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A123 Battery employees drive the Volt

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Prototype of the Volt gets tryout
The Chevrolet Volt concept has hit the road -- in Massachusetts, at least
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By Justin Hyde | July 15, 2007 | Link to Original Article @ Detroit Free Press

David Vieau, the chief executive of battery maker A123 Systems, said during a congressional hearing Thursday that the company's employees recently had driven the Volt, General Motors Corp.'s attempt to regain an environmental mantle.

A123 is one of the companies developing lithium-ion batteries for the Volt, which is designed to travel up to 40 miles on electricity alone and up to 640 miles on 12 gallons of gasoline. GM has said the Volt could arrive in dealerships within the next five years, depending on how fast the technology develops.

GM spokesman Brian Corbett said the Volts driven by A123 and others are rough prototypes, similar to concept cars. The next generation of Volt prototypes, which will closely mimic a production model, aren't expected until later this year or early next year.


Yesterday, the Sentate Finance Committee, subcomittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure heard testimony from some of of the leading people of the electric car/ Chevy Volt movement. These included David Vieau of A123 systems and Martin Eberhard of Tesla Motors.

The main thrust of the testimony was to persuade the committee to continue to give grants and credits to automakers and battery makers to help them continue the inevitable drive towards electric vehicle adoption. Also on the agenda was to support continuing tax credits for consumers who choose to purchase these cars. David Vieau specifically mentioned the cost of $10,000 for the 40 mile Volt battery pack, the prototype of which can be currently installed into Prius’s.

Tax credits remain an important tool in promoting widespread consumer adoption of electric cars, considering their increased cost. They will also help allay certain fears people have about these cars, such as catching fire, EMF’s, etc. Whenever a new technology arises, fear is a common reaction of the population.

All of the transcripts from the meeting can be read in their entirety here.

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