Volt Birth Watch 80: One Tough Cell
The Detroit Free Press reports that GM has finally chosen a Volt battery supplier from its dueling development partners LG Chem and Conti. But in the interest of squeezing as many "Volt On The Way" headlines into future news cycles, it isn't saying which has been chosen. Both the battery partner and the final look of the production Volt will be previewed by the end of the year, probably whenever some bad news emerges that GM wants the public to ignore. In the meantime, this news means one thing, according to GM auto authoritarian Bob Lutz: "the Volt is real … and test work is progressing nicely." Perhaps not as nicely as Toyota's plug-in Prius though, which just had its delivery date bumped from 2010 to 2009. And with the 'yota PHEV set to arrive a year before the Volt's "late 2010" target, Lutz makes the case for waiting for the Volt to the AP. Toyota hasn't released an all-electric range for the Prius, but Lutz is assuming that because it's a parallel hybrid it won't match the Volt's 40 mile EV range. "After eight or 11 miles (Toyota's PHEV) reverts to being a completely normal gasoline-electric hybrid, which means you get about a 25-30 percent fuel savings, but the point is they do burn fuel." Lutz goes on: "A plug-in hybrid with a limited range is a very nice thing to have. It's wonderful that Toyota is working on this. If they have some test fleets out next year that's great. But it's not the same thing as a Chevy Volt, which is not a plug-in hybrid." Translation: it will cost more than the Prius, but you'll get more green cred. But don't take Bob's word for it. A full (theoretical) comparison test of the Volt and Plug-in Prius can be found here.
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