GM Amps Up "Volt" Ahead Of Release
Called by some the most high tech American car ever made, General Motors' plug-in Chevy Volt is one step closer to hitting American roads. NY1's Adam Balkin filed the following report.
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Some might call it high expectations, some might call it hyperbole. Whatever it is there's a lot of it surrounding Chevy's plug-in hybrid Volt, rolling off assembly lines this week for eventual delivery to dealerships. Already garnering a few "Car of the Year" Awards before even making it to a single driveway, some are calling it the most important American-made car in recent years. Some, because of the economy, the state of the environment, and the state of the U.S. auto industry -- calling it the most important American-made car ever. General Motors is calling its latest creation a big step towards next generation, greener vehicles.
"This is the future of automobiles, electrification is where we're going," said Stephen Marlin of General Motors. "What this does is allow us to get over that hurdle of range anxiety and lack of infrastructure that's out there. The Volt is an extended range electric so what we're doing is you plug in the battery you charge it you can go up to 40 miles on that charge but if you need to go further for some reason we've got an on board what we call a range extender a generator that allows you to keep driving the vehicle just like you would your normal car until you can pull in and plug back in again to get electricity off the grid."
That range extending generator runs on gas and GM is hitting hard on that feature to help lure customers from Nissan's new Leaf vehicles which will go on sale around the same time -- plug-in onlys advertised to get 100 miles per charge giving it an EPA rating of 99 miles per gallon equivalency. Volts will get more than 300 miles on a charge and full tank of gas, getting a rating of 60 miles per gallon combined. As a comparison, Toyota Prius hybrids -- which are gas only -- are rated around 50 miles per gallon. The prices of all three before applicable tax credits -- the Volt; $41,000; the Leaf about $34,000; the Prius about $22,000.
"The Chevrolet Volt is definitely a technological advance and it's definitely the most important car General Motors has built since it went through it's troubled times," said Jeff Bartlett of Consumer Reports. "The one advantage to the Volt is the idea that it is a plug-in. Well the competition is working on that too."
The Volt officially goes on sale in December, though pre-orders began this summer. Initially they're only available in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Texas, Washington, D.C., and Michigan.