GM Says It Expects to Have Big Production Run of Volts

“Tens of thousands” of Chevrolet Volts to be made, says senior executive

By Brendan Moore

02.01.2008

If you are one of the people who is still convinced that GM’s plug-in Volt is nothing but “vaporware” and will never be built, then maybe you should skip down the page and read something else, because this isn’t going to make you happy.

Jon Lauckner, GM vice president for global program management, told an energy forum at the Competitive Enterprise Institute yesterday that GM plans to produce “tens of thousands” of the Chevrolet Volt and does not believe that the car is a niche market product. He also said that GM is still planning on a 2010 launch for the plug-in.

Lauckner stated that GM is acutely aware of the high costs of battery development but expects the price-per-unit cost to decrease as more Volts are produced. It is currently estimated that electric-powered cars cost around $1500 extra to travel a 10 mile increment. The Volt has a projected range on electric power of approximately 40 miles.

“As volume scales up, you will move down this curve to see better economics going forward. You can’t get hung up on the economics of the first unit or the tenth unit,” Lauckner told the energy forum at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Both GM and Toyota have faith that hybrids will be popular.


Toyota’s hybrid, the Prius, is not a plug-in, but rather, recharges its battery pack from the gasoline engine in the car as it travels. The Toyota Prius is a conventional gasoline engine car with a supplemental electric power source while the planned Chevrolet Volt is an electric car (an EV) charged by use of standard househole current with a supplemental gasoline engine power source. Both are technically hybrids but what they do and how they do it are dramatically different.

Lauckner told the press after the forum that he is happy with results of the battery testing done for the Volt so far. “We’ve run an extensive number of tests, and we’re fairly confident that we’re going to be in very good shape on the 40 miles of EV (electric vehicle) range,” he said. Lauckner stated the next step of testing would involve testing in vehicles as opposed to in the lab.

Lauckner, as well as the rest of the executives at the energy forum, urged Congress to strongly consider subsidies of battery technology and tax incentives to encourage the purchase of plug-in hybrids going forward.

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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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9 Comments

  1. Will they sell tens of thousands of them if they’re priced close to $40,000 as Bob Lutz hinted?

  2. All of you people that actually believe that GM will have a lithium-ion plug-in Volt for sale in 2010 are being manipulated by the mighty PR machine of GM. They’re just trying to buy time while they push out more gas hogs. This is just shameless posturing by GM.

  3. I don’t see it as buying time to sell more gas hogs. I see the 2 of the world’s automakers (GM and Toyota) talking about delivering plug-ins by sometime in 2010 and I see two very different kinds of plug-in markets developing: one for folks who already own and love their Priuses and another for those who are looking for a Detroit-styled plug-in vehicle. Who knows if the price of gas in 2010 will be enough to make the people driving gas hogs go out and buy a plug-in, if they become available. Actually, those gas hog drivers probably aren’t concerned with buying a hybrid or an EV in the first place. On the other side of things, people like me, who are hopeful that the Volt does come to market, aren’t being forced to buy gas hogs.

  4. Lots of hatin’ on GM and I really can’t understand why. People were dogging GM when they didn’t have any green cars and now that they’re going to have a very green car they’re getting all kinds of doubts cast about their motives. How is GM putting out the Volt a bad thing? Whether it’s 1000 cars or or 10,000 cars, the Volt showing up is a huge plus for consumers and hybrid technology. Give it a rest, haters.

  5. Other than the second comment, where’s the hatin’ on GM here?

  6. GM should be applauded for taking a big chance on this. Success isn’t certain, and they’re trying to push the ball forward on green technology, and for that they deserve a lot of credit.

  7. At $40k, I’m sure GM is hoping that there are some hefty tax credits available from the feds.

  8. You guys are drinking the GM/Lutz Kool-Aid.

    Whatever you get, whenever you get it, will not be anything even technologically close to what GM has promised for the Volt.

    Peter Gustafson

  9. If there is a federal tax credit of at least $5000.00 then the Volts will fly off the lots. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? There will people lined up to get them, or any PHEV, for that matter.

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