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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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By Alexstarfire on 11/22/2007 4:31:41 PM , Rating: 2
It may be true that no production car is EPA rated at 55 MPG, except maybe the Insight, but I haven't looked at the new rating for that vehicle. What you need to realize though is that while the new EPA tests are more rigorous to match what drivers actually get, that's not how someone should drive to begin with. I'm sorry that my old model Prius, 2002 model, can beat the old EPA ratings on the new Prius, 60 MPG, but it can. 55 MPG may be pretty uncommon in general, but with the Prius and Insight it's pretty average unless you drive like the new EPA tests. I've seen mileage as low at 35 MPG in a Prius, not mine, but I've also seen over 90 on a Prius, lifetime average. I'm sure, more like hoping, that at least some of you have seen the world records for the highest MPG in a production car. They've driven an Insight over 2000 miles in one tank of gas and the world record for MPG is like over 150 MPG on a non-modified mass produced vehicle.

The numbers I get are only uncommon for those who drive like dumbasses and race to red light. If patience is a virtue then less than 1% of the American drivers have it.


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