"Pretty smooth," President Obama said as he stepped out of a Chevy Volt to resume his tour of the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant on Friday. The president took a of test drive of about 40 feet, according to a GM news release.
President Obama's visit corresponds with GM's announcement that the plant will receive $336 million in new investment to prepare it to produce the Volt electric vehicle. The money is part of more than $700 million that GM has invested in eight Michigan facilities since 2008 to support the Volt's production.
According to GM, the Volt's 340-mile range has piqued the interest of the public, and even President Obama. To meet the Volt's expected demand, GM will increase its electric car production capacity in the United States by 50 percent--from 30,000 units to 45,000 units--in 2012, according to the company.
The company last week announced the Volt's price will start at $41,000.
"The Chevrolet Volt provides drivers with the latest technology, outstanding innovation, and something no other electric vehicle can provide--peace of mind," said Edward E. Whitacre, Jr., GM chairman and CEO. "We are very proud to host the President of the United States at this plant, where the future of the American automobile industry is being built today by the men and women of General Motors."
GM's latest investment in Michigan includes a 33,000 square-foot battery systems lab in Warren; a battery assembly facility in Brownstown Township; and supporting engine and stamping operations in Grand Blanc, Bay City, and three plants in Flint.