While the big story at this year's LA auto show was definitely the advances in fuel cell technology, there was also some good news regarding the development of the Chevy Volt Electric Vehicle. I got to talk a bit with the head of GM's battery systems as well as the vehicle line manager for the Volt, as well as Bob Lutz, who's like a superstar in the car world...and is apparently madly in love with the Volt.
Of course, I am also madly in love with the Volt...I love the idea. Basically it's an electric car for 90% of the trips most people take (less than 40 miles) and then when you need to get out of town for the weekend, a gasoline generator kicks on to recharge the batteries.
So here's the main news about the Volt:
- Apparently GM was sorely disappointed when they put the concept design in the wind tunnel. Bob Lutz joked that it probably would have been more aerodynamic if they'd put it in backwards. So we should expect the production design to be "slipperier."
- Speaking of design, there's a team of 25 interior and exterior designers working on the look and features of the production Volt.
- Lutz confirmed that they expect the first Volts to go on sale in November of 2010...and they will be called "The 2011 Chevrolet Volt."
- The first Volt battery has been delivered and it is up to specifications.
- I joked with the vehicle line manager of the Volt that the battery might currently cost more than the projected cost of the production version of the car...he said that they weren't that expensive. Which is more than we've gotten out of them before.
- GM is planning on hollowing out a few Chevy Malibus and putting the Volt E-Flex system inside of them to test out the system (before the final production design is finished.)
- They expect to have Volt mockups running on the road in the first quarter of 2008. Which is remarkably fast since that's pretty much exactly one year after they announced that they were hoping to make the things,
- Bob Lutz changed his estimate that they would go ahead with the Volt from 90% to "absolutely committed." So it looks like we'll be seeing a "range extended electric vehicle" on the road wonderfully soon.
So stop buying cars now, everyone...if you have a garage and electricity, E-Flex will save you money, keep you green, and make you the envy of all your neighbors. It's time to wait for the next big thing...and I'm pretty sure the Volt is it.
EcoGeek's coverage of the LA Auto Show was underwritten by the General Motors Company, which, we agree, is very strange since we say some fairly mean things about them with some regularity. The only condition of their assistance (travel and lodging) is that I disclose it, which, of course, I would have done anyway.
written by Biodieselmama, November 16, 2007
written by Richard, November 19, 2007
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