General Motors today introduced its much-hyped 2011 Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle in front of more than 150 auto reviewers and journalists, establishing an entirely new segment in the global automotive market.
The five-door, four-passenger Chevrolet Volt is designed to provide the benefits of an electric vehicle without the range limitations associated with other electric vehicles in the market.
Designed, engineered, built and delivered to customers in 29 months, the Volt will go on sale at Chevrolet dealers before the end of 2010. It is offered in one very well-equipped standard trim level, along with two option packages: a Premium Trim Package and a Rear Camera and Park Assist Package.
The Chevy Volt goes on sale in November with a sticker price of $41,000 (including a $720 destination charge). Including the $7,500 federal tax credit for which the 2011 Chevrolet Volt will be fully eligible, the consumer’s after-tax net value of the vehicle will be $33.500. Additionally, there is an array of state and local incentives that may further defray the costs and increase the benefits of owning and charging a Chevrolet Volt – such as a $5,000 statewide tax rebate in California; a $5,000 tax credit in Georgia; a $1,500 tax credit in Oregon; a $2.500 tax rebate in Tennessee and carpool-lane access in some states, including California.
GM will also offer leasing option for the Chevrolet Volt available on a 36-month term which will set you back $350/month with an initial payment of $2,500. That’s just $1 a month more than Nissan will charge for its Leaf electric car.
The Chevrolet Volt will go on sale later this year in California, Washington, D.C., Austin, Texas, and around New York City. Additional Volts will go on sale next year in Michigan, New Jersey, Connecticut and the rest of New York and Texas.
”The Chevrolet Volt is not a hybrid. It is a one-of-a-kind, all-electrically driven vehicle designed and engineered to operate in all climates,” says GM.
Chevrolet Volt is powered by GM’s Voltec propulsion system which consists of a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and electric drive unit. Last year Chevrolet said the Volt should be able to stay in all-electric mode for the first 40 miles of travel — a range that covers most of the trips the typical driver makes in the course of a day. Now those figures have been revised to a 25- to 50-mile all-electric range, depending on driving conditions and driver behavior.
A 1.4L gasoline-powered engine extends the range up to an additional 310 miles on a full tank of fuel by operating the vehicle’s electric drive system until the car can be plugged in and recharged or refueled. This distinguishes the Volt from electric-only vehicles, which cannot be operated when recharging is not immediately available – such as during a power interruption or on a long-distance trip.
Every major element of the Volt was designed and analyzed for efficiency, including its highly aerodynamic exterior, lightweight wheels, specially designed tires, energy-saving premium stereo system, and more. This attention to detail makes the Volt one of the most aerodynamic and energy-efficient vehicles in the market.
The Volt redefines electric drive
The heart of the Chevrolet Volt is its Voltec propulsion system, which combines pure electric drive and an efficient, range-extending engine, giving to the Volt up to 350 total miles of range.
The Volt’s long-life battery consists of a 5.5-foot, 435-pound (198.1 kg) T-shaped, 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack manufactured in Brownstown Township, Mich. It supplies energy to an advanced, 111-kW (149-hp) electric drive unit to propel the vehicle. Using only the energy stored in the battery, the Volt delivers between 25 and 50 miles of fuel- and tailpipe emissions-free electric driving, depending on terrain, driving techniques and temperature.
The Volt battery is designed to deliver value, safety, quality, performance, durability and reliability. It is covered by an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty. Since 2007, GM engineers have completed more than one million miles and four million hours of validation testing of Volt battery packs, as well as each pack’s nine modules and 288 prismatic cells. The development, validation and test teams have met thousands of specifications and validated each of the Volt battery’s 161 components, 95 percent of which GM designed and engineered.
When the battery energy is depleted, the Volt seamlessly transitions to extended-range mode. Power is inverted from a technically advanced, 1.4L 63-kW (84-hp) gasoline-powered onboard engine to the electric drive unit to provide up to 310 additional miles of range.
The Volt proves electric driving can be spirited. Not only does the Volt reach a top speed of 100 mph, the electric drive unit’s excellent low speed torque of 273 lb.-ft. (368 Nm) takes it from 0 to 60 mph in less than 9.0 seconds and the quarter mile in less than 17.0 seconds.
Charging the Volt’s battery is simple and intuitive, and can be done through 120V conventional household electrical outlets, or through a dedicated 240V charging station. The vehicle is completely rechargeable in about four hours using a 240V outlet and 10 to 12 hours in a 120V outlet. Once the vehicle is plugged in, owners can schedule either immediate or delayed charges, even coordinating charging according to departure time or when electricity rates are lower. Owners also can manage and monitor the Volt remotely via computer on MyVolt.com; or an exclusive smart phone application, Chevrolet Mobile App powered by OnStar MyLink.
The Volt is designed and refined to impress
The Chevrolet Volt’s bold, sleek, performance-oriented stance conveys its electrically driven capabilities, and looks like an upscale, midsize sport sedan. This is made possible by its wide front and rear tracks (61.2 / 62.1 inches [1556 / 1578 mm]), 105.7-inch (2685 mm) wheelbase, wheels-out stance, sculpted belt line and premium execution.
Working closely with aerodynamicists in GM’s own wind tunnel to shape the Volt, design and engineering teams developed the most aerodynamic vehicle in Chevrolet’s history. By reducing the energy needed to overcome air resistance, Volt aerodynamicists contributed an estimated eight miles of electric range, and 50 miles of extended range.
The Volt’s rounded and flush front fascia, tapered corners and grille enable air to move easily around the car to reduce drag. In the rear, sharp edges and a carefully designed spoiler control air flow. An aggressive rake on the windshield and back glass also helps reduce turbulence and drag.
Inside and out, element-to-element gap and flush relationships are as good or better than any in the segment. Even the underhood compartment is not overlooked: All components are held to a high standard of appearance that harmonizes with the rest of the car, using similarly grained surfaces and colors.
The distinctive, gloss black rear liftgate appliqué carries the Chevrolet bowtie and one of two Volt insignias; the other is found on the forward quarter panel. Six exterior colors are offered on the Volt, including Viridian Joule Tricoat, the winning name chosen in a national contest held last year. The others are Silver Ice Metallic, Black and Cyber Gray Metallic, Crystal Red Metallic Tintcoat and White Diamond Tricoat.
Inside, the Volt offers the space, comfort, convenience and safety features that customers expect in a premium five-door sedan – including storage compartments and 40/40 rear-folding seats. It also delivers them in a variety of interior color, lighting and trim options unlike any offered before on a Chevrolet sedan, but with Chevrolet’s signature dual cockpit design.
Two, seven-inch, high-resolution full-color screens are featured: One is a reconfigurable graphic cluster display and the other, in the center stack, features a touch screen display, touch-control switches and integrated shifter.
The graphics in the instrument panel and door inserts are repeated in the premium cloth or available leather-appointed seats. Bright silver appointments appear around the door switches, center cup holders, door pulls, centerstack switches and climate control outlets. Standard infotainment features include:
– Navigation radio with 60-GB (30 GB for music storage) hard disc drive, AM/FM/DVD-Rom/MP3 playback capability, voice recognition, Radio Data System, Bluetooth and pause-and-play radio functions
– XM Satellite Radio with XM NavTraffic/Weather, one of the industry’s most advanced, real-time information systems
– Premium, energy-saving Bose audio system with six speakers and subwoofer
– Five years of OnStar Directions and Connections service.
In addition to enhancing safety and solidity, the Volt’s stiff structure accommodates features that help to isolate engine and wind noise for a whisper-quiet cabin.
Volt owners receive outstanding battery and vehicle limited warranty coverage. In addition to the eight-year/100,000-mile limited warranty on the Volt’s 16-kWh lithium-ion battery, Chevrolet will provide:
– Three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper coverage- Five-year/100,000-mile roadside assistance and courtesy transportation
– Five-year/100,000-mile limited gas engine coverage Six-year/100,000-mile corrosion protection coverage.[wzslider height=”400″ lightbox=”true”]