Did EDF’s own Jamie Fine and Colin Meehan have a little influence on General Motors (GM)? Perhaps? Just a few days after GM reposted on their website a blog written by Jamie and Colin on the EDF Energy Exchange explaining the Chevy Volt’s brief production suspension and emphasizing it is not a reason to worry about the future of electric vehicles (EVs), GM decides to change course on climate change. Whereas once they were a denier by proxy, they have now seen the light. On Friday, GM announced they are pulling funding from the climate-denial group the Heartland Institute, an industry front group with contributors like Charles Koch and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
This announcement came after GM’s CEO Dan Akerson gave a speech last month stating that they are operating under the assumption that climate change is happening. This new messaging for GM is now consistent with their advances in alternative auto technologies such as the Volt. It would be difficult for many consumers to choose the Volt while wondering why GM takes those dollars – $45,000 over the last 3 years including 2012 – and funds active climate deniers like the Heartland Institute.
As we told you a few weeks ago, the recent pause in production of the Volt is not a reason to worry. Despite not reaching their rather optimistic sales projections, the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf are actually beating the sales history of their hybrid cousins. When the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight were offered as the first commercially available hybrids in 2000, only 9,350 cars were sold. The Prius is now among the best selling cars in the U.S. with over 2 million vehicles on the road. Meanwhile just last Friday, GM announced that record Volt sales in March are reportedly leading them to consider ramping up production. Change takes time and if the Volt is already outpacing its hybrid competitors, we can potentially expect millions of Volts on the road in the next decade. But you wouldn’t believe that if you listened to the naysayers.
Maybe after being on the receiving end of faux alarmists – who are all too excited to write the obituary for “Government Motors” and a fossil free future – GM is rethinking its support for groups that ignore the truth and distort facts just the same.