Images of the production Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid car have leaked onto the internet a week ahead of GM's planned shindig to celebrate the brand's centenary on 16 September 2008. The Volt
is a landmark model – a hybrid electric car that can run for 40 miles on battery power alone or use the onboard 1.4 petrol engine for further charge.
The new Volt will also be one of the world's first plug-in hybrids when it goes on sale in 2010 (2012 for Europe), allowing it to be hooked into the mains to top up the battery. GM reckons that if typical users charge it up overnight, most will be able to complete daily driving duties on electric power alone.
And don't think all this plug-in hybrid tech will be a costly low-volume venture; you'll eventually be able to buy exactly this technology on the next Astra
, which shares the Volt's Delta floorpan.
The production Volt revealed here keeps the spirit of the 2007 concept car
, but many of the body panels have been changed for more realistic production items. It looks as sleek as you'd expect of an economy special – but with a dose of cool that's somehow lacking from existing Japanese hybrids.
Chevrolet Volt: the leaked photos
The leak is embarrassing for GM, which had planned a big unveiling at its centenary celebrations next week. However, one or two conspiracy theorists are claiming they were leaked deliberately onto the company's media site to drum up interest.
Whatever the truth, the Volt will be one of the
most interesting cars at the Paris motor show on 2 October 2008. Come back for the full story once we've had access to the car and the people who've made it happen.
And in the meantime, check out the first photos of Chevy's new MPV – and a dozen other new models – by reading our Chevrolet news story here
.Once-in-a-lifetime breakthrough? Or an over-hyped PR stunt? Click 'Add your comment' and tell us what you think of the Chevrolet Volt