General Motors officially turns 100 years old today, and as expected, the production version of the Volt was given its first public showing. GM’s Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner introduced the vehicle, while Vice-Chairman Bob Lutz was given the honor of driving it on stage.
The exterior of the car was faithful to preliminary reports and spy shots. Although the look has changed from the concept, it still carries the same overall effect of the car that GM has been showing since last year. The interior’s mostly white backlight dash does look iPod inspired as first reported. There is no new news about the drivetrain make up of the car that should go 40 miles on a battery charge.
Keep looking at TopSpeed all this week for more details on products and news from GM’s 100th anniversary.
After thousands of spy shots, rumors and speculations, GM has finally revealed the 2011 Volt production version. The official unveiling was held in Detroit and celebrated GM’s 100 anniversary.
The Volt uses electricity to move the wheels at all times and speeds. For trips up to 40 miles, the Volt is powered only by electricity stored in its 16-kWh, lithium-ion battery. When the battery’s energy is depleted, a gasoline/E85-powered engine generator seamlessly provides electricity to power the Volt’s electric drive unit while simultaneously sustaining the charge of the battery. This mode of operation extends the range of the Volt for several hundred additional miles, until the vehicle’s battery can be charged. Unlike a conventional battery-electric vehicle, the Volt eliminates "range anxiety," giving the confidence and peace of mind that the driver will not be stranded by a depleted battery.
The Chevrolet Volt can be plugged either into a standard household 120v outlet or use 240v for charging. The vehicle’s intelligent charging technology enables the Volt’s battery to be charged in less than three hours on a 240v outlet or about eight hours on a 120v outlet. Charge times are reduced if the battery has not been fully depleted. At a cost of about 80 cents per day (10 cents per kWh) for a full charge that will deliver up to 40 miles of electric driving, GM estimates that the Volt will be less expensive to recharge than purchasing a cup of your favorite coffee. Charging the Volt about once daily will consume less electric energy annually than the average home’s refrigerator and freezer units.
According to GM’s preliminary specification, the 2011 Volt’s electric drive unit delivers 150 hp and 273 lbs-ft of torque. It is capable of a top speed of 100 mph.
The embargo has been broken: the first official images of the Volt production version have been revealed on the internet. Stay tuned! More details and images will follow this week and the official unveiling is possible for the next Tuesday.
On September 16th, GM will celebrate its 100th anniversary and the production Volt will be revealed to celebrate the event. "The rumors that a production version of the Volt will show up at the celebrations are true," a GM source told Automotive News Europe. "The car will be a true representation of what the production version looks like and be somewhat different from the concept versions."
Speaking at the London auto show in July, Bob Lutz, GM’s vice chairman of global product development, said, "A production model will be showing this fall, but not at Paris (auto show)." Preproduction models of the Volt will be built next year and full production should begin in 2010. A European version will follow in 2011.
Someone let the cat out of the bag, or more appropriately, let the Volt out of the garage. Spy shots of an uncovered production version of Chevy’s Volt were caught during filming for the upcoming Transformers sequel. These shots should clear up any speculation on how much General Motors needed to change the concept car to gain better aerodynamics. This is also the first time the car has been seen in painted in something other than silver, which may hint at some cool colors that will be offered when the car arrives in 2010.
There is also some really cool video (starts with all the Transformers, but then just the Volt.)
Mazda may just be pulling a trick on General Motors. While GM gets the spotlight and the pressure associated with its new Volt, Mazda may be working on a sneak attack. What makes the Volt unique is that it’s a purely electric car. Whenever the gas engine is needed, it is only used to generate power for the electric motor. Autocar is now reporting that Mazda is working on a similar type of car, using a rotary engine to charge the electric motor. Furthermore, Mazda seems to already be utilizing the technology in a test car that looks like a Mazda 5.
No word yet on what kind of batteries are being used or what kind of body Mazda will use for the new system. This may be where GM has the advantage. Much of the project resources of the Volt are being used to develop long range and lightweight lithium-ion batteries for the car. Also a lot of attention is being used to develop an original body for the car, so that it will have the least amount of wind resistance possible.
General Motors is looking to be bringing the Volt to Europe by late 2011. This is earlier than initially reported. GM needs to spread out as much of the high-cost of development and production of the gas/electric hybrid as possible, so multiple outlets are being considered. Opel is working on its own plug-in hybrid vehicles, and the Volt is expected to join that lineup. But once Opel has a strong electric presence, it is rumored that the Volt will be changed to be sold as a Chevrolet.
Chevrolet is not a name necessarily associated with quality in Europe. Most of the Chevy products there are just know for their inexpensive price because offerings are just re-badged Daewoos. The Corvette is sold over there, but not as a Chevy. Instead the sports car is presented as its own brand sold out of Cadillac dealerships. So if the Volt eventually switches to the Chevrolet name, it may give the company a much-needed image boost.
General Motors is lifting its skirt higher to show off a little more Volt. The latest pictures released today show off a tiny bit more of the gas-electric hybrid than what we saw in the Good Morning America interview earlier this week. This is a good move on GM’s part to keep all the blogs buzzing about the car. After all, this is the Volt’s second entry this week, and all we see is a little more of the body.
The Volt undoubtedly is the make or break car for General Motors. If it is successful with the new sedan, the Volt can put them at the forefront of technology. But if the car fails to live up to the promise of 40 miles on an overnight (around six hours) battery charge, then it may feel a large backlash from the media that has been following the car.
Good Morning America gets a closer look at the new Chevrolet Volt, including a preview of the production car’s looks and the interior design. A lot of rumors have been going around about the Volt and its ambitious timetable, and this report shows that GM’s own people are really feeling the crunch.
GM will have its 100th anniversary celebration in September. To mark the occasion the company will show a employees a near-production version of the Chevrolet Volt. But don’t get to excited they are the only one to see it, and the company will not allow them to use any cameras because of concerns about the competition.
The production model will be different than the concept version that was first unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January 2007; the original wasn’t aerodynamic enough, according to GM.
The 1.4-liter turbo engine that will power the Volt will be built at a new 530,000-square-foot plant in Flint. GM spokeswoman Sharon Basel confirmed the paperwork to build the plant had been filed. The new facility will be built near Flint Engine South and Flint Truck. The Flint City Council will meet on Aug. 25 to consider granting tax incentives for the plant.
The rest of us will have the chance to see a near-production version of the Volt in November at the Los Angeles International Auto Show or the Detroit auto show in January 2009.