GM hits milestones in batteries and vehicle testing

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General Motor Co. is updating its recent milestones in batteries and vehicle testing mainly to its Volt model, which will be available to the public in the first quarter of 2011.

Farah said engineers at GM’s Warren, Mich., Technical Center will begin building pre-production versions of the Ampera later this month in preparation for its launch in Europe for the 2012 model year.

The first pre-production rolled off the assembly last week, and GM has been busy doing calibration drives of pre-production Chevrolet Volt electric vehicles. It was able to clock up to 39.9 miles of emission-free, electric-only driving range from the Volt.

From a small on board gasoline-engine electric-generator, the Volt can travel up to more than 300 miles in its pure electric range. Recently successful tests  in cold weather in Kapuskasing, Ontario, and Canada showed that the electrical system in the Volt can handle extreme weather well. Later this July, the Chevrolet will undergo additional hot weather testing in Yuma, Arizona.

So far, more than 500,000 test miles have already been put on the pre-production Volt vehicles. The Volt remains on schedule for consumer production in the fourth quarter.