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GM hopes to launch small pure-electric vehicles to China sometime in the next few years.  (Source: Inhabitat)

GM is convinced that pure electrics are unwanted by U.S. customers, though.  (Source: YouTube/GM)
In the U.S. GM is talking smack about BEVs, but abroad its all flowers and roses

In a company as big as General Motors Company, a certainly level of differences in approach when it comes to different international branches is fairly standard.  However, GM's approach to pure electric vehicles (also known as battery electric vehicles -- BEVs) is nothing short of bipolar.

Abroad GM is brimming with enthusiasm for BEVs.  In Germany it's testing a fleet of Opel Merivas transformed into electrified BEVs.  GM India President and Managing Director, Karl Slym, says that a new BEV -- based on the Chevrolet New Sail -- may be shown off sometime next year.  And in Korea GM is showing off an all-electric Chevrolet Cruze test vehicle at the G20 summit.

But perhaps most significantly it's talking about introducing a low cost BEV to the Chinese market, which recently passed the U.S. market in sales for GM.  The new EV will be based on the EN-V concept, which enjoyed a strong response at Shanghai Expo.

Meanwhile in the U.S. GM has aired no plans to release a pure electric, and in fact seems to be minimizing their exposure.

Apparently convinced that American consumers don't want pure electrics, it's been airing a commercial not-so-subtly jabbing at BEVs like the Nissan LEAF EV.  The new commercial, which promotes the 2011 Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) states:

This isn't a country where plans made at 9 necessarily apply at five.  This is America, man. Home of the highway, last-minute detours and spontaneous acts of freedom... So doesn't it just make sense that we build an electric car that goes far... really far.

The message seems clear.  Pure electric vehicles are great, especially for the lucrative Chinese market -- just not for the U.S.  

Has GM correctly tapped into the public sentiment, or is it missing the pure electrics boat that its domestic rival Ford and international rival Nissan seem happy to jump on?  That remains to be seen over the next couple years.



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RE: My 2 cents
By Solandri on 11/5/2010 2:39:39 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
"People would not want it" is a very lame excuse. If a multi-national company makes a certain product, it's foolish not to offer it to it's full consumer base. Let the consumer decide what they want!

That's true only if there are no barriers to entry. You can bet that if GM wants to sell these in the U.S., they'd have to file to get approval from a bunch of government agencies, redesign parts of it to make it satisfy EPA requirements, send a couple to NHTSA for crash safety testing, and you have the transport costs and import fees on top of it. They probably did the market research and it said the number of these they'd sell in the U.S. wouldn't be enough to pay for all that.

If you want it that badly, you can always import it yourself from China and pay for all the government-required retrofits, testing, taxes, and levies. People importing exotic sports cars from Europe do that all the time. Then maybe you'll start to see for yourself how much cost all that can add on. Cost which only makes economic sense if you're pretty sure you can sell like >100,000 of them.


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