Eric Bolling Doesn't Know How The Volt Works, Even After Driving One

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2012 Chevrolet Volt

2012 Chevrolet Volt

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Imagine the horror.

There you are, driving your electric car through the Lincoln Tunnel to Manhattan from New Jersey.

Your battery pack gives up its last few electrons, so your car slows to a halt in the narrow tube, blocking traffic, causing a cacophony of curses and horn-honking.

That's the picture painted by the latest--and most egregious yet--anti-Volt "reporting" that regularly spews from some Fox News commentators.

Consider the headline on this report, which is factually accurate, but utterly beside the point.

Yes, the Volt ran out of charge in the Lincoln Tunnel.

It's not until you get to the seventh sentence that the article manages to note, "Fortunately, the car has a gas engine that will kick in when needed, so he was not stranded."

In other words, the battery depleted, the range-extending engine switched on, and...nothing happened. The car continued on its journey.

2012 Chevrolet Volt

2012 Chevrolet Volt

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Fox reporter Eric Bolling most likely had to pay close attention even to notice the engine switching on, since it happens almost imperceptibly.

You can watch Bolling's full clip on "The Five" here.  His segment came after driving a Volt for a week.

Right upfront, it becomes clear that some of his contempt stems from dislike of GM because the company was bailed out by the U.S. government. Which is fine, except that it has nothing to do with the Volt itself.

The panelists discuss the Nissan Leaf, too. Amusingly, it's presented as a less morally objectionable alternative, because the company that builds it did not receive U.S. government funds.

That's wrong.

Nissan was granted a $1.6 billion low-interest loan from the Department of Energy to expand its Smyrna, Tennessee, plant to build Leafs (starting next year) and fabricate the lithium-ion cells there as well. It ended up using only $1.4 billion of the funds.

The segment has some verbal nonsense worrying about "getting electrocuted" by electric cars in the rain. There's also repartee comparing Volts to Girl Scout cookies, and Volt owners to recovering drug addicts who are now drug counselors.

OK, then.

We're amused to see that comments on that piece have been closed, by the way.

Given the number of Volt owners who organized to counter Fox's distorted reporting, we wonder if the site administrators grew uncomfortable with having actual, ummmmm, facts to counter the anti-Volt attitude?

Neil Cavuto Targets Chevrolet Volt Owner Eric Rotbard

Neil Cavuto Targets Chevrolet Volt Owner Eric Rotbard

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Bolling has obviously picked up anchor Neil Cavuto's animus for the Volt, though for all we know, it's Fox corporate policy. 

Cavuto is the one, remember, who was neatly dispatched by polite, rational, and factual Volt owner Eric Rotbard last November in a clip that's now widely circulated among Volt owners.

We think the more salient point from the segment is that Bolling only achieved 20 to 26 miles of electric range.

While he may have had the cabin heater roaring full blast all the time--which Volt owners know has an impact on range--that's still real-world usage. And it's lower than Volt owners record in more temperate climes like California.

Our favorite comment comes from electric-car advocate Chelsea Sexton.

"So it's news because it happened in...a tunnel?" she asked.

And she summed up the absurdity of the news story crisply: "Only Fox could trash a car for working exactly as advertised."


UPDATE: Readers pointed out that this article is about one commentator, not about all of Fox News. It's a fair criticism, so we've changed the headline to reflect that.


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Comments (29)
  1. Anyone who would watch Faux News or listen to Rush Limpballs need their heads examined. I am not crazy about the non-needed 450 billion taxpayer bail out GM accepted from the government and has never given us anything of worth back, but they may someday if they can ever get rid of that worthless CEO. I am, also, not crazy about the hybrid Volt but it is the best thing GM has come out with in the last three decades and a great improvement of gas millage.

  2. They have actually gotten rid of two CEO's in succession.

  3. "...needs their heads examined..." Deep. Sounds about as objective and fact concentric as Media Matters.

    Probably one of the more idiotic generalizations I've heard from awhile even if it is meant as hyperbole. Why can't we deal with facts instead of name calling. It would help us electric car enthusiasts to win on merits of the issue itself. The side that resorts this merely hurts their own position because if is transparently and patently off the mark. Almost anyone with a high school education can see thru those biased generalizations.

  4. Anyone that buys an over-hyped, non-practical, experimental, over priced product really needs to have their head examined.

  5. Interesting vibe at the $7,500 tax credit… are they aware that gasoline tax credits on an ICE car equal about $12,000 in the average lifetime?

  6. The dude looks like he tailgates for a living. Perhaps that explains the low electric range.

  7. The point of the headline saying the car ran out of charge in the tunnel was not to suggest that it caused a traffic jam (which was asserted neither in the article nor on the TV show), but to point out that, as Bolling actually said, the car only made it TO the tunnel--which is only part of the way in his daily commute. His complaint is entirely legitimate: a car that is advertised to go 40 miles gas-less got only about 25. He clearly showed that the car switched to gas and never said anything about it breaking down. Fox did not "trash a car for working exactly as advertised"; one commentator correctly pointed out how the car DID NOT work as advertised. Looks like Chelsea should have read the article or actually watched the show.

  8. I'm also going to point out that Voelcker's article neglected to mention the other commentator on the show, Juan Williams, challenging everything Bolling said and sticking up for the Volt. Why was this neglected? Because of the false narrative around here asserting that there's an anti-EV conspiracy at Fox. No. There's a couple clueless commentators, and then there's people to argue with them and tell them they're full of it.

    Hannity himself drives a hybrid. He's a believer in the technology, just not in the need of the govt to take over a car company with OUR money.

    And there's a huge difference between a relatively small loan that Nissan will pay back and the tens of billions given to GM that we may never see again.

  9. But returning to the Fox article headline. Was it potentially misleading? Yes. Intentionally so? Doubtful, but possible. Was it evidence of an anti-EV conspiracy at Fox? LOL. Not when they followed up the bad headline with an accurate article referring to a commentator on a show who had a perfectly legitimate complaint and was then argued with by a person who is a BIG green energy supporter. What a conspiracy!

    People on this site decry FUD. They should decry it a little more.

  10. Assignment, read what GM actually advertises as the electric range and get back to us. Up to 40 miles, in transcripts of broadcast ads, with owners reporting near to and over 50. 25 to 40 in print ads.


    gas-free driving 35 miles

    battery range 36 miles

    And even by the numbers you cite, you don't see a problem with the car delivering the absolute minimum advertised range? The phrase "up to" has been used in deceptive advertising for decades. Are you saying you're ok with that?

    Be honest. If you bought a Volt, paying the large premium for the technology, after seeing all the advertising and glowing testimonials, then on your average drive to work only got 20-25 miles of electric drive, would you be disappointed? I would be, and I bet almost everyone else would be too. Bolling was right in pointing out his disappointment.

  12. ON THE OTHER HAND. If he did blast the heat and that's what accounted for the reduced range, then bad on him. However, that still doesn't justify the ridiculous assertion that there's a prime directive at Fox to badmouth the Volt. A misleading article about Fox is no more acceptable than a misleading article about the Volt.

  13. How do you explain the dynamics of an electric car in an ad soundbyte? The EPA rates it at 35 miles. That's how all cars are advertised. As with any car, gas or electric, your mileage may vary depending on many factors.

  14. Voltees giving thumbs down to a factual analysis of the news report. Voltees have no credibility. Good posts Andrew.

  15. The issue with the GM bailout is that its costsing the taxpayers tens of billions - the stock purchase price is way underwater.
    As for the Volt, there are plenty of things that one can criticize about both it and GM. GM promised a 10 year warranty. GM promised a car costing "under $30K nicely equipped." GM promiseed a gas mileage figure of 50 MPG (they got 30).
    GM promosed a car that looked striking as a concept vehicle - the Volt get my vote as dumpiest econobox on the planet. Now, what was that about Fox news providing distorted c;aims? They will have to do far more than what been mentioned here to match GM's record of lies and distortions. This website has also defended the Volt sales against Fox. Fox is correct : the Volt has flopped.

  16. "As for the Volt, there are plenty of things that one can criticize about both it and GM. GM promised a 10 year warranty. GM promised a car costing "under $30K nicely equipped." GM promiseed a gas mileage figure of 50 MPG (they got 30)."

    I'm not disputing your claim, but a citation would be nice.

    "GM promosed a car that looked striking as a concept vehicle - the Volt get my vote as dumpiest econobox on the planet."

    You're literally the only person I've heard criticize the Volt. And I've shown mine to LOTS of people.

    "Fox is correct : the Volt has flopped."

    How do you qualify that? The Volt has sold more in its first year than the Prius did in its first year. The Prius did not flop.

  17. Shawn, you're in trouble if you ever expect Ramon to show sources. GM promised neither 50 MPG nor a price of under $30k, which Ramon endlessly claims. The under-$30k claim has been proven wrong for years, but he'll never acknowledge it. Bob Lutz claimed once at a press conference that GM wanted to get the Volt under $30k, nothing more. In the next sentence, he went on to state how difficult that would be.

    So, GM promised the Volt for under $30k, Ramon? Where? When? GM promised 50 MPG...? When? Where? To whom?

    But don't expect honesty from a guy who could spend ten seconds looking upo the actual Volt mileage, but refuses to do so, makes up a much lower number, then again passes off his lies as facts.

  18. "Given the number of Volt owners who organized to counter Fox's distorted reporting, we wonder if the site administrators grew uncomfortable with having actual, ummmmm, facts to counter the anti-Volt attitude?
    Bolling has obviously picked up anchor Neil Cavuto's animus for the Volt, though for all we know, it's Fox corporate policy."
    Its a misinformation campaign to dissuade the public acceptance of electric cars. Faux News is the voice of the Republican Party. It’s propaganda in its truest form. Look at Rotbard and how he turned the tables on Cavuto when he was interviewed. Cavuto was trying to belittle Rotbard's choice in his car asking if it had holes in the floor like the Flintstone mobile. Fair and balanced? no way!.

  19. I watch Fox new and what surprises me is how often I see volt and leaf commercials. They must be selling to that segment of the market or why the heavy marketing? During the fire controversy Brian Kilmead (morning host) made very positive comments about the volt. Also I have heard Hannity more than once comment about how much he likes his hybrid escalade.

  20. More hating on Fox News. I hate when one my favorite websites, given I am electric car lover does this. Love with when this website just talks about electric car updates and detest this website when it gets into anti-republican and anti-Fox BS.

    As much as i detest the immaturity of some of the writers on this website, I will continue to be one of the biggest ambassadors of electric cars. Yeah, electric. For the record, GM and their union did a lot of their own grave digging as compared to other electric car companies. Sorry. The truth hurts I know.

  21. @Lee: This article is about inaccurate reporting on the part of a network that has, historically, covered a specific car with a mix of venom and misrepresentation.

    FYI, we have also criticized inaccurate reporting in the Wall Street Journal:
    and ABC News:

    It's not about "hating on Fox News," it's about highlighting inaccurate reporting. If any GCR article has errors in it, please let me know and I'll correct them.

    Otherwise, thanks for your compliments on the site!

  22. Read in the Summer of 2011 a way to store electricity in sludge was discovered at one of our schools. Perhaps GM will incorporate that into its tech to run heaters in the winter and preserve battery strength. Gotta make electric cars better than bumper cars for concept to work - augment each with natural gas of something.

  23. The point of the criticism of the Volt is that you cannot travel far on the batteries and end up using gasoline anyway, plus you have to recharge the vehicle for lengthy periods of time - probably relying on a coal-fired power plant. So it's not exactly "green." Besides, for the price of a Volt I can buy a Ford Escort (that seats five, not four) and have enough money left over to pay for all my gasoline purchases for years - without seeing my electric bill increase or needing to buy an expensive replacement battery pack. The volt, like solar panels on the roof of a house, is penny-wise but pound foolish. I don't care if others buy them, but they should do so with their own money - not mine.

    And where do all the environmentalists, who oppose mining, think the materials for the Volt and its batteries come from? Does lithium grow on trees? Does iron? How about the car's plastics, that come from petroleum?

  24. Your headline is just as misleading as the one on Fox.

  25. This will be fun to look back on in 10 to 15 years, as history has never been kind to morons with a microphone.

  26. Liberals always resort to name calling when the facts shatter their cherished beliefs. The Volt is a loser and the American public will not buy it. Sorry to burst your bubble.

  27. How about some input from an actual Volt owner. I get 80+ miles per gallon and with a 240Volt Charger I can completely charge my volt from a depleated battery in less than 4 hours. The only way I’ve ever experienced 25 miles in a charge is when I’m driving like a maniac breaking and accelerating hard. However, if I’m conservative in my breaking and accelerating I can milk 40-50 miles to a charge. Following this biased reporting, there has been an email circulating with really bad math referencing Bolling’s reporting for credibility. It’s already been debunked. See

  28. Exactly. I do 40-42mi round-trip daily on a single charge, so this Bolling guy has to be a moron. And then they criticize it for reverting to gas? Would he rather it be a Leaf, and leave you stranded? When switching to gas, which is VERY rare, I get about 43mpg, so I don't know what people are bitching about. As to range, it's common knowledge to lose capacity in cold weather. Why do you think automotive battery companies do commercials with cars craning in the snow? It's been widely published that, no matter WHICH car Leaf, Volt, or plug-in prius, when it's really cold or really hot, you will lose range. That is fact.

  29. Everything Fox (Fuax) News said was designed to keep people from buying an electric car.

    "603 sold' yes in January/ more than 1200 sold in February/ 7600+ last year.

    "I'd ratherskate backwards in the Holland Tunnel than break down in a Volt"

    The car did not "break down", it switched from elctric to gad and kept on going.

    This borders on conspiracy.

    Who killed the Electric Car? (and GM)

    Koch industries/Republican Party/Fox News

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