GM will build 36,000 Volt and plug-in vehicles this year

Article by Anita Panait, on March 1, 2013

General Motors Co. plans to produce up to 36,000 Chevrolet Volt and other plug-in hybrids in 2013, two sources privy to the matter told Bloomberg News. The planned 2013 output is around 20% more than the production in 2012. GM plans to produce 1,500 to 3,000 plug-in vehicles monthly, according to the sources.

Jim Cain, a GM spokesman, said that the carmaker sold around 30,000 Volt and similar Opel Ampera units in 2012. Cain, however, declined to disclose the carmaker’s target sales for plug-in vehicles for 2013. GM will commence production of the Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid in the U.S. late this year with sales starting in early 2014 in North America.

The Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid will eventually be made available to China, Europe and other global markets. GM has strained to compete against more successful non-conventional vehicles like the Toyota Prius. GM chief executive Dan Akerson originally flaunted the Volt's gasoline-and-electric system as the technology of the future.

He even forecasted GM to sell about 60,000 around the world. According to Jim Hall, principal of consultancy 2953 Analytics, GM’s 36,000 sales target is "probably a doable number,” adding that the plug-in vehicles will have a full calendar year in Europe. He remarked that GM will likely sell more plug-in vehicles in 2013 since Volt is now eligible for the car-pool lane in California.

Battery-only and plug-in hybrids that meet strict California emissions rules qualify for a sticker that allows solo drivers to use the lanes with vehicles ferrying multiple passengers. The Volt can cruise 38 miles (61 kilometers) using only electric power before a gasoline engine kicks in to recharge the battery. Recharging could also be done by plugging into an electrical outlet. GM sold 23,461 Volt in the US in 2012, around half of Akerson's original target.

Chevrolet Volt offers an electric driving experience that is as efficient, productive, safe, fun, and intuitive as that offered by other similarly sized premium vehicles, according to Volt’s global vehicle line executive, Doug Parks.

Every one of the Chevrolet Volt’s major elements had been designed and analyzed for utmost efficiency, including its aerodynamic exterior, specially designed tires, lightweight wheels, and energy-saving stereo system, among others. This attention to details is what makes the Chevrolet Volt one of the most energy-efficient and aerodynamic vehicles available in the market.

At the heart of the Chevrolet Volt is the Voltec propulsion system that combines an efficient, range-extending engine and pure electric drive, resulting to a total range of 350 miles.

Moreover, the Volt's battery consists of a 5.5-ft., 435-lb., 16-kWh T-shaped lithium-ion battery pack that supplies energy to a 149-hp advanced electric drive unit. Using only the battery’s stored energy, the Volt delivers 25 to 50 miles of electric driving that is fuel-free and tailpipe emissions-free, depending on terrain, temperature, and driving techniques used.

Moreover, the Volt’s battery is designed to offer value, quality, durability, reliability, safety, and performance. It is also covered by an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty. GM engineers have, since 2007, already completed over four million hours and over a million miles of Volt battery pack validation testing, including each pack’s 288 prismatic cells and nine modules. The teams in charge of the development, validation and testing have met numerous specifications and have validated each of the battery’s 161 components, of which 95 percent had been engineered by GM.

Mickey Bly, Executive Director for Global Electrical Systems at GM, says that customers are committing to technology that would help lessen their dependence on petroleum, so the company, in turn, is committing to giving customers the highest standards for value, performance, quality, reliability, and safety.

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