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Chevy Volts to hit the road as GM meets year-end deadline

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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GM, Chevrolet, electric vehicle, automobileAmidst frigid weather conditions, 350 ice-covered Chevrolet Volts hit the roads aboard transport trucks headed from General Motors’s Detroit assembly plant to car dealerships in California, New York, Texas and Washington, D.C. As such, GM just makes its self-imposed deadline of shipping the car, which features both a battery-powered electric drive unit and gas-powered engine, by the end of the year.

To further prime the public for the Volt’s arrival (after nearly four years of hype and speculation), Chevy is auctioning off a Volt online. Despite the Volt’s $41,000 sticker price, bidding has reached $185,000 with a few hours left—the auction closes at 6 p.m. ET. The auction’s proceeds will be donated to the Detroit Public Schools Foundation (DPSF), which supports science, technology, engineering and mathematics initiatives in the city’s public schools.Chevrolet, GM, electric vehicle, automobile

Chevy claims the front-wheel-drive, four-passenger Volt can travel up to about 56 kilometers powered solely by its electric engine before the vehicle’s gas-powered internal combustion engine kicks in to recharge the electric engine’s lithium-ion battery. The Volt is designed to travel an estimated 610 kilometers with a fully charged battery and full tank of gas.

Photos by Jeffrey Sauger for Chevrolet

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  1. 1. Spiff 4:22 pm 12/14/2010

    I don’t understand all the hoopla about an "electric" car that can only go 56 miles on it’s battery when Audi has an ALL electric car that can go up to 370 miles on one charge! Now, THAT’S progress!

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  2. 2. JamesDavis 4:35 pm 12/14/2010

    "Spiff", you have a good memory. GM is trying to make the American people believe that electric cars are not practical, too expensive for the common American, and we only drive 40 miles a day (what a joke those GM clowns are.). Well, the GM Volt is all the above and GM may have trouble giving that piece of throw-back away. I wouldn’t buy a GM vehicle if they offered to give it to me.

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  3. 3. jtdwyer 11:51 am 12/15/2010

    By parking a Volt in your driveway you (and your neighbors) can rest easy at night, assured that you’ve done your part to stop this darned global warming, never mind the regional electric utility may have to stoke up those coal fired power generation facilities…

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  4. 4. lamorpa 1:15 pm 12/15/2010

    I have an electric car too. I disabled the starter/in-gear interlock, so I can engage the starter motor with the car in gear. I can travel 2 feet on electric power and 320 miles on gasoline power (for a total of 320.00038 miles of range). Pretty amazing, and with 2003 technology!

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  5. 5. davidhunter 3:06 pm 12/15/2010

    I am surprised that SA readers would post such uniformed comments.

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  6. 6. jtdwyer 4:40 pm 12/15/2010

    Well, davidhunter, I’m disappointed that an SA reader would post such an uninformative comment.

    Would you please be specific so that those you so generally criticize can respond?

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  7. 7. nukeguy001 7:02 pm 12/15/2010

    Many of those who post comments appear to have a hidden agenda. The Volt is obviously a niche product. It is a start in the right direction. It isn’t a panacea, but it may meet the needs of some who have modest driving needs, and who want to do their part to decrease the emission of CO2. It’s a free market, so you don’t have to buy it if you don’t like the Volt. GM would not have produced the Volt if they did not believe there was a sufficient market for it. If you don’t want to buy it, and it doesn’t make you sick or injure you when other people use it, then it’s really none of your business.

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  8. 8. jtdwyer 8:52 pm 12/15/2010

    Likewise, if you don’t like reading others comments, then don’t read them.

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  9. 9. stevenmcs 6:45 pm 12/16/2010

    It says 56 kilometers since a kilometer is .6 miles that makes it about 10 miles. That seems like a misprint or something?

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  10. 10. stevenmcs 6:46 pm 12/16/2010

    It says 56 kilometers a kilometer is .6 miles making it 10 miles

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  11. 11. Quinn the Eskimo 8:27 pm 12/16/2010

    O.K. GM gets it. Ship by Christmas!

    Now, if only Ballmers could figure out what hit him with the iPad!

    CES 10: "Slate will definately be in stores by Christmas [if we can get it to work]"

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  12. 12. R.Blakely 3:57 am 12/31/2010

    The Volt is as great an idea as is possible with so many rich, ignorant CEO-type people running GM. Poorer CEO-type people, like in India, would make a Volt using carbon fiber compressed-air-tanks, instead of lithium batteries, to store energy.
    Wake-up America! GM should build a car using compressed air. Lithium batteries are simply too expensive.

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  13. 13. stevenmcs 1:24 pm 12/31/2010

    Well I live in Washington one of the biggest hydro electric producing states and we have a growing number of wind farms and tidal generators. So If you live here they wouldn’t fire up coal they would let the water out of the dam

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  14. 14. Momus 3:28 am 01/11/2011

    Controlling emission at one power station is cheaper and cheaper to verify, than at thousands of gasoline driven cars. Furthermore more, as US moves to cleaner electric power generation we will not have to junk and replace electric cars to take advantage.

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  15. 15. Momus 3:33 am 01/11/2011

    @stevenmcs > It says 56 kilometers since a kilometer is .6 miles that makes it about 10 miles. That seems like a misprint or something?

    No misprint. But going back to to school will help you to see that .6 is more than a half. And more than a half of 56 is quite a bit more than 10.

    Oh, I see. You have divided 56 by 6? You have confused multiplication with division, and you have missed the point… (point in .6)

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