Audi of America president Johan de Nysschen has issued a public response to the firestorm he created yesterday when he reportedly told a member of the media that the Chevrolet Volt is “a car for idiots.” Anyone who has met de Nysschen in person knows he is not one to mince words. He (and Audi) has been a strong proponent of diesel technology as an important near-to-mid-term method to reduce petroleum consumption, but given that Audi is planning electric vehicles of their own – at least in concept form – the remark caught many offguard.
In his new statement released on Audi’s Facebook page, de Nysschen declares that he doesn’t specifically remember using the words attributed to him, although he doesn’t deny the sentiment behind them. Essentially, he, along with many others, is highly dubious of the viability of General Motors’ ER-EV concept, particularly from an economic standpoint. de Nysschen also highlights the fact that government policies are one of the driving forces behind electrification.
While noting that in the long-term, electrified propulsion systems will be a major part of the transportation system, he points out that many questions remain unresolved including the readiness of the power grid and generation systems to support large quantities of EVs.
Just as de Nysschen questions these elements, many will make precisely the opposite argument. The reality is likely to fall somewhere in between, with a number of these technologies playing an important part for the foreseeable future. The grid is probably more ready than most doubters think, but the time frame for driving down the cost of batteries may not be so easy to tackle. Increasingly efficient internal combustion engines will be critical, especially for long distance travel. While history sorts out what technologies will be winners over the long haul, you can read de Nysschen’s statement right now after the jump. What do you think? Drop your fellow reader a line in ‘Comments.’
Audi’s Johan de Nysschen responds to Volt for idiots story originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Thu, 03 Sep 2009 19:41:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.