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Click above for high-res gallery of Chevy Volt mule spy shots

Today the Chevy Volt passes from the vaporware stage into the physical manifestation of GM's efforts to bring the series hybrid to production as promised. Though what you're looking at is the body of a last-gen Malibu, we have confirmation that underneath is the Volt's E-Flex powertrain being track-tested for the first time, or at least the first time in front of a spy photographer's zoom lens. Of course, there are still a lot of questions surrounding the Volt, like whether or not GM will meet its self-imposed deadline of late 2010 for production, or if the price will continue to rise above the estimated $35,000 we've heard thrown around. What we do know is that the E-Flex powertrain will be paired with the next-generation Delta chassis. Two suppliers, Continental Automotive Systems and A123 Systems, are tasked with developing the Volt's all-important lithium-ion battery pack that has to achieve the difficult mark of allowing the Volt to operate for 40 miles on electric power alone. There's still a lot of work to do and not a lot of time left to do it, so it's good seeing GM finally driving the Volt around.


[Source: Chris Doane for Brenda Priddy and Co.]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 35 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      The best thing about hybrid/electric car posts is reading the comments from the little Limbaughs. You guys think you're speaking for the good of the company but you're just shilling for the auto industry. All the 'down with CAFE', 'free markets', and 'consumer choice' noise is just auto industry lobbyist money talking. CAFE isn't bad for the country, it's bad for GM. So what? If GM can't make a profit in the new auto paradigm then they go away and someone else steps up. That's how free markets work. Government isn't out of the way, government creates and sustains the market.

      Why didn't anyone of you little communism sniffers react to the guy who said the government will give rebates to buyers? You're ok with tax payer dollars being used to make GM profitable? I believe that's called national socialism. If you're ok with that then you're inner fascist is showing.
        • 6 Years Ago
        CAFE is a failed policy -- it is predicated on trying to get people to buy vehicles that they don't want. A far better way to increase the fleet mileage is to simply use basic micro-economic theory: if gas costs more, then people buy more efficient vehicles. This has been proven to work in the EU, where fuel taxes are very high. This has now been proven to work here in the US, where higher gas prices have caused people to start buying smaller cars, while SUV and pickup sales are tanking.

        Increase the gas tax, put the revenue towards fixing the roads, kill CAFE, make CARB illegal, and we'd all be a whole lot better off.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The two suppliers competing for the contract are not A123 Systems and Continental AG - they form one of the two teams. Continental AG, as we all know, does not build batteries. The other is LG Chem. Apparently autoblog is not keeping up with the Volt development, so any comments by them about vaporware are, well, vaporous. Go elsewhere is you want to actually know what's going on, like the website www.gm-volt.com, run a by a New Jersey neurologist.
      That Malibu didn't start testing the systems as of yesterday ,as claimed. It has been testing for SIX MONTHS, something else that autoblog obviously is ignorant about.
      I would warn anyone taking anything written on this auto blog about the Volt - don't take it seriously - it's highly likely to be incorrect.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Re: The Province of Ottawa.

        I don't take everything they say for granted, and I'm glad I don't. :D
      • 6 Years Ago
      "There's still a lot of work to do and not a lot of time left to do it, ...."

      There's your first indication that this won't be a project that's done right. Any time there's "too much work for the time that's left," things usually don't get done well. If they're going to rush-job this, I'm not interested.
      • 6 Years Ago
      They are going for 40 miles for two reasons. First, the Tesla cost $98,000. Batteries aren't cheap, especially in the sizes needed to drive a car 200 miles. Second, the Volt has a gas engine that can kick in for those extended trips.

      Best of both worlds, drive the first 40 miles on cheap, non-OPEC electricity, but then have the ability to go further without a $20,000 battery pack, and taking hours to recharge. Just a few minutes, (and a wheelbarrow full of cash), to fill up at your local gas station.

      Someday batteries may be cheap and able to recharge in 10 minutes. Today is not that day.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Anyway, I think it would be really cool if Chevy gave people the option of sticking extra batteries in the trunk with a special hookup back there. This way, the people who could afford more batteries (like certain celebs who will no doubt want one of these) can have a greater electric range without really impacting the starting price of the car.
        "

        You can already do that with a Prius.
      • 6 Years Ago
      IT LIVES
      • 6 Years Ago
      'You guys think you're speaking for the good of the company but you're just shilling for the auto industry. '

      ...good of the country....

      Never comment before coffee.
      • 6 Years Ago
      There is probably no e-flex under there at all. And that two mode hybrid, it doesn't exist. You think you test drove it but you didn't autoblog. I have proof that hybrid doesn't exist: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/general-motors-death-watch-49-paranoia-rules/



      Of course, a little common sense like BMW and Daimler being mentioned as involved in the development and neither of those two legit car companies denying the existence of the hybrid system might, just might, give you an idea that the system really did exist. Or maybe the bus with the system already on the road for years may have given a clue that it wasn't a fake. But hey, I'm no *cough* legit car blog like the Lies About Cars.

      Dear TLAC: http://www.someecards.com/upload/encouragement/dont_ever_give_up_on_trying_to_blow_yourself.html
        • 6 Years Ago
        So how come they haven't sold any?
        • 6 Years Ago
        I drove the Two Mode Hybrid! It also exsist in buses on both coast.
        • 6 Years Ago
        kill yourself
        • 6 Years Ago
        Bottom line, the same guys (or type of guys) that read TLAC and believed there was no hybrid are going to question whether this is really an e-flex mule (e.g. see post above mine) and I was making fun of them. So you guys chill out.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Car Designer: Don't you wish.


        blogged to death: You ever go to a cell phone store and the guts aren't in the phones on display? Maybe they were testing the real ones and they cost too much to build one just to parade around just so people like TLAC could be happy. Bottom line there is an autobloggreen blog about the $115K Lexus hybrid and in there it mentions how the Tahoe hybrid system being more advanced than the one in the $115K Lexus hybrid. Read what I wrote about other legit car companies being involved and so there should have been no question the thing existed in some form. Period.

        Everything has to be spelled out for some of you f-sticks.
        • 6 Years Ago
        TTAC discovered a proported model with the 2 mode system and upon closer inspection and questions they were able to find out that the model at the show was indeed a fake hybrid. GM did not note that this was a "concept" model but a production based model. It does not disprove that the Pie ala Mode hybrid does not exist - it just proved that GM wasn't ready with their production prototypes and GM was lying to the press when it slapped an engine cover on a standard Yukahoe.

        The Volt will cost $48k with Bob Putz's most recent tirade - is a mildly worked over Prius with plug in capability worth it? Sorry I'd rather pick up the upcoming diesel TSX or BlueTec get 50mpg (35% better mpg than gasoline and about equal to hybrids) and only pay $1k less and not have to worry about replacing batterys every 4 years at a $2k pricetag. Sorry to say but Hybrids and PHEVs are not yet efficient enough to pay for themselves. But diesels are today's most efficient and available engine choices (and these are not your half engineered GM POS ones either).
        • 6 Years Ago
        You really chose to link to TTAC to try to prove some kind of point? That's rich
      • 6 Years Ago
      ....But it's good to know the Volt is making some progress.... I hope GM comes through with at least a 4 1/2 star vehicle.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "non-OPEC electricity", but you know that most of the U.S. electricity is produced from OPEC Oil and Coal.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Make that US coal. Powder River Basin anyone?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yep - that's proof all right. I love backing up my points with complete hearsay and conjecture based on hearsay. Now if they had some shots of...well under the hood showing an actual powertrain - that'd be more proof. It's not like we shouldn't trust GM - they've never lead us astray or lied before - have they?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Awesome!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why are they hoping to get only 40 miles out of the battery? Doesn't the Tesla Roadster have a range of 200 or 250 miles? Granted, this will probably be a lot bigger and heavier, but I can't imagine the potential range would be cut down by that much.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Greg:

        1) the Tesla is FAR more expensive than the Volt will be -- around $100,000 for the Tesla. Batteries are EXPENSIVE.

        2) the Tesla is strictly an ELECTRIC car. When you get to the end of its range, the Tesla can't move until you plug it in and recharge.

        3) when you get to the end of the Volt's range, the onboard generator starts up and you can keep driving until you are out of gas. Then you fill up the gas tank and keep going.

        4) the Tesla is a much smaller car than the Volt -- small cramped two-seater versus a usable four-seat sedan.

        5) Since the average commute length is less than 20 miles, a 40-mile battery range makes sense for the Volt. Increasing the battery range to 200 miles would greatly the size of battery pack, greatly increase the cooling needs of the battery pack, and greatly increase the cost of the car.
        • 6 Years Ago
        No the Telso Roadster does not have a range of 250 miles, but the EV1 DID have a range at least double of what the Volt is supposed to have. to that I say: WTF, MATE? More than a decade has gone buy and this is as far as battery and motor tech has come?
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