The 2010 Chevrolet Volt Unveiled

General Motors Corp, the world’s largest automaker, has recently unveiled the production version of the Chevrolet Volt, thus creating a new class of vehicles dubbed Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (E-REV). Unlike many other hybrid cars, the Chevy Volt uses electricity to move the wheels at all times and speeds. With a 40-mile battery range, a gasoline/E85-powered engine generator which provides electricity to power the vehicle’s electric drive unit and a top speed of 100mph, Chevrolet Volt might represents the beginning of a new era of automobile electrification.

The Chevrolet Volt was first introduced as a concept car at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The production model that has recently been unveiled, however, has a different design. The reason stated by the company is that a more aerodynamically efficient design was required. Still, parts of the original design can be found in the production model, including the closed front grille, rear design graphics, and outside rearview mirrors.

The car is powered by its 16-kWh, lithium-ion battery, which is sufficient for trips up to 40 miles. The car’s electric drive unit delivers the equivalent of 150 horsepower, 273 lb-ft. (370 Nm) of instant torque, and a top speed of 100 miles per hour. Once the battery’s energy is depleted, the car can still go for several hundred additional miles using the gasoline/E85-powered engine generator which sustains the battery’s charge.

The Chevrolet Volt can be charged by plugging it into a standard household 120v outlet, which will take about eight hours for a full charge, or by plugging it into a 240v outlet, which will shorten the charging time to three hours.

“At a cost of about 80 cents per day (10 cents per kWh) for a full charge that will deliver up to 40 miles of electric driving, the Volt will be less expensive to recharge than purchasing a cup of your favorite coffee. Charging the Volt about once daily will consume less electric energy annually than the average home’s refrigerator and freezer units,” estimates GM.

The car is suited for (only) four passengers and features two informational displays, and a touch-sensitive infotainment center with integrated shifter. In addition, the Chevy Volt features an optional navigation system with onboard hard drive for maps and music storage.

The much-anticipated new Chevrolet Volt’s production is scheduled to begin late 2010 for models in the United States. The car’s pricing has not been published yet but is expected to be significantly higher than the current price of the Toyota Prius (around $22,000 for the new 2009 version), but in the meantime, a few teasing videos can be found here.

TFOT covered several electric vehicles, including the Tesla Roadster, a fully electric sports car capable of going from 0 to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds, TH!NK Ox – a five-seater, fully electric car capable of accelerating from 0 to 100km/hr in less than 8.5 seconds, and Milner Motors’ 4-door, 4-seat, 4-wheel, plug-in hybrid ElectriCar.

More information about Chevrolet Volt can be found in the official press release.

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