GM Says It Will Release Electric Car in 2010

This week, GM announced it plans to begin testing its plug-in, rechargeable car, the Chevrolet Volt, in the spring of next year. Says GM bigwig Bob Lutz, “We’ll have some on the road for testing next spring, and we should have the Volt in production by the end of 2010.” The secret ingredient to the Volt’s claim of 40-miles-per-charge is its “next-generation” lithium-ion battery, which is designed to last for 10 years, and which Lutz says will be ready by this October. Can we get one for our laptops?

Although GM isn’t the only car manufacturer working on a hybrid electric car, it’s the only one so far to provide a date when the cars will go on the market. GM says it will price the Volt in the “traditional mid-market car” range.

GM to begin testing Volt plug-in electric car this spring [CNN Money]

(Photo: GM)

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  1. Chicago7 says:

    Didn’t they say that back in 1980?

    /Believe it when you see it.

  2. zsouthboy says:

    …uh.


    They already had, and killed (heh), an electric car. Why is it taking so long to release another one?

  3. homerjay says:

    Come on. We all know who holds back the electric car. Its the same people who made Steve Guttenberg a star.

  4. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    GM has no intention of releasing an electric car. They’re just stalling, and hoping people forget about “green” vehicles. They’re making some decent money on truck and SUV sales. Why should they spend the R&D money to develop a vehicle that could potentially cut into profits? I’m with CHICAGO7, I’ll believe it when I see it.


    My bet is that Toyota will come out with the first plug-in electric vehicle for end customers. Honda and BMW will come out with the first hydrogen powered vehicles for end customers as well.

  5. timmus says:

    Hmm… I might consider buying it if it doesn’t end up costing half a year’s salary.

  6. timmus says:

    On second thought, never mind… if it’s a GM car, that means that there will be one random “check light”, a leaking seal, and interior trim coming loose after the first month or so.

  7. Agent Cow3.14 says:

    From what I’ve read, this is not a fully electric car like they used to have. This is just a plug in electric hybrid. I’m with LATHERRINSEREPEAT on this one, it’ll be the Japanese that will most likely come bring in a fully electric car. I believe the Prius was released because they were afraid American car makers were going to release one first.. well the laughs on Detroit.

  8. BrockBrockman says:

    That’s a clever name: “Volt.” Too bad “Charger” is already taken.

  9. Bulldog9908 says:

    40 miles. FORTY MILES!?! Excuse me, but what the hell is that good for?

    Sure, you can commute with it, but what about when you want to go visit grandma on the weekend? Do you have another car for that?

    How very green. Instead of one car to get me around for both daily commutes and longer trips, now all the energy and raw materials and labor needed to build two cars has to go into my transportation needs.

  10. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @homerjay: It was the Stonecutters, and we all know it.

    I’m wondering too..after spending $30,000 on this marvel..um..what happens if you want to go more than 40 miles? Stay overnight at a Motel 6 while your car charges, just so you can make an epic 80 mile journey?

    I could see a system of “battery swap stations” where you could turn in your spent pack for a fresh one (like those “Blue Rhino” propane exchange stations). That would be inconvenient still, but at least it would allow one to travel more than 40 miles….or maybe tow a trailer carrying extra batteries???

  11. NoNamesLeft says:

    The volt will have a gas powered generator on board that will power the electric motor when you go over 40 miles.

    This car is bullshit. Other manufactures have cars that will go 80 to 100 or more miles on a single charge. When their car comes out, it is going to already be a decade behind. Screw GM and their crappy volt. I hope this half assed endeavor kills them.

  12. EvilSquirrel says:

    I guess you guys are a little confused on what the product does. The Chevy Volt is a plug in hybrid that drives solely under the power of its electrical engine. The car does have a gas engine, but that engine does nothing than charge the batteries. This is supposed to be lighter and more fuel efficient than systems currently in today’s hybrids like the Prius.

    The 40 miles is how far the car can go without the gas engine kicking in. This is about how far the average person drives each day, so the thought is that you can drive 40 miles every day without using a gallon of gas.

  13. mantari says:

    In production by the end of 2010 in what quantity? If it goes into production at the end of 2010, when will it be commonly available?

  14. arachnophilia says:

    so it’s got an internal combustion engine in it, and they’re just calling it an “electric car” even though it’s really a hybrid with a slightly modified electric/gas strategy?

    wow, way to miss the big picture again, gm. i bet the reason why it only gets 40 miles to a charge is because it has to haul around… another engine. and gas tank. which of course not only make it perform worse, but makes it break down more often, and makes it dirtier and less environmentally friendly to boot. an Lithium-ion? remind me again, isn’t that one that has a limited charge life, and after a while can’t hold a charge?

    and didn’t gm already MAKE an electric car? i mean, a real one?

  15. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Yes, they did already make an electric car. It was so hated by all that poor, poor GM had to take them back and crush them all.
    There is a ‘real’ electric car right now, it’s expensive (maybe more realistically priced?), see [www.teslamotors.com.]

  16. Onouris says:

    Is that it in the picture??

    Electric cars are only fit for being city cars so far, and with only 40 miles per charge its not going far, so why the hell is it so big :S

  17. beyond says:

    Too bad you can already buy a used Prius and do this now. The auto industry is just clawing to traditional ICUs. They hate alternatives, and it shows. I will give GM credit though for making an “electric concept” that looks sporty.

    Oops, Telsa already did that, too!

  18. shiznannigan says:

    @arachnophilia:
    Actually, Consumerist (and possibly CNN money) are calling it an electric car. GM, and anybody who takes the time to do a little research, calls it a “series hybrid”. Gas produces electricity, electricity drives vehicle. Freight trains use the same setup, just on a much larger scale, and they don’t plug in for extra gas-free driving.

    Next time you want to find out the full story about an automobile, try something other than a finance publication (CNN Money, Forbes, etc). They’re almost always wrong.

  19. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Ah..thanks for the clarification, guys..I didn’t realize it had an on-board generator. Otherwise it wouldn’t make much sense.

    The 40 mile electric range is probably so short because you’re carrying around the gas engine. The old 97 electric S-10 trucks got around 100 miles of range on Ni-Cads (if you kept at 55 MPH or less), but it carried a boat-load of batteries.

    Assuming you could get 40 miles out of the batteries alone, that would cover most of my commuting.

    Now I wonder how much it will cost. Without tax credits, all this technology is pretty expensive, and I don’t see the average person (aka me) switching over unless it becomes reasonably affordable. If gas prices stay at $3 a gallon (we can only hope), spending $10,000 more on a hybrid would take a very long time to pay back.

    If GM had spend the last 10 years perfecting the EV-1, instead of crushing them all and concentrating on gargantuan trucks and SUV’s, they might have an affordable electric vehicle right now.

  20. Fry says:

    @homerjay: HAHAHAHA! I forgot all about that! Thanks Homer!

    I’ll agree with you partway though. I think it’s a different secret society. *cough*Illuminati*cough*

  21. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Errr..sorry..I think the electric S-10 used lead-acid batteries.

  22. no.no.notorious says:

    toyota needs to make a solar powered car so GM can go out of business already.

  23. Cowboys_fan says:

    @homerjay: @dwayne_dibbly:
    “Shu-ut u-up”

  24. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @dwayne_dibbly: What I’ve heard and read about the EV-1, they didn’t need a lot of tweaking. How hard would it be to build it again? Did they scrap the plans along with the cars?

  25. SJActress says:

    @dwayne_dibbly:

    Actually, if 40 miles is you’re daily commute, you’d be saving around $6 (if not more, depending on your gas mileage) a day with gas prices what they are. Not including weekends, you’d save $1561 a year. In 6 years that extra $10000 is returned. Not too shabby I say.

  26. TVarmy says:

    I just read that Toyota is planning on releasing their plug-in Prius in 2011, even though they have it working on the proving grounds. They’re concerned about long-term lithium ion battery safety and cost.

    GM thinks they can pounce on this one-year gap and be the defining plug in hybrid. However, Toyota has been in the hybrid game longer, and they seem to be better at making milage hybrids, rather than the power hybrids American companies make.

    I think a parallel hybrid might be better for now in terms of plug in vehicles because it reduces the need for a huge battery and heavier motors. But in terms of using absolutely no gas, I’d like a full electric car. The latest EV1s had batteries that could take them about 150 miles in some cases. What would have been a good solution is if GM started making towable gasoline generators that could hitch up to the car and provide it with power on long trips. That way, the car is lightweight and efficient on most days, and can do long haul driving for road trips.

  27. mammalpants says:

    Congratulations, Detroit! You killed the electric car 20 years ago and now you have to play catch up. That’s the American way! Welcome to the 80s! Enjoy the view of the graveyard with Reagan. I wouldn’t be surprised if your plot is facing west.

  28. jerseyjokeboy says:

    Somebody PLEASE tell me that it’s a typo, that this car will get more than 40 miles per charge? What sort of breakthrough is that?

  29. Blueskylaw says:

    I would rip out the batteries and put in a blown 350, that is one mean looking car.

  30. Buran says:

    @Bulldog9908: It’s better than any other hybrid out there, and certainly the Prius can’t go that far in EV mode. The next one might, but the next one isn’t out yet. That really is a breakthrough for a modern electric car.

    It’s a good commuter’s car but we’ve still got a ways to go before we can make an electric that has a 300-mile range and a 15-minute recharge time.

  31. Buran says:

    @Blueskylaw: Thus ruining the entire point. Just buy something with your huge gas guzzler engine in it in the first place if you want to stomp on the environment.

  32. EvilSquirrel says:

    I doubt we will ever see a true electric car for the masses until someone can figure out how to charge the batteries in about five minutes. Until then, the choices seem to be limited to the current crop of city cars and toys for the rich.

    What I do not understand though is why everyone rips the auto companies for building large trucks and SUVs. I do not believe that something as large as a Chevrolet Suburban is even competing for the same market share of people as the Toyota Prius. The fact is that the American consumer wanted to buy large vehicles in the 90′s and the American Auto companies focused on this area more than small cars. These cars have helped these companies keep up with their rising legacy costs from retired workers.

    Now that times have changed, the American auto industry is trying to change with them. These companies have many things against them such as rising health care costs, high costs of labor, rising legacy costs, more competition, and mismanaged corporate structures, but it is not as if they are trying to run themselves into the ground. They just got beaten to the market for fuel efficient vehicles. Cars such as the Prius are great cars, and the bar at which this new GM hybrid are trying to top.

  33. arachnophilia says:

    @shiznannigan:
    ah, i see — is this then a case of bad reporting? “plug-in” hybrids have actually existed for years. you can get your regular hybrid converted.

    @doctor_cos:
    hey that teslamotors car looks pretty swe…. $100k for the base model?!?!

  34. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @arachnophilia: I didn’t say it was for everybody :) I’d like to have that much sitting around to get me one, though.

  35. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @doctor_cos: The story of the EV-1 can be found here on a Wikipedia link. Most of them were on leases, but GM decided they didn’t want to support the program and refused to sell them to lessees and instead sent them all to the crusher (even though people begged to buy them).

    @SJActress: Okay, that isn’t too shabby..but the next question is..do I want to be on the receiving end of something new by GM? I suppose I’ll worry about that if they actually do start production, and if so, will the thing be reliable?

  36. oldbenjamin says:

    Ok. I don’t think many of you got it right. In electric cars you don’t use any gas, or have a gas tank for that matter. You use no gas, but your range is limited, around i think 100mi. In a hybrid car you get great mileage, but you are still using gas. In plugins, the car being shown here, its an electric car for an average day’s driving, but the range is unlimited because you can use gas if you need to go farther.

    Also, Hydrogen powered vehicles pollute more than gas, because you need energy to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen.

    Don’t forget either that all these batteries are a monsterous environmental hazard. Right now, if cars blow up, theres fire. With these batteries (lead/sulfuric acid was mentioned) you have acids and leads etc.

  37. skrom says:

    Another piece of green crap that will be slow, small, and dangerous if in an accident with a real car. When will they finally say screw the environment and let people drive what they want which is powerful vehicles made of steel so you arent killed in an accident. It is impossible to make a vehicle that matches the performance of a V8 gas engine that would be affordable to everyone.

  38. tcolberg says:

    Wow, there’s a lot of hatred going towards GM, with a surprising amount of people mocking them for attempting to come out with the first production plug-in hybrid. People are complaining about this car having an ICE, but most of the American public would complain if the car had a maximum range 100 mi (which is what the range would probably be around if they replaced the ICE with more batteries). With the battery pack and the gasoline engine (which only runs to charge the battery), the Volt can go as far as you would like. When that person goes back to their normal commute, which for average American is about 40mi round trip, they will hardly ever use gasoline. This is a huge innovation compared to what is currently out there for production automobiles.

    GM is planning on making this an affordable car, with the practicality that most Americans are demanding from their cars. This is not an easy process. The aftermarket conversions for the Prius and Escape cost over $20,000. GM also has to make sure that the Li-Ion battery packs will never overheat and explode. We’ve seen this danger in laptops when they at most have 9 battery cells in them, these cars will have thousands in their trunk, generating enormous amounts of heat. Even Toyota has been resisting using Li-Ion batteries because they are not confident about the safety, despite the massive improvement in power delivery they offer over Ni-Cads.

    Maybe next time commentators could actually learn about a product before cursing it’s seemingly pointless existence.

  39. mtaylor924 says:

    I think some people here are not very well informed about the way this car works. As some have stated, the ICE will only run to charge the batteries and keep the electric motor going (which is the only one connected to the transmission). Because it’s only designed to charge the batteries, and not to directly drive the car, the ICE will function at a fixed RPM (as opposed to variable in a standard car), so they can design it to be *much* more fuel efficient than a fixed-RPM engine would ever be.
    Also, using just enough batteries to cover the average 40-mile commute is smart; the ICE + gas tank still weigh less than the extra Li-ion batteries they would need for a 100+ mile range. Think about how much heavier a laptop gets just for getting the extended 9-cell battery instead of a 3 or 4 cell, then multiply that by hundreds.

  40. BenMitchell says:

    @riNysewind: HA – it will be the Chinese that release the first TRUE electric car – it will be tainted!!

  41. Krolls says:

    Everyone always raves about the EV1 and uses it as an example.

    Sure the EV1 was the balls, it was full electric, had a sporty-ish look but honestly was not a car for the masses. It was a 2-seater and looked like a death trap.


    The reason the Prius is because its a good family car. It seats 4 adults quite comfortably, can be taken on long road trips and is good on gas.

    People are not going to bite at an all electric unless there is a car that can charge in 2min or it can drive 1,000 miles per charge (about 16 hours at 65mph).

    I am a totally geek and green guy (I use both a Segway and a Prius)… but the hard facts of the matter is that it needs to appeal to families.

  42. shades_of_blue says:

    There’s a lot of BS surrounding the Saturn EV1, specifically that it was a car capable of satisfying the needs of the mass market. It’s sure the car would be perfect for locals in SanFran, where most of your local stores are in walking distance. But it would not to right for my neck of the woods, where realistically most of it’s charge would be used up on a daily basis. Assuming that it did not leave you stranded first.

    Why do I say this, you ask? Well I’ve seen ‘Who Killed the Electric Car’ and one thing I noticed they neglected to mention is how fast this car could consume a fully charge. And when GM switched battery types, the problem was reduced, but still existed.

    quote from Autoweeks’ Earth Day issue. [www.autoweek.com]

    “In contrast, when we tested the EV1 10 years ago, it was flat-bedded to the test track, died almost completely after a few quarter-miles and had to be flat-bedded over to our slalom, where it managed a few wheezy passes before going belly-up and being flat-bedded back to GM.”

    Its possible that it really was not ready for market then, but the tech is there and production concepts like the eBox prove that it can be done today.

  43. latemodel says:

    GM has spent billions on alternative systems, primarily hydrogen fuel cells. The fuel cells are not economically feasible with the low-buck American market mentality. Electric cars actually pollute more than gas when you add in the use of BURNING COAL to generate electricity. If you want clean electric, you need to build many nuclear power plants, which wont happen.

  44. methane says:


    HYDE: “There is no gaz shortage man! It’s all fake. The oil companies control everything! Like there’s this guy who invented this car that runs on water man! It’s got fiber glass air cooled engine and it runs on water!”
    FEZ: “So it is a boat.”
    HYDE: “No, it’s a car. Only you put water in the gaz tank instead of gaz. And it runs on water man!”

  45. mac-phisto says:

    production electric car? LAME!

    personally, i plan on contracting tommy chong to build me my very own hippy motors lowrider.

    check out pictures of “the ace” (not exactly work safe)

    ^^ proof positive that a cool electric car will attract hordes of half-naked women.

  46. bob9 says:

    @LatherRinseRepeat:

    What an uninformed comment. Infact several of you probably have no idea what is happening in the car market right now.

    Let me suggest two articles for you to read about everyones precious Toyota and their oh not so green image.

    [www.autobloggreen.com]

    [www.detroitnews.com]

    Toyota has a new slogan.

    Toyota, spinning the news forward.

  47. bob9 says:

    @tcolberg:

    These are people that would rather buy a Toyota and complain about GM even though Toyota recalls more vehicles than they sell. Not only that, Toyota is also a company that sweeps safety concerns under the rug only to have the Japanese government publicly shame them.

    Sounds like a company I want to buy my next car from. :rolls eyes:

  48. anatak says:

    @tcolberg: There’s a lot of hatred going towards GM by people who haven’t got a clue how difficult this process is and get all their automotive expertise from Toyota commercials. They also seem to have missed that little tidbit of news that Toyota just slammed the regenerative brakes on the next-gen Prius, because they don’t know what the hell they are doing either.
    [www.autoblog.com]

  49. mermaidshoes says:

    at least this thing looks wayyyy more awesome than the prius. not that it takes much to look better than that piece of ugly. ugh.

  50. MajorXP says:

    I wonder if you can actually buy it (and not be forced to give it up after your lease is over).

  51. Apeweek says:

    @LATEMODEL:

    No, incorrect. Electric vehicles are far, far cleaner than gas engines, even if coal is burned at power plants. EVs are far more efficient, which means more miles are driven on less energy – hence much less pollution, regardless of what gets burned.

    Also, don’t forget that lots of electricity is used to refine gasoline.

  52. buggy_bee says:

    Electric car is not the thing to watch out for.

    The technology of air powered vehicle is now on the move and must be supported.

    by: Audi Thermostat