General Motors Going to Electric Cars

By dancurranjr On December 2nd, 2010

General Motors Co. is moving into the future.  The company announced today that it would placing a firm focus on the future by hiring a large number of engineers and researchers to design electric cars and hybrid vehicles along the lines of the company’s Chevrolet Volt.

That car is battery-powered and has a better fuel economy than the much lauded Toyota Prius. It runs for an estimated 35 miles when fully charged (it has a 400 pound lithium ion battery); from there, the car has a 1.4 liter engine.

That makes it an alluring sell for those who commute less than 35 miles to get to work.

The Volt is the car that almost wasn’t, particularly in the face of GM’s meltdown during the auto crisis. It is not a cheap car to build, so its beginning profit margin is fairly low ($41,000 per car). GM’s own North American chief referred to the project as a “moon shot.” He also viewed the project as forward motion for the company itself, noting that the project represented the “new soul of GM.” It first introduced the concept of the Volt in 2007 during a Detroit auto show.

The car will first be available in December. The number of Volts on the market will increase in 2011. The company also plans to export the vehicle into overseas markets.  The release of the Volt marks the first big venture of the company since it passed out of the government’s hands after a public offering earlier in November.

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