DETROIT – General Motors will reconfigure the plant that makes the Chevrolet Volt to expand production to up to 60,000 electric cars a year.
The Detroit-area factory, which will be shut next month, now can produce about 16,000 a year.
GM said the electric car will be in short supply for the next three months because of the four-week shutdown that begins in June. But by moving in new machinery and overhead conveyors, the company will be able to boost the plant’s output of the Volt and its European counterpart, the Opel Ampera.
“We will be better able to meet the tremendous consumer demand,” Cristi Landy, the Volt’s marketing director, said in a statement Wednesday.
The Volt can run on battery power for about 35 miles before a gas-powered motor kicks in to generate electricity. It can be recharged through a home electrical outlet. The car costs just over $40,000 but is eligible for a $7,500 tax credit.
The Volt hit the U.S. market late last year and just over 1,700 have been sold through April. The car is now available in nine states and Washington D.C. By the end of this year, Volts will be sold nationwide and in Europe, China and Canada.
The Volt factory straddles the border between Detroit and the small town of Hamtramck.
The company has dealer orders for all the Volts the plant will produce this year, GM spokeswoman Michelle Bunker said Wednesday.
The shutdown also will let GM add equipment to build the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu midsize sedan at the plant starting next year. GM will stop producing two other big cars at the factory, the Cadillac DTS and Buick Lucerne, later this year.