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Chevy Volt Debut: A Few Smart Things Overheard

GM vice president, research and development and strategic planning: When asked how the recent downturn in oil and gasoline prices will effect consumer interest in Volt and other alternative propulsion vehicles: “It wakes me up at night”.

Chris Paine, independent film maker who produced “Who Killed The Electric Car”: When asked if he thought consumers in America will really buy in to alternative vehicles like the Chevy Volt on a big enough scale: “When you get involved in how much better for the enviromment and society it is, and how much better for our pocketbooks, it starts to become an argument in your head like the one about renting versus owning. People will rapidly come to appreciate owning their own energy solution.”

Don Hillebrand, director of transportation research, Argonne National Laboratory: “There is a big wall between utility companies and transportation. We need to break down the wall to get renewable energy into our homes as well as our cars.”

GM vice chairman Bob Lutz: “I think we must be cracking through. We saw the iother day that the answer to a clue in a newspaper crossword puzzle to the question, “Fuel efficient car for GM,” the answer was Volt.

John Casesa, managing partner, Casesa Shapiro (and one of the leading investment analysts on the auto industry: “The U.S. financial system is creaking. This is more like the 1930s than the 70s or 80s.”

Casesa: Asked whether the financial markets would accept a price floor on oil in the U.S. to protect investments made by industry and the government in alternative energy and vehicles: “Investors like stability, so yes….but it seems to be a political third rail.”

Casesa on the financial health of the Big Three: “I can’t tell you all three U.S. automakers will be independent 18 months from now.”

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