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Production GM Volt Unveiled

General Motors has marked its Centenary by unveiling the production version of the Chevrolet Volt.

The Volt is powered by electricity, and can travel up to 40 miles using its lithium-ion battery. It has a ‘range extender’ to get further – in the form of a 1.4 litre petrol (or bioethanol) engine. GM reckons the Volt will do 100 mph on its electric motor.

Like other electric cars, you plug in the Volt overnight to recharge it – using either a standard household 120v outlet or 240v. Using 240v means that the car can be charged in less than 3 hours. A household recharge takes 8 hours.

Using peak electric rates, GM estimates that an electrically driven mile in a Chevy Volt will be about one-sixth of the cost of a conventional petrol-powered vehicle. The cost savings are even greater when charging during cheaper off-peak hours.

The design of the Volt has changed since the original concept – to be more aerodynamic.

Production is scheduled to begin in late 2010. Looks like the Volt will be available initially just in the US, and prices have yet to be announced.