Examining the Chevrolet Volt

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Chevrolet is scheduled to introduce the electric Volt later this year. It’s been difficult to find information about it. Is it basically a hybrid vehicle? What should repairers know about the Volt as we start fixing them?

Information about the new Chevy Volt is becoming more available as the launch date nears. The Volt will be release_notesd this fall, although General Motors Corp. has not announced an exact date.

The vehicle is similar in size to the existing Cobalt Sedan model, and its construction theory does not appear to deviate from current construction methods.

The mechanics of the vehicle differ from a hybrid in the sense that it only uses the gasoline engine to “generate” electricity for the vehicle’s propulsion, whereas a hybrid uses the electric motor at lower speeds and the gasoline engine at higher. The Volt will operate on electricity at first and then go into the “extended range electric vehicle” mode. That’s when the gasoline engine is supplying its electricity—the engine will sound the same regardless of speed, unlike a hybrid. The lithium ion batteries are safely stored in the center of the vehicle between the left and right side passengers and then create a “T” in front of the rear wheels. The center console will have a great deal of information within its automotive control panel, which includes a physical hard drive.

From now through early fall, watch for additional information on the Volt. Chevrolet expects to sell about 60,000 of these vehicles initially, in California, Michigan and Washington, D.C., alone. To prepare your shop, the Volt will recharge on a 120V outlet in about 6.5 hours or on an “electric dryer type outlet” of 240V in about three hours. As we move forward toward alternative energy sources, we can expect more development of electric vehicles by GM and other manufacturers.

Ray Fisher is the president of ASA-Michigan. This article represents his opinion and does not reflect the views of ASA-Michigan.

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