10 Comments

Summary:

Whatever its track record with alternative-fuel vehicles, General Motors is not giving short shrift to the 2010 Chevrolet Volt — at least not when it comes to making a case for financial viability. In the plan submitted to feds today, the struggling automaker pledged to develop […]

Whatever its track record with alternative-fuel vehicles, General Motors is not giving short shrift to the 2010 Chevrolet Volt — at least not when it comes to making a case for financial viability. In the plan submitted to feds today, the struggling automaker pledged to develop a fleet dominated by alternative fuel vehicles, right here in the US of A. As we’ve seen before, GM foists much of the weight of this promise onto the Volt, the company’s sexiest example of innovation.

gm-technology

To be sure, the plan is not all about the Volt. GM has made a splash at recent auto shows with hybrid pick-up trucks, although production numbers are expected to be low, batteries large and expensive, and profit margins slim, at best, as the Washington Post reports. It also has massive cuts in the works. But while the company says it wants to bring dozens of hybrid and plug-in vehicles to market over the next five years — many of them trucks — GM time and again uses the Volt to bolster its credentials.

gm-mpg

gm-fuel-efficient-models

What are the company’s leading examples of strengthening its roots in U.S. soil? The Michigan assembly plant planned for the Volt battery pack, and a nearby lithium-ion battery development program. What’s the one vehicle it names in the stated plan to introduce 14 new hybrid models by 2012, and 26 by 2014? Oh yes, the Volt (two other extended-range electric vehicles based on the Volt are also said to be in the works).

The plan also shows a GM that’s very different from the one that gave outgoing vice chairman Bob Lutz a soapbox for his often less-than-scientific thoughts on climate change:

It [the plan] also results in a business that will contribute materially to the national interest by developing and commercializing advanced technologies and vehicles that will reduce petroleum dependency and greenhouse gas emissions, and drive national technological and manufacturing competitiveness.

But some things haven’t changed. As we noted in November, when GM was begging for a bailout, financial salvation is a tall order for a car expected to cost over $1 billion to develop but not turn a profit until well after the second-generation model rolls off the assembly line. At the time, we wondered whether the Volt would remain a tiny niche product in the company’s lineup, or if GM would remake a meaningful portion of its cars in the green car image of the Volt.

The company says it’s now aiming to have alternative-fuel models account for 66 percent of total sales by 2012, up from the 55 percent goal outlined in the draft submitted to Congress in December. Despite its high hopes for the Volt and the next generation of vehicles GM says it can build with related technology, the little car is no match for GM’s debt load and financial woes. For those, the company says it needs another $16.6 billion in government aid. Otherwise, GM claims it could run out of  gas as early as next month — long before the Volt ever makes it to market.

  1. [...] on the downtrodden automaker’s ability to turn itself into a leaner and greener company. Earth2Tech.com reports that the company validates its intentions to create jobs for Americans and help combat [...]

    Share
  2. [...] time, as Earth2Tech notes, the yet-to-be-released Chevy Volt is still GM’s poster child for the company’s planned revival in everything from new propulsion technologies to new manufacturing [...]

    Share
  3. [...] — the hybrid parade to Capitol Hill in a bid for aid last December and the turnaround plan submitted last month – GM has trotted out the Volt as proof of its commitment to innovation and fuel efficiency. At [...]

    Share
  4. [...] the auto task force made clear in its report, there’s a long, long way to go. As we’ve noted before, GM’s best shot at a game-changing vehicle, the extended-range electric Chevy Volt, remains [...]

    Share
  5. [...] teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, and its turnaround plan — which gave the Chevy Volt a central role – has gotten a less-than-rave review from the Obama administration. The auto industry is now [...]

    Share
  6. [...] fleet, while also demonstrating frugality with taxpayers’ dollars. GM has time and again leaned on the Volt to bolster its credentials for its green innovation claims, but swift competitive salvation is a tall order for a car and [...]

    Share
  7. ricky wallace Monday, June 22, 2009

    looking for information for school for this new battery please contact at 313-576-6021

    Share
  8. [...] long term. Aside from being fresh from banktuptcy, GM doesn’t expect to profit on the Volt until well after the first generation of the model, which is intended for the mass market but priced on the high end (which could hinder [...]

    Share
  9. [...] competitive vehicle in 2012, although it would take some short term hits: politically, since it put the Volt at the center of its viability plans, and also in terms of market share, since it would “risk not having anything on the [...]

    Share
  10. [...] summer after the federally managed bailout and bankruptcy process — was even born. In the financial viability plans that GM submitted to Congress in pursuit of federal aid, the company used the Volt to bolster its [...]

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post