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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 Reclaimer77 on 5/19/2011 8:21:51 PM , Rating: -1
The Volt doesn't "get us off" anything. It's electric range is, in the REAL WORLD, way too short to use as an exclusive electric car. And, of course, electricity doesn't come out of thin air. You are simply switching from one non-renewable resource to another non-renewable to create electricity.

This car represents the best of American ingenuity.

??? It's a hybrid. GM took 10 year old technology, with a blank check of BILLIONS from the U.S government, and put a slight twist on what Japanese companies have been doing for almost a decade now. BIG DEAL.

You're a spongeheaded moron if you think we're all going to switch to Volts, and that it's going to change our oil policy somehow. Oil is used in far more than just gasoline anyway. We cannot simply eliminate the need for it.

By Bobalouie on 5/19/2011 8:36:17 PM , Rating: 2
Electric comes from coal, nukes, hydro, nat gas, solar, geo. Those are all domestic. There are Volt owners who are charging their cars from PV panels mounted on their house.

In the real world, 80% of US drivers travel 40 miles per day or less. That's gas free in a Volt. Volt drivers last month averaged 1000 miles between gas fill ups. Real world.

A hybrid runs a gas engine at all times with a battery assist. The Volt is driven by an electric motor. When the battery is drained, a gas engine generates electricity at 40 MPG. Toyota will be introducing their reply to the Volt summer/fall of 2012. It will have a range of 13 miles (compared to 40) on battery. And it will be $1k more than the Volt.

Name calling. Classy.

By torpor on 5/20/2011 12:13:22 PM , Rating: 1
Complete fail on this post.

1: Hybrids, such as the Prius, have a hybrid transmission which allows either/both the gas engine or the electric motor to provide propulsion. An alternator slaved to the gas engine generates electricity for recharge purposes. So they are called hybrids because both engines (gas and electric) provide motive force. It is NOT a generator.

2: The Chevy Volt has a similar transmission setup to other hybrid cars. And the Volt's engine can/does engage the transmission to assist the electric motor when needed.

3: Hybrids will shut off the gas engine when not needed. A Prius at a stoplight is perfectly silent because the gas engine has shut off; it does not run "at all times".

4: An MPG rating for the generation of electricity on a supplimental drive? Did you really go there?

5: If you live near Canada, you probably import electricity from there. So it's not domestic in many cases.

I understand you're jazzed about your expensive toy, but you really need to get your head on straight about it. Back away from the marketing materials...

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