The Chevy Volt is still at least three years from Job 1 but there are almost surely parts of it prowling the streets of Southeast Michigan. Whenever a new vehicle is developed there are components that are ready for testing out of sequence. Long before all the necessary parts to build full prototypes are ready, the bits that are available will be bolted onto other existing vehicles so they can be evaluated. When GM first showed us Volt at the end of last year they told us that parts such as electric motor would be derived from other programs already in progress such as the fuel cell Equinox which are already out and about.

Other parts, like the electrically-assisted steering and the electric air conditioning compressor, will most likely be shared with current hybrid programs such as the Two-Mode hybrid Saturn Vue. The E-Flex platform is derived from the Global Compact Car architecture which under-pins the Chevy Cobalt and Opel/Saturn Astra. Since the next generation of these cars are already in development, suspension components and other pieces are being tested on those vehicles.

In the next couple of months, prototype battery packs will begin arriving in GM's labs for integration testing and then installation into the first mules. Those initial mules are expected to be based on Malibu body shells to provide extra space for prototype components and tons of instrumentation. GM has promised us an early ride in these mules sometime next spring. Stay tuned.

[Source: Blogging Stocks, thanks to CTGentelman for the tip]

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