Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid: first official photos | CAR Magazine

Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid: first official photos

Published: 16 September 2008 Updated: 26 January 2015

This is the first official photograph of the new Chevrolet Volt – GM’s landmark petrol-electric plug-in hybrid car, unveiled today to mark the General’s centenary. CAR Online dropped into the centenary event and has the full photographs and details of the Chevy Volt and the other announcements made today.

New Chevrolet Volt: is it the car to save GM?

Amid an orchestrated flurry of congratulatory backslapping, GM pulled the wraps off the production version of its Volt – the car and technology tasked with hauling the General back from the brink of financial collapse.

It’s a landmark car for GM – and one of the first cars to evolve hybrids to be revealed in production spec. Chevrolet calls it an Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (E-REV). The small gasoline (or, in future, fuel-cell) engine charges the 16-kWh, T-shaped lithium-ion battery pack so the car can travel on electric mode for the majority of journeys. GM claims it can travel 40 miles on battery mode without emitting any exhaust gases.

In an hour-long live webcast from GM’s Detroit headquarters that seamlessly hooked together GM’s key bases around the world – Korea, Brazil, South Africa, Canada, China and Mexico – the company put a brave face on its woeful financial situation, charting global sales growth to avoid plummeting US sales and massive domestic losses.

From the gleaming smiles on everyone’s faces you’d never guess that tumbling SUV sales pushed GM’s losses to $38bn in 2007, bringing total losses over the past five years to a Wall Street-troubling $70bn. Astonishingly, GM is eating its way through a barely believable $1bn a month this year…

So the Volt will suddenly fix the financial woe?

‘A lot has changed in the last 100 years – hell, a lot has changed in the last 100 hours,’ said a tired but ebullient GM boss Rick Wagoner. ‘But our assignment is to show that we are more than a 100-year-old company, but a company ready for the next 100 years.

‘The whole word is watching who will lead the reinvention of the motor vehicle,’ said Wagoner, ‘and GM is going to be that leader. The Volt is symbolic of our commitment to the future.’

Click ‘Next’ to read all about the new Chevrolet Volt

The Chevrolet Volt unveiling

In front of a crowd that flirted with hysteria, GM’s product impresario Bob Lutz today drove the production version of the Chevrolet Volt onto the stage.

Whoops, cheering and whistles aside, the sleek and engagingly detailed Volt certainly looked like a real 21st century car. We know how the Volt’s clever E-Flex technology works, but is it enough to save GM?

When can I buy the new Volt?

Although this is the production version of the Volt, Americans will have to wait until late 2010 before they can buy one – an absolute age for a company haemorrhaging money as quickly as GM. And despite proposed tax-breaks by both presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama, the Volt is expected to cost around $40,000 (£20,000) – not quite as cheap as most interested GM customers expected.

The Volt will arrive in Europe in 2011, and at the moment there’s still some debate over whether it will retain its Chevrolet badge or wear an Opel/Vauxhall roundel. Either way, expect it to cost around £20,000. By then, GM is looking to have exported the E-Flex technology to numerous other new and existing models.

And as the Volt is based on the company’s new Delta platform, that surely means a plug-in hybrid version of the next 2009 Astra, among others…

Is the Chevy Volt the answer to GM’s problems? Click ‘Add your comment’ and have your say

By Ben Whitworth

Contributing editor, sartorial over-achiever, HANS device shirt collars