The Chevy Volt, General Motors' pride and great hope for the future, has entered the pre-production phase, with engineers assembling a vehicle that looks identical to the design that is planned to be coming off the assembly line late this year. After months and years of waiting, GM's launch of the first mainstream electric vehicle is almost at hand.
GM Executive Director for Research and Development Dr. Alan Taub, speaking at a conference at the North Carolina Solar Center at NCSU, says that he believes the Volt will be integral to GM's turnaround. He stated, "The key is to be ready when the market rebounds with technologies and vehicles that people got to have. We really think the Volt represents the next generation in propulsion technology around what we are calling the reinvention of the vehicle. It's going to be electrified drive. It's going to be connected to the world through electronics."
The new pre-production models will be play a critical role in preparing for the vehicles deployment. They will be used as integration models, tweaking minor parameters to help lower wind resistance. They will also be battered and bruised to make sure the vehicle is road-worthy.
Previous "test drives" by the press in "Volts" were not really a Chevy Volt -- rather, they were a similarly designed Chevy Malibu or Cruze-based test mule. The current production marks the first Volt of the finalized design to be produced. The cars are being built at the Technical Center in Detroit, MI. It takes two weeks for engineers to hand-assemble one of the cars.
GM spokesman Rob Peterson cheered the news, stating, "The purpose for the integration vehicle builds is two-fold. First, they validate our production design, vehicle safety and performance capabilities. Just as important, the build activity provides valuable insight into the final vehicle assembly process to ensure a high-level of build quality and manufacturing efficiency when production begins in November 2010."
By mid-July, GM will have ramped up the pre-production to a rate of 10 vehicles per week. GM will have a fleet of 80 pre-production Volts by the fall. The Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly will start mass producing pre-production models next spring, providing "several hundred" vehicles to invade showrooms across the country.
Automotive industry experts say that vehicles like the Volt face a tough road ahead, but may offer solutions to critical environmental and national security problems. States, Anne Tazewell, of the North Carolina Solar Center at NCSU, "There are a lot of variables, and one is our will to continue investing in this. We have an environmental imperative and we really do have an economic imperative because of our reliance on imported oil. But we're also kind of battling the more immediate economic situation.”
quote: On another note, how exactly does this vehicle offer solutions to national security? Is it IED-resistant? Will it be used in peacekeeping missions overseas? I don't see using imported oil as a breach of national security, nor the non-use as a solution to national security.
quote: What? Where did this come from?
quote: Automotive industry experts say that vehicles like the Volt face a tough road ahead, but may offer solutions to critical environmental and national security problems.
quote: what!? malibu better than the camry!? looks are subjective but I personally feel that the camry is FAR better looking than the malibu.
quote: On another note, how exactly does this vehicle offer solutions to national security?
quote: Telsa's cars are marvels, but run 60,000+ dollars (probably like 70,000 for the long range edition)
quote: The Tesla Model S - 160 mi on the "cheap" battery pack. $60K.
quote: Not really saying it is not reasonably price for the tech involved, I think it is. What I'm saying is that the consumer does not care. They look at "what can I get for X dollars", and unfortunately for GM I think that most will find there are more tempting vehicles that offer more than the MPG savings alone can overcome.
quote: My point is that the existing hybrids are attractive because of the low price moreso than the MPG savings.
quote: I bet GM can find a few 100,000 across the world willing to put down the 40,000 initial price required to build the 25,000 dollar mass market appeal car.
quote: Has an aggressive, techy look to it.
quote: something only the rich will have.
quote: I'm sorry but I don't believe President Obama should be in the business of running U.S. corporations.
quote: yeah, President Obama agrees, & stated many times he doesn't want to be but this is the hand that was dealt before he even got into office.
quote: ost people lack the skills or ability to start a business.
quote: So why isn't GM IN bankruptcy yet?
quote: I don't know how GM is going to compete with BYD.
quote: Bender: That's no lady.Hermaphrobot: Damn, chico. One more upgrade and I'll be more lady than you can handle. Why you so stupid, stupid?Bender: Hey, bite my shiny metal ass.Hermaphrobot: You couldn't afford it, honey.
quote: the build activity provides valuable insight into the final vehicle assembly process to ensure a high-level of build quality
quote: Mazda isn't too bad though. I have to say I would drive a Mazda. As long as it was the Mazda 6 or the RX-8. Everything else no thanks.
quote: but I refuse to believe that Americans can't build desireable, quality cars that everyone will want to buy...
quote: Do you know what kind of car I could make with a $3B budget? It would be insane
quote: Do you know what kind of car I could make with a $3B budget?
quote: the tiny IC engine will just provide a "limp home" mode