Last Tuesday, the GM Volt team addressed the media to update them on the pre-production testing progress. The news coming out of it is mostly positive and it appears that GM and the Volt team are being very careful to set the expectations for the final production model. Understandably, GM wants the Volt to be a success and the truth be told, they need something to follow the Camaro.

The Volt can power itself on full electric power for 40 miles and then after that it switches to a standard gasoline powered engine to propel the vehicle. In response to a question about how often the engine would start for the average Volt owner, Andrew Farah responded by saying that he believes the engine will turn on a minimum of once a month with normal use. Now, for those of us that live in a colder climate the engine could run more often because the engine is designed to turn on to warm the batteries.

2011 chevy volt interior 011

2011 chevy volt interior 011

That said, this would be a big improvement over the current hybrids that have seen much success in the American market place over the last couple of years. If you can imagine being able to drive the first 40 miles everyday on battery power everyday and then run the rest (if needed) on a fuel efficient gasoline motor; the amount of fuel consumption reduction could be the equivalent to about a gallon a day. To put this in perspective, 40 miles a day on an electric charge is basically the equivalent to 15,000 miles per year new car lease mileage limit. In fact, it would mean that you would only drive 400 miles in one year on gasoline, providing you stick to only 40 miles a day.

Of course, life is never that predictable, but if GM and the Volt team are being forth coming (and I believe they are) then the Volt could very well be a revolutionary vehicle for the average American. Who wouldn’t want a four-door car that is similar in size to a Prius that could run with out Petrol most of the time? Sure makes the Smart ForTwo EV that we reported on earlier a much harder sell for the average consumer here in the States.

Bottom line—GM is showing signs of catching up in the race for innovation and has a formula for a real winner. The only question left is will the innovation make up for the area that has historically plagued GM since the late ‘70s—Quality.


[Source: GM Fastlane Blog]