GM commemorated its next 100 years today by unveiling the production version of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid and has released partial details.
Compared to the original Volt concept, the design of this production version was completely revamped in an effort to achieve GM's target driving range of up to 40 miles (based on EPA city cycle) without using gasoline or producing emissions. As a result, engineers developed one of the most aerodynamic vehicles in GM's history.
The Chevrolet Volt is powered by an electric drive unit that delivers the equivalent of 150 hp and 273 lb-ft. (370 Nm) of instant torque. Providing power to the electric drive unit is a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery. When the battery's energy is depleted, a gasoline/E85-powered engine generator supplies electricity to power the Volt's electric drive unit while simultaneously charging the lithium-ion battery. This cycle of operation extends the range of the Volt for several hundred additional miles, until the vehicle's battery can be charged. The Volt has a top speed of 100 miles per hour.
Judging by the photos, the Volt's interior seems to be a groundbreaking leap forward with features never seen before in a Chevrolet no less any other competitors in the segment. Such features include driver-configurable liquid crystal instrument display and a touch-sensitive infotainment center with integrated shifter. Other segment busting features include standard seven-inch touch screen vehicle information display, touch screen-style climate and infotainment controls, standard Bluetooth for cellular phone and USB/Bluetooth for music streaming and optional navigation system with onboard hard drive for maps and music storage.
The Chevrolet Volt is expected to be built at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck plant with production scheduled to begin late 2010 for models in the United States. No pricing has been announced.