GM Says You Can Put a Gun Rack on a Chevy Volt

Volt gun rack
It seems like each day the auto industry is becoming more and more mired in the frenzy of election-bid politics, especially with the Michigan primary fast approaching. Earlier this week, the Chevrolet Volt landed in the thick of it.

During a speech in Georgia, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich raised a lot of eyebrows when he lambasted the Volt for its inability to hold a gun rack. Chevrolet executive Selim Bingol fired back this morning via GM's new blog, called BTW:

By Jennifer Geiger | February 22, 2012 | Comments (10)

Obama Budget Proposes Big Changes to Alt-Fuel Car Tax Credits


In the 2013 budget proposal delivered to Congress, the Obama administration is taking a new approach to incentives for electric and other alternative-fuel cars. Despite claims that these tax credits would go to bolster wealthy potential Chevrolet Volt buyers, these tax credits are focused on the companies that would make these cars, not consumers.

According to a summary of the changes prepared by Nissan (the builder of the all-electric Leaf):

  • The proposal eliminates the current $7,500 electric vehicle tax credit and replaces it with advanced technology vehicle credit.
  • There would be a maximum $10,000 per vehicle through 2016, with no cap on how many vehicles it might apply to; that would drop to $7,500 in 2017, $5,000 in 2018 and down to $2,500 in 2019.
  • The credit would go to the vehicle's seller or to the financing company.
  • The proposal's title suggests the credit would be tied to "production" of vehicles, but where that production would need to take place remains unclear.
  • There's also a proposal to add incentives for alt-fuel medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that would aim to cover the added expense that often accompanies new technologies.
By Patrick Olsen | February 14, 2012 | Comments (13)

2012 Chevy Volt More Miss Than Hit for This Family

A 2011 Chevy Volt has been part of's Chicago-based fleet for more than a year now. It was purchased to see how the Volt performed in the city's four seasons. Follow's coverage of the Volt here.

When a 2012 version showed up at my Colorado home for a weeklong test, I wanted to see how it would handle the arduous tasks an average suburban family would put it through, including driving carpool, running errands and loading up all the kids' stuff. My family's verdict on the Volt was a mixed bag, but there were more misses than hits.

By Kristin Varela | February 13, 2012 | Comments (18)

GM Makes Changes to Chevy Volt Battery

2011 chevrolet volt
In an effort to reduce the risk of electrical fire after a severe accident, Chevrolet has issued what it calls a customer satisfaction initiative on the Volt. General Motors is voluntarily recalling nearly 8,000 Volts to re-engineer the battery coolant system. GM is also making structural enhancements to the vehicle to protect the battery in the event of a crash.

The modifications are an answer to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s findings that severe-impact crashes could lead to a coolant leak and electrical fire. Lab tests late last year on the battery pack led to an electrical fire six days later. A similar occurrence happened after the Volt was involved in a major crash in summer 2011.

By Jennifer Geiger | January 5, 2012 | Comments (4)

2011 Chevy Volt Will Start at $40,280, Ordering Open


The speculation is over. The price tag for a new Chevy Volt, the extended-range hybrid, will start at $40,280 before a $720 destination charge brings the total to $41,000. If you qualify for a full tax credit of $7,500, it will cost $33,500, which is a price GM likes to point out. However, not all buyers will qualify for that credit, which is based on a sliding scale of $0 to $7,500 depending on the buyer’s income.

Leases will also be available for as low as $350 a month for 36 months with $2,500 due at signing, which includes the security deposit. That’s a pretty good lease deal.

Finally, interested buyers can go to a participating dealer starting today to begin the ordering process. You can visit to find a participating dealer.

The Volt will come with a lot of standard equipment at that price, including many high-tech features. Chief among them are a six-speaker Bose stereo system with navigation, XM satellite radio, USB port and 30GB of audio storage. There is also a 7-inch LCD touch-screen to display basic in-car features such as entertainment information but also Volt-specific needs. Also standard: remote starter, keyless entry and start, Bluetooth, auto-dimming rearview mirror, programmable garage door remote, LED daytime headlights, 17-inch wheels, steering-wheel audio controls, cruise control and adjustable drive modes for normal, Sport and Mountain.

There’s even a special “pedestrian-friendly alert,” which emits a horn chirp (instead of a horn beep, we assume), using the turn-signal lever.

Only 600 dealers will be equipped to sell and service the Volt when it launches in seven states at the end of 2010. That is roughly 90% of the dealers in the launch markets.

Read More About the Chevy Volt

By David Thomas | July 27, 2010 | Comments (17)

2011 Chevy Volt at 2009 L.A. Auto Show

  • Competes with: Toyota Prius, Ford Fusion Hybrid
  • Looks like: We're finally getting the car futuristic movies have long promised
  • Drivetrain: Plug-in gas-electric hybrid powertrain
  • Hits dealerships: California customers get first shot late in 2010
We've been covering the Chevy Volt for more than three years now, but the big news from the L.A. auto show is that California customers will get first dibs on the plug-in hybrid late in 2010, when the production version is finally ready to go on sale ... four years after it was announced. The initial run will be small: GM says only 8,000-10,000 will be produced globally in 2011. That's a small number, so it's likely that if you don't live in California, you might not get one for a long time.

The car on display in L.A. is as close to the final product as we've seen, but is still a non-operational prototype. Last year, the company showed a version that many took to be production-ready, but we interviewed people in the program who let us know this newer version would be coming. There are many photos below showing cargo volume, a new blacked-out lower window and other interior changes, including a better-integrated center information screen.

We'll have an up-close look at the Volt and more news from the floor soon.
By David Thomas | December 2, 2009 | Comments (7)

Chevy Says Volt to Get 230 MPG

VoltmileageIn a bold move, Chevy claims that the 2011 Chevy Volt plug-in electric will get 230 mpg in city driving; the automaker got this fuel economy number using a newly devised EPA method. This isn’t an official number, but the company hosted a web conference this morning and boldly touted the claim. They even advertised the fuel economy number leading up to today’s announcement in anonymous ads on television. This would be the first vehicle to ever receive an EPA rating of more than 100 mpg.

The skepticism of the claim comes from a number of factors:

  1. The 230-mpg rating was devised using a new EPA methodology created specifically for the Chevy Volt and other plug-in hybrids like it.The methodology itself is still not set in stone and is preliminary.
  2. The Volt’s overall range will be 40 miles on an electric charge and 300 miles after that. If it packs a 10-gallon gas tank (we know it’ll be less than 12), our simple math finds that it will get 34 mpg overall. GM says it will get 40 mpg once the battery is depleted, which would mean an exceptionally small 8.5-gallon gas tank.

Here is the methodology explanation provided by GM: “Under the new methodology being developed, EPA weights plug-in electric vehicles as traveling more city miles than highway miles on only electricity.”

We’re not sure if that means they’re factoring in a nightly recharge nor do we know how many miles their new cycle includes. If it is only a 40-mile cycle, it would lead to extremely high results.

The Volt’s premise and underlying technology hasn’t changed since our last round of reporting on it. The Volt will likely be an extremely efficient vehicle, and one without the “range anxiety” of future electric-only vehicles. But to the layman, it will likely never get 230 mpg in the real world.  

More Chevy Volt News

By David Thomas | August 11, 2009 | Comments (56)

Real Volts Now Under Construction

Voltas For everyone who keeps asking when the first Chevrolet Volt will roll off the assembly line, you now have your answer: in less than two weeks. Well, we should say the first complete, pre-production Volt will be built, by hand, for final testing by then.

This is the first time the automaker has built a test mule Volt that actually looks like the real thing – inside and out. Before now, all Chevy Volt prototypes looked like the 2011 Cruz or old Malibus. Underneath, the mules carried the Voltec technology that will propel the plug-in hybrid up to 40 miles on just electricity.

The latest prototypes will help validate the Volt’s safety and performance capabilities. Building a complete Volt will also help GM decide how to effectively manufacture the plug-in hybrid to ensure that build quality is consistent and reliable.

The first Volts will take an average of two weeks to build, but by mid-July assembly will ramp up to 10 a week. By the fall, GM expects to have 80 on the streets.

After that, GM will build hundreds of pre-production Volts at its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant. That’s where the real Volt will be built, showing up at a Chevy dealership near you in the summer of 2010.

That will only happen, of course, if everything stays according to the automaker’s current plans, even amid a seemingly unavoidable bankruptcy filing.

GM Builds the First Chevrolet Volt (Autopia)

By Colin Bird | May 28, 2009 | Comments (11)

Chevy Volt Update: It's Fast and Quiet


USA Today’s James Healey took the latest Chevy Volt test mule for a spin recently, and he was impressed by the car that he says GM is “making up as it goes along.” The Volt has serious torque for quick launches that Healey says will “embarrass muscle-car drivers when the light turns green.”

He also found the Volt to be exceptionally quiet, more so than most hybrids. GM will add some sort of noisemaker to the Volt to alert blind pedestrians at crosswalks.

GM is unsure if it’ll sell the lithium-ion battery pack as part of the car or lease it separately so owners can replace it more easily.

It’s a must read for those interested in the Volt.

Drivers could get a charge out of Chevrolet Volt (USA Today)

By David Thomas | May 1, 2009 | Comments (2)

Study Finds Chevy Volt Isn't Cost-Effective

EVbattery Development of the upcoming Chevrolet Volt has been a bright spot amid some bad times for its parent company, but should GM sacrifice future gas-powered cars and trucks for this plug-in hybrid? A new study suggests the answer is no.

The Carnegie Mellon University study suggests that a plug-in series hybrid like the Volt with a range of 40 miles on electricity isn’t an economically prudent choice for consumers, despite the fact that the car hasn’t been priced yet. It’s expected to cost between $35,000 and $40,000. Jeremy Michalek, the chief engineer behind the study, said he believes there would be no way to recoup the cost of the batteries, even if the driver never used a drop of gasoline over the Volt’s lifetime. 

According to the study, the Volt’s steep price will hurt its chance of displacing the Toyota Prius, which starts at $22,000. 

The study reviewed the cost of a single car’s batteries (which could be $16,000), recharging costs and CO2 emissions created both in making the battery pack and in generating electricity for home or commercial recharging. The study is also extremely skeptical about the long-term lifespan of the massive batteries required in the Volt. K.G. Duleep of Energy & Environmental Analysis Inc. said such batteries only last seven years in lab tests. GM has said it hopes to give the Volt a 10-year/150,000-mile powertrain warranty to alleviate such fears. 
By Colin Bird | March 5, 2009 | Comments (48)

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