GM and Nissan Put Pedals to Floor on Early EV Rollouts

· · 7 years ago

General Motors announced Thursday that it will make its Chevy Volt available to customers nationwide by the end of 2011, accelerating a rollout that was initially only expected to have expanded sales to seven states by the start of next year. In a press release, the carmaker attributed the decision to high consumer interest in the vehicle, which has been gradually making its way out early customers since November. “We are seeing 10-15 customers a week who are seriously considering buying a Volt,” said Harry E. Criswell III, who owns Criswell Chevy in Maryland. “Many of them own competitive brands and now have Chevy on their shopping list because of the Volt.”

Within the next few months, customers throughout the country will be able to place an order on the Volt, with deliveries expanding to 11 new states in the third quarter. By years end, Chevy hopes to deliver Volts in all 50 states.

For Chevy, simply having the Volt in dealerships could wind up having as big an impact on the bottom line as sales of the car itself. Curiosity from customers like those stopping into Criswell's dealership may or may not translate into earth-shattering early sales numbers for the Volt, but should at the very least lead to more showroom traffic, as consumers who may not even be in the market for a new car flock to get an up-close look at the revolutionary new vehicle that has generated a steady stream of headlines for years now.

GM has been tinkering with the Volt's rollout timeline since last summer, as it measures consumer demand against logistical considerations like the availability of electric drive components. The carmaker is also rumored to be looking into doubling 2012 production on vehicle from unofficial target of 60,000 units, to as many as 120,000.

Meanwhile, the Volt's all-electric competitor, the Nissan LEAF, will also be making changes to keep up with consumer demand. Nissan announced earlier this week that it will offer overtime and holiday shifts to workers building the LEAF its Oppama plant, in an effort to ramp up production on the car by 33 percent, to 4,000 units per month. The world's second-largest carmaker (and largest producer of electric vehicles,) has received more than 24,000 orders worldwide for the plug-in—putting it about 8 months behind catching up with existing demand.

Nissan promises that it is on track to deliver 20,000 LEAFs to American customers by September, which is good-but-not-great news for the thousands of customers who long ago paid to be put on a waiting list for the car but have been told not to expect delivery until 4-7 months after they placed their order.

Early demand for the LEAF and Volt has been stronger than expected, and though Nissan and GM will both soon open new facilities capable of producing hundreds of thousands of electric vehicles each year, evidently neither was fully prepared for the overwhelming early interest that the first plug-ins have managed to generate. And if oil prices continue to rise as they have in recent months, that interest is likely to grow further.

Comments

· Anonymous (not verified) · 7 years ago

A friend of mine who put his deposit with Nissan a long time ago eventually ending up buying a Volt since he was sick of waiting so long for the Leaf.

Glad to hear both companies are ramping up production.

· Henrik (not verified) · 7 years ago

Indeed, EV production is ramping up this year. I can count at least 100.000 EVs will be produced this year 2011. The numbers break down as follows:

26.000 Volts
45.000 Leafs (say 4000 per month from March that gives 4000*10=40000 + 5000 Leafs produced from October 2010 to February 2011)
10.000 Renault Florence: (production starts this summer and is dimensioned for 20000 to 40000 annually so I guess they can make 10000 before year’s end)
10.000 MiEVs
5.000 Think City
2.000 Fisker Carma
2.000 Ford Focus
----------------------
So 100.000 EVs in total not including Tesla, Coda, and various test series from Benz, Volvo, Saab, VW, BMW etc.

100k+ EVs for 2011 are not bad when you consider that less than 10.000 highway capable EVs were made in 2010. I have noted that Nissan’s CEO Carlos has said that he thinks the Nissan Renault alliance will be able to produce and price an EV sufficiently low to compete directly with gasoline vehicles and without any subsidies when they are able to produce a million EVs per year. The alliance will have the capacity to produce 500.000 EVs in 2014 and if the alliance makes a decision primo 2012 to double their production capacity for EVs they could realistically produce the 1 million units as early as 2016 and thereby be able to sell an EV like the Leaf for about 25.000 USD without subsidies.

· George Parrott (not verified) · 7 years ago

But can we believe ANYthing coming from Nissan Corporate PR? I have my Volt, and now have about 2 weeks of driving with it, but my LEAF won't arrive for another 3 weeks at best, and I am one of the lucky ones who will have to wait only 2 months beyond the original Nissan ETA for that car.

I gave up back in December trusting anything spouting from Nissan about the LEAF rollout.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 7 years ago

Hey Zakster,
Hate to let you down . . . the Volt is just a hybrid . . . albeit an pricy one, and at least a plug in version . . . but it's nontheless a hybrid. If you call EV's what they are, and hybrids what they are . . . it'll look more like you're on top of your game. Good luck with that!

· theflew (not verified) · 7 years ago

@Anonymous,

You right the Volt is a hybrid, but it's a hybrid that can be operated as an EV 99% of the time if you stay within it's EV range. No PHEV can make that same statement. PHEV will use their gas engine even with battery power remaining if you push them into 70+ mph range or mash their pedals to the floor. While the Volt has battery power it will use only the electric motor(s) because it has 149hp worth of electric motor(s).

· Anonymous (not verified) · 7 years ago

Its still a hybrid.

· joken (not verified) · 7 years ago

Need hybrid variant of trucks,jeeps and suvs to save our planet

· · 7 years ago

@joken,
Yep, you're right. Pretty much every vehicle type should come with a hybrid, PHEV, diesel, CNG, or pure EV option. Too bad the auto industry doesn't agree.

· Les Liljeberg (not verified) · 6 years ago

I believe that the energy future is solar. Not in that big dimension what we would need to run all things but enough to support every household with energy. But till it is so the price of the solar panels has to fall. solar panel

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