GM CEO Akerson Discusses Chevy Volt in AP Interview

By · December 21, 2011

Dan Akerson

GM CEO Dan Akerson discussed his latest views on the Chevy Volt with Associated Press.

The Chevy Volt continues to grab headlines, for the accolades and awards it racks up—and for the politically motivated controversy around fires that can occur well after the car is in a crash. General Motors' chief executive officer, Dan Akerson, discussed the Volt in a recent interview with the Associated Press.

When asked if Akerson could wave a magic wand to instantly change something at General Motors, he responded, "I want a miracle solution on Volt in the next week. That's not going to happen. On a more serious note, it all starts and it ends with product. I want sustainable, differentiable product."

Here's more from the interview:

Do you think the news about the Chevy Volt will harm sales of electric vehicles?

This car is safe. There is nothing happening immediately after the crash. I think in the interest of General Motors, the industry, the electrification of the car, it's better to get it right now, when you have 6,000—instead of 60,000 or 600,000—cars on the road. We're not the only car company that has liquid-cooled batteries out there. There are many. So we think this is the right thing to do for our customers, first and foremost, and it was the right thing to do for General Motors and the industry.

When are we going to see the electric car as the typical family car?

We want to ramp Volt production to roughly 60,000 in 2012. I think Prius in its second year did a lot less than that, half. By this summer we will [enter] what I call the second generation, where we will achieve certain scale, and we should see an appreciable drop in the cost of the production of the Volt. So, 2011 was kind of a year to get things aligned and make sure that the car was what we hoped it would be. We certainly see that in our showrooms and our sales and Consumer Reports' acceptance.

It's an unanswerable question given what I know today, but I say, "Well, I would hope by 2020, 10% of the cars sold would be of alternate propulsion." We're also working on hydrogen fuel cell cars.

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