GM to Launch Electric Car

GM looks to cash in on the oil crisis.

General Motors Corp says its all-electric Chevrolet Volt is on track for a launch in 2010 after the company’s board approved funding for production of the high-profile plug-in vehicle.

“The Chevy Volt is a go,” GM Chief Executive Rick Wagoner told reporters ahead of the company’s annual meeting with shareholders in Wilmington, Delaware.

“What we’re saying with this approval is that the GM management and board believe the technical goals of the Volt are not only achievable, but achievable generally within the time frame we previously outlined,” Wagoner said.

The announcement on Tuesday represents the most detailed road map toward bringing the highly anticipated car to the market by the end of 2010, an ambitious timetable challenged by some of GM’s rivals.

Great, electric is the way to go. People can always hire a petrol car for long trips.

Unlike gas-electric hybrids such as the Prius, which run on a system that twins battery power and a combustion engine, the Volt will be powered entirely by an electric motor and have a battery that can be charged through an ordinary power socket. The Volt’s on-board engine will be used only to power the battery on longer trips, GM has said.

So, it’s really a plug-in hybrid.

What I’m waiting for is a car company that makes a plug-in hybrid where you can slot out the petrol engine, so you don’t have to lug a ton of steel around your daily commute, but can still utilize it for long trips.

Of course, if we all went to this technology, we’d have to build more power plants, and that’s not happening. Better to build a coal plant though, than to have millions of cars on the road – with a single plant it’s a lot more efficient to clean what comes out the exhaust.

But coming back to the car, if oil prices are still the same in 2010 (which I doubt) these things are going to sell like hot cakes.

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