Electric vehicles show some life

Electric vehicles show some life

March 8, 2013 0 By Alicia Moore

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Chevrolet Volt Electric Vehicles

General Motors does not give up on electric vehicles

Electric vehicles have been a touchy subject for the auto industry lately. Automakers have strong interest in vehicles that are powered by hydrogen fuel cells, but those powered by lithium-ion batteries have proven to be a hard sell to consumers. Lackluster sales and criticism from consumers has caused many automakers to slowly back away from electric vehicles, but General Motors holds out hope. The company has seen an unexpected uptick in the sales of its Chevrolet Volt, which has rekindled the automaker’s interest in electric vehicles.

Volt sales in 2011 prove lackluster

In 2011, Chevrolet sold only 7,671 unites of the Volt worldwide. These sales were punctuated with criticism concerning the performance and reliability of the vehicles, as well as the lack of a sufficient infrastructure in several markets to adequately support them. While sales of the Volt had been growing in the years before 2011, they were not increasing at the rate that General Motors had hoped, leading the company to consider shifting focus toward hydrogen fuel and more traditional powertrains. That was, of course, until last year.

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Sharp increase in sales spurs hope

In 2012, General Motors saw a sharp spike in Volt sales, reaching 23,461 units sold worldwide. These sales were backed by rising gas prices around the world, which spurred consumers to find alternative means of transportation. Those that did not favor public transit turned to electric vehicles, which proved to suit their need for efficiency. While many of these vehicles are somewhat more expensive than their counterparts that operate on fossil-fuels, they are immune to fluctuations in gas prices and require less maintenance, making them more affordable to own in the long run.

General Motors to increase production of Volt

Encouraged by 2012 sales, General Motors has announced that it plans to increase the 2013 production volume of the Chevrolet Volt to 36,000 units. This is 20% higher than the production volumes the Volt boasted of in 2012. General Motors expects that consumers will continue showing strong interest in electric vehicles as gas prices continue to show their volatility. Exactly how these vehicles will fare against their hydrogen-powered counterparts, however, has yet to be seen.