Following the news of the massive price drop for the Nissan Leaf, hearing GM North America President Mark Reuss tell the media that GM will take out "thousands of dollars" from the next-generation Chevrolet Volt isn't exactly a surprise. In fact, we've known for a long time that plug-in cars will get cheaper and cheaper as the technology evolved. It's just nice to hear a GM bigwig sing it loudly for the press.
Speaking at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit this week, Reuss said that the reduced costs will be the result of better battery pack design and better electric motors. This will help the next Volt, obviously, but Reuss went further and said, "We will see the day when we have an affordable electric car that offers 300 miles of range with all the comfort and utility of a conventional vehicle."
The Volt sold a total of 23,461 units in 2012, despite taking a political shellacking during the presidential campaign (and before). Reuss said the plug-in hybrid is "going to sell even more, and the next generation will be even better." We don't know yet exactly what it's going to look like, but we have heard it will be "a little more monochromatic, a little more road-hugging."
GM's plug-in vehicle strategy includes not only updating the Volt but also the all-electric Chevy Spark and the just-revealed (in production form) Cadillac ELR. All told, GM is getting ready to sell 500,000 electrified vehicles by 2017, but that number includes non-plug-in vehicles like those with eAssist. If prices keep dropping the way Reuss implies, 500,000 shouldn't be too high a hurdle.