GM unveils plug-in hybrid at Detroit car show, sticks out tongue at greens

The media got a peek at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show yesterday, and manufacturers had a surprise in store: cars so green they could play hide-and-seek in a cornfield. The biggest buzz surrounded the Chevy Volt, a plug-in hybrid from General Motors, long vilified for yanking its original electric car in the 1990s. Bob Lutz, GM’s vice chair of global product development, took the opportunity to bridge the chasm between the company and its eco-critics. “Well, here it is … an [electric] car from General Motors. I am shocked, truly shocked,” he said. “A GM electric vehicle is an inconvenient truth.” Also inconvenient, Bob: the fact that the battery needed to run the Volt doesn’t exist yet. As other companies, including Toyota and DaimlerChrysler, unveiled green plans and prototypes, a study released at the show confirmed that hybrid cars save their owners money. We’re just going to ignore Ford’s reintroduction of the muscle car and call it a great day for engines of change.