Dan Akerson, the Chairman and CEO of General Motors, recently revealed that the next generation of the Chevy Volt could feature an increase in its all-electric range of some 20 percent. That would take the Volt’s all-electric range from the current 25-50 miles, depending on driving conditions, to 50-60 miles or more.
The Chevy Volt recently saw a $5,000 price drop. According to GM, that was due in part to the fact that the cost of the battery has come down. That means it is certainly feasible that a next generation Volt, with another leap in battery technology, could either hold the price where it is while giving the vehicle some extra range, or hold to its promise to bring the price down $10,000 (including this year’s $5,000 price drop) as promised earlier in the year.
GM looks to be playing a careful balancing game. It is trying to juggle getting the price of the Volt down to an area where it can sell more units. The more it sells, the more it can bring the efficiencies of scale to the Volt. But it also realizes that what attracts people to the electric vehicle (EV) concept is the all-electric range. Drivers of Volts turn out to not suffer from range anxiety, but ‘having to fill up with gas anxiety.’ They don’t want to have to use the gas range extending engine in the Volt at all, they’re trying to drive all electric. The gas engine is there for emergencies.
GM, which has been collecting information on their drivers, certainly understands this. And the more all-electric range they give their drivers, the happier they will be. For the Volt to be a success, it’ll need to start competing with the 70-80 mile range that other all-electric vehicles enjoy. Otherwise Volt owners who change their driving habits to almost get all-electric driving out of the Volt may question needing the gas engine at all and start eyeing the all-electrics with more range.