GM Believes BEVs Will Outnumber EREVs Soon

Chevy Volt

Chevy Volt

Why produce plug-in EREVs such as the Chevy Volt when you believe that full electric vehicles are the wave of the future?  This is a question that GM will have to tackle as even the company admits that battery only vehicles will dominate sales in the future.

GM North America President Mark Reuss believes that battery electric vehicles will likely see higher demand in the near future than extended range plug-ins like the Chevy Volt.  During a web chat, Reuss stated that EREVs may be popular initially, but electric only vehicles will become a bigger player in sales latter on.

Though the Volt is leading the way for EREVs, the complex powertrain, costly engineering, and limited electric range may lead to its demise as full electric vehicles take over.  EVs offer a less complicated powertrain, less maintenance, and a lower build cost compared to EREVs.

As Reuss noted, small EVs could become high volume vehicles for automakers within a few years.  With advancements in technology, compact EVs are viable for automakers and will become affordable for consumers.

Source:  Detroit Free Press March 14th

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Comments (11)
  1. For the first time in a long time, I agree with GM on EVs. I think there is a much bigger market for $10-15k BEVs, than there is for $30-40K EREVs. Battery technology should double in range and be half the cost in the next five years, as production ramps up. The only game-changer would be an innexpensive microturbine or fuel cell. These would work as range extenders, without all of the weight, cost and baggage of an ICE.

  2. While I agree that the small BEV market will expand rapidly as the capabilities of the cars increase, I also think that range issues will guarantee a market for EREVs for many years to come. There is clearly a place and a niche for each technology.
    BTW, a local utility in SoCal, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, announced today that it will be seeking a total of 37% in rate increases over the next 4 years. I am not making this up, THIRTY SEVEN PERCENT!

  3. How about posting a link to the original Detroit Free Press article? I couldn't find it online.

  4. Noel Park...I believe you and that is one of the reasons that we do not live in SoCal. But I do predict that elect rates will skyrocket in about 5 years when BEV's are sold at every dealership. GM is absolutely correct BEV's will dominate but their Volt EREV is a perfect transition vehicle until the battery technology improves.

  5. If they raise electric rates, whats the point of having an ev? if its going to cost close to a gallon of gas... the next step will be making your own power, with wind and solar..

  6. I'm not so sure about this one. A lot of the predictions for BEV range increases are based on unprecedented improvements in battery technology. Add to that the fact that the charge times quoted by many manufacturers, e.g. Tesla claiming roughly 3 hours for a full charge, are based on charging currents that exceed most houses' supplies and are therefore unrealistic. I would be surprised to see the improvement in battery technology that would be required to provide charge times that are anything close to re-fuelling times on EREVs/ICE cars. It's a great goal but, in my opinion, the EREV solves the range and flexibility issue faced by current BEVs

  7. Regarding the electricity rate increases, these are going to come to all utilities that relay on a high percentage of dirty energy such as coal and natural gas. Here in SoCal, the private utility that serves the area surrounding Los Angeles is offering a time of use (TOU) rate of 10 cents/kWh for EV charging. Given that the normal rate starts at 12 cents and rises as high as 31 cents for the top tier, this EV rate will keep the cost of energy for EV low, BUT you must charge your car at night in order to get the low rate. If you charge during the peak hours in the afternoon, you'll pay much higher rates.
    There is a need to shift EV charging to off-peak times to reduce the need to build more power plants. There's more than enough excess power production capacity for charging over 180 million EVs at night.

  8. Luke you have a point there with the electricity rates but historically electricity cost is much more stable than oil. Plus, we can control it here in our own country, we're not beholden to foreign powers on the other side of the globe. And like you said, you can make your own electricity, I do!

  9. Luke and James:
    Most like me with an EV charge up at night (8pm for me) when there is not as much demand on grid. Once we have smart charging systems (like the Tesla already has) we can punch in the time to charge when the rates are at the lowest. So I am not worried about rates.
    Unlike gasoline where there really are no options, options for electricity generation are all over. My solar system that has been running over 8 years provided enough electricity for my house + near 40 miles a day in EV driving. I could add a few more panels if I want more.
    The electric companies are eager to get customers away from gas and while are nervous about everyone coming on too soon, are quite excited from my conversations with them.

  10. I don't see the economics for cheap BEV's if the ICE gets more & more efficient. Charging an EV at higher electric rates might get as expensive as filling up on gas for a 40+MPG ICE car. Plus, add in that most families only have 1 NEW car at a time, it will be a sacrifice of convenience to invest in limited range BEV that you cannot even drive 150-200 miles for a weekend visit to your family. Or it takes twice as long since you have to stop at a charging station for 2-4 hours...
    IF GM can bring down the cost of VOLT technology, get a smaller, lower cost ICE, batteries with more power density (therefore longer all-electric range) and package it in a variety of shapes/sizes (mid-sized sedan, compact SUV, 2-door fastback), then the EREV could be a long-term hit, as it gives the consumer everything (nearly 100% electric in daily driving, unlimited long-distance road trip capability at reasonable MPG's similar to hybrids, diesels, etc.) All they need to do is drop the price about $5K and it's a runaway hit! ($40K - $5K = $35K minus Fed tax credit $7.5K = $27.5K = average price of a New Car!!)....

  11. I guess my point is that I'm not willing to spend $20K on a car that I cannot even drive to Chicago for the weekend. I'll be stuck driving my 20MPG SUV (2nd car) and I have to ask, "what's the point" if I only save $$ on gas driving around town but never on longer trips. Heck, 100 mile range won't even get you to/from work if you live in the ex-urbs. EV's need longer range to be practical.

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