General Motors has revealed the production version of the anticipated Chevrolet Volt electric car as part of its centennial celebrations.
Signalling the start of GM's next 100 years, Volt in production form will be an extended range electric vehicle with its lithium ion battery promising to provide hundreds of kilometres of travel.
“Revealing the production version of the Chevy Volt is a great way to open our second century,” said Rick Wagoner, GM chairman and CEO.
“The Volt is symbolic of GM’s strong commitment to the future … just the kind of technology innovation that our industry needs to respond to today’s and tomorrow’s energy and environmental challenges.”
Derived from the concept first introduced at the 2007 Detroit Motor Show, many of the design cues have been carried across to the production vehicle, including the closed grille, rear graphics and exterior mirrors.
And much time has been spent by GM's aerodynamicists, along with design and engineering teams to ensure this is one of the most aerodynamic vehicles to come from GM yet.
According to the manufacturer, countless hours were spent in GM's wind tunnel and aerodynamic tweaks allow Volt to travel for up to 40 miles (or 64 km) without using petrol or producing emissions.
GM claims this car leads a "new era of electrification by creating a new class known as the extended-range electric vehicle, or E-REV."
Volt uses electricity in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery for trips up to 64 km and when the battery's energy is depleted, a petrol-powered engine generator kicks in.
This also charges the battery and can extend the range for hundreds of kilometres until the battery can be charged at a standard household power supply.
GM assures charging the Volt about once a day - charge times vary on whether the battery has been fully depleted or not - will consume less power annually than the average home's refrigerator.
The five-door, with seating for up to four occupants, will have a top speed of around 160 km/h.
Volt uses an independent McPherson strut suspension layout at the front and a compound crank twist axle rear. Brakes are fully regenerative to maximise energy efficiency.
The Chevy Volt is expected to be built at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck facility from late 2010 for introduction in the US.
GMSA has said there are no plans to bring the Volt to South Africa.