GM makes headlines if not profits

Chevy Volt. Courtesy: General Motors and U.S. Taxpayers.
Written by Harry Fuller, Contributor

Chevy Volt. Courtesy: General Motors and U.S. Taxpayers.

General Motors may not be making a lot of money right now, but they are making headlines. The Detroit Auto Show is in the throes of "press days" and today's announcements about the Chevy Volt (due to arrive late next year) are fascinating.

The Volt's lithium-ion battery cells will come from LG in South Korea. The parts will then be assembled in Michigan. Center of the American auto industry but this will be the state's first lithium-ion battery plant. One U.S. firm, partnered with GM, is seekking nearly $2-billion in federal loans to help the U.S. get back into the battery pack. That would be A123 of Massachussetts. GM also said they will build a battery research center in Michigan, that already has federal money behind it as GM, got one bail-out and today said it may soon take the next tranche of $4.7 billion. A taxpayer, I await my thank you letter from GM.

All this is very relevant to the future of American auto industry and battery tech. The U.S. does considerable research on batteries, but little manufacturing happens here. This may be changing.

Lest we get positively positive about electric cars one GM exec today pointed out that sales of small cars have disintegrated now that gasoline prices are half what they were last summer. We fickle consumers! We may yet see Detroit auto-makers asking the federal government to give tax credits to consumers who buy little cars.

One GM exec opines that the ultimate fuel-efficient cars in America will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells, not any of the current auto drive systems.


Struggling Chrysler also announced a concept electric sedan, the 220c EV. Chrysler said it'll have an electric car for sale next year as well. If there is a Chrysler next year.

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