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It appears as if everyones favorite series-hybrid may make it into production as early as 2010. This news comes courtesy of General Motors Larry Burns, GM's vice president for research and development and Jim Queen, group vice president of global engineering. It is no secret that the Volt was a huge hit for GM at the Detroit Auto Show this year, and as our own statistics show, it was a hit with consumers who research their vehicles on the internet as well. Another positive point for the Volt's production possibilities is that Bob Lutz is behind the project, and as "the man" in charge of global product development, as he wishes, GM does.

Last week, Burns said that the next-gen Delta platform would underpin the Volt. Because this same platform is expected under the next-generation of the Chevy Cobalt, the same plant in Lordstown, Ohio might get the nod to produce the Volt as well. Although the vehicle is expected to be produced in America, it is also hoped by GM that the Volt could be sold in other parts of the world, and the platform can accept other methods to charge the batteries, such as a diesel engine in Europe.

According to this article on Automotive News (subscription required), GM has decided to go ahead with the development of both the original Volt concept with its internal combustion engine powering a generator which is capable of charging the on-board lithium ion batteries as well as the more recent fuel cell platform which uses an on-board hydrogen fuel-cell to provide a range-extending charge to said batteries. Speaking of which, the batteries are currently the largest stumbling block to seeing the Volt in your local Chevy dealer's lot. Assuming that suppliers can get the high-tech batteries and their associated systems working in time, it looks like the Volt is "a go"; which is great news indeed. Could the General be seen as the new green automaker, taking the lead from stalwarts such as Honda and Toyota? They could, and the Volt would be an excellent opening salvo in making that possibility a reality.

Update: According to a GM spokesman no plant has yet been selected as the production site for the E-Flex vehicles although planning and development are proceeding full speed ahead. Since Lordstown is the current plant for the Chevy Cobalt, it's obviously in the running but is not a shoe-in.

Click here for our initial coverage of the Volt.



[Source: Automotive News (subscription required)


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  • 29 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Obviously a conspiracy between GM and the oil companies. If I keep repeating that does it become true?
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'd say big corporations usual fear of innovation, conservativity, managerial blunders and short-term profit motives above all else are standing in the way, not some conspiracy.
      Heck, GM's reps have themselves that killing the EV1 was the wrongest move that they ever did. Rightly so, if they would have put that '98 series hybrid into small fleet production and use and kept on improving upon it, there would probably PLENTY of battery suppliers to choose from now.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Make sure you read the comments from the posting of this story on Autoblog.

      http://www.autoblog.com/2007/05/07/gm-refocuses-on-volt-thinks-2010-sales-are-doable/

      You can surely see that there is some amount of weariness regarding the 40 miles on electricity only.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The Tzero is an interesting little car with a "kit-car" appearance, and again, a short range of 50-100 miles depending on your lead foot.
      Er, tZero records claim in excess or 250 miles. You are either misinformed or deliberately spreading misinformation.

      Now, when tZero could do 250 miles in 2003, why cant GM still do 40 in 2007 ?
      • 3 Months Ago
      Joe P-

      Sorry, i wasn't really responding to your comment, just more of a mention on the drain of accessories on all electric vehicles. I'm no expert on it, but the following link discusses it, i'm sure you can find more. not the most convienient way obviously and also much more successful in mild climates. search heat pump

      http://www.pbs.org/newshour/forum/january97/cars_1-21.html

      Obvious electric heating coils would not be an efficient way to heat a car. I was just stating in general that for AC it's a belt driven compressor off the shaft. and correct, heating a normal car is easy as the heat is a waste product and it is simple matter of blowing air over a heater core to warm the cabin. The heat is there whether you use it or not.

      However, I'm sure they've been holding out on the magic HVAC unit as well, though, just to make sure that the vehicles they spent millions developing fails.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Kert:
      I checked the website again, and found that you were correct in their claim of a 300 mile range. I was just about ready to eat crow, when I decided to search to try and determine where I got the mis-information yesterday. I found it at the following link:

      http://www.acpropulsion.com/tzero_pages/tzero_html_home.htm

      As you can see, that info. came from the manufacturer's website also, I just didn't realize that it was most likely "old" info. I gotta apparently learn to dig a little deeper next time before pressing the "post" button. My apologies for the oversight and the abrasive tone of my earlier posts, however I do resent the implication that I'm trying to spread wrong info.--I'm not, I just didn't check all the facts. I was trying to prove a point that battery technology is getting better, but no-one really has the mass-market vehicle yet that seats 4-5 people and still achieves 300 mile plus range easily, and costs in the $20-30,000 range. Tesla is working on its White Star sedan project which is intended to meet most or all of those requirements, but that is still some ways off.

      The T-zero wouldn't be for me, but it is a good step in the right direction. Can we call a truce on that?

      • 8 Years Ago
      That Volt sure looks good and it would be tempting to say I'd buy one but I have a question that I've never seen addressed. I live in Chicago and it gets mighty chilly here in January. How will the heater work? If the engine has to run to provide heat then what's the point? And as long as we're on the subject what about those electric cars everyone brags about. Not everyone lives in southern California. What's the range of an EV-1 in 20 degree weather, with the heater on, the windshield wipers on, the headlights on and even the radio on? I still have more qustions but these are the ones I'm most curious about.
      • 3 Months Ago
      All: The battery technology is there. Just check out A123 racing. The problem is that GM does not own the technology so it will be exspensive. I forsee some car company buying A123 racing.
      • 3 Months Ago
      How do they plan on heating and defrosting a pure electric car?Without useing a heated water engine system?
      I would like to know how to generate enough dc power(or AC power) for a ceramic heater element that puts out enough heat without killing the battery bank.Any solutions please email me at Mylestone@comcast.net I want instant heat also but can't figure out how to beat the excess current draw to create enough heat for heater and defroster.
      Thanks
      Mylestone@comcast.net
      • 3 Months Ago
      Dtroiter. First I'd like to say I read your comments on # 14. I agree with 99% of what you said. Keep it up. Your response to my comments, however didn't answer my question. AC comes from freon, a compressor, a heat exchanger (radiator) and alot of hoses, clamps, etc. You don't need an engine to drive an AC unit. Thats how it works in your home. But heat in your car comes from the coolant. If your engine doesn't run then there's no heat. If you don't have an engine (EV-1) then your only source of heat would be heating coils. Do you have any idea how much electricity THAT would require? So my question is, on a cold snowy night what would be the battery range of a Volt or the range of an EV-1?
      • 8 Years Ago
      the batteries are currently the largest stumbling block to seeing the Volt
      Repeating something often enough does not make it true. Repeat in a loud voice:
      there is
      nothing
      wrong
      with the
      batteries

      as demonstrated by RAV4EV, EV1, tZero, Tesla, Hymotion, CalCars, countless conversions on streets and so on and so on. Heck, even GM itself demonstrated that a long-range series hybrid was doable in '98, with EV1 four seater series hybrid prototype.
      So, again, how come that in 2007, batteries are not good enough ?
      • 8 Years Ago
      The car is a hybrid. It has a range as big as the gas tank. All we're talking about with the batteries is the electric-only range.

      40 is plenty.
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