General Motors has finally takes the wraps off its electric Chevrolet Volt
16 September 2008

General Motors has taken the wraps off the most radical car in its recent history, the Chevrolet Volt, as part of the firm’s centenary celebrations today in Detroit. The Volt is the first mass-produced car that isn’t driven by an internal combustion engine. The front wheels are driven by a 148bhp electric motor, with 273 lb ft, powered by lithium-ion battery pack. The battery gives a range of 40 miles on electric power only. Beyond that, a small petrol engine (that can also run on ethanol) charges the battery but is not directly connected to the wheels.

The Volt can also be charged by plugging in to the mains supply, a 240v supply will recharge the battery in three hours, increasing to eight hours for North America’s 110v supply. GM maintains that the average American commuters’ daily journey is under 40 miles, so the Volt’s range will be adequate fro most customers. Top speed is 100mph. Underneath the Volt is GM’s new Delta platform, just launched in the new Chevrolet Cruze, which will also underpin the next Astra. The Volt uses a torsion beam rear suspension. It goes on sale in the US in 2010, and should arrive in Europe in 2011.Vauxhall is lobbying GM to build a Vauxhall-badged version of the car for the UK market.

Dan Stevens

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16 September 2008

Will these batteries only last 5 years like tessla's? Either way, i bet it will end up getting built at the astra plant in ellesmere port

16 September 2008

Looks quite nice, design wise. Better looker than the Prius and electro-Civic. Looks better than the initial teaser shots from last week too, though I'm not sure about the plastic under the side windows...

16 September 2008

I love it - but I wish we didn't have to wait so long to get it in Europe! I also hope it gets built at Ellesmere Port - would be a great plus! Loving that interior, too, especially the Apple White central console and mad dials. Well done, Chevrolet, and I hope this does well for them!

"The creative adult is the child who survived."

16 September 2008

I use my car every day but, now I think about it, I probably do about 5 journeys a month with a round trip of over 40 miles. Someone was using their head here. Trouble is Li-Ion batteries don't age well - irrespective of the number of charge/discharge cycles after a few years they have often halved in capacity (anyone with an old laptop will know what I'm talking about).

I'd love to see how economical this would be with a small capacity turbocharged diesel engine. The 1.3 Multijet Fiat unit that GM put in the corsa for example, no good for the North Americans but viable for Europe.

I think this is exactly the car GM should be making in 2009, instead of just churning out more Hummers, but I fear for how much money they will actually make from it. Those Li-Ion batteries alone wouldn't have been cheap.

16 September 2008

Fascinating to see it on the same page as that monstrous Audi... It matters little if you buy any of the arguments that justify the Volt (and some of them seem to have merit), this is it. I really hope they pull it off - not only for the massive amount of people who rely on GM for their livelihood (and the impact on the US and world economies if GM goes under) but also for the sake of some forward thinking engineering - the Q7 looks like a dead end - the Volt the future. I've heard speculation that the petrol engine is there, in part, to stave off the knives of the Big Oil companies who did for GM's last attempt at an electric car for the masses ( I can't remember if that had an internal combustion engine charging the batteries as well - anybody know?). Given the massive increases in the price of petrol it seems possible they might be able to make a bit of cash off this car and it's ilk. Certainly it's better than nothing from their point of view. I know it might seem a bit far fetched but this car doesn't needlessly antagonize any of the vested interests in the US car market and economy as a whole. GM is playing a very clever (but very, very high risk) strategy here. Good luck to them I say. The Q7 V12 and the Volt on the same news page at Autocar - as pivotal a day as any in the history of the mgazine...

Bring back steel wheels.

17 September 2008

The real question is: how much will it cost?

17 September 2008

So, Vauxhall wants to market this car. Presumably the Chevrolet brand isn't strong enough for such a revolutionary concept. Sorry Chevrolet owners, but GM thinks you haven't got the cash or the cred. Lets face it, you were dumb enough to buy rebadged Daewoos, so you've got no chance here. But does Vauxhall have any cred? When I think of Vauxhalls, I think of poor handling repmobiles and max powered shopping trollies. Casting back further, rotten Crestas and rubbish Vivas spring to mind. Surely this is an opportunity to bring the Opel badge back to the UK and ditch Vauxhall. I have fond memories of Mantas, Commodores and even Kadetts. I'd willingly buy an Opel Volt, but a Vauxhall Volt? I never wore my cap backwards, and will never buy a Vauxhall.

17 September 2008

I like the styling. It's attractive and holds together quite well, if not wholy original. It also deserves for its hi-tech drivetrain.

For GM's sake I hope its a success, but it'll be a tough sell.

17 September 2008

[quote noluddite]When I think of Vauxhalls, I think of poor handling repmobiles and max powered shopping trollies. [/quote]

I'm sure you are just making a point of image here, and are aware that Vauxhall make very good, thoroughly modern cars often at or near the top of their class (according to autocar anyway). I see your point; and sure the Vectra is bland as hell, but it's not made any more.

I'm not sure that poor image is very widely held though; vauxhall is the second biggest selling brand in this country after all. And just look what the Prius has achieved as an eco-model sold by a 'bland' mass manufacturer. I'm convinced that Vauxhall is the right brand to launch this car in the UK.

17 September 2008

Crestas and Vivas? How long do you bear a grudge? By that reckoning you should also avoid Audi (NSU Prinz), Ford for the hideous E93 Prefect, Pubic/Corsair and Mk4 Zodiacs, Honda for the C50 Step-thru and, of course, BMW the well known bubble car manufacturer. Vauxhall/Opel are being repositioned above Chevrolet by all accounts as a premium brand; hence the new Insignia. It therefore makes sense to make it a Vauxhall product.

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