May 11, 2011

Guest Post: Fun Factors Into Volt Purchase

By Mike Robinson, vice president, sustainability & global regulatory affairs, GM

“Fun to drive.”

For a vehicle we’ve billed as being at the top of electric ingenuity, it’s the drivability that continues to impress our customers.

In the word cloud above, you can see exactly what our customers are telling us. The bigger the word, the greater the frequency.

What really raised our eyebrows is “green” and “electric” are minimal in comparison. Even among the technically oriented, early-adopter crowd, what’s resonating is a product with personality.

This reinforces the point I’m making at a couple environmental events this week hosted by Ceres and Commonwealth Club: You have to put people in a vehicle that not only satisfies the energy issues, but provides a positive, fun driving experience. People want to love their car and not feel like they’re sacrificing anything to drive it.

In this automotive revolution we’re in, a lot of solutions are being explored. But one thing is certain: We must be thoughtful about technology-forcing solutions. Nobody wins if we produce products customers don’t buy. At GM, we’re looking at what customers want and marrying technologies that help them get it.

In the Volt’s case, it’s a practical vehicle because plugs to charge it are everywhere. With a focus on home and work charging, we want our customers to fill up as infrequently as possible. As our very own Rob Peterson says, the only time to visit the gas station should be to buy beef jerky.

Driving behavior is changing and customers are challenging themselves to drive more efficiently to maximize their time in electric mode.

So let’s continue working toward products that give people the driving experience they crave while reducing their petroleum dependence and carbon footprint.

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