EVLN: GM compact may come in both pih & EV versions, similar to the i3

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EVLN: GM compact may come in both pih & EV versions, similar to the i3

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Shorter e-range = lower price, Volt-gen2 will have a longer e-range

GM to add 1,400 jobs in Michigan
by Melissa Burden and Christine Ferretti  April 5, 2014

The Brownstown plant, with about 100 workers, assembles the lithium-ion batteries for the Volt and other cars.

Automaker to put $450M into Hamtramck, Brownstown sites in ramp up of Chevy Volt ...

It’s not clear if any new jobs will go to Brownstown, where workers now assemble lithium-ion battery packs for the Volt, Ampera and Cadillac ELR. That facility, operated by GM subsidiary GM Subsystems Manufacturing LLC, employs about 100 people.

Industry analysts believe the redesigned Volt will hit as a 2016 model. Jeff Schuster, an analyst with LMC Automotive in Troy, said in a Friday interview that he expects the redesigned Volt to begin production in fall 2015.

He also expects GM will add another compact [pih] based off the Volt — with a lower electric range — that also would be built at Detroit-Hamtramck.

“They’re looking to take the Volt in kind of a split personality and have a plug-in version and likely a more affordable electric version,” he said.

McBride said GM cannot comment on any future products. Schuster said he expects a new electric vehicle would have a shorter range than the plug-in version, but with a lower price, to reach more consumers.

Sales of the Volt haven’t held up to the company’s expectations. Former Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson had wanted GM to sell 60,000 a year. Last year, GM sold 23,094 Volts and lowered the price by $5,000 to help boost sales. Sales this year total 3,606, down 15 percent from the same period in 2013.

The new Volt is expected to have a longer electric range than the first generation, which debuted in fall 2010 as a 2011 model. Currently, the Volt can travel for 38 miles on electric power before a back-up engine kicks on, providing total driving range of 380 miles.

Akerson told Bloomberg Radio last summer that GM was working to “significantly” improve the range on the next-generation Volt and to get its battery range up to 50 to 60 miles or more.

“I suspect they’ll have to show some improvement,” Schuster said. “How much I guess is the wild card.”

Last year, a GM executive said the company was working on an electric vehicle that can go 200 miles on a charge. GM management last year also reportedly was studying electric car company Tesla Motors, whose cars have gotten rave reviews. Schuster said GM may pursue a strategy similar to Tesla’s with “really different sized battery packs and different ranges and price points for the models.” ...
[© 2014 The Detroit News]

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