GM CEO says company is looking to triple Chevrolet Volt production

GM CEO Dan Akerson flashes 'V' for Victory and Volt

General Motors yesterday kicked off production of the much-anticipated 2011 Chevrolet Volt. Production of the Volt will be limited to just 10,000 units in 2011, but over 240,000 potential buyers have expressed interest in the vehicle. With that in mind, CEO Dan Akerson says that the automaker is studying how it could double or even triple production of the Volt, should sales demand increase.

GM plans to build 45,000 Volts in 2012.

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According to GM North America President Mark Reuss, production of the Volt is constrained by vendor production of the battery cells needed to for the battery back that the company assembles in Detroit.

On a separate not, GM’s global product chief Tom Stephens says that the company is also planning a flex-fuel version of the volt. Using E85 fuel, the Volt will end up using extremely little gasoline. If a flex-fuel version is approved, it would be launched in the 2012 model year.

Starting this month, GM plans to roll out the Chevrolet Volt in 7 states over 12 months. After that period, the Volt will become available all across the United States.

Refresher: The 2011 Chevrolet Volt is powered by 16-kWh, “T”-shaped lithium-ion battery that powers the electric drive unit, which allows it to drive 40 miles on battery power alone. The system puts out 149-hp and a maximum torque of 273 lb-ft, allowing the Volt to go from 0-60 mph in about 9 seconds, hitting a top speed of 100 mph. The battery can be re-charged by plugging into a household outlet and takes 4 hours to recharge on 240 volts, and about 10-12 hours on a standard 120-volt outlet. The Chevrolet Volt also carries an 84-hp 1.4 4-clyinder engine that allows the five-door, FWD sedan to travel additional miles while averaging a fuel-economy of 50 mpg. A fully charged battery and full tank of gas will allow the Volt to travel 340 miles. The 2011 Chevrolet Volt gets an EPA estimated 93 miles per ’gallon-equivalent’ when driving under electric power only, 37 mpg when in gasoline mode and over the long term it is estimated to get 60 miles per gallon in combined gasoline-powered and electric-powered driving. Prices for the 2011 Chevrolet Volt start at $41,000 but with a full federal income tax credit (which range from $0 to $7,500), the Volt can cost a total of $33,500.

2011 Chevrolet Volt:

– By: Omar Rana

Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)