2011 Chevrolet Volt test drive, Michigan, October 2010Enlarge Photo
Once again, Chevrolet has upped planned production volumes of its 2011 Volt electric car in the face of strong demand and the likelihood that many dealers have more buyers than cars to sell them.
In July, at a media event discussing launch markets and other details, Volt marketing manager Tony DiSalle said the company would build 10,000 Volts by the end of 2011. He also said that 45,000 Volts--up from 30,000--would be built in 2012.
Now, the number by the end of 2011 has risen from a flat 10,000 to a range of "10,000 to 15,000." And for 2012, the company may build as many as 60,000 Volts.
Left unspecified was how many would be allocated to the U.S. market. Chevrolet plans to allot 5,000 Volts to Canada, and the Volt will be sold in Asia and certain European markets starting later next year.
For several years, a total of 60,000 Volts has been the maximum discussed by GM for the car's first three years. Volt vehicle line manager Doug Parks told the Detroit News that 60,000 was a "max rate" of production.
That number likely reflects constraints on the supply of lithium-ion cells for the Volt's battery pack, along with other electric components, including the 111-kilowatt traction motor, the smaller 55-kW motor-generator, and the car's power electronics.
Reporters from all over North America have been driving the 2011 Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric car this week, and it has received generally strong reviews.
And, thankfully, a media firestorm that erupted over whether the Voltec electric drive may operate like a hybrid--yes, under certain limited circumstances--has died down. The shrill tone of the debate, however, is a cautionary reminder that a surprisingly large number of people still really hate General Motors.