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Engineers have started to hand assemble the first "real" Chevy Volts -- the finalized pre-production test models.  (Source: General Motors)
Newly built car will be used for critical testing

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.”

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RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By Chaser on 5/28/2009 12:11:47 PM , Rating: 2
So what is? The U.S. has a system, its called bankruptcy protection and re-organization. The court system are specifically designed with the tools to restructure companies in the best interest of all. Several airlines went through this process and emerged from it in a much better position to be equitable and financially healthy. Why does GM warrant a preference over large companies that went through bankruptcy?

And if you believe bankruptcy for GM is wrong then provide another option. But leeching money from taxpayers now by order of the Executive Department is reprehensible. I'm sorry but I don't believe President Obama should be in the business of running U.S. corporations.

If GM "fails" -which does not equate to bankruptcy like the UAW would love all to believe- it has assets and an infrasstructure that others can buy or acquire. It will take people to operate them all. With unemployment at all all time high I am sure there are plenty of people that would love a job at $20.00 an hour with a matched 401K.

Chrsyler? Don't even get me started.

RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By clovell on 5/28/2009 1:10:00 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't warrant a preference; that was kind of my point. Chrysler was a mess. GM isn't as bad right now, but if it comes to it, I'd hate to see another mess like Chrysler.

RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By bhieb on 5/28/2009 1:54:24 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry but I don't believe President Obama should be in the business of running U.S. corporations.

That is kind of the point. Bankruptcy was the option, but a government engineered one is not. The UAW should not have received special protection under the bankruptcy. Obama should not be influencing how a bankruptcy is structured (even if the government is funding it). It should have been treated just like any other company instead of giving unwarranted protection to the UAW.

RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By Hiawa23 on 5/29/2009 2:09:39 PM , Rating: 3
I'm sorry but I don't believe President Obama should be in the business of running U.S. corporations.

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.

RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By Keeir on 5/29/2009 3:18:08 PM , Rating: 2
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.

What? No. Simply not true. Unless Bush laid out these plans to take over auto makers before he left office? Seems like its may not be Obama's favorite plan, but if he really didn't want to run the companies, there were and still are significant and viable different options

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007
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