Recently U.S. President Barack Obama toured the Detroit-Hamtramck facility where the new Chevrolet Volt Electric Car is being built, and during the world’s shortest test drive, drove the car for about 40 feet! He then described it as “Pretty smooth”. That was fairly enough, because all they needed was a picture of the President behind the wheel of the Volt, for publicity. Meanwhile General Motors announced they will increase U.S. production capacity of the Volt y 50 percent, from 30,000 units to 45,000 units, in 2012.
“The Chevrolet Volt provides drivers with the latest technology, outstanding innovation, and something no other electric vehicle can provide – peace of mind,” said Edward E. Whitacre, Jr., GM Chairman and CEO. “We are very proud to host the President of the United States at this plant, where the future of the American automobile industry is being built today by the men and women of General Motors.”
“Now, I have to tell you some of you saw me drive a Volt about 12 inches. They don’t let me drive much these days,” Obama said. “But the Cadillac that I drive in is made right here. I got to admit the Secret Service soups it up a little bit.”
The expanded U.S. production capacity is the latest in a series of positive developments for the Chevrolet Volt. This week, participating Chevrolet dealers in launch markets began taking customer orders for the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, following the release of retail and lease pricing. The brand also recently announced unprecedented battery and vehicle limited warranties to bring value and peace of mind to Volt customers. And the number of U.S. launch markets for the vehicle recently was raised from three to seven. In the past few weeks, more than 25,000 people have joined the Chevrolet Volt enthusiast list.
The Volt offers a total driving range of about 340 miles and is powered by electricity at all times. For up to the first 40 miles, the vehicle drives gas- and tailpipe-emissions-free using electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery. When the Volt’s battery runs low, a gas-powered, engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range another 300 miles on a full tank.
The Detroit-Hamtramck plant received $336 million in new investment to prepare for production of the Volt, part of more than $700 million GM has invested in eight Michigan facilities to support Volt production since 2008. This includes a 33,000 square-foot battery systems lab in Warren; a battery assembly facility in Brownstown Township; and supporting engine and stamping operations in Grand Blanc, Bay City, and three plants in Flint.
Besides direct GM jobs, the Volt has helped spur additional supplier employment and investment. Earlier this month, battery cell supplier LG Chem/Compact Power Inc. broke ground on a $300 million, 650,000 square-foot plant in Holland, Mich., to support Volt production, creating 400 jobs. In addition, the Volt helped start an electrification trend. Since its debut in January 2007, other automakers have announced 30 plug-in hybrid or electric vehicles.