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GM will get plug-in vehicle into production: executive

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GM will get plug-in vehicle into production: executive

By John D. Stoll

Last Update: 10:02 PM ET Apr 16, 2007

Engineering Chief Jim Queen said Monday that the company is planning to make its Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric concept car in the future, despite some speculation suggesting the Volt project is little more than an expensive science project.

"We will get this into production," Queen said, speaking to an automotive engineering conference here. "We are very, very serious about this."

He said the company is still trying to figure out how to make a plug-in electric vehicle something that provides "profit for the enterprise."

The auto maker in January first unveiled its plug-in effort, but the auto maker at the time said it needed to have suppliers more fully develop battery technology in order to make a vehicle like the Chevrolet Volt a reality.

In an interview following the speech, Queen said the company has since January seen a heightened commitment from various levels of government and battery suppliers to making GM's plug-in hopes a reality. He said GM has been conducting workshops with suppliers in order to collaborate on the project.

Separately, Queen said the company should know within a matter of "the next several months" what impact a proposed toughening of fuel-economy standards will have on GM's product plans in the U.S.

The auto maker is currently operating under the assumption that the government will pass rules forcing auto makers to increase fuel economy 4% annually over each of the next 10 years, Queen said.

"We're kind of in a wait-and-see environment," Queen said.

If GM is forced to comply with the proposed standards, the effort would be costly and potentially force the company to revise plans on how exactly to go about building its large cars. The auto maker had been planning to roll out more, large rear wheel-drive cars capable of competing with the likes of the Chrysler 300 sedan and European models. That plan could be in jeopardy if new rules are passed.



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