GM cancels electric version of Opel Adam minicar
Chalk up another setback for electric vehicles, this time in Europe.
General Motors has stopped development of a planned electric version of the new Opel/Vauxhall Adam minicar, citing high costs.
The project had progressed to the development of a prototype using the technology from the electric Chevrolet Spark coming next year.
"It was a business decision," said Dieter Metz, Opel's chief engineer for the Adam.
"We could not charge the customer the price needed to make it work on the cost side."
Alfred Rieck, Opel's sales and marketing chief, said EV sales are slow because customers are unwilling to pay higher prices for EV technology.
"If you look at the technology that's available on the market today, it's very expensive," he said. "You end up with a certain price of the car and consumers are not interested in it."
Only increased sales would drive down EV prices, he said.
Metz's comments confirmed a report by Automotive News Europe, a sibling publication of Automotive News, that the project would be canceled. Company documents seen by the newspaper at the time said an electric version of the Adam would require "excessively high" additional investments.
Opel sells the Ampera plug-in hybrid, a sibling model of the Chevrolet Volt. The cars are powered by an electric motor and battery pack backed up by a gasoline engine that extends driving range and recharges the battery.
Chevrolet plans to launch the Spark EV in the United States and other unspecified global markets starting in 2013.
Opel plans to begin deliveries of the Adam in January. The car will compete with such minicars as the Fiat 500 and Mini.
The Adam will be offered initially with 1.2-liter and 1.4-liter gasoline engines. A version with a 1.0-liter turbocharged engine will go on sale during 2013.
You can reach Nick Gibbs at firstname.lastname@example.org.