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GM Expects to Fall Short of Electric Vehicle Goals

Maker likely to miss 2017 target by hundreds of thousands of cars.

by on May.07, 2015

The 2016 Volt will get 50 miles per charge, which is an increase over the previous generation Volt. Volt sales are down 46.1% this year.

General Motors recently cut the price and increased the range on its Chevy Volt hoping to stimulate sales. It slashed the price on the Chevy Spark EV as well.

Ideally it wants to sell the vehicles to add to the company’s bottom line, but the Detroit-based automaker is also way off track to meet its very public goal of having 500,000 vehicles on the road that use electricity in some form for propulsion by 2017.

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Through April, sales of the Volt are down 46.1% as well as for the Spark, which is purely an EV, which are down 4.2%. (more…)

Some Big Changes in the Works for Gen-2 Chevrolet Volt

Longer range, new engine may be in the offing.

by on Aug.13, 2013

Looks like the Gen-2 Chevy Volt may come with some upgrades, including a longer electric-only range.

The Chevrolet Volt was intended to revolutionize automotive transportation and while there are plenty of critics who fault its high price and relatively Spartan interior there’s little doubt the extended-range electric vehicle has helped usher in a new era of battery-powered propulsion.

Even before they launched the Volt, however, General Motors officials were stressing that, in tech terms, there’d be a lot of things to improve on the “Gen-1” model, especially the limitations of its battery technology. Pointing to the future, they promised lower costs, as well as smaller and more powerful batteries.

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A series of comments and reports in recent days seem to suggest that GM is getting ready to offer some big improvements as it prepares Chevy Volt Gen-2, with longer range and a new range-extending motor among the changes apparently in the works. (more…)

GM Plans to Have 500,000 “Electrified” Vehicles on Road by 2017

Emphasis is on plug-ins, though hybrids also included in the mix.

by on Nov.15, 2012

General Motors will put its next plug-in hybrid, the Cadillac ELR, into production in 2013.

General Motors expects to have as many as 500,000 “electrified” vehicles on the road by 2017, says the maker’s global product czar. That will include conventional hybrids, according to Senior Vice President Mary Barra, though the emphasis will be on plug-based models.

The automaker is steadily ramping up sales of various battery based vehicles, though demand has risen at a slower-than-expected pace for its Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid. Meanwhile, GM is expected to formally unveil its first pure battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, in more than a dozen years at the upcoming LA Auto Show.

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“Plug-based solutions will play a significant role in our technology portfolio going forward,” said Barra during a presentation of GM’s battery-electric strategy. While some of the new products under development will help GM meet government mandates, she stressed, “we’re not building (them) to check a regulatory box.”


GM to Share Proprietary EV Tech with Chinese

Move raises numerous concerns.

by on Sep.20, 2011

GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson with his SAIC counterpart Hu Maoyuan during today's signing ceremony in Shanghai.

Under pressure from the Beijing government,t General Motors has agreed to provide access to its proprietary electric vehicle technology to its lead Chinese partner.

The move is raising numerous concerns, critics contending that China is, for one thing, using unfair pressure to gain access to technologies that will later be used by its own domestic manufacturers to compete with foreign brands like GM.

But the U.S. automotive giant contends the move will help it maintain a lead in the rapid electrification of the industry – especially since China, now the world’s largest automotive market, is making a rapid push into battery power to curb its dependence on foreign oil and reduce its endemic pollution problems.

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“We can accomplish far more by working together than we can by working separately,” said Tim Lee, president of GM International Operations, during a signing ceremony with the maker’s lead Chinese partner, the government-owned Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corp., or SAIC.


GM Inks Another Big Battery Car Deal

Following deal with A123, GM will also partner with LG Chem on battery car development.

by on Aug.25, 2011

GM CEO Dan Akerson and LG COO Juno Cho sign a new battery car development deal.

Even as skeptics question the market potential for the groundbreaking Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, General Motors is charging into the battery world with the latest in a series of deals aimed at making it a leader in electric propulsion.

The maker will expand its current alliance with Korean battery supplier LG Chem, the two partners saying they will work together on the development of new electric vehicles.  Precisely what type of products they hope to bring to market remains to be seen, but GM has already announced it will launch more Volt-based plug-ins, including a new model for Cadillac.  And, using batteries from LG Chem’s rival, A123, the Detroit maker is expected to launch its first pure battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, in 2014, reported earlier this month.  (For more on the A123 project, Click Here.)

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“Many solutions for tomorrow’s transportation needs may be available more quickly by building on our partnership strategy,” said GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky. ”Consumers benefit by getting the latest fuel-saving technology faster if we work with the best suppliers and we save time and money in the development process.”


GM Plans Additional Volt Variants by 2012 or ’13

by on Jan.11, 2011

Another version of the Chevrolet Volt is due to market in 2012 or '13, says CEO Akerson.

General Motors will rapidly expand its line-up of electric cars, trucks and crossovers, from hybrids to full battery-electric vehicles, says CEO Dan Akerson – including a new version of the Chevrolet Volt that will reach market in the next year or two.

The maker has been “pleased and surprised” by the reception the Volt plug-in hybrid has received – including its being named North American Car of The Year by a panel of 49 U.S. and Canadian journalists.  That latest endorsement came at the opening ceremonies of the Detroit Auto Show.

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In fact, Akerson said the maker is looking for ways to ramp up production of the Volt.  Original plans called for GM to produce just 10,000 of the vehicles in 2010, but recently said that could go as high as 25,000.  Now, the executive said, following a speech at an industry confab, “We think it will be more than that.”

Akerson, a newcomer to the auto industry, was vague when describing the additional version of the Volt, suggesting it will have a crossover-style body – as opposed to the current hatchback – and will “probably” reach market “in the 2012 or ’13 timeframe.”

The Chevy Volt claims North American Car of the Year honors, on Monday.


Demand Already Strong, GM Looking To Ramp Up Chevy Volt Production

Maker adding 1,000 jobs in battery car development.

by on Nov.30, 2010

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt officially goes into production.

Even as it confirms plans to add another 1,000 jobs to boost its battery car program, General Motors said it is contemplating whether to expand production of the new Chevrolet Volt.

GM CEO Dan Akerson, while stopping short of saying the Volt will be a runaway hit, says he has asked for a study of whether it’s feasible to ramp up production of a vehicle that was supposed to undergo a slow and cautious roll-out reflecting both uncertain demand and the challenge of producing an entirely new type of powertrain technology.

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For 2011, GM originally targeted production of just 10,000 Chevy Volts, with the figure to climb to 45,000 in 2011. But speaking at the official launch of production at the GM assembly plant in Detroit, Tuesday morning, Akerson said, “My sense is there is going to be a lot of demand for this vehicle.”

(Akerson spoke publicly for the first time after GM’s November 18 IPO, a stock offering he described as “successful beyond expectations.” Click Here for that story.)

The so-called “Poletown” assembly plant is currently operating on only one shift so GM has at least the plant capacity to bump up Volt production. Battery-pack production could be a potential bottleneck, however, if demand for the Volt takes off.


GM IPO Could Determine Future Electric Car Strategy

Maker needs funds to invest in Volt follow-up effort.

by on Oct.20, 2010

While GM has scuttled the Cadillac Converj project, the maker is working up a number of other possible battery car programs, insiders report.

Key decisions about General Motors’ long-term electric vehicle strategy could depend on the success – or failure – of the maker’s upcoming IPO.

Though the maker has yet to publicly define its plans, the initial public offering of the “new” GM’s stock is expected to raise billions of dollars in capital.  A large chunk of that money is anticipated to go to help repay the federal government for its 2009 bailout of the then-bankrupt automaker.  But billions more, observers believe, will be pumped into the corporate treasury, at least in part to help fund product development efforts.

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Company officials, including new GM CEO Dan Akerson, have said that coming up with world-class product is essential to the corporation’s turnaround.  But the electric vehicle program, in particular, could become particular crucial as the overall auto industry presses into what has been dubbed “electrification.”