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GM only sold 603 Volts in January

General Motors' Chevrolet Volt has taken a serious beating over the past year or so after its battery fire issues were brought to light, and that beating showed as January Volt sales plummeted.

For the month of January 2012, GM sold a total of 603 Volts, which was significantly lower than December 2011's total of 1,529 Volts. GM sold a total of 7,700 Volts in 2011.

Chevrolet's plug-in hybrid electric Volt had a very up-and-down (but mostly down) 2011. In May, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a side-impact test on a Volt in its Wisconsin testing facility. Three weeks later, the Volt caught fire while parked in the testing garage, leading to an investigation of the safety of lithium batteries. Lithium batteries can catch fire if the internal cells or the battery case are pierced by steel or another ferrous metal.

In November, the NHTSA conducted three more side-impact crash tests with three additional Volts. Two of them sparked or caught fire while the third remained normal. From there, GM did everything it could to make customers happy, from buying Volts back to offering loaner vehicles to scared Volt drivers.

In early January, GM recalled all 8,000 Volts on the road as well as the 4,400 for sale in showrooms. The automaker added steel to the plate that protects the EV's 400-pound battery. The NHTSA said this fix did the trick, but GM CEO Dan Akerson still had to testify before Congress in regards to the fires.

The entire situation seems to have put the Volt in a bad light for some, possibly affecting the January 2012 sales numbers. In fact, former GM Vice Chairman for Special Advisor Design and Global Product Development Bob Lutz said earlier this week that the media ruined the Volt's reputation with negative coverage. More specifically, Lutz targeted "right-wing media."

"But the Oscar for totally irresponsible journalism has to go to The O'Reilly Factor on Fox News, with, as its key guest, Lou Dobbs," said Lutz. "Amid much jocular yukking, the Volt was depicted as a typical federal failure. In attempting to explain why Chevy has sold fewer than 8,000 Volts, Dobbs states, flatly, 'It doesn't work.' He elaborates, 'It doesn't go fast and go far on electricity. What happens is it catches fire.'"

Source: The Detroit News

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RE: No need to blame the media
By alpha754293 on 2/2/2012 2:22:38 PM , Rating: 4
That's a $40k car that takes premium gas. I can get a Cruze for like $17k. That's a difference of $23k. And at $4/gal (which is a little high for now), that's 5750 gals. And even for the MY12 Cruze's 30 mpg combined, that's 172500 miles. And that's JUST to break even with the price difference.

Which means if you're an ultra-urban driver, well...a) there are other cars available that can do the job as well, if not better, than the Volt or b) if you're not, the Volt only beats it's Cruze sibling by 2 mpg highway.

The only thing that the Volt has going for it is that it is the ONLY PHEV that's available right now. Fisker's Karma performance is a TBD. (Fisker as a whole is a TBD...) and Toyota's Prius PHEV - well...the base Prius already gets amazing fuel economy (50 mpg combined) for like $24k (the last time I checked), which is only a the cost difference between the Volt and the Cruze. Translated - that means you can by a Cruze AND a Prius for the price of a Volt.

Happy shopping!

RE: No need to blame the media
By sleepeeg3 on 2/2/2012 6:14:00 PM , Rating: 3
Assuming the worst case scenario (25miles on electric, 12 hour recharge time), it would take you 9.5 years to drive that far if you drove the Volt every day, every 12 hours.

"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

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