While many skeptics have accused GM of exaggerating the driving range and convenience of the Chevy Volt, it is still expected to be the most practical PHEV available next year.
Camille Ricketts - VENTUREBEAT
- October 13, 2009
Will it be affordable enough to sell in quantity? --Ed.
Flint, Mich., the small automotive city northwest of Detroit known best for being featured in Michael Moore’s first documentary, Roger & Me, has been in dire straits for a while. When the movie came out in 1989, it was already suffering from mass unemployment. Now, 20 years later, it may have a chance to rebrand itself as a home to General Motors’ Chevy Volt — perhaps the most practical electric vehicle primed to hit the market next year.
Today, the carmaker announced that four old plants in Flint will be revamped for assembly of engines for the Volt and its other small, fuel efficient model, the Cruze, by the start of 2011. The decision could be a turning point for the city, bringing back jobs and the sheen of an automotive industry striving to reinvent itself.
When GM took its millions in bailout money earlier this year, it promised to focus on products compatible with a new, greener fuel economy. Shortly thereafter, its bankruptcy forced it to stick plans for the Flint plants in a drawer, even though they are apparently vital to the company’s survival. Now, finally capable of investing serious dollars in the project, GM has earmarked a little over $230 million for the four plants.
About $202 million of this money will be used to renovate one of the facilities to produce 1.4-liter engines. The remaining $30 million (give or take) will go to the Grand Blanc Weld Tool Center, which is working on robotic equipment designed to put together Volt car bodies at another... [Read More]