Given the recent upswing of environmental crusades, the rebirth of the electric car was sure to make waves, and Chevrolet certainly did just that with the 2011 release of the Volt. Finally there seemed to be an answer to the question as to how city driving could be handled in a more economical and earth-friendly fashion. However, in recent news Chevy has decided to temporarily pause production of the Volt, which has people questioning the reasoning.
The Volt was designed to be a primarily electric car that would operate to a certain extent of the battery power before a generator kicked in to power the car for the remaining period of time. Not designed to be a long distance vehicle, the Volt was made to optimize city driving and provide an alternative to gas-guzzling errand running. With a system that charges when the brakes are applied, in a similar fashion to better known hybrid cars, the Volt looked as though it would be the answer to those for whom hybrid just wasn’t enough.
This electric model, offered by a major manufacturer should have been a big seller. Unfortunately, the Volt has had lackluster sales numbers. There could be a multitude of reasons why they aren’t flying out of the showroom with the same gusto as their hybrid competitors and many differing opinions linger in the air. No matter the reason, Chevy is headed back to the drawing board in hopes of releasing a better, stronger, and more desirable Volt.
People have begun speculating that one of the reasons for the decline in sales and never all that impressive numbers is because gas prices have come down quite a bit across the country. This has contributed to gas efficiency becoming less of an issue with drivers over the past year. As it no longer costs fifty dollars to fill a compact car’s tank, people feel as though they’ve reduced their dependence on fuel simply by not filling up as often. Whether or not this is true, it begs the question as to whether or not any remodel Chevy offers will have the same showings.
Another opinion regarding the pause in production is that it has taken far too long to produce another generation of the Volt. Owners have been holding steady with the first generation since 2011, despite promises of a new model coming soon. It is not uncommon for new models to feature a long wait in between releases of generations, but four to five years could be considered excessive by most drivers. Chevy announced a new Volt model for 2016, and some say that is why sales are lacking for the first part of this year. However, no one is sure what this hiatus may mean for the future release.
Price point of the Volt could also be part of the reason for the slacking sales. The Volt is priced quite a bit above even the Traverse, which is understandable given the amount of technology that goes into the production of this particular vehicle. The unfortunate fact is that the price point makes it somewhat inaccessible to the majority of drivers, especially considering that a hybrid has a lower price tag and more longevity per drive.
The unfortunate thing about the Volt is that a lot of people don’t really understand how it works. A great deal of drivers are apprehensive about driving a car around town that relies largely on a charge, and doesn’t have a huge amount of mileage promised per charge. Safety concerns crop up when drivers consider the idea that the car may leave them by the roadside if the charge were to run out. Whether or not this is accurate, perception can be a nasty thing and until offered hard research, people will believe what they want to.
While the electric car could promise a great deal of alleviation from our dependence on fossil fuels and allow for a much more economical solution should the gas prices rise again, a lack of knowledge can cause a widespread panic. The Volt is designed by a major automaker and road-tested to ensure safety and quality, but doubts are often more powerful. Should this hiatus be used as an opportunity for Chevrolet to fully exploit the benefits of the Volt, sales may pick up.