Electric Chevy Volt exposed on movie set
While it was all but ignored at the 2007 Dubai Motor Show, the Chevrolet Volt has been doing rounds of international auto shows in concept form, and is set for release in 2010. As brash as the deadline is, the Volt is a game-changing car, designed to run purely on electricity from on-board lithium-ion batteries for up to 64 km, enough for commuting to work, while charging the batteries overnight every day. Also, with the use of a small petrol engine driving a generator to resupply the batteries, the Volt’s range is potentially increased to 580 km on the highway. GM has been promoting this car a lot, and it has become a byword for the future of cars in the United States. As America suffers from high oil prices and General Motors is under the threat of bankruptcy, the Volt is seen as a saviour for both. It has finally been fully exposed on the sets of the upcoming Transformers 2 movie.
The actual Volt will be powered most of the time by a 160 hp electric motor, with a small 1.4-litre petrol engine linked to a 71 hp generator. The purple car in the movie is most likely a prop with a conventional engine.
The Volt will be the first mass-produced car able to run completely on electricity as well as carry at least four adults in comfort, making it economical as well as practical.
The Volt is expected to get 4.7 litres/100 km if the battery is discharged, or 1.6 litres/100 km if fully charged every 97 km. The top speed is 190 kph. A full charge will take 10 hours, but a half-charge will take only 50 minutes. Along with such remarkable figures, GM has been releasing teasers of the production prototype at regular intervals.
The General is making sure people recognise the Volt as something unique, so that owners can brag about how they are saving the planet.
Reporters in America who saw the interior remarked that it reminded them of iPods, and this is the only leaked photo of the dashboard, which seems to rely on touch-sensitive controls.
The General vaguely expects to price the Volt at US$ 40,000 (Dhs 147,000) in America, and it still won’t make a profit. But there are other troubles ahead, especially since the price of lithium will be driven up if GM starts mass-producing lithium-ion batteries for the Volt, inadvertently making mobile-phone and laptop batteries more expensive. The Volt will therefore remain an American-market niche product for a long while, so don’t expect this car to hit the GCC anytime soon.
Update: Various photos of the production version were leaked, showing the all-new car alongside various GM executives.
Obvious details include a front-grille that isn’t really a vent, and lower side-windows that aren’t really glass.
This final production-ready exterior design will apparently be officially introduced this September, even though the powertrain develop is far from complete.