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General Motors (NYSE:GM) has targeted manufacturing up to 36,000 Chevrolet Volts this year — a 20 percent increase in production from 2012 — as plug-in hybrid technology catches on and becomes more and more affordable and mainstream.
The Volt can run on electric power for 38 miles or so before an internal combustion engine kicks in to recharge the batteries. Though the system is more efficient, GM has struggled to compete against other high-efficiency vehicles, such as the hybrid Toyota (NYSE:TM) Prius. That’s not a surprise. With prices starting at $39,145, the four-seat Volt is substantially more expensive than the Prius, whose base model runs at a not-so-lofty $24,200, even when you include the $7,500 federal electric vehicle credit.
GM is planning to build 1,500 to 3,000 of the fuel-efficient vehicles a month this year. It sold about 30,000 Volt and similar Opel Ampera cars globally in 2012, said Jim Cain, a company spokesman, who declined to give a target for this year, Bloomberg said.
Chief executive Dan Akerson originally touted the Volt’s gasoline-and-electric system as the technology of the future and forecast global Volt sales of 60,000 in 2012, before settling for half that amount.
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