The General Motors Volt, which had been slated perhaps for an earlier release in limited numbers prior to its official November kick off, probably will now not see that early release because of reported internal fears of potential public relations issues. Word of this comes today from the Detroit Free Press.
The Press was told by sources that “Volts sold before the official launch could require tweaks and changes” common to any automobile before it hits full roll out speed. The concern apparently is that these changes might be “misunderstood” by the public as flaws in the Volt’s design. This approach, while conservative, could perhaps be appropriate, especially when you consider the public relations nightmare around the 2010 Toyota Prius earlier this year.
The Volt, for those that don’t know much about it, “is designed to drive up to 40 miles on electricity without using gasoline or producing tailpipe emissions.” After its lithium-ion battery runs low, an engine/generator kicks in “to extend the total driving range to more than 300 miles before refueling or stopping to recharge the battery.” A built-in element in the Volt’s digital instrument cluster gives the driver real time information on his or her driving efficiency, and the car “even has audio and visual cues to alert the driver when the car powers on, off and when charging is activated.”