Are Friends Electric? GM v Volvo

Volvo V60 Plug-in HybridPandering to fear that the relationship between oil-producing countries in the Middle East and the United States is irreconcilable, General Motors have announced they will, by 2017, have almost half a million cars on the worlds roads that are powered in some way by electricity.

Speaking at the company’s ‘Electrification Experience’ General Motors have told an audience of employees that they believe the future of personal transportation will, to some extent, include an electric element, particularly for those looking to use their Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Opel or Vauxhall to commute to work. The world’s largest automotive manufacturer employ over 200,000 people in over 150 countries and sell almost 3,000,000 cars every year – that’s a lot of commuting.

A GM suit has confirmed that plug-in based solutions will play a growing role in the company’s growth, pointing to 2010’s Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle their statement of intent. GM claims it will sell 50,000 electrified vehicles in 2012. In 2013, the electric propulsion featured in the Volt will be placed inside the company’s new Cadillac ELR and sold in the United States and Korea. In 2014, the Chevrolet Impala will appear as a new semi-electric model.

However, peer behind GM’s headlines and truth is a little less electrifying.

While most hybrids use an electric motor powerful enough to power a vehicle independently, GM’s ‘eAssist’ simply helps a standard petrol engine without actually taking over duties itself. This lack of commitment has caused General Motors to experience some bad press. GM’s Buick Lacrosse and Buick Regal both drew criticism for their ‘mild hybrid’ set-up, while Fortune Magazine named the Chevy Malibu Echo, also housing e-Assist, as the most disliked vehicle of 2012.

Perhaps GM should take a leaf Volvo’s book (which is probably printed on recycled paper).

Volvo has increased plans for production of the first diesel hybrid. The V60 Plug-in Hybrid will emerge in the early part of next year and will increase from 1,000 to around 5,000 units from 2013 to 2014. Instead of lip service, Volvo have created vehicle that can that can travel over 30 miles on electric power only. The Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid is a product of a relationship between Volvo Swedish electricity company Vattenfall.

Which do you think is best? A big company doing a little or a little company doing a lot?

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