The Chevy Volt 1.0 was GM’s “moon shot,” as per recent statements made by the company’s chief technology officer, Jon Lauckner.
While there were some difficulties, and sales lower than those hoped for, the company apparently considers the Volt to have been a notable success — with the expectation being that the Volt 2.0 can build on this success.
With the already revealed changes to the Volt’s appearance, and other rumoured changes, it seems clear why executives at the company appear bullish on the Volt’s future — the new Volt 2.0 seems to possess greater mass-market appeal than the 1.0.
The recent comments from Lauckner were made at the Consumer Electronics Show, during an interview with The Detroit News. The exact words were: “It was our version of a moonshot” — made when explaining the push, that Lauckner was a part of, to convince Bob Lutz to develop a range-extended electric vehicle.
GM’s executive chief engineer of electrified vehicles, Pam Fletcher, added to that, stating: “It showed just the innovation prowess of our company and of the creativity, and beyond that, the ability to deliver something, the ability to deliver that innovation and deliver it in a way that’s not a science project. This is a car that’s on the road that carries the same warranty as every other car we’ve ever produced.”
According to Fletcher, there were two main goals back in 2010 when it all began — first, a 40 miles all-electric range, and, second, 300 miles of range in charge-sustaining mode. While the 40 miles all-electric range goal wasn’t quite met, it wasn’t vastly far off either, beginning at a 35 miles AER rating, before improving to a 38 miles AER in 2013, and now possessing an unofficial AER of 40 miles with the 2015 model.
As far as the reasons for considering the Volt 1.0 to be a success, the execs noted that it attracted a lot of first-time GM customers — many of which were in relatively untapped demographic segments. In particular, this included a lot of college-educated customers and those that see an annual income of around $122,000.
Also worth noting is that the Volt appears to have poached many previous Prius owners from Toyota — something that probably any auto company out there can appreciate.
“How do you put value on those 70% conquest customers (customers poached from other manufacturers) and how do we value the customer enthusiasm we have around this car?” As Fletcher put it. “All of that stacks on top of the accounting, finances. The value to the company is tremendous on so many fronts.”
With the “full” unveiling of the Volt 2.0 not that far off now, the tension is building somewhat. I’d admit I’m pretty curious about the what exactly the changes to the design will be. And for that matter, what the range and pricing will be.
Image Credit: Chevrolet
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