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
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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