Road-Ready Chevy Volt Hits The Streets
Just a little more than two years after the Volt was first introduced as a concept to journalists at the 2007 North American International Auto Show, the first pre-production versions of Chevrolet's extended range electric vehicle have hit the asphalt.
Until now, we've only seen test cars that don't run on their own power, or test powertrains running inside other vehicle bodies. These are the first versions of the actual vehicle consumers will be able to buy, and they look pretty similar to the photos we published back in September.
In case you've been living inside a cave for the last couple years, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt is a front-wheel-drive, four-passenger Extended-Range Electric Vehicle that uses electricity as its primary power source and gasoline as its secondary power source to propel the vehicle. The goal is to remove "range anxiety" that is common with traditional electric-battery-powered vehicles. The Volt can be charged at home overnight to runs on battery power alone for short trips (up to 40 miles), and for longer trips, additional electricity can be supplied by a gasoline-powered internal combustion engine or a fuel cell.
Most of these first-build cars will be used for the testing and validation of production and design. They will also be used to develop the final software and controls, including the way that the driver interacts with the vehicle. Some will have short lives, as they'll be crash tested after running other tests like endurance, battery drivetrain interface, and windshield wiper and door function.
Approximately 80 of these pre-production vehicles will be built over the next year, putting General Motors ahead of pre-production deadlines. The automaker hopes to start producing Volts for retail sale in by the end of Fall 2010. Pricing has not yet been released.
When they finally enter full production, GM estimates that each Chevy Volt could save about 500 gallons of gasoline per year, based on 40 miles of daily driving and 15,000 miles annually. For drivers that commute 60 miles per day or 21,000 miles annually, about 550 gallons of gasoline could be saved.
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