The Volt's main propulsion is the 120 KW (161 hp) electric motor connected to the front wheels. The battery banks contain Lithium Ion batteries with a total capacity of 16 kWh and peak output of 136 kW. The battery bank takes around 6 hours to get fully charged. The commonly available 110 V outlet can be used for charging the battery bank.
The Volt's fuel tank capacity of 12 US gallons. On batteries alone, it can go up to 40 miles and then with the fuel and IC engine, the range is a whopping 640 miles. Moreover the Volts IC Engine can run on a mixture of gasoline or ethanol.
The gear train from the electric motor is designed to give a performance of 0-60 mph in 8.5 seconds. At first sight, Volt seems to have a sporty look. The extended bonnet, wide wheel base, low roof, windshield and body lines make the Volt look unique.
The concept model has four doors, looks like a sedan with a rear liftgate and can comfortably carry four or five passengers. The Volt is a total redesign of EV1 from General Motors introduced in 1990.
For an average American commuter, who drives around 40 miles each day, around 500 gallons of gasoline per year will be the saving if Volt is used. And moreover, if the battery banks of Volt are fully charged during night, there will be no need for gasoline of fuel at all. To top the argument, the car will have zero emission and have a soothing effect on the environment.
General Motors aimed to develop an extended range Electric Car in the form of Volt seems to be a success. However, the Volt model built at present is intended for demonstration and showrooms only and not ready for production line. The main issue seems to be the Lithium Ion batteries.
The technology of Lithium Ion batteries is not yet reached a state where affordable, durable, maintenance free batteries for automotive applications can be manufactured in bulk. This has also been the reason why GM has not released the pricing of Volt.
It seems that battery technology will be instrumental in determining the success of the Volt. Therefore, GM is working with A123, a leading battery company, to sort out the battery problems of Volt.
But rumors say that General Motors is aiming to introduce the Volt by 2010 in the market.