GM expects to hit its production target of 40,000 Volts for 2012

Article by Christian A., on August 20, 2012

In the U.S., 10,666 Chevrolet Volts were sold from January to July 2012. This indicates that General Motors is on course to sell about 19,000 for 2012. In Europe, 2,861 units of the Ampera (the Volt’s sibling) were sold this year through June. LMC Automotive said that GM recently started to sell the car in China. So far, 18 Volt units have been sold in the country.

GM said that it has a production target of 35,000 to 40,000 Volts for 2012. It’s quite shocking that GM has predicted Volt sales since it has indicated in the past that it won’t do so anymore. But actually last June, GM CEO Dan Akerson announced a target for the Volt. Akerson said that GM won't reach its earlier production target of 60,000 Volts this year, which include 15,000 for export.

Akerson and GM had decided last January not to aim for this goal anymore. The industry is attempting to measure the demand for electrified vehicles, and is closely monitoring Volt sales as an indicator.

Before a House subcommittee early this year, Akerson said that the Volt has turned into a "political punching bag." There have been calls for the car to fail so it’s likely that any reports about Volt sales not meeting expectations will draw criticism and a lot of negative attention. This is what happened last year when it became clear that GM would not reach its U.S. sales goal of 10,000 Volts.

GM Executive Director for Global Electrical Systems Micky Bly revealed that many of the company’s customers have made a commitment to support technology that can lower dependence on petroleum. In return, he added, the company remains committed in being able to deliver to its customers products that show the highest levels of standard when it comes to performance, quality, reliability, safety, and value.

These are the very same attributes that the battery of the Chevrolet Volt was designed to achieve. Its other characteristics are value, safety, quality, reliability, and performance, plus durability. This battery is responsible for providing the electric drive unit with the energy so that the vehicle can move forward. Capable of delivering output of 149 hp (111 kW), the electric drive unit is part of the Voltec propulsion system that also includes the range-extending engine.

Considered to be the main driving force behind the Chevrolet Volt, the Voltec allows the vehicle to go as far as 350 miles. Going back to the battery, this T-shaped lithium-ion unit weighs 435 pounds (198.1 kg) and measures 5.5 feet. It offers 16 kWh and is manufactured at a facility located in Brownstown Township, Michigan. Running solely on the energy provided by the battery, the Volt can travel from 25 miles to as far as 50 miles, with no emissions.

The actual range would depend mainly on the current temperature, the driving technique being employed, and the type of terrain being driven on. The battery is protected under a 100,000-mile/8-year warranty.

During the development, validation, and even testing, the teams involved manage to meet the thousands of specifications. They even managed to validate each of the 161 parts of the battery, with 95% of then being designed and later engineered by GM. In fact, going way back to 2007, engineers at GM have managed to accomplish validation testing on the battery worth at least 4 million hours and 1 million miles.

The validation testing was not limited to the battery packs but also included the 9 modules of each pack and the 288 prismatic cells of each module. Now should the energy in the battery ever be completely drained, the Voltec propulsion system immediately shifts to the extended-range mode.

Power is now sourced for the cutting-edge gas- powered 1.4-liter engine capable of offering an output of 84 hp (63 kW). It is through this engine that the Volt is able to get an additional 310 miles for a total range of 350 miles.

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