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USA: Chevy Volt Ready to Recharge

Don’t expect General Motors CEO Dan Akerson to go meekly back to Flyover Country after his resolute defense of the Chevrolet Volt before Congress last week. His appearance will rank as the high-water mark for the car’s critics, not for the car.

The appeal of Volt to American consumers is poised to begin rising again. There’s a new federal imprimatur on its crash-worthiness. GM will use its new marketing campaign, including on Super Bowl Sunday, to get out a fresh and upbeat message about Volt. And gasoline prices will likely start rising again, at least for seasonal reasons, as spring approaches, meaning that American consumers will be taking a closer look once again at what they shell out at the pump after about a year of relative stability, though at about $3.50 a gallon.

While U.S. car buyers remain uninterested at best in all-electric vehicles and only tepid about hybrids, even after they’ve been pushed in their faces for a decade, Volt still makes more street sense than any of the others. It can get better mileage than regular hybrids because it can operate in all-battery mode. Yet Volt has a huge leg up on its competition to date because it vanquishes “range anxiety” with an onboard small engine.

All of that means as gradually higher numbers of consumers inevitably consider the EV proposition — and Millennials certainly will — they’re likely to trust Volt over others because they know they’ll never be marooned.

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