GM to discontinue revolutionary green car

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First generation Chevrolet Volt. Image: Chevrolet via AFP Relaxnews

As technology advances, older tech is inevitably discarded as better solutions come along. The Chevrolet Volt might be the first casualty of the push towards electrification of the automobile industry.

A report by AutoForecast Solutions has emerged via the authoritative GM Authority website, which claims production of the Volt will end at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant in 2022, to free up production capacity for more battery-electric cars and crossovers.

What’s surprising is that the Volt is the kind of technology it would appear we need right now, although it hasn’t found favor with buyers in big numbers, as the Volt in North America and Australasia, the Buick Velite 5 in China, or as the Vauxhall and Opel Ampera in Europe and the United Kingdom.

Although the Volt is a plug-in hybrid, the first generation only used the petrol engine part of the system as a generator of electricity for the battery, not to directly drive the wheels. The car could thus be driven without the petrol engine being used as long as the battery wasn’t depleted, and on longer journeys the petrol engine could kick in to extend the range to something similar to a standard petrol car.

The general consensus in America is that Chevy never really effectively explained the technology of its “range extender” to consumers. Then it diluted the technology for the second generation by turning the Volt into a more conventional plug-in hybrid, where the petrol engine can work to power the wheels directly in certain circumstances.

Sales of the Volt jumped by 60 percent in the United States last year with the arrival of this all-new second-generation model, but are down again by 12 percent in 2017 until the end of November. The Volt also faces a further threat from within its own stable as it is now being outsold by the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt EV, launched just a year ago. JB

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