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Automotive Traveler Magazine: Vol 2 Iss 2 Page 120

The Road Ahead: Talking 'bout a Revolution

Horseless carriages, the Chevy Volt, and the Wizard of Menlo Park

By Robyn Larson McCarthy

The Chevy Volt is more than Motor Trend's 2011 Car of the Year. It is a revolution in automotive technology, a portent of things to come, and the world will never be the same. The Chevy Volt is also a government-backed boondoggle that only a tree-hugging few can afford to buy. Whichever of those statements you agree with quite possibly indicates where you stand on the auto industry bailout, unions, import cars, or even the war.

Yes, all those topics and more have been dragged into discussions about the Volt in the last month. As often happens during debates and arguments, inconvenient truths are frequently cast aside. Pro-Volters extolling the Volt as the symbol of a revitalized General Motors forget to mention their pensions are tied to the company too big to fail. Anti-Volters rant about the unfairness of the "Obama tax credit" for Volt purchasers without noting that the credit was actually instituted for all hybrid vehicles during the Bush Administration.

Underneath all the hoopla is that word revolutionary.

I lose count how many times a week I strike words like revolutionary, iconic, and world-class from the writing I edit--teasing more useful adjectives from the writer's context. When every innovation is revolutionary, every household name is iconic, and every car is world-class, what do you say when something is genuinely extraordinary?

One of Motor Trend's editors describes the Chevy Volt as representing the most significant automotive innovation since the

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