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Chevrolet Volt owners hear political barbs

(MoneyWatch) The presidential election is over, but Chevrolet Volt owners are still hearing political barbs about subsidized green technology, according to Edmunds.com.

A pickup truck driver pulled up beside Volt owner Scott Leapman of Deerfield Beach, Fla., and asked: "How do you like my car? My taxes paid for it." He was referring to the $7,500 tax credit that Volt owners get as an encouragement to potential buyers. Leapman says he believes such attitudes are driven by "pure ignorance and political bigotry."

In the recent election, of course, many Republicans criticized the Obama administration for the federal bailout of General Motors and as well as subsidies for green technologies such as auto battery and solar panel makers, some of which failed.

Volt owner Dave Muse was startled to have his car booed as he drove it in an annual Detroit auto parade, even though the car is made there. He likes to point out to Volt critics that a prototype of the Volt was built before President Obama was ever elected and that former President George W. Bush signed the $7,500 tax credit into law.

Actually, a questionnaire on a Volt enthusiast site showed views of both left and right but agreement that they liked the car and its technology.

The Volt in fact is a plug-in hybrid rather than an all-electric car. Its rechargeable battery has a range of about 35 miles, but then a backup gasoline engine kicks in for a total range of about 200 miles.

That capability has helped the Volt to outsell all-electric cars like the Nissan Leaf with a more limited range. Nissan admitted last week that it could not meet its 2012 target of doubling Leaf sales to 20,000. Just 6,971 have been sold through October vs. 19,309 for the Volt.