Times Talk discusses GM government bailout
Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 20:10
Everyday topics arise that strike up controversy and strong opinions across the nation, and, specifically, among the student body. Times Talk is an event that will be held from noon to 12:50 every Wednesday in UC 125, which is the room in the back of the cafeteria. Times Talk will provide an open atmosphere where an interesting current controversial topic will be open for discussion.
Topics will be different every week, and the location may change in the future, but don’t worry; new posters will be put out every week to inform the student body of this week’s hot topic. Walk-in visitors are encouraged.
Each week, different members of UTM Professor Mike McCullough’s Creativity and Innovation class will lead the discussion. This week’s leaders were Jordan Canada, Trent Cole and Tiffani Latham who discussed the recent government bailout of General Motors and how GM is losing nearly $50,000 on each Volt sold.
GM’s Chevrolet Volt is an entirely electric car that costs the company about $90,000 per car to manufacture. The company, however, is only selling these cars for about $40,000 each. Four years ago, the U.S. government bought out a portion of the company for $110 million and now owns 33% of GM. The burning question of the discussion was: If the car costs $90,000 to make and is only selling for $40,000, where is the loss coming from? Is it coming from GM’s 67% or the government’s 33%? This is a big deal because if it is the government portion, then it is coming out of taxpayers’ money. GM declined to comment on this matter.
The Volt is entirely electric and requires a 220-volt plug, which most new owners have to have installed in their home. A 24-hour charge is good for about 60 miles. During the discussion, the majority of people agreed that this would be insufficient for the amount of travel they need their car for. Also, it was discussed that the additional electric bill charges would probably cost more than the gas to fuel a regular gas-fueled vehicle or a hybrid.
“I think they moved too fast,” said Senior Management major Trent Cole on GM’s jumping the gun and going completely electric instead of trying out a hybrid. “If you can afford a $40,000 car, why would you buy a Volt? If I had the extra money, I would buy a Cadillac.”
Another point addressed was that electric is not necessarily better than fuel because the power plant runs off coal, which also pollutes the air and costs money. There are currently 220-volt plugs being installed across the nation for all electric cars. Some of which are located as close as Casey Jones Village in Jackson, Tenn. A student in the discussion considered that even though purchasing an electric car cuts down the owner’s personal emissions to the atmosphere, that owner would then be using more electricity and therefore more coal emissions at the power plant. Is that any better for the environment?
Currently, the Toyota Prius is the most successful electric car, and it is a hybrid, using gasoline when the charge gets low. The Prius also triumphs over the famous Smart Car as it gets much better gas mileage.
“The Prius is a good metaphor,” McCullough said. “We are in a hybrid world.”
The world is transitioning from a fossil-fueled world to a world that is more efficient. Perhaps the reason the Prius is doing so well and the Volt is doing so poorly is that the Volt may be here before its time.
Do you have an opinion you want to share? The next Times Talk will be Wednesday, Oct. 3 at noon in UC 125. Check out the Times Talk posters for the next topic.