The ever Volt-vigilant and perennially in-the-GM-loop Lyle Dennis over at GM-Volt.com tells us the Detroit News is reporting that the first Chevy Volt prototype with an actual full-sized lithium ion battery is up and running. Dennis sees this as a "critical turning point" in the car's development as he deems this particular iteration to be the "Proof of Concept" for GM's would-be game-changer. The news came by way of an interview with GM vice-chairman Bob Lutz. Lutz verified for the first time publicly that a Chevy Volt prototype mule cum lithium ion battery is testing using a late model Malibu shell that has nothing to do with the final design of the car. Said Lutz:
The only things that were wrong with the EV1 (GM's first electric car) was that it was way too expensive to make; it was only a two-passenger; and the battery technology was not ready. It was a noble effort, but it was a technological force job and at a time when nobody cared. We could not find more than 800 buyers for that thing no matter how hard we tried or no matter how much we dropped the price. Finally we had to lease them out.
Interestingly, the Detroit News author Manny Lopez enigmatically reports of his chat with Lutz:
We talked about the eco-extremists (my word, not his) and how out of touch they are with the reality of building a car today, especially the Volt.
By eco-extremists, we would bet that Lopez is referring to the many folks who have questioned the Volt's targeted battery range of only 40 miles and expect that a former automotive titan such as General Motors can do better than that on their come-back-kid play. Not to mention those who think an entirely electric vehicle might really be the product to place GM back on the world stage.
However, from the look of things, it seems the Vehicle Line Exec Frank Weber is following through on his promise made at March's New York Auto Show that the live battery technology would be rolling out "in a matter of weeks." For that, WATCH>> FULL BLOOM 001: Chevy Volt Nation Video which is the only video of this New York Auto Show event covered in its entirety. [50 minutes]
For exclusive pictures of Lutz's photos mentioned in the Detroit News article WATCH>> GREEN DEETS 015: Bob Lutz Reveals Chevy Volt First Continental Battery Pack at New York Auto Show [2 minutes]