General Motors isn’t as confident about its new Volt plug-in hybrid as it was when the original concept was first released. Since then there have been delays in the development of lithium-ion battery technology, problems with pricing, and more recently issues with the development of next-gen electrical systems. Not surprisingly, officials have downgraded original production estimates from 60,000 units per year back in August 2007 to just 10,000 units per year according to recent comments from GM product Czar Bob Lutz.

Speaking with Canada’s Globe and Mail, Lutz said Volt production will only be about 10,000 units in the first year, “just to make sure we're prepared for any issues that might come up.” Once the technology is accepted and any bugs are ironed out, officials will be able to ramp up production to the earlier 60,000 unit estimates.

This ties in with earlier reports that claimed the first run on Volt models will have to rely on outdated electronic systems because there’s not enough time to engineer new ones. The older systems will be eliminated later, probably in the second or third year of the Volt’s production.

We’ve heard a lot about the troubles GM has suffered to bring its Volt to market but these initial issues may cause the Volt to be a flop - at least until a second generation model is released that addresses some of the issues with the original. Toyota, too, has encountered problems with the development of lithium-ion batteries and was forced to delay the launch of its rival model.