GM to Fed: Don’t count on Volt and plug-in hybrids when deciding mileage standards

GM is telling the federal regulators not to count on any overall fuel-economy gains for the brand on the upcoming Chevrolet Volt or any other plug-in hybrids on the market when setting their new fuel-efficiency standards. The automaker said that vehicles like the Volt will be built in very low numbers until 2015.

Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said that GM plans to build 10,000 units of the Volt in 2011, its first full year of production. In the following year, GM plans on increasing production to 60,000 units. Even then, Lutz said the target production depends on the production of battery and electrical suppliers.

In the beginning of this year, NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) proposed a 25% increase in fuel-economy rules from 2011 to 2015. NHTSA based the rules on product plans from GM and other domestic automakers. If put into effect, the standard would cost GM an estimated $17.3 billion alone.

GM has been very cautious in the mass development of the Volt since the technology used is pretty new and innovative, said spokesman Greg Martin

“There”s a note of caution that, yes the technology is breakthrough, it is a game-changer, but as with any new game-changing technology, there needs to be a reasonable expectation set in terms of volume,” said Martin.

Source: Free Press