Chevy Volt Crosses Border to Canada

By: Anthony Fontanelle

Since the unveiling of the concept version of the Chevy Volt at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) earlier this year, it has attracted the attention of the entire auto industry. Recently, the Chevy Volt Concept made its way across the border to be unveiled for the first time in Canadian soil. The debut of the Volt in Canada came at the energy and Environment Conference in Toronto.

The Chevy Volt promises a vehicle that would virtually eliminate the need for a city driver to refill its gas tank. This is because the Volt is a plug-in hybrid vehicle. This means that its battery can be recharged using a common household socket. Its battery pack can power the stylish Volt for long distances before needing another recharge.

"If you are like most Canadians who live and work within a 64 kilometer round trip the Volt is a gas free, emission free car," says David Paterson, the vice president for corporate and environmental affairs for General Motors of Canada. "Drivers will simply unplug and go each morning - much as we do with our cell phones today," he added further.

According to General Motors, the Volt can be recharged using an ordinary 110-volt socket. To fully charge the vehicle's battery, it requires about six hours of uninterrupted charging. This means that a Chevy Volt owner can charge the car before going to bed at night and the Volt will be fully charged by morning.

A fully charged battery pack can provide the Volt with power for it to cover 64 kilometers. The vehicle is tailor made for drivers who does most of their driving within a city. The 64 mile allocation may be enough for Volt owners to eliminate refueling the vehicle with gasoline. It is calculated that power from the grid is less expensive than gasoline thus making the Chevy Volt a practical vehicle.

In case that a driver needs to cover more than 64 miles in a day, an internal combustion engine (ICE), called the range extender by General Motors, will kick in. The ICE will be configured to run on alternative fuel such as ethanol, hydrogen or biodiesel. It can also run on conventional gasoline. The engine will be used to charge the vehicle's battery pack. The combination of the range extender and the electric motor gives the Volt an impressive 1,000 kilometer range.

"At GM we believe that tomorrow's automobile must be flexible to accommodate many different energy sources and choices for consumers, and a key part of that flexibility will be enabled by electrically driven cars," says Paterson. "With battery contracts in place and a dedicated team of engineers, General Motors is moving to bring the Volt closer to reality."

General Motors recently awarded developmental contracts to two companies. The two companies will be working on the development of efficient and advanced lithium-ion battery packs for the Chevy Volt.

Once the Volt goes into production, it will join other environment-friendly vehicles in General Motors' lineup. In Canada, General Motors will be offering hybrid versions of the Saturn Vue and the Aura as well as the Chevy Malibu. A two-mode hybrid version of the ?-equipped Tahoe will be a part of General Motors' offering in the country along with the GMC Yukon come this fall. Two-mode hybrid versions of the Chevy Silverado and the GMC Sierra will be added next year.

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