Thursday, February 05, 2009

Volt To Debut In D.C.

General Motors has announced that Washington will be one of two cities (the other being San Francisco) to see the debut of the new Chevy Volt, sometime in the latter part of 2010. (See "GM's Volt To Debut In Washington, Bay Area.")

Will Washingtonians embrace GM's newest "electric" car? GM had a previous program, out in California, with experimental electric cars, on which it literally pulled the plug a few years ago.

The Volt, although touted as an electric car, is really just a different kind of hybrid. It will be able to go about 40 miles on a fully charged battery, after which a conventional gas engine will kick in. Still, that's a good first step. Change is incremental. The next model will go 60 miles, then 100 and eventually we'll have true electric vehicles.

The Volt should have appeal to a significant subset of Washington drivers--those with relatively short commutes who use it as their second vehicle. One issue will be how to set up re-charging stations at work. Ideally, Volt owners would be able to re-charge while in their parking garages, perhaps using a "smart-card" device to pay for the service.

Don't expect to see too many Volts early on. GM says it will lose money on each sale (of course, that seems to be the case for ALL its vehicles these days), and it is right to view the Volt, or at least the first generation, as an experimental vehicle ultimately leading to a better mass produced car.

No comments: