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GM looks at ways to double or triple Volt production


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GM looks at ways to double or triple Volt production

Beginning in December, GM plans to roll out the Volt in seven U.S. states over 12 months.

David Barkholz

Automotive News Europe -- December 1, 2010 06:01 CET

DETROIT -- General Motors Co. CEO Dan Akerson says the carmaker is studying how it could double or triple production of the new Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid should sales demand accelerate.

About 240,000 potential buyers have expressed an interest in the vehicle, but production in 2011 will be just 10,000 units. GM plans to build 45,000 Volts in calendar year 2012.

Speaking on the sidelines of the official Volt launch ceremony Tuesday at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, GM North America President Mark Reuss said that Volt production is constrained largely by vendor production of battery cells needed for the battery packs that GM assembles in suburban Detroit for the Volt.

He said GM could begin exporting Volts to Europe and elsewhere by late 2011. GM's European unit Opel/Vauxhall will sell a version called the Ampera.

GM global product chief Tom Stephens said GM also is considering a flex-fuel version of the Volt. He said that GM could have the version available in the 2012 model year if the carmaker pursues the program.

Using E85 fuel, the Volt would use extremely little gasoline, Stephens said. For one thing, most commuters can run on pure electric power to get to and from work. When the internal combustion engine is needed for longer trips, though, with E85, only 15 percent of the fuel is petroleum. The other 85 percent is ethanol, he said.

Beginning in December, GM plans to roll out the Volt in seven U.S. states over 12 months with limited supplies available for sale and demonstration at Chevrolet dealers. After that time, the Volt would be available nationally.

Akerson conceded today that GM stands to make little or no initial profit on the Volt. He said the carmaker can sell them “for close to cost.”

The Volt has a base price in the U.S. of $41,000, including shipping, before a $7,500 federal tax credit.

On electricity alone, the Volt achieves the equivalent of 93 U.S. mpg (about 2.5 lliters per 100km) . When powered solely by a 1.4-liter gasoline engine, the Volt gets 37 mpg (about 6.36 l/100km).

Green Car of the Year

The Volt, named Green Car of the Year at the Los Angeles Auto Show by the Green Car Journal, can travel 35 miles (56 km) on battery power alone. The four-passenger car also has a 1.4-liter gasoline engine that, when combined with electricity, gives it a range of 379 miles (610 km).

The EPA lists the Volt in the same compact-vehicle segment as the Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze and Toyota Corolla. But the Volt also competes with the Nissan Leaf, a fully electric vehicle that can get an EPA-estimated range of 73 miles (117 km) on a full charge.

Like the Volt, the Leaf is expected to go on sale this month.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101201/COPY/312019976/1261#ixzz16s3GSjkJ

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Report: GM studying how to double or triple Chevy Volt production

by Sebastian Blanco (RSS feed) on Dec 1st 2010 at 2:02PM


How's your math? If you have 240,000 "potential buyers" but only 10,000 vehicles to sell them in the first year, what can you do? If you're General Motos and the item in question is the Chevrolet Volt, then you look for ways to seriously increase the number of Volts you can build (and, of course, sell).

That's exactly what CEO Dan Akerson says his company is trying to do, looking to double or triple production rates of this very important car. The problem, according to GM North America President Mark Reuss, is the bottleneck created by the limited number of battery cells that vendor LG Chem can produce for GM. The current plan is to make around 10,000 in 2011 and 45,000 in 2012. That 2012 number has already been increased from 30,000.

Upping the production numbers is good for GM for another reason. According to Steven Rattner, who was President Obama's former auto bailout chief and worked intimately with GM, "At least in the early years, each Volt would cost around $40,000 to manufacture (development costs not included)." GM won't confirm this number, but increased production will get the company, presumably, better economies of scale and thus lower production costs.



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I am all for increasing volume if there are buyers. We just do not need these sitting discounted on lots.

GM also needs to keep the quality issues a top priority. If they build a lot of these and they start to have issues it could prove to be a major publicity problem.

But the Volume would pave the way for Cheaper Volts and more development of better cheaper cars using this technology. A Small van would be a great second move here like the one they showed in China.

Edited by hyperv6
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why couldnt they make the Volt at a second plant, they could probably produce some Volts in Lordstown since it uses the same platform as the Cruze, or make the battery cells at another plant for LG Chem? Or source some of the battery cells from another supplier?

From what I have heard it is not a place to build issue but a supplier issue. GM can build muli models on the same line. The Volt is already being built on a DTS Lucerne line. GM has enough places they can find the room if needed. To be honest I am suprised the Volt is not at Lordstown since it is based on the Cruze. They may have kept it in MI because of the UAW and PR it generates. You know a new car from Michigan thing.

From what I have seen the suppliers are not gear for that much volume yet since they are just starting up themselves in production. GM never really pushed to make a large volume of cars till recently so they may not be ready for the additional part to be made.

Now GM has made a commitment to make more cars they can invest in more staff for more production.

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