Volt Birth Watch 147: Heavy Lifting

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama made a campaign promise to have one million plug-in hybrids on America’s roads by 2015. That’s an ambitious plan, considering we didn’t hit the million hybrid milestone until eight years after the Prius was introduced. Back in April, GM’s Volt Man Tony Posawatz admitted to MSNBC that “it certainly is a difficult challenge to achieve that goal.” He went on to say that GM would have “tens of thousands” of Volts on the road by 2015. But, “it’s not readily obvious, based on the product plans that have been communicated, that the 2015 objective aligns with what is currently on the books,” he said. Would someone please tell Tony who pays the bills? Anyway, the tune has changed. “I can tell you we can definitely do the heavy lifting part of that,” GM’s Brita Gross tells Automotive News [sub]. “We definitely will lift up our end of that.” But how?

Even Gross admits it will be “a stretch for the industry” to meet the White House’s goal, but she says that GM was prepared to do its part if key hurdles can be overcome. Increased battery production capacity is a major concern, and Gross estimates the US needs about five more producers to meet the million PHEV goal. Also, lower gas prices and a weak economy raise concerns about meeting the president’s goal. Specifically the part where “tens of thousands” of people spend nearly $40K on a Volt.

But GM isn’t sweating it anymore. “There are larger stimulus opportunities that look very promising. There is a lot of support politically for our advanced technology programs,” explains Gross. And why not? Obama’s million plug-in plan is a political goal, and GM is going to help with the “heavy lifting” through political means. Specifically, another tranche of retooling loans is looking likely, and deeper consumer-end credits could make the Volt a viable product. As long as they are written correctly.

Meanwhile, Francisco Franco is still dead and the Obama administration still has better things to do than run its in-house automakers.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Jun 25, 2009

    The Volt isn't the only plug-in possible. Nissan just took fed dollars to build a plug-in, and no doubt Toyota will build a plug in Prius, and Honda a plug-in Insight, **if it's mandated**. The big question is, where will the million buyers come from?

  • Lewissalem Lewissalem on Jun 25, 2009

    Ok, I just saw pics of the "Integration Prototype " driving around the Tech Center and the exterior design has been significantly changed (for the worse). The creases are not as crisp, the hood opening is altered, the LED taillights don't appear to be in slim strips anymore, the mirrors have grown two sizes.... More false advertising from The General. GM is incapable of producing their concept vehicles.

  • Jonathan IMO the hatchback sedans like the Audi A5 Sportback, the Kia Stinger, and the already gone Buick Sportback are the answer to SUVs. The A5 and the AWD version of the Stinger being the better overall option IMO. I drive the A5, and love the depth and size of the trunk space as well as the low lift over. I've yet to find anything I need to carry that I can't, although I admit I don't carry things like drywall, building materials, etc. However, add in the fun to drive handling characteristics, there's almost no SUV that compares.
  • C-b65792653 I'm starting to wonder about Elon....again!!I see a parallel with Henry Ford who was the wealthiest industrialist at one time. Henry went off on a tangent with the peace ship for WWI, Ford TriMotor, invasive social engineering, etc. Once the economy went bad, the focus fell back to cars. Elon became one of the wealthiest industrialist in the 21st century. Then he went off with the space venture, boring holes in the ground venture, "X" (formerly Twitter), etc, etc, etc. Once Tesla hit a plateau and he realized his EVs were a commodity, he too is focused on his primary money making machine. Yet, I feel Elon is over reacting. Down sizing is the nature of the beast in the auto industry; you can't get around that. But hacking the Super Charger division is like cutting off your own leg. IIRC, GM and Ford were scheduled to sign on to the exclusive Tesla charging format. That would have doubled or tripled his charging opportunity. I wonder what those at the Renaissance Center and the Glass House are thinking now. As alluded to, there's blood in the water and other charging companies will fill the void. I believe other nations have standardized EV charging (EU & China). Elon had the chance to have his charging system as the default in North America. Now, he's dropped the ball. He's lost considerable influence on what the standardized format will eventually be. Tremendous opportunity lost. 🚗🚗🚗
  • Tassos I never used winter tires, and the last two decades I am driving almost only rear wheel drive cars, half of them in MI. I always bought all season tires for them, but the diff between touring and non touring flavors never came up. Does it make even the smallest bit of difference? (I will not read the lengthy article because I believe it does not).
  • Lou_BC ???
  • Lou_BC Mustang sedan? 4 doors? A quarterhorse?Ford nomenclature will become:F Series - Pickups Raptor - performance division Bronco - 4x4 SUV/CUVExplorer - police fleetsMustang- cars