While there are some people who think that the electrification of the car will take place approximately around the same time that this happens*
there are two data points that seem to indicate that things are moving right along in that direction—electrification, not pork taking wing.
Earlier this week, Think, the Norwegian electric car manufacturer, announced that it is establishing a vehicle manufacturing site in Elkhart, Indiana. This represents a $43.5-million investment. The plant, which is scheduled to start production in early 2011, will have a production capacity of 20,000 vehicles per year. While that’s not a huge number, it may be worth noting that Porsche sold 19,696 vehicles in the U.S. in 2009, according to Autodata. (Interestingly enough, Finnish company Valmet Automotive builds the Porsche Boxster and the Porsche Cayman—and the THINK City.)
Today GM is opening its lithium-ion battery pack manufacturing facility in Brownstown Twsp., Michigan. The battery packs will be used to provide power for the Chevy Volt.
At full production, the plant will produce 70,000 cells per day. There are some 220 cells per battery pack, which means at full production that’s good for about 318 Volts per day.
Again, that’s not a huge number (e.g., if they produced 318 cars per day, five days per week, that would be 1,590 cars, and they could end up producing 76,000 cars per year. In calendar year 2008, which was better than ’09, Volvo, again according to Autodata, sold 73,102—that’s the entire brand, not a model).
But we’re on our way.
*Those interested in flying pigs may find this to be of interest.