GM will miss goal of selling 500,000 EVs in the U.S. by 2017

Article by Andrew Christian, on May 13, 2015

General Motors’ sales for electrified products have not met expectations and so the automaker will not be able to meet its target of having 500,000 of these vehicles in the U.S. by 2017. In GM’s annual sustainability report, GM said that the factors that affected its poor sales are cheaper gasoline prices and a “surge” in the number of models that other automakers are offering.

These had an impact on GM’s sales of its electrified products like plug-in hybrids, pure electric vehicles and vehicles with the eAssist system that improves fuel economy in cars powered by gas by up to 25%. In the 2014 report that was released last Thursday, GM said that it is “committed to electrification” but the demand for its electrified vehicles has not kept up with its initial projections.

The automaker said that U.S. roads last year had 180,834 electrified GM vehicles – an improvement from the record set in 2003 of 153,034. The 2017 target was outlined by GM CEO Mary Barra in November 2012 when she was the brand’s global product chief. Back then, Barra said that the eAssist system is targeted to be on "hundreds of thousands" of cars annually by 2017.

GM is on the same boat as other carmakers as they all need to have more fuel-efficient cars amid the push in the industry to have them comply with stricter requirements in the U.S. that will be imposed by 2025.

Because of high prices, an under-develop charging infrastructure, and inadequate electric driving range, consumers have not exactly embraced electric vehicles. Meanwhile, consumer demand for bigger vehicles has grown because of low gas prices.

These include SUVs and full-size pickup trucks. The U.S. Department of Energy, in 2013, withdrew its support for President Barack Obama's target of having 1 million electric cars on U.S. roads by 2015.

GM is currently in development of the Chevrolet Bolt, an all-electric vehicle with a range of 200 miles. Production will begin in 2016. It has a starting price of around $30,000 after a federal tax rebate.

The manufacturer is set to present a redesigned version of the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid this fall. This model has a longer electric driving range of 50 miles. It is priced at nearly $1,200 lower than the existing version.

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