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Chevrolet Volt
General Motors' all-electric Volt to reach consumers in late 2010

General Motors is quite confident these days. The company recently priced its highly-anticipated full-size hybrid SUVs and showed off a concept version of its full-size hybrid Chevrolet Silverado. GM CEO Rick Wagoner also noted that his company will release one hybrid per quarter for the next four years -- lofty goals indeed.

Likewise, the company's brand new Chevrolet Malibu mid-sized sedan has been generating an overabundance of praise and its new $32,000 second-generation Cadillac CTS just walked away with Motor Trend's Car of the Year award.

GM is hoping to use this momentum and high level of interest in its vehicles to push the electric motor-powered Chevrolet Volt to customers by the end of 2010.

GM vice chairman Bob Lutz has heard all of the critics who question GM's aggressive ramp for the Volt, but is still committed to moving forward.

"There is a lot of skepticism within the company about the timeline," said Lutz. "People are biting their nails, but those of us in a leadership position have said it has to be done."

GM is hoping to use the Volt as a halo car to further strengthen its brand and its commitment to fuel economy. Dodge used the Viper to enhance its image for performance and styling in the 1990s. Toyota used its Prius at the turn of the century to shroud the entire company with a green image despite the fact that gas guzzlers like the Tundra and Sequoia share the same showroom space.

"When they think of GM, the iconic brand is, unfortunately, the Hummer," continued Lutz. "That perception needs to change.

The GM Volt features a 1.0 liter, 3-cylinder gasoline engine which is solely used to recharge the onboard lithium-ion battery pack. The battery pack, which will be manufactured by Compact Power and Continental Automotive Systems, powers the Volt's electric motors for forward propulsion.

GM says that the Volt can travel for up to 40 miles on battery power alone. After the 40 mile threshold has been reached, the gasoline engine kicks back in again to recharge the battery pack.

The entire industry has its eyes on GM and its Volt. Toyota took a big risk with its Prius and it has paid off dearly for the company.

"We have since realized that letting Toyota gain that mantle of green respectability and technology leadership has really cost us dearly in the marketplace," Lutz added. "We have to reestablish GM's leadership and the Volt is, frankly, an effort to leapfrog anything that is done by any other competitor."

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RE: Lets see real world performance
By Lord 666 on 11/21/2007 10:16:23 PM , Rating: 1
Was thinking the same thing about using a diesel generator instead. Typical GM thinking however using the gasser instead of using diesel. Even Neil Youngs biodiesel/hybrid project will get better mileage.

55mpg is not that uncommon, the OP might have a Insight or a VW TDI (I own TDI.) Even biodiesel conversions have been getting around 60mpg. The Mini Cooper D (UK) gets around 70mpg (imperial gallons).

Yes, there are very exciting things to come with diesel/hybrid cars.

RE: Lets see real world performance
By Hoser McMoose on 11/22/2007 12:38:19 PM , Rating: 2
55mpg is not that uncommon

In North America it is!

The North American VW TDI (1.9L 4 cylinder on the Jetta, Golf and Bug) gets 33mpg on the new EPA test or 38mpg on the old test. The Mini Cooper D doesn't exist on this side of the pond, only the gasoline version. The Insight is the only mass-produced car sold here that could manage 55mpg+ in recent times, and it's been discontinued.

Keep in mind that that we're talking about U.S. gallons and not imperial gallons (1 US gallon ~= 0.8 imperial gallons). Also remember that even the old EPA fuel economy test was more stringent than the U.K. rating system.

Getting 50 miles to the U.S. gallon is definitely NOT the norm here and while it might happen in Europe sometimes, I'd challenge anyone to find a mass-produced car anywhere in the world that gets that fuel economy off gasoline with a 160hp engine.

RE: Lets see real world performance
By Lord 666 on 11/22/2007 10:41:26 PM , Rating: 2
1. There is a whole world outside of the US, hope you are not just realizing that now. Typical American thinking! Just because the US doesn't offer it means it can't be done? My original post was to show 55mpg was not using some exotic experimental car but ones that were purchased off the shelf.

2. While I might come across as biased since I own a 06 TDI Jetta, all of VW TDIs are well recognized by actual owners for consistently achieving better than government tests for 2006. Our record with mostly highway driving is 54.3mpg and we average 44mpg combined since owning (23,000 in one year with 75% highway). That calculator on the website just takes the numbers and reduces them by an estimated percentage. Why would the government test a car in 2007 when it wasn't produced that year?

3. When the new VW TDIs come out, current road tests have shown them achieving 65mpg on the highway in the US.

By Hoser McMoose on 11/22/2007 11:00:58 PM , Rating: 2
There is a whole world outside of the US, hope you are not just realizing that now. Typical American thinking!

I'm well aware that there IS a world outside of the U.S. and in fact I'm not even American and have lived in Europe.

Of course better than 55mpg CAN be done, but these cars don't generally sell to North American customers, and that's who this Chevy Volt is going to be marketed towards. It doesn't matter that a Peugeot 106 diesel can get better mileage because the two are unlikely to even sell in the same country, let alone directly compete against one another.

RE: Lets see real world performance
By clovell on 11/23/2007 11:49:31 AM , Rating: 3
Last I heard GM was considering Hydrogen/Gasoline/Ethanol/Flex-Fuel/Diesel generators. That's the beauty of serial hybrids - they're much more modular in this respect than parallel hybrids.

"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs
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