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General Motors recently celebrated its 100th anniversary by unveiling the much-anticipated production model of the Chevrolet Volt. An eager audience made up of journalists and enthusiasts alike was stunned as GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz drove on stage in the Volt, introducing the redesigned production model to the world.
The Chevrolet Volt is a front-wheel drive, four-passenger Extended-Range Electric Vehicle whose primary source of energy is electricity. Gasoline is only used as a secondary source.
In Electric mode, the Volt uses no gasoline and produces zero tailpipe emissions. For trips of up to 65 km, the Volt is powered only by electricity in its 16-kWh, lithium-ion battery.
The Volt won't leave you stranded
When the battery's energy is low, a gasoline/E85-powered engine generator seamlessly provides electricity to power the Volt's electric drive unit while simultaneously sustaining the charge of the battery. This mode of operation extends the range of the Volt for several hundred additional kilometres, until the vehicle's battery can be charged.
Unlike a conventional battery-electric vehicle, the Volt eliminates "range anxiety," giving the confidence and peace of mind that the driver will not be stranded by a depleted battery.
Plug it in
The Volt's specially designed power cord can be used in a standard household 120V outlet or by using a 240V power supply. The Volt also has an intelligent charging technology that enables the battery to be charged in less than three hours when using 240V or in approximately eight hours when using a dedicated 120V outlet. Of course, charge times are significantly reduced if the battery isn't fully depleted.
And if that wasn't enough...
During both modes of operation, energy is captured during braking, converted into electricity and then stored in the battery. This process is called regenerative braking, which considerably adds to the efficiency of the vehicle.
New and improved
Because aerodynamics plays a key role in maximizing driving range, GM designers had to create a more aerodynamically efficient design for the production model. Working closely with GM scientists, designers and engineers spent hundreds of hours with the Volt in GM's wind tunnel, testing parts such as the front and rear quarter panels, rear spoiler, rockers and side mirrors.
The Volt now has tapered corners and a tapered grille that enable air to move easily around the car. In the rear, sharp edges allow the air to flow away quickly and an aggressive rake on the windshield and back glass helps improve the vehicle's aerodynamics.
The age of electric
Today, the Volt is leading a new era of electrification of the automobile by creating a new class known as the Extended-Range Electric Vehicle, or E-REV. Its remarkably quiet interior, ample power and surprising performance also mean that the Volt is leading the way in how vehicles are designed, built, and driven.
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