Can the second-generation Chevrolet Volt juice sales?


General Motors’ [fortune-stock symbol=”GM”] Chevrolet Volt has been a tough sell since going on sale in 2010, making it a trying, exasperating project for the automaker, which probably expected too much success too soon.

Consumer demand in the U.S. for the gasoline-saving Volt could remain problematic in the short term if energy prices keep moderating. Longer-term, GM and all automakers are convinced they must develop expertise and keep investing in alternative-fuel technology vehicles, including hybrids, diesels, electrics and hydrogen-powered fuel cells.

GM this week revealed more details about the second-generation of its “extended-range electric” vehicle, a prototype of which will be displayed in January at the North American International Auto Show. GM officials, however, are avoiding sales projections, having been embarrassed by excessive optimism in the past.

“The Chevrolet Volt—and other EVs and plug-ins as well as regular hybrids—are going to have a tough road in the U.S. if low…

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