As General Motors inches ever closer to officially launching production of the Chevrolet Volt this November, the number of markets where it will be available is growing. Following the previous announcements that the extended range electric vehicle will be sold in California and Michigan, Washington D.C. is up next.
GM has been looking at different markets to make sure that they have the right combination of likely demand for the car and the necessary support infrastructure to insure that drivers can actually use the Volt as a electric vehicle. California is a natural EV market and Michigan is home to the Volt. Washington is likely a market as much for political reasons as it is for commercial or technical reasons. D.C.-area utilities Pepco and Dominion will be among the recipients of 100 early production Volts for a large scale test program of public charging stations.
UPDATE: You can Skype with the Volt team today at 1:45 EST.
Photos Copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.
[Source: General Motors]
Chevrolet At The Washington D.C. Auto Show
o Washington D.C. joins California and Michigan as a Chevrolet Volt lead retail market
o Simultaneous rollout of Volt in lead retail markets
o Chevrolet partners with D.C.-area utilities Dominion and Pepco in development and demonstration program
o Chevrolet presents growing family of fuel-efficient small and compact cars with Spark, Aveo RS show car and Cruze
WASHINGTON – Chevrolet announced that greater Washington D.C. will be an initial launch market for the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range. The nation's capital and its suburbs join California and Michigan as the initial retail markets where Chevrolet will sell the Volt to consumers.
"The Chevrolet Volt demonstrates our commitment to the electrification of the automobile," said Tom Stephens, GM vice chairman, Global Product Operations. "So far, we have invested more than $700 million in the U.S. to reinforce our leadership in this new technology."
Chevrolet also announced a development and demonstration program with D.C.-area utilities Pepco and Dominion to introduce customers to electric vehicles and establish vehicle charging programs.
"Concentrating Volt sales in these three key initial markets allows us to give our first customers a high-quality experience," said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet general manager. "In addition to geographical considerations, each market also has progressive local and state government leaders and utility partners who are crucial in bringing electric vehicles to market."
Chevrolet will deliver more than 100 Volts to several utilities across the U.S. – including Pepco and Dominion, which serve Washington D.C. and its suburbs – as part of an extended demonstration program. The overall program includes 500 charging stations that will be installed for residential, business and public use. They will be used to learn more about the installation process, vehicle charging and to gauge customer feedback.
The program is made possible with a grant of more than $30 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds from the Transportation Electrification Initiative administered by the U.S. Department of Energy. Chevrolet has announced similar partnerships with several utilities in California and Michigan, as well as the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).
The Chevrolet Volt is an electric vehicle with extended-range capability. It is designed to drive up to 40 miles on electricity without using gasoline or producing tailpipe emissions. When the Volt's lithium-ion battery is depleted, an engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range if there is no access to an electrical outlet to recharge the battery, providing peace of mind by eliminating range anxiety. Volt production begins later this year, and pricing has not been announced.
Testing in real conditions
The Chevrolet Volt has already logged more than a quarter-million test miles on pre-production vehicles, some of which are in service 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Accomplishments include:
* Chevrolet is using OnStar technology to refine the development of the current fleet of about 80 pre-production vehicles
* Testing under extreme climates and conditions, including hot-weather testing in Death Valley, cold-weather testing in northern Canada; and mountain testing at Pikes Peak
* The building of more than 300 pre-production battery packs
Technology beyond the battery
Chevrolet is expanding the Volt ownership experience with a smartphone (Droid by Motorola, Apple iPhone and BlackBerry Storm) application by OnStar that gives Volt owners 24/7 connection and control of vehicle function and OnStar features remotely.
Through Volt's mobile application, drivers can set or check charging, manually set grid-friendly charge modes for off-peak times, pre-condition the interior temperature using electricity and not gasoline, check EV range and more.
Other driver-friendly technologies include touch-sensitive controls on the center stack and screen; a fully digital interface that allows two-way interaction, personalization and access to information; and real-time feedback that provides guidance on how to drive more efficiently.
Chevrolet grows its family of small and compact cars
Chevrolet presents its family of fuel-efficient small cars at the auto show – including the Spark five-door mini car, Aveo RS show car and Cruze compact sedan. Revealed earlier this month in Detroit, the Aveo RS show car features a European-inspired hot hatch design that strongly hints at the upcoming Aveo production car.
Here's a deeper look at the cars:
Chevrolet Spark : The five-door Chevrolet Spark, the smallest member of Chevrolet's family of cars, brings style, roominess and versatility to a segment of extremely fuel-efficient small cars. Spark will provide great fuel economy, and its trim size makes it very agile in all kinds of driving conditions while still feeling substantial on the open road. The U.S. production version of the Spark will go on sale in early 2012.
"This small vehicle makes a big statement," said Margaret Brooks, Chevrolet marketing director for small cars. "With its fresh, youthful approach, we believe Spark will appeal to customers who want excellent fuel economy, functionality and style at an affordable price."
More details on the U.S. version of the Spark will be announced at a later date.
Chevrolet Aveo RS show car : The Aveo RS show car provides a glimpse of what designers have in mind for the future production car. Its electric Boracay Blue finish, motorcycle-inspired exposed headlamps and taillamps, low roofline, fender flares, large wheels and tires, and dual-cockpit interior hint at the next-generation Aveo.
"The current Aveo is a major player in Chevrolet's global small-car portfolio," said Campbell. "Our intent with the Aveo RS show car is to demonstrate Chevrolet's vision and design potential for a small car we think customers will love."
Focusing on Aveo's target audience of young buyers, Chevrolet gave the show car a sporty appearance inside and out. An aggressive front fascia; clean, uninterrupted body side lines; an integrated rear roof spoiler; wide stance; and large, 19-inch, five-spoke wheels with a gun metal metallic Chevrolet logo and Boracay Blue brake calipers suggest upscale style and dynamic handling.
The Boracay Blue continues inside, with accent stitching in the instrument panel dual cockpit, front and rear door panels, gear shift boot, parking brake and seat bolster.
The Aveo RS show car features the same small-displacement 1.4L Ecotec turbocharged engine that will be available in the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. Delivering 138 horsepower (103 kW), it performs like two powerplants in one, with the fuel economy of a small engine and the performance of a larger one. In the Aveo RS show car, the 1.4L turbo is mated to a six-speed manual transmission.
Chevrolet has previously announced the new Aveo will be built at Orion Assembly in Orion Township, Mich., in 2011, a move that will restore 1,200 jobs to Southeast Michigan. Plant retooling is scheduled to begin later this year.
Chevrolet Cruze : The North American production version of the 2011 Cruze compact sedan makes its first visit to Washington show-goers. Already on sale in Asia and Europe with strong market acceptance, the Cruze has been refined for America, bringing a midsize car presence to the compact sedan segment.
Cruze will deliver many segment-leading features, more interior room and more cargo capacity than the competition, as well as upscale amenities such as Bluetooth, USB and navigation. It offers midsize roominess, safety and amenities with the fuel economy and expected price of a compact car. Cruze features 10 standard air bags and has achieved five-star safety ratings in every market where it is sold.
Cruze is expected to deliver segment-leading fuel economy with a new Ecotec 1.4L I-4 turbo with variable valve timing – including up to 40 mpg on the highway with a high-efficiency model. The all-new Cruze will be built in Lordstown, Ohio beginning in the third quarter.
Chevrolet is one of America's best-known and best-selling automotive brands, and one of the fastest growing brands in the world. With fuel solutions that range from "gas-friendly to gas-free," Chevrolet has nine models that offer an EPA-estimated 30 miles per gallon or more on the highway, and offers two hybrid models. More than 2.5 million Chevrolets that run on E85 biofuel have been sold. Chevrolet delivers expressive design, spirited performance and strives to provide the best value in every segment in which it competes. More information can be found at www.chevrolet.com. For more information on the Volt, visit http://archives.media.gm.com/volt.