Chevrolet Volt

More photos and details of the new Chevrolet Volt have been revealed and this time there are also photos of the interior, and no GM staff blocking our views of the new production hybrid car by General Motors. The Volt was unveiled on GM’s 100th anniversary.

Unlike other hybrid vehicles which use either the petrol or electric engine to move the car, or some hybrids like Honda’s IMA which uses the petrol all the time with no electric-only mode and uses the electric motor only for assist, the Chevrolet Volt runs on the electric motor at all times. The electric motor produces 150 horsepower and 370Nm of torque and gets power from a 16-kWh lithium ion battery (220 lithium ion cells) which is recharged via brake energy regeneration or the internal combustion engine.

The combustion engine (powered by gasoline or E85) only kicks in to charge the battery and because that is its only function it can be tuned to be extremely efficient at this, working best only at a certain RPM range required to drive a dynamo and charge the battery. GM calls this type of hybrid an E-REV or Extended-Range Electric Vehicle.

When you are parked at home, the battery can also be charged via a standard household plug with 120V (8 hours) or 240V (less than 3 hours) output. Charging times are of course less if the battery has not been fully depleted. Based on American electricity tariffs at time of publishing, the Volt uses 80 US cents per day (or 10 US cents per kWh) to charge up for 65km per day of driving. According to GM, running a Chevrolet Volt and charging it daily will use less electricity annually than an average home’s refrigerator and freezer.

Chevrolet Volt

The interior features an LCD instrument display and a 7 inch touch screen vehicle information display. All climate and entertainment controls are also touch screen-style with an optional nav system that can use the onboard hard drive for map in additional to music storage, so the Volt’s interior matches its “futuristic” powertrain.

Lastly, here are some figures. The Volt’s wheelbase at 2,685mm is slightly shorter than the Mitsubishi Lancer and Honda Civic at 2,700m. It’s 4404mm long, 1798mm wide and 1430mm tall. It has a 301 litre boot. It rides on 17 inch forged aluminium wheels which are wrapped with specially developed low rolling resistance tyres.

If you think the Volt will mark a turn in GM’s financial records for the next 100 years, think again. GM’s COO Fritz Henderson said that GM is likely to lose money with every Chevrolet Volt sold. In fact, according to Henderson he’s never seen a situation where GM made money with a “generation 1 technology”. GM’s vice chairman Bob Lutz says there is still hope for profit as a huge conservative chunk of figures have been attributed to battery warranty claim costs and if there are not many claims the project could turn a profit.

The Volt will only go on sale in November 2010 (and China in 2011) but 100 production Volts will be built in 2009 for internal test fleets and media test drives. The Chevrolet Volt will be built on the same platform as the upcoming Chevrolet Cruze.