Today GM debuted the production model of it's game-changing plug-in hybrid VOLT.
"The Volt symbolizes General Motors' commitment to the future, just the kind of technical innovation our industry needs to respond to tomorrow's energy and environmental challenges," [GM Chairman Rick] Wagoner said in a speech to a gathering of partners, customers, journalists, and employees.
The car will be able to drive 40 miles on its lithium-ion batteries. An internal combustion engine--able to run on gasoline or E85, a blend of ethanol and gas--will extend the car's driving range to hundreds of miles.
Amid all the bad economic news and continuing campaign rhetoric, something heartening, Chevy introduced that the Chevy VOLT will be in production by 2010, years ahead of what the industry thought was possible.
Most Americans will be able to drive their daily commutes entirely on the batteries, charging them at night for about 80 cents with electricity priced at 10 cents a kilowatt-hour, according to GM. It takes about eight hours to charge via a household 120 volt outlet and three hours on a 240 volt outlet.
GM estimates that it will cost about 2 cents per mile to drive while under battery power. By contrast, it calculates that people pay 12 cents per mile for gasoline at $3.60 a gallon.
Overall, GM figures that a Volt will cost one-sixth what it cost to operate a gasoline car. Charging the car daily will consume less annually than running a home's refrigerator and freezer units, the company said.
Now it isn't as interesting looking as the concept model shown in January, but still, not bad:
Now it is going to be pricey, apparently, upwards of $35,000 according to some reports, but if the cost estimates are true, it might be worth it.
And here is something the article doesn't say, plug-in hybrids can actually help the electric grid. Since wind energy is not available necessarily when needed, in fact, it is often producing when it is not needed, it is not as economical as it could be. But imagine millions of plug-in hybrids storing energy in their batteries. They could store that wind energy off peak and then return it to the grid on-peak. Granted, many won't do that because they need the juice, but folks who work from their home, stay at home moms and dads, retirees and whomever, could earn money by using their plug-in as a way to stroe energy for the grid, increasing green energy capabilities and improving the reliability of the grid.
Chevy bet the farm on this car, who knows maybe Detroit can lead the way instead of falling far behind. This is the future folks, right here.