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Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Chevrolet Volt is revealed as GM's biggest bet for next 100 years

As we have already told you, GM has celebrated its 100 years today. Two presentations were eagerly expected for this day: Chevrolet Volt and Corvette Centennial Concept, said to be Corvette's seventh generation, or C7. The new Corvette Centennial did not appear, but Volt's presentation was the climax of the 100 years celebration. According to GM, this is the model that will be mass-produced.

To the ones that remember the concept, the design change may be disappointing, but it GM justifies them as legal and aerodynamical requirements. Whatever the reason was, Volt kept the idea that made it so extraordinary: it still is an electric car able to run long distances at an affordable price.

This can be accounted for its ion-lithium batteries, first of all. Recharged in regular home electricity supplies, they allow Volt to run 60 km only on their charge. This range is enough for 78% of North-American drivers not to use a single drop of fuel in their daily needs. Yes, that's right. Volt uses petrol or E85, but it still is an electric car. This fuel is used in case battery power gets too low. When this happens, a combustion engine (Family-0, three-cylindre, one-litre, turbocharged) acts like a generator and feeds electricity to the batteries in order to power the 150 bhp, 370 Nm electric engine that moves Volt ahead. With this generator, Volt can run up to 1,030 km and save 1,900 litres of fuel every year.

The sad part it that Volt will only be sold in 2010, maybe even later, in the first quarter of 2011. In the meantime, its design may get older, especially if the car continues to appear so often. Anyway, we already know what to expect: a 4.40 m long, 1.80 m wide and 1.43 m tall notchback with a wheelbase of 2,69 m and 301 l of luggage capacity. Top speed is limited at 161 km/h, to preserve the batteries' charge.

GM has said it wants to reinvent the automobile. With Volt, it certainly has taken the biggest step the mainstream auto industry has ever tried to take in its history. And with great chances of success.

Source: GM

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