GM Forges ahead with Volt Despite Money Problems

DN Staff

January 28, 2009

2 Min Read
GM Forges ahead with Volt Despite Money Problems

In an effort to keep vehicle weight as low as possible,General Motors will use forged aluminum wheels for the electric Chevy Volt,which is due to debut in late 2010.

"Alcoa is pleased to supply forged aluminum wheels for theVolt. Working closely with the GM team resulted in a wheel designed, engineeredand manufactured for light weight performance that will further extend therange of this alternative propulsion vehicle," said Mike Parnell, general managerof Alcoa Auto Wheels.

General Motors has targeted the Chevy Volt to deliver up to40 miles of gasoline- and emissions-free electric driving with theextended-range capability of hundreds of additional miles. Removing weight is amajor goal. The reinforced thermoplastic sheet shown in the hood for theconcept Volt is no longer under consideration, according to an exclusive DesignNews report.

It seems apparent that GM wants to focus on provenlightweight technologies, such as forged aluminum wheels, in an effort to keepthe Volt on schedule.

Alcoa said it focused on design, engineering and productiontechniques to increase strength and durability while lowering the overallweight of the wheel. Forged aluminum wheels provide increased strength and 20percent less weight than cast aluminum wheels.

Lightweight wheels help reduce emissions and fuelconsumption while also boosting driving performance and efficiency from a lowerrotary inertia. As the energy used to accelerate and decelerate the wheel isreduced, less mass is required in adjacent, un-sprung components such asbrakes, steering and suspension. Lowering overall un-sprung weight compoundsthe benefits of fuel economy and reduces emissions.

The announcement on the forged wheels also reaffirmsstatements by GM that the Chevy Volt car program is still full speed aheaddespite the company's financial problems. Jon Lauckner, GM's vice presidentglobal program management, says: "It is one of the highest, if not thehighest, priority programs in the company and that hasn't changed, nor has thecommitment of resources to fund it. In fact, with the successful completion ofeach development activity, we have more confidence than ever the Volt willstart production as planned in late 2010."

Last Friday, the federal government announced an agreementto provide up to $17.4 billion in loans to bring GM and Chrysler to commercial"viability." GM CEO Rick Wagoner held a press conference on Fridaywhere he thanked President Bush and said GM is "fully committed to leadingin energy-saving vehicles and technologies."

Sign up for the Design News Daily newsletter.

You May Also Like