General Motors said it plans to increase U.S. production capacity of the Chevrolet Volt by 50 percent, from 30,000 units to 45,000 units, in 2012.
The automaker cited growing public interest in the Volt, a 340-mile extended range electric vehicle. The July 30 announcement came as President Barack Obama toured the Detroit-Hamtramck facility, where the Volt is being produced now for sale later this year.
Last week, participating Chevrolet dealers in seven launch markets began taking customer orders for the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, following the release of retail and lease pricing. In the past few weeks, more than 25,000 people have joined the Chevrolet Volt enthusiast list.
The Volt offers a total driving range of about 340 miles and is powered by electricity at all times. For up to the first 40 miles, the vehicle drives gas- and tailpipe-emissions-free using electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery. When the Volt's battery runs low, a gas-powered, engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range another 300 miles on a full tank.
The Detroit-Hamtramck plant received $336 million in new investment to prepare for production of the Volt, part of more than $700 million GM has invested in eight Michigan facilities to support Volt production since 2008. This includes a 33,000 square-foot battery systems lab in Warren; a battery assembly facility in Brownstown Township; and supporting engine and stamping operations in Grand Blanc, Bay City, and three plants in Flint.
Besides direct GM jobs, the Volt has helped spur additional supplier employment and investment. Earlier this month, battery cell supplier LG Chem/Compact Power Inc. broke ground on a $300 million, 650,000 square-foot plant in Holland, Mich., to support Volt production, creating 400 jobs.