It used to be that what was good for General Motors was good for America.
Although the era of automotive prosperity in the United States may never reach its former glory, Chevrolet has announced big plans for its extended-range electric vehicle, the Volt.
In 2011, the Volt was only available in eight different states and Washington, D.C. Chevrolet recently opened up orders for all 50 states in 2012 and lowered the base price for the Volt by $1,000. The Volt will be on sale next year for $39,995, and buyers may be eligible for a $7,500 tax credit.
The Volt runs on battery power for 35 miles, but then uses a gas-powered engine until it’s recharged. Although this is far less of a charge capacity than the Nissan Leaf – which runs only on battery power for a distance of 100 miles – the Volt may be just what the US needs to jumpstart the auto industry.
Interrupted by a boost in foreign auto sales, the industry in the US has suffered greatly since the ’90′s. This, coupled with the devastating effects of the recession on Detroit, and you have a recipe for an industry that has almost been lost. Numerous factories and plants were shut down in Southeastern Michigan, and the entire area is just beginning to pull out what is known as “the Great Recession”.
The amount of impact that the Chevrolet operations will have on the US auto industry is yet to be seen. Only one thing can be said for sure: the 60,000 Volts expected to be built at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant will definitely provide for a certain level of resurgence in the Detroit area.
2,500 jobs will be added to the plant. In addition to the Cadillacs and Buicks already built there, Chevrolet aspires to build over 100,000 Volts per year in the future and plans have already been made to add the 2013 Chevy Malibu to their production roster.
As well as providing a boost for the Detroit job market and potentially the US auto industry, the Volt is also a step in the right direction towards our freedom from dependence on oil. President Obama is already hip to this trend and recently purchased a whole fleet of the American-made semi-electric vehicles for government operations.
It’s nothing new that many steps must be made in freeing us from our need of oil and avoiding a global meltdown from our currently high level of carbon emissions.
America has been a leader of the auto industry ever since Henry Ford revolutionized the vehicle assembly line and put Detroit City on the map as a veritable force in car production. We have the opportunity to lead the world in the production of electric vehicles as well, and it all starts with one car: the Chevrolet Volt.