Earnhardt, Jr. says Chevy Volt not quite what consumers want

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. may be the most well-known male professional race car driver in America, thanks mainly to his even more famous father but also because he has won the Daytona 500 and a number of other NASCAR events while driving a Chevrolet-powered entry.

But Chevrolet officials may not be quite so pleased with the younger Earnhardt today after he responded to a question about the automaker's Volt by noting its inadequacies in being able only to go about 30-50 miles on an electric charge:

“I think that the Chevy Volt’s a good product. I think that the consumers need to understand how difficult it is to produce a car with the standards that they have, with the guidelines that they have today, that can actually do what the consumer wants and what the consumer expects,” Earnhardt said in response to a question from a CNS reporter.

Earnhardt explained that the Volt is a bit ahead of its time because “the technology isn’t there yet really to provide the consumer with something that can go a little bit further than that [in mileage] and do a little bit better job with that.

Things will improve, he said, because “as the technology gets better, batteries and such things like that get safer to where they can be more heavily charged and the mileage can be a little bit longer.”

He was appearing at a National Guard event here in D.C. when he made the comments. Earnhardt's race team is sponsored by the National Guard.

The Volt is a hybrid that uses both an electric motor and a gasoline engine, but unlike other hybrid's like the Toyota Prius, the Volt's electric motor is meant to be its main power source, with the gas engine held in reserve.

Sales of the Volt, which retails for around $48,000, have been abyssmally slow, considering the incredible amount of media hype it has received in recent years leading up to its introduction last year, and the fact that buyers qualify for a $7,500 tax credit.

For more from CNS on Earnhardt's remarks, go here.


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