Lewis Page rounds up the GM-versus-Tesla ad campaigns of the near future:
As US motor mammoth GM gears up for the launch of its plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, it has applied to trademark the term “range anxiety” — meaning the fear suffered by battery-car owners regarding their ability to get home again after a given journey. Upstart battery car maker Tesla Motors has issued a panicky and unconvincing statement in response.
[. . .]
GM feels that “range anxiety” is a major reason why its original EV-1 battery car of the 1990s failed.
”We’ve been here before,” says GM marketing honcho Joel Ewanick. “We have first-hand experience with what the issues are.”
In short, the difficulty with an all-electric battery car is that there is little certainty of actually being able to complete any journey even close to the vehicle’s rated range, as battery endurance is highly variable — and manufacturers can’t publicise the worst-case (or even perhaps the likely-case) figures. If they did, nobody would ever buy their products.
[. . .]
Meanwhile, reputable Swiss boffins have lately pointed out that in fact a VW Golf powered by one of the new, super-low-emission injected turbodiesels is responsible for less carbon emissions over its lifespan than one with a li-ion battery running on typical grid power.
So, to wrap up the discussion briefly, nobody will be buying Tesla Roadsters or Government Motors Volts for their economic virtues: they’ll be buying them as expensive status-signalling devices to show off their (real or imaginary) environmental awareness.