According to Bob Lutz, the first Chevy Volt powertrain mule has just passed a major milestone. After several weeks of testing in the lab with a battery pack installed, the Malibu based pre-prototype has rolled out into the fresh air. In fact, according to Lutz, the car has even rolled passed past the security gates of the Milford Proving Ground to drive around on public roads. Even in this early, very rough, form, Lutz says the car is meeting and exceeding the goal of 40 miles of driving without running the engine. With this, the E-Flex engineers have demonstrated the performance viability of this concept. However, they still have a long way to go in validating the robustness of the system in different operating environments as well as the long-term durability of the powertrain as a whole. Perhaps the biggest issue to address is the cost of the system, particularly the battery pack. For GM to sell the Volt at an affordable price at launch, they will likely be taking a significant loss due to the cost of the batteries. When that cost comes down, GM will finally be able to crank up production.

[Source: Edmunds Auto Observer]