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Volt's Daddy Speaks

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Edmunds Snippets:

DETROIT — Saying "we don't want to rush" the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle concept into production, the vehicle's chief engineer took to the Internet over the weekend for a progress report.

The report, which ran on the GM FastLane blog and YouTube, was noteworthy for how little it revealed, such as where the Volt will be built, how much it will cost and whether the car's electric system could be used on other vehicles, like the Corvette.

But Volt Vehicle Chief Engineer Nick Zielinski did drop some tantalizing tidbits, such as the fact that GM is considering installing a solar panel in the Volt to power fans or provide a small charge to the battery. "We can't use it to power the motor," he said. "The amount of energy for a solar cell is 75 watts, not enough to power the vehicle at 20-50 mph."

He noted that "a lot of people" have contacted GM to sign up for a test-drive of the Volt, but "we're not at a stage where we can do that." He also said the automaker is not ready to take deposits on a production version of the vehicle. Zielinski also was coy about when and where production of the Volt will take place, saying, "We do not assign assembly plants this early in a program." He assured viewers that "we will be building it," although he refused to "share timing targets." He did not reveal pricing information about the Volt, but said it may have a "slight premium" over unspecified competitive vehicles.

Zielinski said the Volt's system is "tailored more to compact and intermediate-size vehicles" and assured viewers that "we'll have other vehicles out there." But "you may not see a pickup truck with E-flex," he said. GM describes E-flex as a "family of propulsion systems."

Zielinski appeared to be speaking from a GM garage. He asked himself questions drawn from what was described as a list compiled from consumer questions on the FastLane blog and then answered them. The Volt concept can drive 40 miles on electricity alone, GM says. The vehicle has roughly the same dimensions as a Chevrolet Cobalt.

What this means to you: Still very few concrete details out there about the production Volt, but the good news is that the program appears to be alive and well.


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