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President Obama with a Chevrolet Volt

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA)  (Source:
Despite recent issues with the Chevrolet Volt's battery, GM expects increased Volt sales for November and a recent survey found that Volt customers are satisfied. A GOP lawmaker may, however, ruin EV success by fighting the $7,500 tax credit

General Motors Co. may have hit a few speed bumps this year with the Chevrolet Volt extended-range EV's battery-related incidents, but things seem to be looking up with an expected increase in November Volt sales and a recent survey that confirmed Volt customer satisfaction.

The Chevrolet Volt had its best-ever sales month in October 2011, but according to GM Spokesman Jim Cain, November Volt sales are expected to surpass the previous month.

In October, GM sold 1,108 Volts, which was the first time it had outsold the Nissan Leaf EV since April. For the year through October, GM sold a total of 5,003 Volts.

Experts say that it is now very unlikely that GM will meet its sales goal of 10,000 Volts sold in 2011, but GM predicts increased sales in November over the month of October. The final sales figures for November have not yet been released.

Perhaps the reason for increased sales expectations is Volt customer satisfaction. According to a recent survey by Consumer Reports, Chevrolet Volt owners "love their cars."

The Consumer Reports survey, which was released Thursday, is based on over 314,000 opinions of 2009-2012 model year vehicles. The survey found that 93 percent of Volt owners who participated said they'd buy the EV again.

However, the survey was conducted only a few months after the Volt hit showrooms, and mainly consisted of early buyers and enthusiasts. The survey was also taken before the formal investigation of Volt/lithium battery safety began.

Earlier this year, the Volt underwent a series of tests at a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) facility in Wisconsin. Three weeks after a side-impact crash test on May 12, the Volt went up in flames while parked at the facility, catching nearby vehicles on fire.

This sparked a NHTSA investigation, where three more Volts were tested November 16, 17 and 18. One battery had normal results while another emitted sparks and smoke, and the third caught on fire one week later. The NHTSA is now conducting a formal investigation of the vehicle's safety.

The Volt may be seeing the upside of a nasty situation for now with a potential sales increase and customer satisfaction, but one GOP lawmaker is looking to throw a wrench in the EV industry's success by fighting the $7,500 tax credit.

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) told Congress Wednesday that he wants the $7,500 tax credit for EVs to cease because he says electric vehicles have not met desired goals and the tax credit only benefits the wealthy. He specifically noted that the annual income of Volt owners is $175,000.

"[The Volt] has become the poster child of President Obama's failed green agenda," said Kelly. "Like many green initiatives promoted by this administration and bankrolled by the American taxpayer, the electric car is better in theory than in practice; has limited consumer demand; is heavily subsidized; and has fallen short of reaching targeted goals. Despite the fact that the federal government has no business subsidizing a product that a manufacturer could just as easily promote through rebates and other buyer incentives, the tax subsidies are largely going to the affluent few who can actually afford to buy an electric car, which costs anywhere between $40,000 and $97,000."

Kelly's "like many other green initiatives promoted by this administration" comment was more than likely referring to this year's Solyndra disaster, where the U.S. government loaned solar panel company Solyndra $535 million in 2009 despite warnings that the company would go bankrupt. Solyndra filed for bankruptcy on September 6, 2011.

Sources: The Detroit News, The Detroit News

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RE: Duh....
By Masospaghetti on 12/1/2011 2:02:00 PM , Rating: 2
New technology is expensive and it's difficult to get over the "hump", where economies of scale can start pushing prices down. It's not any different than other industries with innovation. First generation of almost anything is expensive. In this case, it has the potential to significantly reduce petroleum consumption.

That $7,500 would go better towards re-training an out of work individual for an available job, helping the homeless, helping low income single parents, etc, etc. There are a lot better things I can think of to put our tax dollars too, besides helping someone who makes a good living already purchase an expensive hybrid car.

I would argue this expenditure has enough future benefit to be "worth it". On the other hand, there are plenty of government programs, especially entitlement, that have no future benefit or even negative future "benefits" because they breed complacency and government dependence. The $131 billion home interest deduction comes to mind, along with zero deductible medical plans under Medicaid.

RE: Duh....
By Rukkian on 12/1/2011 2:45:38 PM , Rating: 3
While I agree that subsidizing new technology can help get it to a level where prices come down, the only way that should make sense is if the manufacturer (Chevy in this case) is not making much (or any) off the product. The company is getting the benefit of not having to foot the entire bill for the tech, and getting a leg up to help further the technology.

I get the feeling that the ev cars out there are not actually any cheaper, as all the manufacturers are just inflating the price by $7500 since they know the consumer will get the rebate so they can pocket extra cash. If that is not the case, then show the books on what it costs to produce, and make it open.

RE: Duh....
By Masospaghetti on 12/1/2011 2:48:33 PM , Rating: 2
GM is not making a penny on each Volt they sell.

EVs are expensive. The Focus electric is going to be priced at $39,995, and so is the Plug-in Prius.

RE: Duh....
By Reclaimer77 on 12/1/2011 3:30:42 PM , Rating: 2
GM is not making a penny on each Volt they sell.

Yes and I would think that for a company that was just bailed out by the taxpayers from collapsing would be quite concerned about their new Golden Goose being a loss leader.

But then again, they DID have to be bailed out in the first place. So they tells you what kind of thinking is going on over there.

RE: Duh....
By Dr of crap on 12/2/2011 8:40:33 AM , Rating: 2
Really, you believe they aren't making ANY profits on these cars?
I find that WAY unlikely no matter what they say.
Think of all the R & D that went into it, and the marketing and over head. Unless this car's design was already done by someone else, but you'd still have to pay the designee!

I've heard that people want to go into the sales floor to see the Volt and then end up buying something else, so the Volt gets MORE people into the door. So for a very expensive marketing ploy the Volt is useful for that I guess.
Problem with that is that they were bailed out and a sales flop in the eyes of the tax payers doesn't look to good! And as a tax payer, I'll say I don't like it and I hope it's sales drop further yet! And I'll take my part of the $7500 they've handed out and use it for soemthing better.

RE: Duh....
By YashBudini on 12/2/2011 6:13:50 PM , Rating: 2
I've heard that people want to go into the sales floor to see the Volt and then end up buying something else, so the Volt gets MORE people into the door.

Well the other option is a 60 second commercial during the Superbowl. And what a bargain that is.

RE: Duh....
By Mint on 12/9/2011 3:08:56 PM , Rating: 2
You're making unbased assumptions. Right now companies are milking those that want to buy EVs. It will take time for competition to take effect.

Look at the plug-in Prius. They basically added a charger and 3 kWh more battery. How on earth does that cost $5-10k?

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