General Motors released significant details today about its new Chevrolet Volt Hybrid which will enter showrooms in North America in late 2010 as a 2011 model. From the news release, GM's new Volt will have technical design features that should appeal to many motorists. The Chevrolet Volt is a 5-door 4-seat car and can travel up to 40 miles (60 km) entirely on its rechargeable 16-kWh lithium ion battery. GM says the Volt is recharged in as little as 3 hours (using a 240 V outlet), which costs approximately $1.50 per charge at today's electricity rates.
GM engineers have developed a very aerodynamic profile for the new Volt, which has contributed to its extended all-battery range. Once the battery discharges to a low energy state (after 40 miles), the Volt's gasoline engine, which acts as a generator, provides extended driving range by both charging the battery, and providing electric output power. What is exceptional about this concept is that many people will be able to drive the Volt entirely on battery power for daily commutes of less than 40 miles (60 km), and the car produces zero emissions in this mode.
The Chevy Volt has a top speed of 100 mph (160 km/h) and is powered by a 150 hp (111 kW) electric motor with available torque of 273 ft-lb (370 Nm). The Volt's battery is made up of 220 lithium-ion cells and the battery is monitored and charged using a 7-inch touch screen display on the driver console. Based on current electricity versus gasoline prices, GM estimates that the new Chevrolet Volt will operate on one sixth the energy costs of a conventional gasoline car, when driven entirely on the home charged battery power.
On the road, GM has specified low rolling resistance 17 inch tires on forged aluminium rims. GM may also want to consider offering an ultra efficient Volt that is a significantly reduced weight version of the car with limited options and even higher aerodynamics and narrow tires with flush wheel covers.
The Volt is scheduled for manufacture at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant in the United States, subject to final negotiations. Its dimensions are 14ft 9in (4404 mm) long, 5ft 11in (1798 mm) wide, and 4ft 8in (1430 mm) high. It has 4-wheel disc brakes, regenerative braking for charging, power-assist steering, front independent McPherson strut suspension, and a compound crank twist axle in the rear.