The Chevrolet Volt
is the first vehicle of GM's second century. That's how GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner presented it, anyway, at a 100th birthday celebration the automaker was throwing for itself. The highly anticipated unveiling of the production Volt revealed a car that's not styled as aggressively as the concept version, but one the company says lives up to the original promise of delivering 40 miles of range on electricity alone. Describing it as an Extended-Range Electric Vehicle, or E-REV, the Volt features 220 lithium-ion cells that can be fully charged in eight hours with a standard 120-volt outlet or three hours using a 240-volt outlet, at a cost of about 80 cents, according to GM. When the battery's energy is depleted, a gasoline-powered generator simultaneously powers the drive unit and charges the battery, extending range by "several hundred" miles. With the help of an equivalent 150 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of instant torque, GM claims the Volt will reach a top speed of 100 miles per hour. Pending "satisfactory government incentives," production is scheduled to begin late 2010.