Electric Volt chassis

Fuel-cell Volt chassis
The Chevrolet Volt moves closer to production

Although there were some previous concerns over the feasibility of General Motors' Chevrolet Volt electric car, it appears the company is ready to charge ahead with production. GM is making the necessary steps to ensure that the Volt makes use of best available battery technology to achieve its project goals -- something that Toyota is having a few problems with right now.

The company announced yesterday that 13 companies sent in proposals regarding the advanced lithium-ion batteries used to power the Volt. When the dust settled, two companies were selected. The first contract was awarded to Compact Power (a subsidiary of LG Chem) while the second contract went to Continental Automotive Systems.

"The signing of these battery development contracts is an important next step on the path to bring the Volt closer to reality," said GM Chairman and CEO, Rick Wagoner. "Given the huge potential that the Volt and its E-Flex system offers to lower oil consumption, lower oil imports, and reduce carbon emissions, this is a top priority program for GM."

The Chevrolet Volt uses a tiny, turbocharged 1.0 liter internal combustion engine (ICE) to charge its onboard lithium-ion battery pack. The ICE is not, however, used to provide propulsion for the vehicle -- that is left to the electric motors. GM says that the Volt can travel 40 miles on battery power alone before the ICE needs to kick in to charge the batteries back up again.

A second version of the Volt is also in the works. GM unveiled a fuel-cell variant of the Volt built on GM's E-Flex architecture in April. This Volt comes equipped with an 8kWh lithium-ion battery pack, three electric motors and a 4kg hydrogen fuel tank. The vehicle is capable of traveling over 320 miles with a fully topped off battery, can zip from 0 to 60 in around 8.2 seconds and has a top speed of 120 MPH.

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