GM is trying to lower expectations that their much-anticipated plug-in electric car, the Volt, will reach consumers soon.
A prototype was unveiled at an automotive show in January, but the real deal depends on a breakthrough in battery technology that may take years to achieve, despite the infusion of millions of dollars in federal research funding.
Critics say that GM overhyped the Volt, creating more skepticism about electric cars. Ford also took a PR drubbing when it recently backed out of a promise to build 250,000 plug-in hybrids by 2010, according to the Detroit News.
Environmentalists hope a commercially viable battery-powered car, capable of traveling 40 miles before recharging, will take the edge off rising corn prices as demand for ethanol spikes across the country.
But other eco-minded experts say a plug-in car could, ironically, fuel demand for coal-burning power plants.
"GM tries to unplug Volt hype"
Detroit News, March 23, 2007
"Spartan cars could ease ethanol's corn price boost"
Reuters, March 21, 2007