A pre production volt cruises the streets looking for some hot power plugs to get a charge off of.  (Source: AutoBlogGreen)
GM hopes of an electric future move forward

GM's Chevy Volt is a survivor.  It has survived the critics who argued that the market wasn't ready for mass production electric vehicles.  It survived an economic downturn and the bankruptcy of its producer.  And it survived the peril of being put up on the pedestal as the darling of the green tech news community.

It survived all that and recently entered pre-production in preparation for a modest full scale 2011 deployment in the tens of thousands of units.  Now at last the first of 75 pre-production integration prototypes has been completed and is out cruising the streets looking for some hot plugs.

The almost-finished vehicles are being tested at GM's Pre-Production operations center at the Warren, MI tech center.  The car is virtually identical to the planned production model, only lacking the sculpting on the instrument clusters as some other minor interior aesthetics.

The only major change to be noted in the pre-production vehicle is that the charge port has been moved.  In press shots and prototypes, the charge port was always near the front of the car, typically under the mirror.  The freshly produced pre-production moves this port to the rear, below the back fender.  It is covered by a flap that looks like a gas cover.  Volt spokesman David Darovitz confirmed that this is the production intent.

Chief engineer Andrew Farah took the new car -- the IVER #1 (that's Integration Vehicle Engineering Release #1) -- out for a spin and says it performed great.  In coming months his fellow engineers will be building more Volts and pushing them to the limit, even (gasp!) crashing them.

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