From Paul Scott Chelsea Sexton – Executive Director – Plug In
7 January 2007

Plug In America, known for its advocacy of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), applauds today’s announcement by General Motors to re-enter the race to create non-polluting vehicles with its next-generation electric vehicle, the Chevrolet “Volt”. Technically a serial PHEV, the Volt will have a range of 40-miles per charge, but a total range of 640 miles when supplemented by the small on-board generator. This combination provides the exciting performance and environmental benefits of an electric vehicle, better range than today’s hybrids, all while using a fraction of the gasoline.

GM once led the industry in electric drive technology and zero-pollution vehicles; their decision to discontinue the EV1 program and crush the popular vehicles, and subsequent decision to ignore hybrids in favor of developing fuel cell technology has caused them to fall far behind their Japanese competitors. In particular, Toyota’s halo effect from the Prius has been helping them close the gap on the number one automaker.

“This is the most intriguing move General Motors has made in a decade,” according to Chelsea Sexton, Executive Director of PIA and a former GM EV1 employee whose story is featured in the 2006 documentary, “Who Killed the Electric Car?” “It’s a moonshot, but that’s exactly what GM needs if they’re serious about reinvigorating that company- and it’s a very American value to embrace the underdog.”

It should be noted that as recently as a year ago, no major automaker would publicly acknowledge the current viability of electric drive technology; today, GM is expected to be joined in its PHEV announcement when Toyota and Ford unveil their own PHEVs. “To move an industry is the ultimate example of what can be accomplished on a grassroots level” said Sexton. “This is what’s possible when consumers ask for what they want, and refuse to settle for less.” GM’s announcement did not confirm a date when we can see these vehicles in the showroom, and in order to get the Volt from concept to showroom, consumers must keep asking. As Sexton noted from Detroit, “Ultimately, we’re going to judge all of the automakers not on what they say, but what they do.”

Plug In America advocates the use of plug-in cars, trucks and SUVs powered by cleaner, cheaper, domestic electricity to reduce our nation’s dependence on petroleum and improve the global environment.