GM Wants To Build 500,000 Electrified Vehicles A Year By 2017


While President Obama’s goal of getting a million electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road by 2016 may fall well short, some automakers are feeling more bullish for their own prospects on a global sale. In a recent interview, a General Motors executive said that worldwide, GM hopes to sell about 500,000 electrified vehicles annually. But that quote should come with an asterisk.

Rather than focus on out and out hybrid cars, like the Toyota Prius, GM is taking a different course. The General wants to build more plug-in hybrid vehicles, like the Chevy Volt, as well as pure electric cars and traditional cars outfitted with mild hybrid systems. All told, GM believes that of the 9 million-ish cars it sells every year, by 2017 about 500,000 will be electrified in some way.

Indeed, GM is well on its way to that goal. Chevy Volt sales have been steadily gaining momentum, and GM now offers its mild hybrid eAssist system on many Buick models as standard equipment. eAssist is also standard equipment on the new Chevy Malibu Eco. These vehicles will go a long way towards that 500,000 vehicle mark. Keep in mind, that is 500,000 vehicles worldwide, including places like China and Europe, where plug-in car sales are growing month after month.

I am surprised to hear that GM also wants to focus on pure electric cars as well. The upcoming Chevy Spark EV is the only pure electric car on my radar coming from GM, and other efforts across the GM empire to build a pure EV have been cancelled because of rampant costs.

Still, I think with GM hedging its bets, and focusing on the areas it feels strongest, they could easily reach sales of 500,000 electrified cars by 2017. Do you think they’ve got it in them?

Source: Automotive News

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he’s running, because he’s one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • Ten Kuechle

    GM has many good and capable employees.
    They have the potential to accomplish that goal and more.
    The only things holding them back are management and management, in that order.;-)

  • I had to laugh when I read Ten’s comment. I have been a huge fan of the EREV concept right from the start, and the engineers at GM have been phenomenal! They have overdesigned the Volt so that it is bulletproof. And then the management made a couple huge errors that have given the Volt haters sticks to beat it with.
    Pricing the Volt over $40k instead of $1k less and just under $40k was stupid. They made an additional $3,000,000 on a billion dollar start up for the Volt but that $3M cost them hundreds of millions of dollars in bad press when the GM haters smashed the Volt for costing “More than $40,000!”
    Then they decided to throttle back the CS mode by reducing rpm’s to the point where the Genset is nearly inaudible. Nice in theory, but it also reduced the efficiency of the CS mode and reduces the combined mpg from high 40’s to high 30’s. So it went from nearly Prius levels to worse than a Cruze Eco. And then GM’s management decided not to even let it be an option for the Volt owners to access this higher efficiency. Both Weber and Boniface have refered to this decision so it isn’t even something that GM wants to hide, they seem to ok with it.
    Then they decided to ‘match production to demand’ which meant that most dealers didn’t get Volts for the first year and those that did get them were not able to keep more than one demo car on the lot for the first year. GM wants you to buy a $40k but doesn’t want to show you what it looks like.
    Then they finally got up to 2500 cars sold a year, most dealers have a couple Volt demo cars, and GM shut down the plant AGAIN, and dealers began to run out of Volts within a couple weeks, with a week or more before the production was going to restart and shipping delaying getting the new Volts even more.
    So I guess you could say I agree with Ten.

    • Arghhh…. Final para, that should have been, “…got up to 2500 cars sold a month…”