In the biggest news since the initial concept announcement, GM vice-chairman Bob Lutz confirmed that in fact the first Chevy
Volt prototype, with the full lithium-ion battery pack has hit the test track.
He said "It is reliably meeting its objectives. Even with a rough calibration, even with the wrong drive unit, the wrong body, etc. etc., it has been hitting its 40 miles on electric power."
He specifically confirmed the dynamometer tests have been successful even under various thermal conditions.
He even went so far as to say "I can almost say the battery is the least of our problems,"
He further explains that much of the engineering challenge ahead has to do with software, figuring out how and when the engine should kick in for example.
He notes that he is much more confident in the November 2010 deadline. He talks about Volt vehicle
line executive Frank Weber in the following way:
"Three months ago if you asked Frank Weber 'so November 2010?' he'd get flustered and say he wouldn't answer until he knew more, now if you ask him the same question, he's calm and relaxed and says unless we encounter some completely unforeseen obstacle - November 2010 looks good."
Finally he confirms that CEO Wagoner is as involved in the Volt project just as much as he is, confirming extreme interest in it straight from the top.