Street Seen: Chevrolet Volt Makes First Pre-Production Appearance

The financial travails of its parent company notwithstanding, Chevrolet continues to push on and move ahead in the development of its new Volt Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (E-REV). The first pre-production variant of this sleek, plug-in four-door made its formal public debut this week on the roads surrounding its point of origin: GM's Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. Completed a week ahead of schedule, Integration Vehicle Engineering Release No. 1 received its initial shakedown run courtesy of Andrew Farah, chief engineer on the $1 billion Volt program. Farah chronicled his experience on GM's FastLane blog, which also contains a short video of the car in action.

According to Farah, this otherwise uneventful outing did disclose a number of areas that need to be fine-tuned prior to signing off on a final production spec, but nothing beyond the kind of normal refinement tweaks that would expect at this stage of the evolutionary process. It also revealed that basic black is a very becoming color for a car GM is positioning as the technical halo for its move towards producing legions of smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles in the decades ahead. Farah confirmed that the team at the Tech Center is now turning out several pre-production Volts a week with the goal of having about 80 completed by October. Most of those will be used to further develop and refine its sophisticated software and controls, while some are destined to serve as mules for chassis dynamics and several will be sacrificed in requisite crash and structural integrity testing. Earlier this month, GM again reconfirmed that the Volt -- which is designed to travel up to 40 miles on battery power alone before having its range-extender gasoline engine kick in -- will go on sale here in November 2010.

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