Mike Stevens | Oct 28, 2010

Following confirmation nearly a year ago that it will launch in the US late this year, the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle has made its first video appearance in a new television commercial - with a voiceover by Tim Allen, best known for his role in the Home Improvement sitcom.

At last year's Melbourne International Motor Show, Mark Reuss - at the time Holden's Chairman and Managing Director - announced that the Volt will arrive in Australia in 2012.

“We think Volt has the potential to change the game in Australian motoring,” Mr Reuss said.

“There is no doubt that Volt’s advanced propulsion systems represent some of the most exciting alternative fuel developments in motoring.

“At Holden, we believe Volt will play an incredibly important role in our efforts to make motoring better for the environment,” he said.

Holden's current MD Mike Devereux confirmed earlier this month that the Volt is still on track for its scheduled 2012 local launch. It remains to be seen however if a national battery-charging infrastructure will be in place by then.

The Volt draws power from a lithium-ion battery pack, rather than the less-powerful nickel metal hydride batteries of most hybrid vehicles.

The Volt’s liquid-cooled battery pack contains over 200 individual lithium-ion cells mated to an advanced computer system for maximum efficiency.

With this system, it can travel up to 65km before a small conventional petrol engine kicks in to recharge the battery.

In April, GM unveiled a new concept in the Volt line-up: a people-mover dubbed the Chevrolet Volt MPV5.

Similar again to the Volt, the Volt MPV5 is powered primarily by an electric motor that draws energy from a 16kWh lithium-ion battery pack, offering a driving range of around 50 to 70 kilometres.

The electric motor is combined with a 1.4 litre Ecotec petrol engine, designed to kick in when the motor's energy is nearly depleted, recharging it and extending range to around 480km.

Although the MPV5 shares its platform with the Volt, its people-mover status means it has been made 180mm longer and taller, and 76mm wider. Its wheelbase however is only 15mm longer than the Volt's.

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