With 2011 Chevrolet Volt assembly scheduled to begin later this year, General Motors today began producing one of its most important components: the lithium ion battery pack.
"This is an important milestone for GM - and a critical step in bringing the Chevrolet Volt to market," said GM CEO Ed Whitacre.
Assembly of the lithium-ion battery cells into full-fledged battery packs occurs in Brownstown Township, Michigan, south of the Volt's assembly plant in Hamtramck. GM spent approximately $43 million to renovate the 160,000-square-foot facility from a vacant building into a battery facility. The facility employs roughly 100 people.
Scheduled to enter production at the end of this year, the Volt will allow drivers to travel upwards of 40 miles before the gas-powered engine starts. Only select markets will have the ability to purchase the Volt at inception, while a nationwide rollout will follow in the coming years. GM is concerned that the lack of charging infrastructures in certain regions could hurt the Volt's launch.
Coincidentally, today is exactly three years since the Volt debuted at the 2007 Detroit auto show.