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Chevrolet Pauses Volt Production to Upgrade Plant

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author photo by Autotrader May 2011

The Chevrolet Volt is one of General Motors' most important cars. The unique extended-range vehicle is the company's most innovative project in decades, and has been a key research and development focus for years. So it may come as a surprise to hear that the company is going to stop making the Volt for a month.

GM is pausing the assembly lines at the Hamtramck, Mich. plant that makes the Volt in order to upgrade the facility to increase production and meet growing demand for the car.

The Volt is Chevrolet's answer to the green car movement, and it has been in short supply since its launch late last year. Since it's already pretty hard to come by, Chevy says there will likely be a shortage of Volts in June and July while the company upgrades the factory.

After the renovations are completed, Volt production should increase dramatically. By 2012, Chevy expects the newly revamped factory to produce 60,000 Volts a year for worldwide consumption.

At its launch, the Volt was only available in Calif., NY, Conn., Texas, Va. and DC. After the renovations, Chevrolet will start selling the Volt across the country. Volts built in the upgraded factory will also be shipped out to foreign markets including China and Europe, where the car will go by the name Opel Ampera. But GM assures us that 75 percent of 2012 Volts will be staying here in the US.

Beyond the Volt and Ampera, the Hamtramck plant also produces the Cadillac DTS and Buick Lucerne.

Most hybrid cars, like the Toyota Prius, rely on a gasoline engine to propel the car with some assistance from an electric motor. The Volt is unique in that it is primarily driven by the electric motor (like the all-electric Nissan Leaf), and the gasoline engine really serves as a generator to produce electricity for the motor and recharge the batteries.

The advantage this gives the Volt over an all-electric vehicle is that it's not limited by the range of its batteries or restricted to driving only in areas where there are charging stations. You could easily take the Volt on a cross-country road trip.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Chevrolet Pauses Volt Production to Upgrade Plant - Autotrader