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GM confirms Volt date

GM banks on Volt: Holden has promised to sell its version of the Volt in 2012.

GM to commence production of US versions of its vital Volt in less than 12 months

Holden logo23 Nov 2009

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

GENERAL Motors will commence Volt production in the United States in less than 12 months, according to a company release designed to quash speculation that the extended range electric vehicle is running well behind schedule.

The November 2010 start-up date announcement for the Model Year 2011 Chevrolet Volt is the latest in a series of extraordinary updates that have charted its development since the project was announced at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Last Friday (November 20) GM revealed that 80 pre-production prototypes have been built, with around 400,000km of testing conducted, including in the extreme heat of Death Valley, California and the extreme altitude of Pike’s Peak, Colorado. Many aspects of the car have undergone 24/7 testing regimes.

GM went on to reveal that it has carried out “rigorous durability” experiments to ascertain the Volt’s structural properties on rough road surfaces corrosion tests for seaside markets have been undertaken and a series of crash tests have unearthed the behavioural elements of a 200kg-plus battery pack within the car’s structure.

Aspects of the battery pack’s cell life cycling, cell crushing and cell over-charging have all been tested while its module thermal stress and corrosion properties have also come under the microscope.

Developed in conjunction with LG Chem, Compact Power Inc has made about 300 examples of the Volt’s lithium-ion battery pack so far, while GM’s Global Battery Systems laboratory has accumulated over 500,000km of customer use data to date.

The press release also stated that GM has reached another milestone in its stride towards getting the Volt to production-ready status, with pilot vehicle manufacture on target for a March 2010 start-up deadline at the retooled and refurbished Detroit-Hamtramck assembly facility in Michigan.

The Brownstown Battery Assembly Plant in Detroit will also come online then.

"It's an important time for the Volt,” chief engineer Andrew Farahannounced.

“The next vehicles and batteries produced will be inside a regular GM production facility.

“We're on schedule to start regular production of the Chevrolet Volt almost exactly one year from now – late 2010. And we're on time because we are confident with the various program development tests we've been conducting this year.”

GM Holden is still on track to offer the Volt in Australia sometime in 2012, with a pricetag that it expected to be well in excess of $40,000 for the Cruze-sized five-door hatchback.

Whether Holden sources the Volt from the Detroit/Hamtramck facility remains to be seen.

GM revealed in March that it is considering building all European market versions of the Volt’s Opel/Vauxhall Ampera twin at the Ellesmere Port factory in England – which seems to be a more likely scenario for right-hand drive models.

The Volt is built on a specially modified version of the Cruze’s Delta II small-car platform. It also underpins the not-for-Australia 2010 Astra from Opel/Vauxhall.

Among the hurdles the Volt needs to clear are customer quality and satisfaction requirementss, noise-transmission issues, and the many various and complicated regulatory standards around the globe.

Getting the Li-Ion battery pack's weight down below 200kg is another goal, but one which will have to wait until the next-generation Volt appears later in the next decade,GM says it is confident that all remaining problems with the 2011 Volt - which it regards as no greater than those experienced by many all-new models prior to production - will be solved prior to Job One next November.

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