2011 Chevrolet Volt Production Show Car

General Motors is moving ahead with plans to build a plug in hybrid and have it to market as early as 2011.

Bob Lutz, GM’s vice chairman made the announcement this week at the Detroit Auto show suggesting the model may be a GMC Terrain or Chevrolet Equinox.

Throughout this years show, automakers are expressing optimism in electric vehicle.

Ford Motor Company said this week they will add 1,000 jobs and invest 450 million to build a plug-in and all-electric Ford Focus at its Michigan Assembly plant in Wayne by 2012. The automaker received $188 million in state tax credits for the project.

Hybrids accounted for only 3 percent of U.S. auto sales in 2009.

“Despite everything you read in the press and see on television, there’s only 5 percent of the people that are really interested in hybrids, or who are interested in paying a lot of extra money to have better fuel consumption” said Lutz. “It’s an important 5 percent, but it’s still only 5 percent.

GM still plans to launch its extended-range Chevrolet Volt, which can travel up to 40 miles on electric power in November.

Lutz noted that the Volt and other electric vehicles require mild weather for full range. On a cold day, “you are going to see 28 or 30 miles” of range. “Drivers will have to consult a temperature versus distance chart before you drive or you are going to be stuck” he said.

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