General Motors today said that it would up the production of the Chevy Volt in 2012 from 30,000 cars to 45,000.
The announcement came as President Barack Obama was touring GM's Detroit-Hamtramck facility, where the Volt will be produced.
The nation will be electric-car crazy over the next few years. Later this year, Nissan will release the all-electric Leaf, Fisker Automotive will come out with its plug-in hybrid Karma and GM will release the Volt. Ford, Honda, Toyota and others are prepping their versions of the cars, as well. While the production volume of these cars will initially be minuscule compared to the number of gas cars produced, they will get attention -- 17,000 consumers have already lined up to get the Leaf. Informal waiting lists for the Volt are longer.
GM will only produce 10,000 Volts through 2011, far less than the anticipated 50,000 Leafs. The 2012 expansion, however, indicates that GM is loosening on its conservative outlook. The Volt will cost $41,000 before $7,500 federal tax incentives and any state tax incentives, which is a little higher than earlier anticipated. Currently, the Volt will not qualify for California's $5,000 incentive, but the car isn't here yet and the state's Air Resources Board is a big proponent of cars that reduce gas consumption, so who knows what will happen. The Leaf costs almost $33,000 before incentives. Thus, getting the state tax credit will be important for GM.
Not everyone likes the trend. Former New York resident and Oxycontin aficionado Rush Limbaugh criticized the car in a recent broadcast.
In other electric car news, expect to see quite a bit of merger activity and consolidation in the charging business.