GM exec reveals Volt production plans

Production could climb to as many as 60,000 units in 2012, GM's Doug Parks told The Detroit News at a conference last week.

General Motors plans to produce as many as 60,000 Chevy Volt cars in 2012.

While not an official announcement, Doug Parks, GM's global vehicle line executive, told The Detroit News his company expects to produce 10,000 to 15,000 Volt electric cars in 2011, but that in 2012 GM may ramp up its production of the hybrid-electric car to as much as 60,000 cars.

Chevy Volt
Chevy Volt General Motors

"Starting in '12, we'll be in this max rate of 60,000....We have the ability to increase volume and crank that up, We don't have any firm plans yet but we're flexible," Parks told The Detroit News in off-the-cuff remarks duringthe Business of Plugging In Conference last week.

It would be the second time GM has readjusted its Volt production plan for 2012. The automaker originally said it planned a 30,000 unit production run for 2012, but in July it upped that figure to 45,000 cars.

GM plans to begin production of the Chevy Volt this November, but is still waiting for mileage certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Many are keen to see what the government agency will ultimately mandate as the car's average miles per gallon.

GM initially claimed in August 2009 that the Volt got 230 miles per gallon in city driving. The claim was based on the fact that the Volt, which has an extended-range electric power train, can run for its first 40 miles on electricity alone before needing fuel for power.

The $41,000 car is a unique hybrid. While the Volt's gas-powered combustion engine boosts the car's planetary gearset under certain conditions, it mainly functions as a generator to recharge the car's battery with the battery directly powering the car.

But both the media and public have questioned the legitimacy of GM's 230 mpg claim.

And since then, the EPA announced it's revamping its ratings system for car fuel economy to accommodate the industry's changing technology. Depending on whether the car is all-electric, a plug-in, a hybrid, or gas only, the new car labels will include the addition of an estimated driving range per charge, kilowatt-hour per 100 miles, a miles-per-gallon equivalent, and an ABC-style letter grade for a vehicle's overall fuel efficiency. The label change is scheduled to go into effect in 2012, according to the EPA.

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