With its on-sale date barely a year away, a recent briefing by the tech team in charge of developing the Chevrolet Volt E-REV (Extended-Range Electric Vehicle) indicates that things are moving along at an impressive and very encouraging clip. Chief Engineer Andrew Farah confirmed that 80 pre-production vehicles have been built and over 250,000 evaluation miles have been run up on this groundbreaking plug-in hybrid that encompassed everything from hot testing in Death Valley to runs up Pikes Peak as well as a 65-percent calibration drive. Farah also said that Compact Power Inc. has manufactured all 300 of the battery packs and is more than satisfied with the performance of the LG-supplied component cells. "It's an important time for the Volt. The next vehicles and batteries produced will be inside a regular GM production facility." Assembly of the first Volt production units is set to start during the first quarter of next year at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck assembly facility. Battery packs will be sourced from the automaker's new Brownstown Battery Assembly Plant which is just south the city.
According to the Volt's Engineering Group Manager Bill Wallace, of the 50,000 cells now available, none have failed in any of the 150 tests that are performed to assess their projected life cycles as well as their resistance to crush forces and overcharging. Each of the Volt's three battery modules also are subjected to their own comprehensive evaluation regimens that assess their ability to withstand pressure, stress, and dynamic impacts while the individual battery packs undergo a barrage of 20 more demanding evaluations to determine everything from their corrosion and crash resistance to life cycle expectations. So far, everything has performed as designed in all of the tests. While final tweaking still needs to be done on the Volt itself -- including additional efforts to further reduce ambient noise levels in the passenger cabin -- the current overall state of development has the team confident the car will be fully sorted when it makes its debut, as promised, next November.