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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 Hiawa23 on 5/19/2011 11:25:37 PM , Rating: 2
I got a 97 Honda Civic & a 2006 Mitsu LAncer Ralliart. No way in hell am I buying another car, & I would never even consider buying one for $40k. My mortage balance is that. I am more concerned with how does our government get our gas prices down cause for the masses, electric vehicles are no option, especially in this bad economy where most folks are struggling just to get by. Somone said he would buy the Volt for it's benefits & it's cool factor. I would never buy a car for it's cool factor. I just need to go from A to B & that the car looks decent. Cool factor, are you kidding me, but I don't buy things for cool factor as that will wear off.


By Dr of crap on 5/20/2011 8:52:49 AM , Rating: 2
Bravo. Well said.
And that is the feelings of over half of the car buyers, that wouldn't even consider the Volt.


By JediJeb on 5/20/2011 12:12:11 PM , Rating: 3
I agree, I don't think I have ever bought something because of the "cool factor". I usually buy the things that are just the opposite. I just want something that works. I would consider a Volt if it were made as a stripped down bare bones daily driver. Just like my truck, I want something with simple cloth seats, rubber floor covering, and maybe delay wipers those are nice to have but not necessary. No electric windows or locks, those just break and you have to open your door to make an order at the drive through. When they can make a bare bones Volt and sell it for $20k or less then I will buy one, not before.

My vehicles are going to get muddy inside and out, scratched up from the gravel roads I travel and have dog hair inside from when I take my dogs places with me. I will stuff them full of everything I haul around (believe me an eight foot tall cedar Christmas tree will fit into a 79 Mustang notch back) and not be easy on them. Why would I want to pay more than $20K-25K for anything I am just going to abuse. Leather seats would be a waste for me as would carpet on the floor.

I would love to be able to save money on gas and even use an electric vehicle but what is being offered right now definitely will not work for me. Something like a late 80's early 90's Suzuki Samurai or Geo Tracker that was electric would be more what I need. I would even like something like the old Dodge D50 minitruck if it was made electric. If you ever want to get electric vehicles to truly penetrate the US market you need to make some cheap entry level ones for people who would try one but not want to blow a ton of money on them. Trucks and SUVs started out as the cheap vehicles compared to cars, then they evolved into the bloated luxury things popular on the market today, same needs to be done with EVs.


By Zingam on 5/23/2011 7:45:34 AM , Rating: 2
Here is suggestion what your government should do: Initiate a total war in 5 stages:
1. Eliminate Russia by pinpoint nuclear strikes
2. Occupy Venezuela and kill the local population
3. Occupy Saudi Arabia and kill the local population
4. Kill the local population in Iraq
5. Prepare for invasion of Iran
6. Keep China from getting their hands of the remaining oil fields in the World.

So you'll be able to get cheep oil for a few decades. After that you'll have to start buying horses to tow your Honda.


"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov














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