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.
The European version of the Chevrolet Volt will be built in USA under the Opel and Vauxhall logos and will go on sale in 2012.
The Opel electric vehicle essentially will be the Volt with different styling, says a source familiar with GM’s plans. The electric Volt will be built at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant. It has a target date of late 2010 to launch the gasoline-electric vehicle in North America.
"The first generation of E-Flex models is based on GM’s compact class," Forster said. Yet these cars won’t be especially affordable, he said: "Customers will have to adjust to a substantial surcharge."
The price could be "up to 10,000 euros more than a comparable model with a conventional powertrain." That’s about $15,738 at current exchange rates.
GM already announced that the production version of the Volt electric car will be revealed in 2010. Until then, a showroom-ready model of the heavily touted electric car in will be presented in September.
But if you want to see the Volt in action you will have the chance in the the action movie "Transformers 2," scheduled for release next summer. Volt will be the second Chevrolet model to be featured in the movie.
GM is designing the Volt to run for 40 miles on a lithium-ion battery pack that can be recharged at a standard electric outlet. The Volt will also capture energy from braking, like a traditional hybrid, and feature an on-board engine that will be used to send power to the battery on longer trips.
Even if the Chevrolet Volt is supposed to have a price of $40.000, GM hopes to sell around 70,000 units in its first two years of life: 10,000 plug-in electric Chevrolet Volts in 2011, the vehicle’s first full year of production, and 60,000 the following year.
Chairman Bob Lutz told the Free Press this is the goals "notional targets" and said the ramp-up may be a bit slower, with production volume expected to increase over the course of the first year to ensure that all vehicles built are safe and high quality.
While 70,000 in the first two years of production is the goal, he said, "the actual number is highly dependent on electrical component supplier capability and battery experience."
Lutz also confirmed that GM is still aiming to have the range-extended electric vehicle ready for sale by November 2010.
GM seems to be at big risk regarding the reveal of the Chevy
Volt . But representatives of the company are very confident and declare that the new model will work on time and as promised in terms of high quality and technology. Beyond this great confidence though there are big problems with getting the Volt technology up-to-speed within its timeframes.
Another serious difficulty is with the lithium-ion battery pack.
There are two companies fighting to win the contract and it seems that LG is in advantage as they have the 3rd-gen ready to go. And the list of problems doesn’t stop here as they still have hurdle with the car’s internal combustion range extender and with the delay in rolling out the lithium-ion batteries. After all of this, if the Volt doesn’t show up on time and as promised, GM will need to retool one of its plants to make humble pies.
GM announced that the Chevrolet Volt has made a giant step toward becoming a reality, design is finalized and a production version will be revealed in the very near future. GM wants to built more than 100,000 units a year after 2010. Volt will be built at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center that now builds full-size luxury sedans.
"We intend to show a production version of the Chevy Volt publicly in the very near future," said Rick Wagoner, GM chairman and CEO, in perhaps the most encouraging news to come out of the GM annual shareholders’ meeting here. "We remain focused on our target of getting the Volt into Chevrolet showrooms by the end of 2010."
Wagoner added: "The Chevy Volt is a go. We believe this is the biggest step yet in our industry’s move away from our historic, virtually complete reliance on petroleum to power vehicles."
As both exterior and interior design are finalized, the next step toward production include validating the car’s lithium-ion batteries and working on "ancillary systems," such as its air-conditioning system and stereo.
As you know the future Volt is expected to have a price close to $40,000 when will go on sale in 2010. That’s pricey compared with rivals such as the Toyota Prius hybrid, but taxpayers may help lower that sticker.
GM is lobbying Congress to create tax credits benefiting "extended-range electric vehicles" such as the plug-in Volt, says GM spokesman Greg Martin. "We need to make sure the legislative language does include extended-range electric vehicles."
The Volt concept is powered by an electric motor running off lithium ion batteries. A small gasoline engine recharges the batteries after the vehicle has traveled 40 miles or so. Owners can recharge the batteries overnight by plugging the car into an electrical outlet.
Bob Lutz officially announced that the first Chevrolet Volt prototype with the full lithium-ion battery pack has hit the test track. He said “It is reliably meeting its objectives. Even with a rough calibration, even with the wrong drive unit, the wrong body, etc. etc., it has been hitting its 40 miles on electric power.”
He also confirmed that the dynamometer tests have been successful even under various thermal conditions. Lutz said the Volt’s powertrain, comprised of an advanced lithium-ion battery and a small gasoline engine, was installed into a mule vehicle and is being driven on public roads around the automaker’s proving grounds in Milford, Michigan.
Lutz said he s pretty confident the car will debut in November 2010. "Three months ago if you asked Frank Weber ’November 2010?’ he’d get flustered and say he wouldn’t answer until he knew more," said Lutz. "Now if you ask him the same question, he’s calm and relaxed and says unless we encounter some completely unforeseen obstacle - November 2010 looks good."
Over 20,000 people have expressed interest in buying a Chevy Volt when it arrives by signing up on GMVolt’s virtual waiting list. It still isn’t clear how much the Volt will cost, although most estimates put it around $35,000. Also not clear is how many Volts will be produced in the first model year, estimates put that at at least 10,000.
There are about 4000 Chevy dealerships, so if only 10,000 cars should be made, how will they be distributed? GM vice-chair Bob Lutz has mentioned the possibility of early distribution to “smile states” such as California, New York, Washington D.C., and Florida, but also indicates that final plans haven’t been made yet.
GM Volt will be powered by a 160-hp electric motor that will allow it run on electricity for up to 40 miles. Recently Bob Lutz was reported saying that the price of the Chevrolet Volt could reach about $48,000. Lutz said that $40,00 would be possible only if GM doesn’t make a dime on the car.