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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 omgwtf8888 on 5/28/2009 1:13:58 PM , Rating: 1
Wake up! Foreign governments have been subsidizing their automakers with their citizens funds for years. This has been giving them unfair competitive advantages for years. These same governments have restricted American car sales at the same time. And as for all those union contracts, people like you are undoing the labor movements that our grandparents fought for. YES people should work! YES they should be able to retire. Think about what you are advocating for? Work until you drop? No health benefits? Or maybe you think we can just offshore all these jobs so you can get a cheap foreign government subsidized car. Thats the thinking that got us into the economic problems we are in. The majority of people in this country are not Doctors, Lawyers, computer programmers. They need jobs that will pay a living wage with benefits and a retirement plan. These are the jobs we carelessly threw away. No wonder our social ladder is broken. People on welfare have it better then someone working for minimum wage. No sir! GM, Chrysler and Ford lost their most revered customers by getting rid of valued employees. Where i live in New Jersey there used to be many automobile plants, now there are none. Whole towns used to be built around those plants. People that worked at those plants had pride, and bought houses and cars. New Jersey now has 1/8 of is population on welfare and medicaid. Why? because there is no jobs with decent wages for these people. Me personally, I would rather put my tax dollars into subsidizing manufacturing, here, in this country, rather then putting dollars into welfare. The choice is simple, work or welfare. Your tax dollars are going to go to one or the other. So far we have chosen welfare and our country is failing... Time to get back to work... and yes.. if you can start supporting America we really need it.

RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By clovell on 5/28/2009 1:21:19 PM , Rating: 2
Subsidize industry or subsidize welfare are my choices, eh? I've got a third one - entrenpenuership. Tell 1/8 of your state to get off their ass and if they can't find a job, make one. I also hear the military is recruiting.

RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By omgwtf8888 on 5/28/2009 1:28:21 PM , Rating: 1
Go take a walk around most of the cities in our country. Look at the people there. Most of our welfare/medicaid (read healthcare dollars) go to this population. Most people lack the skills or ability to start a business. Nice of you to say get off your ass and get to work but think! The person on welfare and medicaid has it better then the person who take the minimum wage job who has no health insurance. Again the social ladder is broken. The mentality that forged the country is broken. We need to return to "you work you get... you don't work you don't get". But... we need to provide jobs that can pay a living wage with benefits. I would love to see welfare/medicaid dollars redirected to Auto manufacturers with the caveat that they make their cars in our country.

RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By Spuke on 5/28/2009 2:48:04 PM , Rating: 2
ost people lack the skills or ability to start a business.
So you have to start a business if you can't work for a union?

RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By Regected on 5/28/2009 2:58:34 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with the auto industry is their business model. Auto makers have been losing money with every car made for a long time now. How is a business that is in the business of making cars to stay alive when it loses money when it does sell a car? Their cars are bloated and overly expensive. Someone needs to come out with a new "People's car" to satisfy consumer demand, and to turn a profit on making cars.

Lately, automakers have been counting on their financing department to make any money. Their secondary source of income is the parts department. Who wants to buy a car from a replacement part manufacturer.

"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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