One More Milestone for the Volt PHEV
Yesterday, on March 31st, the first pre-production Chevy Volt rolled off the assembly line at the Detroit Hamtramck Assembly Plant. It's a pretty big milestone in the life of any vehicle, but it's especially important for a vehicle that contains so much new technology. GM won't say how many pre-production models they're making, but what is known is that they won't be sold to the general public.
The pre-production vehicles will instead be used for quality-control purposes (that might include all the safety stuff and crash-testing) to make sure that everything's in good shape for the production run.
GM has better do its homework, because a lot rests on the success of the Volt. The general public is usually skeptical about new technologies, not expecting them to perform as well or be as reliable as older "proven" techs. Nothing short of superb reliability and built quality is needed to make a good first impression.
This is not only important to test the equipment, but also to train the workers who will assemble the Volts. Most of them have probably never worked on plug-in hybrids (even more complex than a battery-only electric car), so it probably takes a bit longer to bring everybody up to speed.
Volt & Cruze
Here's the Volt next to the Cruze, a very similar car (though it is not a PHEV) that is coming to market soon. The "Eco" version of the Cruze has been tweaked for fuel-efficiency and should get about 40 MPG on the highway.
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