Mike Stevens | Jun 26, 2009

A WEEK AHEAD of schedule, GM's Chevrolet Volt hybrid has hit the road, in pre-production form, ahead of its market debut around November next year.

While all of the previous sights of the Volt have been mockups and renderings, these new images offer the first look at the virtually production-ready version of GM's groundbreaking hybrid.

chevrolet-volt_pre-production_test-car_01

The 2010 Chevrolet Volt draws its power from a lithium-ion battery park - compared to the less-powerful nickel cadmium batteries of most hybrid vehicles - which contains over 200 individual lithium-ion cells and is matched with a series of advanced computer controls and a liquid cooling system.

GM will build around 80 of these pre-production vehicles in the months leading up to the car's showroom launch, with shakedown testing to continue through the next 16 months.

“The purpose for the integration vehicle builds is two-fold,” said GM's Rob Peterson.

“First, they validate our production design, vehicle safety and performance capabilities. Just as important, the build activity provides valuable insight into the final vehicle assembly process to ensure a high-level of build quality and manufacturing efficiency when full scale production begins in November 2010.”

chevrolet-volt_pre-production_test-car_03

The world's former number one carmaker is currently in the early days of bankruptcy, and while it hopes to emerge well before the Volt is due in showrooms, the hybrid is regarded as GM's most important new model in years, its success vital to the company's future.

The Volt is expected to sell for US$32,500 in the United States, after various hybrid rebates.

Holden announced at the 2009 Melbourne International Motor Show that it plans to offer the Volt in Australia by 2012, although specific details and pricing are still some way off.

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