The cost of the Chevy Volt might be cut by $7,000 to $10,000, according to recent reports.
I have been following the electrification of vehicles closely since about 2008.
I kept wishing that researchers would develop improved battery technology for electric vehicles, and I’ve seen it happen many times. The development of lithium-ion battery technology really is on a roll. There is now a major discovery multiple times per year.
What has kept bothering me is having to wait for these advancements to make it to commercialization — many of the technologies still have not been commercialized.
But some advancements have crept their way into the commercial products, and simply scaling up of production is helping to reduce costs.
General Motors (GM) CEO Dan Akerson’s wishful thinking once again has me hopeful that the EV industry will make another stride soon (in addition to other developments).
Following previous EV price cuts, Akerson said that he has plans in mind to achieve the $7000–$10000 cost reductions mentioned above, and that the car will be profitable at that point.
The plans include a weight reduction of the 3,700-pound car and a switch to a dedicated platform, rather than the use of the gasoline-powered Cruze platform.
Gasoline-powered car platforms are optimized for gasoline-powered cars, and are not ideal for electric cars.
Electric cars are best when designed from the ground up so that their entire bodies are optimized to achieve the lowest possible cost and the best characteristics of electric cars overall.
For example, gasoline-powered cars use firewalls, gas tanks, and of course gasoline engines, which the car has to be designed around.
Even weight distribution could be improved by designing the car from the ground up, spreading out the batteries more ideally along the floor (just an example of what could be done).
The next generation of the Chevy Volt will be released in 2015 as a 2016 model. So, while the $7000–$10000 cut sounds good, it looks like we still need to wait awhile.