This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

September 17, 2008

GM Celebrates its 100 Birthday by Unveiling the Chevrolet Volt

Photo of the Chevy Volt, a four-door sedan with a steeply raked windshield that blends into a black roof, which continues to the car's tail end. The car has narrow, squinty headlights, unusual L-shaped fog and turn lights in front, and a closed grill.

General Motors Corporation unveiled the production version of the Chevrolet Volt on September 16.
Credit: © GM Corp.

General Motors Corporation (GM) reached its 100-year anniversary on September 16, and as a sign of changes coming to the automotive industry, the company unveiled the production version of its plug-in hybrid vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt. GM took design cues from its muscular concept vehicle in its creation of the Chevy Volt, but the pursuit of aerodynamic efficiency for the highest fuel economy led to a softer, more rounded shape for the production vehicle. According to GM, the company has created one if its most aerodynamic vehicles ever in order to achieve its goal of traveling up to 40 miles without using gasoline or producing emissions. For longer drives, a flex-fuel engine will burn gasoline or E85 (a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline) to drive a generator that will recharge the battery.

The Chevy Volt will feature a lithium-ion battery pack consisting of 220 battery cells that can store 16 kilowatt-hours of electricity. The battery will provide power to a 111-kilowatt electrical drive unit that will produce 150 horsepower and 273 foot-pounds of torque, allowing the Volt to reach a maximum speed of 100 miles per hour. The vehicle can be recharged in about 8 hours using a standard 120-volt outlet or in less than 3 hours using a 240-volt outlet, the type commonly used for electric dryers or ovens. GM estimates that the Chevy Volt will cost about 2 cents per mile to run in electric mode, while even a 60-mile-per-gallon hybrid fueled with gasoline at $4 per gallon will cost about 6.7 cents per mile. GM expects to build the Volt in Detroit, Michigan, beginning in late 2010, but it has not yet determined a price for the vehicle. See the GM press release and the story and related videos on the GM Next Web site.