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 |  May 19 2011, 4:28 PM

Chevrolet‘s popular Volt is getting a production boost—GM is increasing annual production from 15,000 to 16,000 per year.

GM is gearing up to build the European version of the Volt: of this new 16,000-vehicle figure, approximately 3,500 will be sold in Europe as the Opel Ampera. About 2,500 jobs are expected to be added to the Detroit-Hamtramck plant as a bonus. But by next year, however, GM hopes to skyrocket Volt’s production figures: 60,000 vehicles annually, with 45,000 remaining in the country.

The production increases are lofty, but still short of GM’s expectations. CEO Dan Akerson said last week that GM hopes to pump out even more Volts: 25,000 this year, and eventually more than 100,000 per year. With supply shortages still raging in Japan, this might be more challenging than GM expects; as such, they are monitoring demand for the Volt and other electric cars closely.

[Source: Auto Observer]

 |  Apr 08 2011, 1:16 PM

The Chevrolet Volt has been reported as averaging fuel economy high enough to see 1,000 miles between trips to the gas station.

“A sample of our early Volt customers suggest that they drive 1,000 miles before they fill up the gas tank,” said vehicle line director for the Chevrolet Volt, Tony Posawatz, at a conference yesterday in New York.

This news was reported by Bloomberg, but comes as no surprise to those who already know the gasoline-electric powered car. The Volt is capable of running on its 16kW lithium-ion battery indefinitely, as long as miles between recharges are below the 35-50 mile threshold, at which point the 1.4-liter generator kicks on.

General Motors had to design a pressure-sealed steel gasoline tank for the Volt just to keep its fuel from going stale. The Volt’s computer monitors the age of the gas, and if a Volt driver never taps into the fuel supply, it will periodically start the generator to use the gas before it gets too old.

In this light, it is clear that Posawatz’ reported revelation is only one conservative estimate. Volt drivers may not just get 1,000 miles between fill-ups – some have reported several hundred miles to nearly 1,000 miles before burning even one gallon of gasoline. It’s all a matter of using the energy budget wisely. Since electricity is cheaper, the idea is to use the grid, and avoid gas stations.

GM has also said Volt sales are “right on target” as its deliberately slow roll out continues. “Demand for the product is very, very high,” Posawatz said. Consumers “can’t get enough of them.”

[Source: Bloomberg]