In D.C., Utah-based Raser Technologies not only got their hometown Senator to give them a handjob for their supposed green credentials — building a not-really-100MPG Electric Hummer — but then xenophobically lobbying for subsidies to buy the Hummer brand from GM to stop them from selling to Red China.
We're sitting here in stunned disbelief at the shameless bloviation from from the senior Utah Senator, and here's why.
Yesterday, Raser Technologies went to Washington, DC with their "100 MPG Hummer H3", a plug-in hybrid which actually gets 33 MPG when operating in a steady state. They set up the photo-op with the Senator (who only drove about 300 feet) and everyone jumped on their respective soapboxes to browbeat GM, thump their chests against the danger from Chinese competition and take jabs at the opposition's fuel economy and energy politics.
On his short drive Senator Hatch displayed a remarkable inability to drive the not-really-100 MPG Raser Technologies Hummer H3, which he immediately declared "nothing short of revolutionary," "nothing less than miraculous," and "one heck of a car."
going on to say "It's one heck of a car, it was a gas guzzler until they made it a plug-in hybrid."
Keep Hatch's praise in mind as you read the exchange between Hatch and the Raser's execs during the drive:
"How do you start this baby?" Hatch asked of the executives who built the 100-mile-per-gallon SUV.
"It's started," an official told Hatch.
"It's already on?" Hatch asked, surprised. "Heh, heh."
"Put your foot on the brake, then put it in drive," the official said. Nothing happened. "Is your foot on the brake? You have to have your foot on the brake."
"I think I've got it on," the senator replied.
"Nope," the executive said, pointing out the brake pedal. "There we go."
"No wonder," Hatch said. "I had it on the gas."
With a whine and a lurch, the Hummer began to accelerate, and for a few terrifying moments, Hatch was in control of the bright-red 5,000-pound truck. Well, not entirely in control. "All I've got to do is smash that car, I'll tell ya," he said of a vehicle in his path. The questions he asked were unsettling: "Squeeze that button? . . . Do I park it this way? . . . I'm going to miss the curb? . . . Is there a reverse?"
Spotting a Capitol Police car, he speculated, "They're probably looking at me." Eyeing some photographers near the car, Hatch allowed that he was "a little bit concerned" for their safety. When one got too close, Hatch muttered: "That guy's really got some guts to stand there."
Sounds to us Hatch couldn't tell a good vehicle from a good horse. So, the proclamation of a "remarkable" vehicle is laid down by an elected official who just happens to be from the same state as the company and who doesn't seem to ever have driven a motor vehicle, at least not anytime in the past century.
But wait, there's more. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Raser isn't just in Washington for their health. They're apparently attempting to acquire government subsidies to bolster their position in a bid attempt for the purchase of the Hummer brand, which they'll retool the brand for their own usage. And now the final piece of the story; Senator Hatch has written a letter to President Obama, imploring him to insure brands like Hummer aren't sold to companies in China, saying we as a nation are at the "cusp of this major national victory" on fuel economy, and "we have learned that the General Motors restructuring plan would sell off the Hummer brand to China. One thing we're fighting is to not lose it to China, because if this goes to China, so does the technology, and China is a very aggressive country."
Huh. How does selling Hummer to "China" effect anything Raser does with their hybrid technology, which, to be honest looks like a beta version of the GM Voltec system? It doesn't, but the Republican Senator seems either terrified of the prospect of free-market competition from those dangerous Red Chinese (who own a ton of our debt), or he's very interested at getting taxpayer dollars to help grease the wheels in landing a juicy piece of GM for constituents in his home state. [Washington Post, Salt Lake Tribune, HummerGuy.net]