In general, there has been disappointment with regards to electric vehicle sales during 2012 - although many believe that 2013 will be a better year. However, despite the fact that sales have been less than expected, it seems that General Motors is now looking towards South Korea to create its next-generation electric vehicles.
The company has announced plans to invest a significant amount of money into its South Korean operation, with the intention of bringing out a new style of electric car with extended journey capacity.
What has encouraged General Motors to invest in South Korea?
There are many reasons why General Motors is looking towards South Korea, one obviously being the potentially high return on investment, although the success of the Chevrolet Spark is thought to be a major consideration. The Chevrolet Spark is currently produced in General Motors South Korean plant with a large part of the Chevrolet range also emanating from the region. So it makes perfect sense for General Motors to invest more money in this particularly successful operation and look to introduce its next-generation electric vehicle.
There is intense speculation about what exactly General Motors means when it talks of "next-generation electric vehicles" but the company has already confirmed there will be a fresh design for the award-winning Chevrolet Spark. When you also take into account developments in electric car technology, we can expect extended journey capacity, more inboard services and a greater overall efficiency going forward. The fact that the Chevrolet Spark and the Chevrolet Volt have been so well received by the wider motoring public has not gone unnoticed.
Is Asia set to be the centre of the electric vehicle industry?
While the U.S. and UK governments continue to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into the electric car industry, it seems that we are in many ways reverting to type with confirmation that General Motors will increase its investment in South Korea. For many years the car industry was based in the Far East, where historically wages and base costs were relatively low compared to their Western world counterparts. While this competitive edge disappeared, as economies in China, etc., began to grow it seems that Asia is still miles ahead of the Western world with regards to technological progression in the electric car market.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "The success of the Chevrolet Volt and the Chevrolet Spark seems to have enthused General Motors which is now looking to expand its South Korean operations. The company is already talking of "next-generation electric vehicles" and we await with anticipation exactly what the company intends to do."
This was recently emphasised by the Chinese government’s public intention to increase the take-up of electric vehicles across the country, taking in both the public sector and private sector, and also invest in overseas operations. This could well be the push which the electric vehicle industry requires to move to the next level and hopefully it will become more visible to the private motorist.
Is this really the time for electric vehicles?
While some of the sales figures associated with electric vehicles have been disappointing, we must appreciate that the worldwide economy is struggling. If the industry is able to hold its head above water in these very difficult economic times, how would it perform in a more stable environment?
We have seen a number of false dawns for the electric car industry and we have seen companies come and go but this time we have seen companies investing money, governments investing money and indeed private motorists seem more willing than ever before to try these new vehicles. Nothing is ever certain in the electric car industry but this is perhaps the best opportunity to break into the mass market.