GM to add 2nd shift at Detroit-Hamtramck plant for Chevrolet Volt output

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 11, 2011

In early 2012, General Motors Co. will add a second shift at its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant to boost production of the Chevrolet Volt, according to the Detroit Free Press. Teri Quigley, plant manager for the Detroit-Hamtramck factory, said that the second shift would add about 900 to 1,000 jobs at the plant.

The good news is that the laid-off GM workers will get the first opportunity to apply. Training for these workers start later this year while full production is expected in early 2012.

Spokesman Chris Lee sent an e-mail to Automotive News, revealing that Detroit Hamtramck has begun some of the pre-work that’s required to add a shift at the plant. Lee said the plant seeks to be able to start a shift as quickly as possible when it is required to boost production to meet market demand.

He also said that it’s too early to say when the shift will start or exactly how many employees they need. GM said that it aims to produce 25,000 Volts this year, a significant increase from the original 10,000-unit target. Sources familiar with GM's plans reported in January that it aims to build 120,000 Volts annually beginning in 2012.

Serving as the core of the new Chevrolet Volt is the Voltec propulsion system that is made up of pure electric drive and a range-extending engine, allowing the EV to travel up to 350 miles before needing to recharge. Its 111-kW (149-hp) pure electric drive unit is powered by a 5.5-foot, 435-pound (198.1 kg) T-shaped, 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, allowing the Volt to achieve an emissions-free pure electric driving range of between 25 and 50 miles, subject to factors like terrain, driving techniques and temperature.

This battery -- which is designed to deliver not only value, quality and performance, but also durability, safety and reliability -- is covered by an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty. GM engineers – since 2007 -- have conducted over than one million miles and four million hours of validation testing of Volt battery packs, including each pack’s nine modules and 288 prismatic cells. In fact, each of the Volt battery's 161 components -- of which 95 percent was designed and engineered by GM – were made to comply with specs and pass validations.

Micky Bly, GM executive director for global electrical systems, remarked that since customers are committing to a technology that would help reduce reliance on gasoline, the carmaker is also committing to deliver the highest standards for value, quality, safety, performance and reliability. Once the battery’s power runs out, the Volt will impeccably shift to extended-range mode, with power for the electric drive unit derived from a 1.4L 63-kW (84-hp) gasoline-powered onboard engine.

Performance-wise, the new Chevrolet Volt could accelerate from zero to 60 mph in less than 9.0 seconds, sprint the quarter mile in less than 17.0 seconds, and reach a top speed of 100 mph. A depleted battery can be recharged in just around four hours using a dedicated 240V charging station or in between 10 and 12 hours via a 120V conventional household electrical outlet. Once the Volt is connected for charging, there is an option to schedule immediate or delayed charges, or to coordinate charging according to departure time or during times when electricity rates are lower.

The Volt could also be managed and monitored remotely through, or via Chevrolet Mobile App powered by OnStar MyLink. The Volt’s electrically driven capabilities and its premium midsize sport sedan looks complement its bold performance-oriented stance. This is achieved by its wheels-out position, a sculpted belt line, wide tracks -- 61.2 inches (1,556 mm) on the front and 62.1 inches (1,578 mm) -- and its 105.7-inch (2,685 mm) wheelbase.

GM’s design and engineering teams closely collaborated with aerodynamicists to shape the Volt in the carmaker’s wind tunnel. This collaboration has allowed GM to produce the most aerodynamic vehicle in Chevrolet so far. They succeeded in reducing the energy needed for overcoming air resistance, thereby giving the Volt an estimated extra eight miles of electric range, and extra 50 miles of extended range.

Bob Boniface, director of design, described the Volt as a revolutionary car, with a design that is both sleek and dynamic. He said the Chevrolet Volt has been technical and refined in its execution, with a number of interrelating surfaces that allow for clean and crisp edges and creases.

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