2011 Chevrolet Volt on test in Little Rock, Arkansas, July 2011Enlarge Photo
If we could name one person who epitomized those who hate electric cars it would be Fox News’ Senior Vice President of Business News and presenter Neil Cavuto -- but in a recent segment on his show Cavuto met his match in the form of 2012 Chevrolet Volt Owner Eric Rotbard.
Playing off the hype and shoddy reporting following the abysmal 20 MPG gasoline-only EPA rating for the 2012 Fisker Karma Plug-in Hybrid, Cavuto introduced a segment on the 2012 Chevrolet Volt with his usual derisive tones, but soon discovered that interviewee Eric Rotbard wasn’t going to rise to his passive-aggressive ways.
Cavuto’s first blow came while introducing Rotbard, when he expressed his concern that Rotbard’s 2012 Chevrolet Volt was in the shop, but had it skillfully deflected when Robard disclosed that his car had only been there for a software upgrade intended to improve the car’s gas mileage and performance -- not because it had broken.
Tackling what he claimed was “a lot of money for very little”, Cavuto then tried to unsettle his interviewee with claims that no-one but the Federal government was buying the car, and that the Volt just “didn’t work”.
But Rotbard stood firm, and dismissed Cavuto’s claims that the Volt was too expensive in a matter-of-fact way.
“When you buy a car, why does anybody buy a BMW 3 Series?” Robard pointed out, using the similarly-priced German car as a cost-comparison to the Volt.
The interview continues in a similar vein, with Cavuto’s continued efforts to trip up Rotbard drawing carefully thought-out, calm responses.
By the middle of the interview, Cavuto is clearly troubled by his inability to catch his guest out, and goes for the jugular: the topic of range anxiety. But instead of catching his guest out, Cavuto betrays his own ignorance on the car.
Neil Cavuto Targets Chevrolet Volt Owner Eric RotbardEnlarge Photo
“So when you are on the road, or you take a longer trip, where do you charge up?” questions Cavuto, obviously trying to imply that the range-extended plug-in hybrid can’t cope with long distance trips -- despite its ability to travel 379 miles on a full tank of gasoline and a full battery pack.
By the end of the interview, Cavuto starts with the cheap jokes, asking Rotbard if his Volt had a Flintstone-esque hole in the floor, as well as claiming that in order to fit in the Volt’s rear seats you’d have to be shaped like Gumby.
Rather than get caught up by Cavuto’s taunts, Rotbard joins in, joking that that the interest from other road users in his car might be the huge, long lead extending from his car.
Bringing the interview back on track, Rotbard tells Cavuto about the acceleration of plug-in vehicles, and extolls the virtues of not having to rely on gasoline.
To end, he politely thanked Cavuto for his interview and said it was “an honor” to be interviewed by the notorious electric-car hater.
2011 Chevrolet VoltEnlarge Photo
We love the way in which Rotbard kept his composure throughout the six-minute interview, and met each of Cavuto’s smug, disbelieving questions with total calmness.
Will Cavuto change his opinion of electric and plug-in hybrid cars? It’s unlikely. After all, he’s already attracted more than enough attention -- and his own YouTube showreel -- highlighting the years of negative comments aimed squarely at electric cars.
But perhaps just this time, Cavuto met his match.
It seems, just like the school yard, that bullies don’t like it when you fight back.
How would you deal with an interview about electric cars with someone as jaded as Neil Cavuto? Let us know in the Comments below.