Audi USA Boss De Nysschen Vindicated: Electricity IS for Idiots!

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2011 Chevrolet Volt pre-production prototype, January 2010

2011 Chevrolet Volt pre-production prototype, January 2010

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Audi USA president Johan De Nysschen gained infamy late last year for remarking that the plug-in electric hybrid 2011 Chevrolet Volt is a "car for idiots." Vindication of his hatred of electricity--Audi's own all-electric e-tron sports car concept notwithstanding--came last week in the form of an electrical fire above the Audi stand in Cobo Hall at the Detroit Auto Show.

The fire, which caused no harm to people or property, forced evacuation of the show hall for several hours on Thursday due to volumes of smoke filling the air.

De Nysschen's earlier criticism of the Volt centered around the impracticality and lack of value in electric-powered personal transport. De Nysschen eviscerated the Volt for its high costs, low savings in running costs and poor performance. It's fair criticism--just last week Green Car Reports' John Voelcker got the inside scoop on the Volt's true costs. Though the car has been popularly reported as coming in the low-$30,000 range, that figure is only valid after a $7,500 government tax rebate, putting the car's retail price around the $40,000 mark--a lot to ask for a compact sedan with limited EV-only range.

Audi e-tron Concept

Audi e-tron Concept

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Audi USA's forthright chief went on a few months later to describe the U.S. government as being "in love" with EVs--and to criticize the EV-favoring policy as an impediment to cost-effective near-term solutions to energy efficiency.

With last week's fire now as further ammunition, we're just waiting for De Nysschen's next pronouncement against electricity. Surely the scathing indictment won't fail to include the inefficiencies of the union labor used to install the faulty display lighting, or the fact that using fossil fuels could have eliminated the middle man and delivered a much more efficient, cost-effective fire without all the overhead of an electricity-based system.

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Comments (9)
  1. he is saying the truth the volt is made by and for idiot's.

  2. Actually Ireson, the real idiot is you. For licking Nysschen arse....or was that his mouth? Not sure, regardless, it is a strange and awfully ignorant remark for a car company that values itself as a true innovator! I currently own an Audi, however electric cars are the future. Whether it is through electrolysis or pure electric clearly we have reached a point where the technology must be applied. It will take time and better engineering, yet are on our way. Combustion engines have proven their limitation by their immense inefficiency.

  3. Jeez Zonda- at least don't apostrophize "idiots". It's too easy to turn that around on you buddy.

  4. When you have to plug in a car to charge a battery at night in the same fashion you plug in your cell phone to its charger, it can no longer be considered a car; It has become an appliance, RME

  5. It is amazing how ignorant and closed minded the likes of this articles author and "my wheels on walls" and "marco svelte" are. When you cannot even grasp the concept let alone the technology, just go somewhere and die off. I was petrolhead myself and have been for many years. Yet, I have come to embrace the idea of electric, and as an electrical engineer, I see the potential of electric propulsion, and it far exceeds combustion technology on all fronts.
    Combustion engines have had a leap start for nearly 130 years....give electric a chance. We may have to plug them in now, yet the technology will improve, you already have charging stations in test trials at universities across the globe that can recharge advanced lithium ion batteries in under a minuted.
    The average fueling of a petrol car that requires 17 gallons, takes roughly 3 minutes. Live and learn morons.

  6. Nice attitude electric car lovers.
    The real problem is that you pollute the atmosphere more when you create electricity rather when using petrol in your car. First find a way to create electricity in a clean way and then start to build electric engines

  7. Michael, get your facts straight! Then you may actually spew! Fact, Oxford University study in conjunction with MIT concluded that even if 80% of all cars were electric the net effect WOULD HAVE A 22% reduction in green house gases, vs the current petrol cars on the road!

  8. I suppose detecting sarcasm and humor on the Internet is still an acquired skill. Re-read the last paragraph (and the first, for that matter) and you may find you're missing the point, Electric-Guru8, et al.

  9. I hate when people add, write, talk, and only use half-truths...mis-information hurts everybody, don't dumb-us-down. The public loves soundbites, Mr. De Nysschen provided facts & opinion to back up what and why he said those things about the Volt and electric cars in general, not surprisingly, that wasn't in this article.... Thanks Mr Ireson.

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