Anxiously awaited for almost 2 years, the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt is viewed the most technologically-extreme vehicle an American automaker have crafted. A four-door compact sedan, the Volt displays an unique powertrain allowing an electric motor to drive the car for the first 40 miles before a gasoline engine takes over. Producing the equivalent of 230 miles per gallon city through EPA tests, only major problem with the Chevrolet Volt is how the revolutionary plug-in hybrid is taking its sweet time in becoming available to the public.
As pre-production examples of the sedan has been rolling across North America, the individuals behind the wheel were limited largely to press members and company dignitaries. With production of the Chevrolet Volt planned for the end of 2010, the general automotive driving public is left electrified by the fuel-saving capabilities since the concept was shown in 2007. Making for what is possibly one of the longest publicity teases for a new American car, some Volt seekers are becoming antsy about the continuing wait. With one unofficial website (gm-volt.com) recording 50,000 people expressing interest in the Chevrolet Volt, automotive crowds could be in danger of losing charge for the new car.
Realizing that many media outlets were advertising the Chevrolet Volt as the car that would save General Motors, the auto company heavily leveraged the Chevrolet Volt heavily in their attempt to restructure starting in 2008. It’s advanced powertrain and concern for fuel efficiency made General Motors look meaningful to the future of motoring. In fact, after the public relations nightmare the Detroit 3 automakers created when they each took private jets in soliciting the U.S. federal government for financial aid, GM then-president Rick Wagoner used the Volt to spin the company’s overall publicity driving it into Washington D.C. for the following meeting.
Still promoting the Volt through testing across the United States, including intense driving through an Arizona proving grounds, one thing that appears apparent is that General Motors vehicle preparation for late this year is quite extensive. Considering the stakes and GM’s past track record in pioneering technology (cylinder deactivation in the 1980s and night-vision in the 2000s being among the examples), we will have to forgive the seemingly long wait. With production tooling at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant installed, project engineers are currently hardening the Volt’s assembly and reliability. The 2011 Chevrolet Volt’s dependence on electronics has led special attention be paid to software and technology aspects of the plug-in hybrid sedan.
If the wait for some this vehicle is beginning to weigh too heavily for anxious drivers, there might be a way to indulge in a virtual test drive of a Chevrolet Volt this fall. The Xbox 360 and General Motors has just announced partnering a driving simulation with the new controller-free Kinect device. Within the Kinect Joy Ride, the Kinect device will interpret body motion to grant the feeling of driving the super-efficient vehicle. Even though the Kinect device will not be available until shortly before the release of the real Chevy Volt, the virtual version of the hot electric/gasoline car might still provide the first real opportunity for us to drive the Volt.
Information and Image source: General Motors