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2011 Chevy Volt Could be Big Jolt for GM

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On: Mon, May 24, 2010 at 10:28AM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

2011 Chevy Volt Could be Big Jolt for GM

The latest innovation from GM, as they try to break into the growing world of electric cars, is their newest vehicle: the 2011 Chevy Volt electric car. When it becomes available in November, this vehicle will actually have much to offer to the world of eco-friendly and earth-conscious car drivers the world afar, and for many good reasons too. For one, the car uses a different, newer and very intuitive type of design in the way that their engine actually runs. The electric battery that is housed in the car offers up to 40 miles on a single charge, and according to Chevy (on their website),— it can be easily recharged overnight. If you are running around town and you find that your electrical charge is about to expire, Chevy has that base covered as well.

According to their website, “Volt uses a range-extending gas generator that produces enough energy to power it for hundreds of miles on a single tank of gas.” The Volt's expected total range on one tank of gas is more than 300 miles, according to GM.

There are some similarities here between the Volt’s electric engine and the engines of other rival carmakers, in the sense that they all work in the same manner. The Volt, like other electric cars, uses a battery you can plug in and charge, as well as an onboard engine that uses a minimal amount of gas to recharge the electric cells so you can keep driving (if your electric cell runs out of juice in the process). So unlike other General Motors electric cars that were made back in the day–like the EV1 (which they made from 1996-99, and that you could only lease, not buy, and that you could only get about 60 or so miles of driving on per charge)–this car you can actually purchase, and the engine is a hybrid, not relying upon only an electrical charge.

Steve Prucnell, a member of the team that designs new cars for GM, thinks that the Volt could really be the car–or green innovation–that helps the struggling automaker climb back out of the dire financial trenches they are in. The way he sees it: perhaps this car is the last do-all, or the fall for the carmaker.

In an interview with ABC News, Prucnell puts his views on the Volt and the future of GM into perspective. “If this doesn't fly, what's left for GM?” he asks, his 6-foot-6 frame hunched in a chair in the union hall near the GM Tech Center. “Wall Street is going to say, 'We knew they couldn't dig themselves out of the hole.' ”

Prucnell also asserts there will be much hubbub about the Volt in the year to come: “We know the Volt is the last hurrah for GM. It’s either do or die.”

Perhaps the time for a brand new electric car from GM is well overdue. And perhaps the announcement of this new and pretty sleek-look line of cars could not come at a better time from the automaker. It really does seem like they are staking a big part of the company’s future on the success of the Volt.

According to Mike Smith (who heads the Reuther Library), the Volt is very important to GM’s Future. In an ABC interview he said, “The Volt has to really become the king of the mountain for GM. If you're going to have an electric car and if the Volt turns out to be the leader of the pack, think what that means in sales, prestige, in reputation.”

Smith concludes that the Volt is going to the maker or the breaker for General Motors’ future, “This one is symbolic in the sense that it's going to speak to the prowess of the American auto industry — and GM itself.

Smith adds, “The Volt is going to be the most watched production in the history of autos.”

But perhaps Teri Quigley, the manager of the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, offers the final words of inspiration in the same ABC News article, as to the importance of the success of the Volt to GM’s future. “We have to execute flawlessly,” she (Quigley) says. “A lot of pressure? Yeah. ... We've got one chance to do this right. My work force has heard me say this more than once: The world is really going to be watching.”

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