GM aims to build 500,000 EVs, hybrids per year by 2017

Article by Anita Panait, on November 16, 2012

General Motors Co. has set a goal that by 2017, it will have the annual capacity to produce as many as 500,000 units, which include some type of electric power in the engine like the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, according to global product development chief Mary Barra. She told reporters that GM has a central part of its global strategy is being able to build cars with electrical technology such as its eAssist system that raises fuel efficiency in gasoline-powered cars.

She added that this target is slightly higher than 5% of GM's worldwide sales in 2011 of around 9 million. This estimate includes plug-in hybrids; pure electric vehicles such as the Chevy Spark EV that will start selling next summer; and eAssist system, which is offered in several GM models.

The Volt was presented by GM in the fall of 2010. So far in 2012, GM has reported U.S. sales of over 50,000 units for models that use electrification technologies. The eAssist technology was seen in slightly higher than half of this figure. Barra didn’t indicate what percentage of the target would be cars that don’t have a gasoline engine. However, she said that plug-in technology will stay at the center of GM's strategy.

She added that the plug-in is the “major focus” for GM's electrification strategy. She emphasized that GM fully intends to keep its dominance in plug-in vehicles. But then, this doesn’t mean that GM has forgotten about the traditional hybrid or hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. She said that under GM’s plans, its eAssist system, which improves fuel efficiency by up to 25% in some gasoline-powered vehicles, will be used by "hundreds of thousands" of vehicles each year by 2017.

The 2014 model of the Chevrolet Spark EV is a compact electric city car that is built for convenient ownership and relaxed driving. Without utilizing gasoline, its GM drive unit and motor powers to a maximum speed of 90 miles/hour, 400 lb-ft (542Nm) of peak torque, and a 0-60 kph rating not exceeding 8 seconds.

Equipped with a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 21 kWh, the Spark EV has the capability to store energy from the charging procedure as well as from the car’s regenerative braking ability. When it’s 100% charged, it has a combined fuel economy rating of 82 miles (city/highway) and a fuel economy equivalent of 119 MPGe, thus making the Spark EV the most fuel efficient electric car in the American market.

For urban residents who can address their travelling needs by using an all-electric car, the Chevrolet Spark EV establishes itself as an ideal solution with its reliable electric motor and top-quality battery packs that have already been utilized and tested in the Chevrolet Volt and in many of its hybrid SUVs and full-size trucks.

Three levels of recharge capability are available in the Spark EV. These include the SAE combo charger for a fast and improved DC charging, reaching an 80% battery level only within 20 minutes. Refinements were also implemented on its aerodynamic qualities, in its grille opening’s active shutter system, and in its sophisticated wheels to further the range of the Chevrolet Spark EV.

With regard to its interiors, the Spark EV is equipped with MyLink Infotainment technologies which include a 7-in color touch screen that displays important functions and easily connects with smartphones. Its system also includes the Stitcher, Pandora, and internet radio (TuneIn) and navigation apps (BringGo). IPhone users can also integrate the Siri Personal Assistant system into the car.

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