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  (Source: Wikipedia)
Gas prices at $4 a gallon have pushed drivers over the edge

With gas hovering $4 a gallon, it's easy to understand why many drivers are becoming increasingly frustrated with their gas guzzling vehicles that drain their wallets on a normal basis. To make matters worse, fuel prices are expected to remain around the $3 to $4 mark for some time, and these high prices are pushing some consumers toward electric vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt.

According to a study from the University of Delaware, which surveyed over 3,000 people, consumers would be willing to pay for several different electric vehicle attributes. For instance, the UD study found that consumers put a price of $75 per mile up to 200 miles of additional range, and $35 per mile from 200 to 300 miles. 

"This information tells the car manufacturers what people are willing to pay for another unit of distance," said George Parsons, a professor at UD. "It gives them guidance as to what cost levels they need to attain to make the cars competitive in the market."

In addition, the study found that consumers believe the cost of batteries needs to decrease significantly without subsidy. But researchers noted that the current $7,500 government tax credit could "bridge the gap between electric car costs and consumers' willingness to pay if battery costs decline to $300 a kilowatt hour." 

"It appears that even modest electric vehicles with today's limited battery range, if marketed correctly to segments with appropriate driving behavior, comprise a large enough market for substantial vehicle sales," the study concluded.

With this in mind, automakers like General Motors are looking to increase production to meet consumer demand of electric vehicles. As a matter of fact, GM has announced that it will increase production of its electric Chevrolet Volt. 

GM announced the news yesterday, saying it would build 1,000 more electric Volts than previously planned for 2011, and will build an additional 15,000 Volts on top of its target for 2012. This would put the electric Chevrolet Volt's total production number at 16,000 in 2011, and 60,000 in 2012.

In June, GM will shut down its Detroit-Hamtramck plant for four weeks to prepare for added production. Cristi Landy, director of Chevrolet Volt Marketing, mentioned that this temporary shutdown will withhold Volt supplies at dealers through the summer, but will allow GM to ready itself for the added Volt production. 

Of the 16,000 Volts made in 2011, about 2,500 will be sent to dealer demonstration fleets, 3,500 will be exported to Canada, China and Europe, and the other 10,000 will be sold in the United States. As far as 2012's 60,000 Volts go, 45,000 will be sold in the U.S. 

A big question regarding the added production is whether it will create more jobs at the plant. Currently, the plant employs 958 hourly and 159 salaried workers, and runs on one shift. These employees will be laid off during the plant shutdown. 

"We're not talking about jobs yet," said Michelle Bunker, a Chevrolet spokeswoman.

GM did announce last week, however, that it would spend $2 billion at 17 U.S. locations for upgrades, and that this would create or keep 4,000 jobs in eight states.

GM hopes to eventually build more than 100,000 Volts a year. So far this year, it has sold 1,700 Volts, which are priced at $41,000 minus $7,500 in tax incentives.

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By thorr2 on 5/19/2011 4:28:11 PM , Rating: 2
I am about to spend ~$40,000 on a Camaro Convertible. I could just as easily decide to spend that much on a cool car like the Volt. Don't forget about the coolness factor!

By thorr2 on 5/19/2011 7:35:02 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed about the looks (they are just ok), but from a technological standpoint, I think it is a very cool car.

By thorr2 on 5/20/2011 1:15:55 AM , Rating: 1
You are totally wrong... I own a Droid. Am I less shallow now?

By MechanicalTechie on 5/20/2011 1:49:37 AM , Rating: 1
Then why use 'coolness' as a measure for purchasing something?? Do you need to be reassured by then general population that your hip and with it? Are you afraid to go against flow the of popular opinion? I couldnt give two sh*ts what people think, if its good based on its merits then thats what matters.

By Dorkyman on 5/20/2011 12:18:29 PM , Rating: 2
Er....Apple, anyone?

By thorr2 on 5/20/2011 7:40:06 PM , Rating: 2
I don't care what others think either, but I do care about my own enjoyment. If I get all geeked about having an electric car or sports car and it is worth it to me, then that is what matters. I am not going to buy a Volt, and would rather have the Camaro because I want a convertible that is fun to drive around. It gets about 30MPG, which is much better than what my current Impala gets. I do like saving on gas and that is part of why I like both cars. I think it is very cool that a Camaro blows away a regular car in gas mileage.

By shin0bi272 on 5/22/2011 5:29:21 AM , Rating: 2
So wait you dont care what others think but you are concerned about the emissions your vehicle produces. Why? OH YEAH because youre concerned that you might be producing more EVIL co2 than other people. Because you believe that your tiny tiny little car can have any effect on the environment (btw remember plants breathe in co2 and exhale o2) so you want the people around you to think youre the bee's knees because you drive a hybrid... youre just as shallow as you claim he is! Hypocrite says what?

By thorr2 on 6/1/2011 11:36:15 AM , Rating: 2
Dude, it has nothing to do with what others think, and has very little to do with the environment. I brought up the MPG because I like to save money on gas. Yes, the cars are expensive, but that doesn't mean that I don't enjoy saving money on gas. I think both cars are cool. One is fun to drive because it is a convertible sports car. The other is very technologically innovative which I happen to think is cool.

By thorr2 on 6/1/2011 11:40:33 AM , Rating: 2
Haha, I thought you were replying to me. I just re-read it, and you were replying to him. Anyway, it doesn't hurt to clarify, especially since I was confused. :-)

By Dr of crap on 5/20/2011 8:39:43 AM , Rating: 2
Wait -
Did you just compare the Volt to the Camaro????

YOu need to see a doctor.

By thorr2 on 5/20/2011 7:49:44 PM , Rating: 1
Yes, it is a bit of a stretch, but they are around the same price point. :-) Like I said, the Volt is cool to me because of the technology involved, not the performance or styling of the car. I am a tech geek (hence reading this site). I would think more people would see my point of view on this at least on this site. I can't stand Prius's though because they are butt ugly and are all over the place and always seem to be in my way on the roads. Plus they are yesterday's technology. The Camaro on the other hand smokes them all in the coolness and fun factor for me, less so on the tech side but they do get crazy good gas mileage for a sports car.

By shin0bi272 on 5/22/2011 5:55:24 AM , Rating: 2
if all you are interested in is the technology then put a laptop in your camaro and watch a movie on netflix. putting technology like this in a car does 2 things. 1) makes people like you flock to it for the cool factor (mission accomplished) and 2) makes it harder to work on and/or more complicated to keep on the road. The more crap you add to a system the more parts that can sideline you.

If all you are worried about is the coolness factor then stick with the camero and fly by all the volt drivers who ran out of battery power on the way to work.

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

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