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2013-01-18 09:04

NOT DYING, JUST EVOLVING: General Motors said they are not giving up on electric cars and that its only a matter of time before electric cars, such as the Chevrolet Volt, progress to the point that they rival conventional vehicles.

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DETROIT, Michigan - According to the Detroit News, in 2011, General Motors sold fewer than 7700 Chevrolet Volts, well below its target of 10 000.

It then abandoned goals to sell 45 000 models in 2012 and was forced to pause production at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant on several occasions to reduce supply.

Despite setbacks, the US automaker says it isn't giving up on electric vehicles.

'WE COULDN'T BE HAPPIER'

General Motors North America chief Mark Reuss said: "The electric car is not dead."

According to Reuss sales of the Volt increased in 2012 and tripled to more than 23 000. At the 2013 North American International Auto Show, GM unveiled its new plug-in hybrid Cadillac ELR, a Volt luxury variant that GM will build by the end of 2013 at its Hamtramck Assembly plant.

Reuss said: "We couldn't be happier with the Volt."

NEXT-GENERATION VOLT

He also touted the next-generation Volt and said it "will be even better." In 2012, GM vice chairman Steve Girsky said the company needed another six months to see whether the Volt would succeed.

GM famously pulled the plug on its EV1, the first mass-produced electric car, built from 1996-99. That vehicle prompted the documentary film "Who Killed the Electric Car?"

Reuss said: "We'll get there. We will see the day when we have an affordable electric car that offers 482km of range with all the comfort and utility of a conventional vehicle. We're talking about a transformation here and transformation takes time."

Reuss noted that some US states have pulled back on incentives. Los Angeles eliminated free parking for electric cars and to make up for lost petrol taxes, Washington instituted a R900 registration fee for electric cars to help pay for road repairs.

Reuss said: "When they think they're missing out on lost fees and revenues from one place, they find 'em in another place. It takes a long time to change an industry, to change habits, and to change a way of life.

"The rest of them will come around when technology advances electric vehicles to the point where they offer comparable performance at comparable prices," he said.

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