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Chevy Volt
GM's shining star finally get an official price

The Chevrolet Volt is undeniably the most high profile project going on at General Motors these days. The vehicle was first unveiled as a concept back at the Detroit Auto Show in January of 2007 and since that time has gone through a long gestation period.

The production version of the Volt is unrecognizable from the original concept that debuted in 2007, but its mission remains the same: to provide 40 miles of electric-only propulsion and an additional 300 miles when the 1.4-liter gasoline engine/generator kicks in.

Today, GM has announced official pricing for its Chevy Cruze-based vehicle. The vehicle will be priced at $41,000 ($33,500 net of full federal income tax credit). Fully loaded, the vehicle will run you $44,600 before the tax credit. It will also be available for a 36-month lease ($350 per month with $2,500 due at lease signing).

“The Chevrolet Volt will be the best vehicle in its class… because it’s in a class by itself,” said Joel Ewanick, vice president of U.S. marketing for General Motors. “No other automaker offers an electrically driven vehicle that can be your everyday driver, to take you wherever, whenever. The Volt will be packed with premium content and innovation, standard.”

When it comes to “mainstream” electric vehicles, the pricing of the Volt puts it a few pegs above Nissan’s Leaf electric vehicle (EV). The Nissan Leaf has a base MSRP of $32,780 before the $7,500 federal tax credit for EVs. Depending on what state customers live in, the final price of the Leaf can drop down to around $20,000 after local and state tax incentives.

According to GM's Online Order/Reference Guide, the Volt rides on a 105.7" wheelbase and measures 177.1" x 70.4" x 56.6" (L x W x H). Cargo capacity for the vehicle is listed at 10.6 cubic feet. Standard features for the Volt include a GPS navigation system (7" display), 30GB hard drive for audio storage, XM Radio/XM NavTraffic, OnStar, Vehicle Connectivity, and Bluetooth.

The Volt's 1.4-liter engine/generator also inexplicably requires premium fuel to operate. The gasoline generator is rated at 80 hp while the electric motor is rated at 74 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Total rated system power is 150 hp according to GM. The Volt's battery pack will come with an 8-year/100,000 warranty.

According to Green Car Advisor, the Chevy Volt can accelerate to 60 mph in about nine seconds. Top speed for the vehicle will be 100 mph.

When it comes to charging the vehicle, GM had this to say:

While the Chevrolet Volt will come standard with a 120-volt charge cord that will provide owners with the ability to charge their Volt directly from a standard home electrical outlet, a total of 4,400 Volt buyers in launch markets could be eligible for a free 240-volt charging station, including home installation.  The installations are part of a program developed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to install approximately 15,000 240-volt home charging stations across the U.S.

The Chevy Volt will be available in Silver Ice Metallic, Black, Crystal Red Metallic Tint,
White Diamond Tricoat, Cyber Gray Metallic, and Viridian Joule Tricoat.

Although customer-ready production models of the first generation Chevy Volt have yet to hit U.S. streets, GM is already brainstorming about changes it will make to the second generation model. The current Volt uses an off-the-shelf engine that it shares with the Chevy Cruze. Such a large and complex motor that is merely serving as a generator is both wasteful and expensive. GM instead wants to look at other options such as a smaller two-cylinder gasoline engine, rotary engine, or a small displacement diesel engine.

The Volt will also get a larger sibling in the form of the Volt MPV5. The Volt MPV5 trades the rather restrictive 4-passenger sedan configuration of the standard model for a crossover configuration that seats five and offers a more generous cargo area (62 cubic feet with the rear seats down). Due to the more compromised aerodynamics and heavier body, the Volt MPV5 can achieve a battery-only range of 32 miles instead of the Volt’s 40 miles.

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RE: Premium
By Mogounus on 7/27/2010 1:50:22 PM , Rating: 5
Premium gas is not just for performance engines. The primary difference between premium and regular gas is the octane rating. Octane enables higher compression of the air fuel mixture which increases performance and fuel economy. So it makes perfect sense to have a small displacement high compression engine.

RE: Premium
By theapparition on 7/27/2010 2:29:10 PM , Rating: 5
Exactly right. There's little doubt this engine uses higher compressin ratios. Probably in the 11:1 ballpark, which would necessitate the use of Premium fuel.

FWIW, all these engines have knock, and low octane fuel/spark tables programmed into the PCM. If you decide to run it on regular fuel, and the computer senses a problem, it will just reduce timing and use the low octane VE table, of course at somewhat reduced power.

But this is lightyears different from years past, where regular in a high compression engine resulted in damaged cylinders.

RE: Premium
By Reclaimer77 on 7/28/2010 5:59:29 PM , Rating: 1
How can a 1.4 liter measly 80HP engine need to be high compression?

Typical GM. When it comes to efficient compact 4 cylinders, they should have contracted a Japanese company to make the engine for them. Someone who actually knows about something besides big ass V8's.

RE: Premium
By Spuke on 7/28/2010 9:53:19 PM , Rating: 2
When it comes to efficient compact 4 cylinders, they should have contracted a Japanese company to make the engine for them.
They do know how to make an awesome 4 cyl, it's called the LNF. I'm at a loss as to why it needs premium too when they could've added direct injection, kept the high compression, and used regular octane fuel. The LNF can run on 87 octane too even though it's turbocharged (because of direct injection) and has a relatively high compression (for a turbo car) of 9.5:1 (BMW and VW DI engines are 10:1).

Hell, I'm at a loss as to why ANY of the hybrids use the less advanced, "older" engines. None of them use the latest tech in gas engines. I was told a while ago that high compression reduces harmful emissions. Don't know if that's true and someone can correct me if they know better.

RE: Premium
By goku on 7/30/2010 7:03:57 AM , Rating: 2
Ford's hybrids use the latest engine tech...

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