Although General Motors posted better than expected overall sales in February, sales of the Chevy Volt are slower than anticipated. The company sold 1,023 Volts during the month but production has far exceeded demand so GM has had to make the difficult to decision to idle the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant from March 19 until April 23. This is bad news for the 1,300 workers employed at the plant.


This announcement comes after a bit of good news for the range-extended electric vehicle including the Volt’s eligibility to use carpool lanes in California and the declaration that the vehicle is no more dangerous than conventional gasoline-powered cars after several Volts reported battery-related fires.


Another thing the Volt has going for it is the rising gas prices. Official EPA fuel efficiency ratings for the vehicle are 40 mpg on the highway and 35 mpg in the city. However, shorter trips can be made in all-electric mode giving the driver a 94 MPG equivalent fuel efficiency rating.


Unfortunately, the Volt’s $40,000 price tag and more fuel efficient and less costly alternatives are likely keeping sales down.