When General Motors announced its new plan to build the ultimate electric car, the Chevy Volt, blogs were a talking, and it was as though customers were lining up to buy. But with setbacks following adverse publicity involving the car’s battery pack catching fire in crash tests and extremely slow sales of the car in US dealerships GM has announced that they will suspend production of the Volt.
According to Fox News, the five week production suspension is to allow dealerships to rid themselves of inventories of Volts which have been selling much slower than anticipated. Another reason may be due to running costs comparisons to economic gasoline run cars, especially the Chevrolet Cruze, which gets very good gas mileage (42 mpg), handles very well for a compact, and sells for less than $20,000 as compared to the Volt’s $46,000 sticker price.
Even though the Volt scored higher in front and rear end crash tests than Renault’s Fluence EV, the adverse publicity the Volt has received from side crash tests (in which its lithium ion batter battery pack actually caught fire in some tests) has not been favorable to prospective Volt buyers.
Chevy Volts have not yet been marketed in the Middle East, most likely due to lack of available infrastructure (charging stations); and the fact that excect for companies like Israel’s Better Place, interest in such cars just hasn’t materialized. When there’s oil everywhere – and it’s cheap – who needs to buy an electric car?
But gas isn’t cheap in Israel – and now it’s about $2 US a liter.
Better Place, which recently rolled out its first 100 Renault Fluence EV cars to Israeli customers,
still hasn’t proven that its electric car infrastructure network is one that will be popular with car drivers. This is also coupled with lower than expected buyer demand and lack of driving range on its “exchangeable” lithium ion battery pack.
The Volt’s setback in the US is perhaps another indication that most car drivers are just not ready yet for electric cars. The Volt’s main GM economy car competitor, the Chevy Cruze, gets very satisfactory gas mileage for a 4 cylinder car that is large enough to carry 5 adult passengers comfortably. The Cruze is also becoming popular abroad and is being seen on European highways as well as in the Middle East, including Israel.
What will happen after GM’s 5 week production suspension remains to be seen. But Fox News commentators did not give a very optimistic picture for this car, saying that sales demand is so low that dealers prefer not to sell them. How this news will affect the sales of other brands of electric cars, such as Nissan’s Leaf model (which is not being sold in the Middle East) also remains to be seen.
Photo: Fox News
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