Here’s news that I’m sure will leave you shocked – the Government Motors’ “green” car, the Chevy Volt, did not reach sales targets. Gee, I can’t imagine why. Maybe if they came with industrial sized fire extinguishers they’d be more popular.
The company reported today that it sold 7,671 Chevy Volts in 2011, fewer than the 10,000 it had expected to sell. There were more than 1,500 Volts sold in December, the best month since thecar was launched in late 2010.
Sales of the Volt have been closely watched as a barometer both for uptake of electric vehicles and GM’s financial health.
Buyers receive a $7,500 federal tax credit for buying an electric car with a battery as large or larger than the Chevy Volt battery. But because of the cost of large batteries, electric cars still have a significantly higher price tag than conventional cars. The Volt price starts at $39,145, the Nissan Leaf starts at about $35,000, and Ford’s Focus Electric costs just under $40,000. The full $7,500 tax credit is available for each. (Read More)
So nice to know our tax dollars are being put to good use.
Update: The Volt has been named the third biggest flop of 2011.
GM (GM) was originally so excited about the Volt that the company had announced in January it was speeding up its roll-out by six months. But by November the excitement had fizzled out. Larry Nitz, GM’s executive director for vehicle electrification told Reuters, “It’s naive to think that the world is going to switch tomorrow to EVs [electric vehicles].” Indeed, sales for the vehicle have been consistently low. Only 125 models were sold in July 2011. This was after GM spokeswoman Michelle Bunker was quoted as saying that the Volt was “virtually sold out” due to its popularity — a statement later shown to be misguided. Adding insult to injury, Chevy Volts are under investigation for fires involving the cars’ lithium-ion batteries. For concerned Volt owners, GM has offered free loaner cars.
I’d say the $250K per car invested by the taxpayers could have been better spent. Or not spent at all, for that matter.