times reported September 5, “For General Motors and the Obama administration, the new Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid represents the automotive future, the culmination of decades of high-tech research financed partly with federal dollars.”
Decades of research. Yield? 40 miles on a battery charge.
Meet the Roberts electric car. Built in 1896, it gets a solid 40 miles to the charge — exactly the mileage Chevrolet advertises for the Volt — the much-touted $31,645 electric car General Motors CEO Dan Akerson called “not a step forward, but a leap forward.”
The executives at Chevrolet can rest easy for now. Since the Roberts was constructed in an age before Henry Ford’s mass production, the 115-year-old electric car is one of a kind.
What a leap, no?
Yeah, I know, the Volt is much heavier, yatta, yatta, yatta. But seriously, if it was really a “leap forward” and the “culmination of decades of high-tech research”, why does it get the same per charge mileage as a car 115 years old?
I mean maybe I have a higher standard for things described as a “leap forward” and perhaps I expect too much from the “culmination of decades of high-tech research”, but 40 miles a charge? Come on.
So why didn’t the Roberts catch on then? Well, the market said “no”:
If you didn’t know there are electric cars as old as the Roberts, you aren’t alone. Prior to today’s battle of electric v. gas, there was another battle: Electric v. gas v. steam. This contest was fought in the market place, and history shows gas gave electric and steam an even more thorough whooping than Coca-Cola gave Moxie.
Now, of course, we find that the market isn’t to be trusted and government knows best – thus the “leap forward” (sound familiar to anyone?) and the brutally poor sales of the Chevy Volt.
Yes, friend, you’ve got it. We’re again seeing the government – which knows best – picking winners and losers. Except, as usual, the government’s winner is a loser.
Can you say Solyndra?
Sure you can.