PHOTO CAPTION: Chevrolet Volt carries four passengers and has 40 miles of electric-only driving range.

Volt Electric Car Program Costing GM $750 Million

Volt electric car is two years away from its introduction and likely a decade away from profitability, article asserts.

Published: 10-Dec-2008

As set out in Maslow's hierarchy of needs, basic survival must first be established before one can move on to worry about the esoteric concerns of philosophy, morality or ethics. In an odd twist of logic, however, America's car companies have been forced to premise their immediate survival on their past work on a long-term future in hearings before Congress. At the core of General Motors' plan lies the ongoing development of the Volt plug-in hybrid, which will have cost the company about $750 million by the time it hits the road in 2010.

Called before Congress to present plans for viability in the future, all three of Detroit's carmakers relied in part on electric or hybrid technologies.
Though it calls the volt the future of the company, GM admits that the Volt probably won't be profitable throughout its first generation, or around 2016. According to CNN, Rob Petersen, a member of GM's electric vehicle team, said, "The Volt is the first step in a long-term viability plan." It's a plan so long-term that it's hard to build a business case to support it.

Taking the next step in hybrid and electric vehicle technology, and being responsible for pushing the boundaries of what will define the segment in the future can be valuable for the company's image, but getting there is an immense gamble - one that has cost GM nearly three quarters of a billion dollars. Now the challenge lies in getting to the point where it can have a chance to pay off.


Earth Policy Institute's Lester Brown offers another way to fuel the cars of the future that doesn't require a switch to natural gas.

Despite Toyota's disapproval of the $500 deposit on future plug-in Prius, one dealer plans to continue accepting them.

Chrysler circulating plug-in hybrid prototypes to dealers more advanced than earlier models. Pictured is the Chrysler EcoVoyager, in one of a trio of electric-drive concept vehicles it debuted at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show.


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