Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Volt coming in 2010...GM not sure if it will work

Last Tuesday, Bob Lutz, GM's product chief and Vice Chairman has set a target for the production of an all-electric car in 2010. However, there is a great concern regarding the development of the lithium-ion batteries since the automaker is not sure whether if it can be made safely and economically.

Lutz also said that they are expecting for a fully functional Volt by the end of 2007 and further added that GM would unveil all of the development process to the media. "We have set an integral target of production in 2010. Whether we can make that or not, this is still kind of an unpredictable program for us," Lutz told reporters at the Geneva Motor Show. He also added, "We're sort of outside our comfort zone."

GM has also explained its broad plans for the all-electric Volt which it has previously unveiled at last year's Detroit Auto Show unfortunately the automaker has declined in disclosing the production timeline for the Volt.

It is no secret that GM has suffered great losses with its gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles and trucks which makes some critics and competitors doubtful of whether the automaker can really push through with its Volt concept or will just capitalize on the publicity that the concept car has generated. To which Lutz answered, "Competitors who write this off as a PR exercise are going to be brutally surprised."

Electric cars to which the plug-in hybrid Volt also belongs have gain strong support from the US environmental groups due to the fact that vehicles such as the Volt help in reducing oil consumption as well as the emission of harmful greenhouse gas plus the fact that electric cars cab be recharged with power drawn from a cleaner-burning electric grid.

The world's largest producer of quality GM mirror covers has dumped an earlier experiment made on an electric car which was marketed in California as the EV1 which has made GM as the center of criticism and the primary character in the 2006 documentary "Who killed the electric car?" But according to GM, it will make up for its once-failed idea of a mass-market electric car with the production of the Volt.

The automaker said that the Volt is a much better electric car since it draws its power exclusively from a next-generation battery pack capable of being recharged by a small onboard engine or through a normal electric outlet. General Motors has further stated that it is aiming for the Volt to be able to run 40 miles on pure electric power in short driving a day without using gasoline.
Lutz also said that GM's initial work had shown that there is a need to shed off some of the bold styling cues that are present on the Volt concept including the extreme front placement of the wheels. Lutz added, "I know that we cannot make the production car look like the concept. The whole shape of the car is going to have to be a little more traditional. I would say there is still a 10 percent chance this will fail."

General Motors has obtained an eleven percent rise for its US retail sales last February which Lutz said is the result of the launching of new products and the restructuring program that the automaker has been employing.

About the Author
Noah Scott is a 30 year old native of New Jersey, writer, and car fan - having grown up with both parents being auto enthusiasts. He works for an automotive consultancy firm and regularly contributes articles to car magazines.

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