Seth Wenig/AP
The electric powered Chevy Volt concept car is displayed at the New York International Auto
Show in New York, Wednesday, April 4, 2007. (AP)

GM Hopes Chevy Volt Will Provide Needed Surge

September 18, 2008 05:58 AM
by Rachel Balik
General Motors promises to debut their electric car, the long-awaited Chevy Volt, in 2010.

Chevy Volt Must Show that GM Can Really Move

GM has high ambitions for its electric car, the Chevy Volt. The car will be entirely silent, and travel for 40 miles on battery power alone, a feat achieved by no other car to date. The company must release a stunning product, Rebecca Lindland, an auto analyst for the research firm Global Insight, told Time magazine: “This is necessary for their survival.”

GM has plummeted in value, and the boost from a project like the Volt may be what keeps it afloat. There are some kinks left to be worked out, such as whether technology for the batteries will actually be ready by the scheduled 2010 debut. There’s also the question of whether it will be easy to produce enough batteries.

That hasn’t deterred enthusiasm for the car, both from the company and consumers. According to the official Chevy Volt Web site, more than 40,000 people are on the waiting list to purchase the car when it becomes available.

Background: General Motors suffers losses but looks to the future

GM grabbed attention in 1999 for acquiring the Hummer, but the gas-guzzling military truck for civilians hasn’t been selling well.

One of GM’s biggest problems is that its strength has been in the truck and SUV business; the recent surge in gas prices has caused that industry to take a hit. In July 2008, the company was battling its lowest stock price ever. A New York Times op-ed in July 2008 noted that the demise of GM resulted from a confluence of factors.

GM’s failure to jump on the energy-saving bandwagon was certainly one element contributing to the company’s losses, but the Times suggests that the “Treaty of Detroit,” which promised pensions and healthcare benefits to company employees, has cost the company too much to continue turning a profit.

And while there’s little GM can do about the pensions it has promised, it has made an effort to consider alternative energy sources and move the company into the 21st century.

At the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference in March 2008, GM said that the future of car fuel is hydrogen. The company also discussed its plans for releasing the Chevy Volt. 

Reference: General Motors and Modern Cars


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