Report: Akerson looking for 20 percent more range from next-gen Chevy Volt [w/video]

Filed under: Hybrid, Sedan, Plants/Manufacturing, Technology, Videos, Chevrolet

Dan Akerson wants to see 20 percent improvement in electric-drive range.

The Chevrolet Volt’s 38-mile electric range leaves something to be desired, despite being able to run nonstop for hundreds more miles when the range-extending gasoline generator kicks in. General Motors CEO Dan Akerson has recognized this and let slip that he wants to see the next-generation Volt get a significant electric-range increase, Bloomberg reports in a recorded interview with Akerson. The CEO says significant to him means 20 percent – “50 to 60 miles, or more,” he adds – and remarks that the range improvement could be a reality in three or four years. It’s a much bigger deal than the mid-cycle increase that the 2013 Volt got: three electric miles thanks to a half-kWH battery capacity increase.

In a less explicit statement about the next-gen Volt’s electric range, but still in context of the expected 20 percent increase, Akerson also tells Bloomberg that he hopes to see breakthroughs in battery technology that could further reduce cost and increase performance over the next couple of years. Already, the Volt’s 16.5-kilowatt-hour battery’s initial $800 per kWh price has dropped significantly due to volume and improvements in battery technology, according to Akerson. That’s without mentioning the current cost to produce a battery, of course.

Last spring Akerson said that GM hopes to trim $10,000 from the Volt’s price, currently at $39,145, through cost reductions. The goal is halfway met with the recent announcement of a $5,000 price drop for the 2014 Volt, which Akerson confirms in the interview was possible through “some cost savings by virtue of the evolution of the [battery] technology.” Feel free to watch listen to the video below for more details.

Continue reading Akerson looking for 20 percent more range from next-gen Chevy Volt [w/video]

Akerson looking for 20 percent more range from next-gen Chevy Volt [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 09 Aug 2013 16:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chevrolet Volt assembly plant to get largest solar array in MI

Filed under: Plants/Manufacturing, GM

Solar installation at GM Detroit-Hamtramck plant
General Motors is adding a photovoltaic array to the roof of its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant. The facility’s new solar panels will help offset the energy consumed when producing Chevy Volts. GM has partnered with DTE Energy on the planned 516-kilowatt installation, which will cover 264,000 square feet on six acres of land. In addition to the solar array, further energy-saving measures like automated equipment shutdown, more efficient lighting, and upgrades to more energy-efficient assembly tools will be implemented.

DTE Energy is putting $3 million of its own money into the GM partnership as part of its SolarCurrents program. This initiative aims to install 15 megawatts of solar power systems in Southeast Michigan, and the hope is that large-scale, highly-visible projects like the Detroit-Hamtramck plant will drive more demand for renewable energy in Michigan. Press release posted after the jump.

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Chevrolet Volt assembly plant to get largest solar array in MI originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 14 May 2011 16:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sales update: Nissan Leaf hits 573, Chevy Volt at 493 in April

Filed under: Car Buying, Hybrid, Plants/Manufacturing, Marketing/Advertising, Chevrolet, GM, Nissan, Electric

nissan leaf chevy volt mash up

Last month we tallied the cumulative North American sales of both the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf, and it’s time to check those numbers again. While neither vehicle is selling like hotcakes, April’s numbers show that one of the two electric autos is inching up the sales chart, while the other has slipped a bit.

The Leaf sold 573 units in April versus the Volt’s 493. Compared to March’s results, which had Leaf sales at 298 and Volt sales at 608, Nissan’s electric hatch has gained some ground, while Chevy’s plug-in lost some traction.

The latest cumulative U.S. sales totals for the plug-in duo, since launching in late 2010, has the Volt leading the pack with 2,029 units sold, while the Leaf comes in at 1,044. Year-to-date, Volt sales stand at 1,703, while Nissan says Leaf production had, as of April 15th, hit nearly 8,000.

Nissan’s presser on Leaf sales is posted after the jump and a detailed look at GM’s numbers are available here (PDF warning).

[Source: Nissan, General Motors]

Continue reading Sales update: Nissan Leaf hits 573, Chevy Volt at 493 in April

Sales update: Nissan Leaf hits 573, Chevy Volt at 493 in April originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 03 May 2011 13:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf earn Top Safety Picks in first IIHS electric vehicle crash tests

Filed under: Hybrid, Sedan, Safety, Hatchback, Chevrolet, GM, Nissan, Electric

chevy volt crash test

Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf Crash Tests – Click above for high-res image gallery

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has completed its first test of mainstream plug-in vehicles, and both the 2011 Chevrolet Volt and the 2011 Nissan Leaf have were named “Good” for their front, side, rear, and rollover crash protection. Testing procedures for these plug-in vehicles were exactly the same as for any other automobile the IIHS tests, as they should be.

The two plug-in pioneers join 80 other 2011 vehicles in earning the Top Safety Pick title, thanks to their fine performance in instrumented crash testing and their standard electronic stability control. For what it’s worth, other fuel sippers like the 2010 Toyota Prius and 2010 Honda Insight have also been named Top Safety Picks in the past. That said, the IIHS has taken issue with some plug-in electric vehicles in the past, specifically the not-quite-a-car NEVs like the Gem e2 or the Wheego Whip.

Of course, we all know how much fun it is to watch brand-new cars being smashed to bits in the name of safety, so we’ve gone ahead and embedded a video of the two plug-ins undergoing the crash testing process. Hit the jump to see for yourself and to check out the official press release.

Gallery: 2011 Chevrolet Volt crash tests

2011 Chevrolet Volt crash tests2011 Chevrolet Volt crash tests2011 Chevrolet Volt crash tests2011 Chevrolet Volt crash tests2011 Chevrolet Volt crash tests

Gallery: 2011 Nissan Leaf crash tests

2011 Nissan Leaf crash tests2011 Nissan Leaf crash tests2011 Nissan Leaf crash tests2011 Nissan Leaf crash tests2011 Nissan Leaf crash tests

[Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety]

Continue reading Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf earn Top Safety Picks in first IIHS electric vehicle crash tests

Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf earn Top Safety Picks in first IIHS electric vehicle crash tests originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 26 Apr 2011 00:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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General Motors updates official statement about Chevrolet Volt in CT fire

Filed under: Hybrid, Sedan, Government/Legal, Chevrolet, Electric

2011 Chevrolet Volt involved in Connecticut fire

While some have been quick to point fingers at the 2011 Chevrolet Volt involved in two separate incidents at the Barkhamsted, CT home of Storm and Dee Connors, General Motors has updated its earlier statement to improve the clarity of the situation. “While the Volt’s battery pack sustained damage,” says General Motors Global Electric Vehicle Executive Doug Parks, “it was not extensive enough or of the type that would suggest that it caused the fire.”

GM experts are working with fire officials in the small town in the Northwest corner of Connecticut to help determine the cause of the blaze that also destroyed a home-built Suzuki Samurai EV that Storm Connors had been chronicling on a blog. General Motors is confident that the engineering and systems in the Chevrolet Volt provide exceptional safety, and the vehicle’s involvement in this situation is one of circumstance, merely a damaged vehicle due to its parking spot, and not the root cause of the fire. Full statement posted after the jump.

[Source: General Motors]

Continue reading General Motors updates official statement about Chevrolet Volt in CT fire

General Motors updates official statement about Chevrolet Volt in CT fire originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 18 Apr 2011 23:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Burnt Chevrolet Volt mysteriously catches fire again

Filed under: Hybrid, Etc., Safety, Hatchback, Chevrolet, Electric

Chevrolet Volt Fire

Chevrolet Volt owners Storm and Dee Connors were reportedly woken up by the sound of fire alarms in their Barkhamsted, Connecticut home for the second time in a week. As you may recall, the Connors family escaped injury when a garage fire consumed both their new Volt and a home-converted electric Suzuki Samurai on April 14. Now, local news outlets are reporting that the remains of the Volt reignited while still in the charred remains of the garage. The vehicle was not plugged in at the time of the second burning.

Local authorities are currently investigating the source of the re-ignition, though some members of the media-at-large have been quick to single out the Volt as the cause of the first fire, even though fire investigators have yet to speak up with their findings.

General Motors, meanwhile, is sending its own experts to investigate both incidents. The automaker originally issued a statement urging the public to refrain from leaping to conclusions about the first fire, asking everyone to allow local authorities and the automaker’s own engineers time to uncover the origin of the trouble. You can find the full statement here. Thanks for the tips, Kris and Phil!

[Sources: WTNH, WFSB]

Report: Burnt Chevrolet Volt mysteriously catches fire again originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 18 Apr 2011 15:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Review: 2011 Chevrolet Volt

Filed under: Hybrid, Hatchback, Chevrolet, Reviews, Electric

Achieving Super MPGs In The Automotive Missing Link

2011 Chevrolet Volt

2011 Chevrolet Volt – Click above for high-res image gallery

There’s something to be said for being at the right place at the right time. Had our primordial ancestors evolved legs and lungs while the entire globe was still awash in warm sea water, they would have gone belly up and we might have never made it to the top of the food chain. At this point in history, our entire species can thank generations of ancestors for not being squished, drowned, beaten, eaten or stabbed before cranking out offspring that would further the human race. One misstep to the left could have been all it took to eradicate entire lines of Homo sapiens progress.

Those same laws of luck and fortune dictate which automotive traits will survive into the future and which will be left to be bookmarks of curiosity in the mechanical fossil record. General Motors knows this all too well. The company infamously birthed the EV1 in the mid-’90s only to find that its high costs of development meant the short-range electric couldn’t keep its head above water in a sea of relatively cheap fuel prices. At the time, there just wasn’t any land in sight for the electric movement.

What a difference 15 years make. Thanks to the trailblazing efforts of the hybrid fleet, more and more Americans now associate efficiency with electric power, and General Motors has given rise to what could possibly be the perfect evolutionary species to bridge the gap between hybrid and full-electric motivation – the 2011 Chevrolet Volt.

Continue reading Review: 2011 Chevrolet Volt

Gallery: 2011 Chevrolet Volt: Review

2011 Chevrolet Volt2011 Chevrolet Volt2011 Chevrolet Volt2011 Chevrolet Volt2011 Chevrolet Volt

Photos copyright (C)2011 Zach Bowman / AOL

Continue reading Review: 2011 Chevrolet Volt

Review: 2011 Chevrolet Volt originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 06 Apr 2011 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Caning the Chevrolet Volt around Laguna Seca

Filed under: Motorsports, Sedan, Etc., Videos, Chevrolet, Electric

2011 Chevrolet Volt

2011 Chevrolet Volt at Mazda Raceway – Click above to watch video after the jump

There are plenty of adjectives in the English language we could use to accurately describe the 2011 Chevrolet Volt. Innovative, clever and efficient all readily leap to mind, but sporty doesn’t quite make the top of the list. That didn’t stop the crew from TheFutureIsElectric.com from taking the new wonder child from General Motors to Laguna Seca for a couple of quasi-quick laps around the world-famous track. Fortunately for all of us buzzing around the Internets, the crew captured the whole shebang via the glory of high-definition video.

With nothing but the sound of some wind buffeting and the tortured screams of the low-rolling resistance Goodyear Assurance tires, the Volt is more or less capable of keeping pace on the hallowed tarmac. It’s far from able to match speed with hardware from Porsche or Lotus, but we’re guessing that’s beyond the point all together. Hit the jump to see the action for yourself.

[Source: TheFutureIsElectric.com]

Continue reading Video: Caning the Chevrolet Volt around Laguna Seca

Video: Caning the Chevrolet Volt around Laguna Seca originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 25 Mar 2011 15:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chevrolet Volt battery covers transformed into… duck houses?

Filed under: Hybrid, Etc., Chevrolet, GM, Electric

Chevy Volt battery housing turned into bird house

Chevy Volt battery housing turned into bird house – Click above for high-res image gallery

Yes, you read that right. General Motors has indeed taken scrap battery covers that would otherwise have been discarded and, with the help of a team of youngsters from the Lasky Recreation Center in Detroit, turned them into duck houses.

Seems odd, no doubt, but we’d certainly rather see creative recycling such as this instead of sending off the scrap bits and pieces to rot for hundreds of years in a landfill or some other ignominious end-of-life scenario.

According to The General, these homes “will provide a safe place for wood ducks and even screech owls to lay their eggs.” For what it’s worth, this is the second such creative recycling project we’ve heard about from the team behind the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, the first being the reuse of oil-soaked boom material from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico made into underhood plastic Volt parts. Nice work, GM.

Gallery: Chevy Volt battery housing recycled into duck homes

Chevy Volt battery housing recycled into duck homesChevy Volt battery housing recycled into duck homesChevy Volt battery housing recycled into duck homesChevy Volt battery housing recycled into duck homes

[Source: General Motors]

Chevrolet Volt battery covers transformed into… duck houses? originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Mar 2011 18:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chevrolet Volt priced from €41,950 in Europe

Filed under: Hybrid, Sedan, Geneva Motor Show, Europe, Chevrolet

2011 Chevrolet Volt

2011 Chevrolet Volt – Click above for high-res image gallery

Chevrolet says the Volt will cost €41,950, including Europe’s hefty value added tax, when it goes on sale in Germany later this year, and will carry a similar price tag when it launches on the rest of the continent. European Volts will come with standard leather seats, and Chevrolet’s eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty. The Volt’s Opel-badged Ampera twin will also hit the streets of Europe in the coming months, as well.

The warranty covers the car’s powertrain as well as its lithium-ion battery. Chevrolet says that it offers the most comprehensive battery warranty of any EV manufacturer. Between its electric motors and gasoline-fed generator, the Volt is good for a combined range of 375 miles, and recharges on a normal household outlet. Hit the jump for GM’s press release.

Gallery: 2011 Chevrolet Volt: First Drive

2011 Chevrolet Volt2011 Chevrolet Volt2011 Chevrolet Volt

Photos copyright (C)2011 Chris Paukert / AOL

[Source: General Motors]

Continue reading Chevrolet Volt priced from €41,950 in Europe

Chevrolet Volt priced from €41,950 in Europe originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 07 Mar 2011 15:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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