Update: Progress on the GM Volt

August/September 2007

General Motors’ Volt concept car isn’t just a dream machine anymore. (See “The Volt: An Electric Car That Could Change Everything,” June/July 2007.) Insiders indicate the 150-mpg electric car now is a “formal product program.” In other words, GM is figuring out how to actually build it. More evidence for this is GM’s recent decision to award two battery development contracts. Improvement of battery technology is the main hurdle to address before the Volt makes it to market. But the Volt and its E-Flex system have literally energized GM, especially its engineers, according to Gary Smyth, director of powertrain systems, and Nick Zielinski, chief vehicle engineer for the Volt program. While there still are major technical obstacles to conquer, the Volt is moving forward with support from the highest levels of GM on down.