GM Triples Volt Production Capacity, Nissan to Make Leaf in U.S.

GM now has triple the manufacturing capacity on Volts. Will consumers buy them?

GM now has tripled the manufacturing capacity on Volts. Will consumers buy them? (image by inhabitat.com)

While Nissan is currently in the lead in sales of electric cars in the United States with its Leaf model selling nearly a thousand more than Chevrolet’s Volt thus far in what looks to be an extremely niche market. Total sales of Nissan’s Leaf are 3,875 through June 2011, while Chevrolet has moved just 2,745 Volt units.

The low sales numbers are blamed on production problems, rather than issues with consumer demand. Nissan had numerous production delays due to the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan. GM says its production issues stemmed from extensive retooling at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant that produces the Volt.

GM’s retooling is now complete, and the plant can deliver three times the capacity as it could before. They expect to produce 45,000 Volts annually at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant.

Nissan’s approach is to move Leaf production to the United States, which expects to have in place by 2013. The electric motors will be produced at Nissan’s Decherd, Tennessee power train plant that currently makes engines and other parts for a number of Nissan models.

Those electric motors will be placed into Leaf models produced at the company’s Smyrna, Tennessee assembly plant, where final assembly of the cars will take place. Nissan says the lithium-ion batteries for the Leaf will also be produced in Smyrna, Tennessee.

While electric cars produce zero emissions, they’ve yet to catch on with consumers. Most insurers are still waiting to see how pricing will shake out, but in general, the trend has been that electric cars have proven cheaper to insure than their internal combustion engine counterparts, despite the lower consumer demand for electric and hybrid cars.


About Cecil Helton

Cecil Helton Cecil Helton is a U.S.-based writer and editor with passions for cars, motorcycles, boats, technology and social media. Much of his professional life since 1996 has been web-centric, and he’s written and developed content on a variety of subjects. His work in the houseboat industry received wide acclaim, such as winning the 1999 Cisco Systems Growing with Technology award and being named one of five finalists in the manufacturing sector of the 2000 Computerworld-Smithsonian Awards. As an Air Force brat, he spent much of his childhood in a two-year cycle of moving to a new place, making new friends, establishing a life, and then moving again. Destinations included: Kentucky, Illinois, Texas, the Greek isle of Crete, California and Ohio. Today you’ll find Cecil coping with his 15 year old son’s decision to pursue a motorcycle license at the same time he gets his driver’s license, being active across the web on multiple social media sites, and of course, writing articles and creating content on automotive and car insurance related topics right here at CarInsurance.org.


Facebook Comments