It seems every time GM Vice-Chairman Bob Lutz opens his mouth to speak, a news story is spawned. Sometimes however, there is less to the story than there appears to be. Case in point is the latest update on the Chevy Volt. Speaking in California, Lutz indicated that Volt mules (very early prototypes) would not be road tested until July. The thing everyone needs to realize is that vehicle development timing, especially on an all-new vehicle of this type tends to be very fluid. Schedules always have time built in for contingencies when the inevitable issues or delays crop up. Carmakers - and especially people like Lutz - are not used to be being so open about development programs and observers from outside are not used to watching what happens.

Timing slips in some areas and gets made up in others. Given that GM has never publicly released any hard and fast dates, but has only talked in generalities about targets, people need to just relax. The Volt is still nearly three years away from Job 1. There is plenty of opportunity for overtime, and lots of engineers and technicians working on the program. What we have seen with first prototype battery packs being a few weeks to a month or two late in being delivered is also entirely typical for this stage of a program. GM indicated that they MIGHT do some initial media drives of mules this spring. That in and of itself is pretty unprecedented. According to spokesman Rob Peterson those first drives will likely take place this summer and that is what Lutz was referring to. There have already been mule vehicles running with the engine/generator/motor combination for several months. They are not yet running with full lithium packs. That will likely start to happen in the next few weeks for internal testing. GM won't be letting any outsiders drive the mules until the cars are good and ready and confident that they are working properly. In the meantime, all the packs that have been delivered (at least four are known) are still cycling on the testers. Stayed tuned here for updates on the Volt when we have actual information.

[Source: Reuters, General Motors]

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