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Chevrolet Volt  (Source: automobilemag.com)
The production halt was expected to last four weeks, but will resume a few days early

After a temporary halt in March, General Motors (GM) has announced that production of the Chevrolet Volt will start back up earlier than expected on April 16.

On March 19, GM put a halt on Chevrolet Volt production in order to get rid of some of the older versions of the plug-in electric hybrid and make room for those with the recent battery fix. Also, new Volts with the changes made for the California market are making their way into the inventory.

The production halt was expected to last for four weeks. However, new reports show that Volt production will resume a few days earlier than planned. GM has already started notifying Detroit-Hamtramck plant employees, where the Volt is assembled.

It's a good time to bring Volt production back to life, since it seems that Volt popularity has risen recently. In March, U.S. Volt sales shot up to 2,289, which is its best month yet since release. Of that total, 2,129 were sold to retail customers while 160 were sold to fleet customers.

Even former Republican President George H.W. Bush jumped on the opportunity to buy a Volt, and gave it to his son, Neil Bush, as a birthday present.

This surge in sales couldn't have come at a better time, either. The Volt had a difficult year throughout much of 2011 and during the beginning of 2012 due to problems with battery fires.

In May 2011, Chevrolet's Volt caught fire three weeks after a side-impact crash test conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Volt was parked in a NHTSA testing facility in Wisconsin, and was so severe that it ended up catching nearby cars on fire as well. This led to an investigation into the safety of lithium batteries.

Later, in November 2011, NHTSA conducted three more side-impact crash tests on three separate Volts. Two out of three ended up sparking or catching fire while the third remained normal.

GM moved quickly, offering loaner vehicles to customers and even buying Volts back from scared owners. In January 2012, GM recalled 8,000 Volts off the road as well as another 4,400 for sale in showrooms to fix the batteries. The fix entailed the addition of steel to the plate that protects the EV's T-shaped, 400-pound battery. This aimed to prevent penetration into the battery in case of an auto accident, and would stop both coolant from leaking and would evenly distribute the force of a crash.

The investigation placed a bad image on the Volt for awhile. Customers were afraid to purchase it, and dealerships wanted nothing to do with it since it wasn't selling. Sales plunged in January 2012 with only 603 Volts sold.

But it looks as if the Volt's luck is turning around, with March sales at its best and an early production start beginning in 10 days.

"It seems like we've sustained ourselves through this difficult period," said Dan Akerson, GM CEO. "We hope to get up to 3,000 plus in the coming months and are certainly positioning it."

According to Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, the Volt made a comeback because people are beginning to get to know the car well and understand how it works.

"We're matching production with demand," said Reuss.

Source: Automotive News



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RE: Good news
By Keeir on 4/9/2012 5:23:56 PM , Rating: 2
A few notes.

According the the Enviromental Law Institue, all subsidies and tax credits given to all Fossil Fuel companies from 2002-2008
http://www.eli.org/pdf/Energy_Subsidies_Black_Not_...
Amount to ~72.8 Billion or roughly 10 Billion a year.

The primary form (as noted) is a tax credit for paying foriegn taxes under the reasonable doctorine that income shouldn't be taxed twice. This same underlying concept allows individuals to deduct real estate taxes, foriegn taxes, and state taxes. I think it might be good to get rid of this type of tax exception, but to do it just for one industry and not others makes little sense. The second biggest break comes in the form of a US manufacturing credit where a certain percentage of income made from US activities is excepted from taxation. New York Times and Starbucks both for instance use this credit as well. While getting rid of it might also be a good idea, it should be uniform for all businesses.

If you remove this two tax breaks from the equation, your down to ~21-28 billions over 7 years... or roughly 3-4 billion a year. Much of this money goes to reduce pollution, Research and Development credits, special projects, etc, etc. IE, stuff that's really hard to argue with when you actually examine the details.

From this 3-4 billion a year, these companies produce ~320 Billion gallons of gasoline, diesel, fuel oil, heating oil, jet fuel, etc and ~2.8 TkWh of electricity.

We are talking fractions of cents in terms of actual prices. Even if we added up all of the elements, the Government is subsidizing a normal persons use of gasoline by just a few dollars a year. And is spread out to almost the entire US population. IE, Since we all use gasoline and electricity, the subsidy while helping to slighly pad the bottom line of fossil fuel companies, benefits most people fairly.

In constrast, the plug-in credit of upto 7,500 for the first 200,000 by a manufacturing plug-ins could cost upto 1.5 billion per manufacturer. Given that there is clearly ~10 major manufacturers of cars, thats ~15 billion for 1/100 parts of the US population. Its a little bit like an office pool where everyone contributes 75 dollars, but there is only 1 winner out of 100. Everyone else is walking away initially empty handed. Oh, and participation is mandatory. I don't think that would be a popular program anywhere....


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