Will the Volt be “old” because it’s so common?
GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson is intent on reinventing his company with a cultural revolution that embraces a lean, mean and competitive mindset. Additionally, the company is preparing to spend billions on advanced powertrains over the next few years.
So, how does the Chevy Volt fit into this picture?
According to Akerson the Volt “is a novelty (today), but it won’t be in five years. It’s going to be an old, old technology and old news”.
Obviously, the Volt will be much more common in 5 years than it is today, but can it outsell the Toyota Prius or even more interesting, the Chevy Cruze? For instance, is a big chunk of these billions going to perfect the Volt in such a way that it becomes one of GM’s top selling vehicles in 5 years?
Or, is much of this R&D money going into powertrains different than the Volt’s — technologies that will make the Volt seem like an “old technology”?
“In the next 10 years,” according to Akerson, GM “has to break the code on advanced propulsion and that’s going to be a multifaceted solution.”
For instance, Akerson suggests natural gas engines as another possibility, while claiming that ethanol is a dying technology. Additionally, one can assume advanced gasoline engines, even HCCI engines, and eAssist are also probably part of this “multifaceted” approach. Likewise, Akerson also notes that plug-in hybrids are also forthcoming.
Still, what does Akerson mean when he claims the Volt will be “old news”?
Is it possible that a beyond-the-Volt powertrain is already in the works? Or, again, is the Volt destined to become just as ubiquitous as the Prius and that’s why it’ll be “old news”?
Obviously, hyperbole is often found in CEO statements regarding the future and, perhaps Akerson didn’t choose the right words or expression to sum up his thoughts regarding advanced powertrains and the Volt. Nevertheless, however, it seems clear that GM is not content to rest on its laurels regarding the current state of its powertrain lineup under the Akerson revolution.