American Jobs Endangered By Unfounded Electric Car Attacks

Max Baumhefner challenges the assertions by right-wing pundits that electric cars are a failure.

Published: 13-Feb-2012

Congressman Issa recently called a hearing to accuse the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) of a cover up related to its now closed investigation into the post-crash fire risk posed by the Chevy Volt’s lithium-ion batteries. Issa’s theatrics only revealed that such batteries have caused zero real world vehicle fires (a regrettably common occurrence for gasoline vehicles), and that both NHTSA and the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety intend to retain their highest possible safety ratings for the Volt. Nonetheless, various talking heads continue to perpetuate the myth that electric cars are bursting into flames on our nation’s streets. This deceit hurts American workers and consumers, and only helps Big Oil.

Former GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, a conservative Republican himself, has dismissed attacks on the Volt by Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, and Lou Dobbs as “totally irresponsible journalism.” Even though NRDC and Bob Lutz have very different opinions regarding climate change, we agree that the “deliberate misstatement of facts” intended to undermine electric cars hurts the workers who build the Volt in Hamtramck, Michigan, and the workers across America who supply more efficient vehicle technology.

In addition to misleading the public into believing electric vehicles are unsafe, talking heads appearing on Fox News, The Drudge Report, Lou Dobbs, and others, are touting a report claiming every Volt sold is the benefit of $250,000 in government subsidies.[1] This figure even made its way into the opening remarks of Mr. Issa’s Congressional hearing. But financial analyst, Anton Wahlman, writes in The Street, “There is a fundamental flaw behind the math in this ‘report’ that discredits the entire report straight down to zero, in my view.” The report argues that the Volt benefits from $1.5 billion in public support, which when divided by the 6,000 Volts sold at the time the article was written, equates to $250,000 per vehicle.

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