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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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By Midnight Rambler on 11/6/2010 11:59:06 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry to rant, but I'm a bit sick of too many wannabe auto industry "experts" and analysts ...

We at GM are not "making peoples' minds up for them", nor are we trying to limit American customers' choices.

First off, there is a demand for the product in China, now (kinda like our Buicks ! ). More importantly, there is a willingness at both gov't. and private (well, as "private" as you can be in China) levels to build and support the infrastructure needed for large-scale EV use.

Above all, demand aka peoples' buying habits and patterns, drives what vehicles we produce for North America. Yet still some people don't get it - we really haven't been lying all these years about why we still build so many trucks, SUVs, and large cars for NA - it's because that is what U.S. customers (largely) still want. The current market clearly illustrates this too. Despite gas at a steady $3/gal. and up again, with more pain definitely still to come, you'd be hard pressed to find a new sub-compact model that can even hit 40mpg highway, a really easy goal these days. Yet 15-20 years ago, you could readily find several models that topped 40, even 50mpg highway. And it's all because the U.S. consumer is not interested in such a vehicle. We could have made the new Cruze achieve 50mpg easily ...




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