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Blake Noble

At Last: Behind the Wheel of Volt Test Mule

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At Last: Behind the Wheel of Volt Test Mule
Uncle Bob: "We are making history today."
BOB-2.jpgBOB-3.jpg
Link to original Article @ GM FastLane Blog


At Last: Behind the Wheel of Volt Test Mule

By Bob Lutz
GM Vice Chairman

This week we announced that the GM Board has approved the Chevrolet Volt program. Yes, development work has been going on in earnest, but now it’s official. In fact, recently, at GM’s Milford Proving Ground, I drove an official “engineering development vehicle” with the 16-kwh lithium-ion battery pack we’ve been testing for our E-Flex System and I have to say – pun half-intended – it was electrifying.

The first impression of the day, however, was made before I even got into the vehicle. It hit me on the drive out to Milford, as I passed gas station after gas station with prices for regular unleaded hugging the $4 mark: This makes the importance and potential of our all-electric glide through our proving ground roads even clearer.

Now, don’t run to the Chevy dealer and order your Volt yet: The “test mule” I drove – a previous-generation Malibu – wasn’t calibrated properly, and there are an awful lot of tests that this battery must pass before it’s cleared for production. Our battery teams in Warren and in Germany are working hard in our battery labs to determine that these batteries will work for the life of the vehicle. Still, the conditions in a real-world environment – where the battery is exposed to shaking, moisture and rapidly changing temperature conditions – are much more extreme than the controlled settings of the lab.

But I think it’s important to point out that in the six months since we’ve received the battery pack, we’ve tested it in the lab, then on the dynamometer, and now on the track. Eventually, if and when we settle on the right battery, our E-Flex System engineers will have a lot of integrating, tuning and tweaking to do before the Volt is ready for prime time. And we’ll keep you informed of our progress every step of the way.

Upon future drives, when the vehicle is closer to true calibration, I’ll have more driving details. But I will say that, while the car is still most definitely a work in progress, the thrill of driving electrically — that instant, silent torque — is certainly present and accounted for! Of course, as you can imagine, I miss the throaty roar of an engine. Once we get this whole battery thing perfected, our friends at XM Satellite Radio may have to start an Internal Combustion Channel.
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This aught to shut up the whiners once it finally happens.

Here's what the whiners at torontoist.com had to say today:

Union members angry about the impending job cuts at GM in Oshawa are blockading the entrance to the plant, and CAW President Buzz Hargrove is threatening a strike. The latter would prevent GM from paying workers to produce money-losing vehicles that will rust away in inventory. Pretty weak hand, Buzz.
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i stated in another thread i read a book called the "CAR THAT COULD" about the EV1 program, and volt saga, more importantly the battery issue, seems eerily similair to the EV1 program.. :)

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Read what Uncle Bob signed on the test mule at the top of the page, siegen. :AH-HA_wink:

You missed my sarcasm. :scratchchin:

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i stated in another thread i read a book called the "CAR THAT COULD" about the EV1 program, and volt saga, more importantly the battery issue, seems eerily similair to the EV1 program.. :)

I read that a while back - good book. IIRC, the NiMH batter took the EV1s range from 80 to 120 miles. I wonder what the lithium ion battery would do...

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