The three-year drumbeat of anticipation for the 2011 Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car has just gotten slightly louder.
General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre announced yesterday that the car will arrive at selected Chevy dealers in October, a month earlier than expected. The first pre-production Volt was built on March 31.
2011 Chevrolet Volt pre-production prototype, January 2010
Edward E. 'Ed' Whitacre, Jr.
He gave the new date during a press conference in which he also announced that GM's Detroit-Hamtramck plant, where the 2011 Volt will be built, will be retooled to produce the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu. That is the next generation of Chevy's high-volume midsize sedan.
Whitacre also announced that GM would pay back the last of its government loans ahead of schedule.
While the new Volt date wasn't contained in the company's press release, it was reported by several media outlets. The 2011 Volt will be rolled out regionally over more than a year, with the first cars appearing in certain California, Detroit, and Northeastern markets.
GM will build approximately 8,000 Volts in the first year of production, and up to 60,000 in the car's second year. It is GM's first electric car since the late lamented EV1.
The 2011 Volt will provide up to 40 miles of all-electric range from a 16-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, plus an additional 300 miles by switching on its 1.4-liter gasoline engine.
That "range extender" turns a generator to provide electric power to the drive wheels; it does not drive the wheels mechanically, unlike hybrid cars with added plug-in capability, like the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid.