Prospects Bright, Volt Heads to LA Auto Show

The road trip from GM headquarters in Detroit began Nov. 11, the same day General Electric announced it will buy 12,000 GM electric vehicles, starting with the Volt in 2011.

When the doors of the Los Angeles Convention Center open at 11 a.m. Friday to admit the first attendees of the 2010 LA Auto Show, the concept vehicles and cars making their North American and world debuts will be shined and ready. A Chevy Volt will also be there after being driven from Detroit, its trip thoroughly chronicled online, by executives who've given dealers and motorists along their way an early look at this new electric vehicle.

U.S. Marketing Vice President Joel Ewanick drove through Illinois and Iowa with marketing strategist Michael Bojarczyk and Volt powertrain engineer Lane Rezek along for the ride. "We done a number of these kind of drives and I have missed every one of them for one reason or another," Ewanick said Nov. 11. "I told my wife I wanted to be able to drive across country. It's a proof of concept for me." The car gets 25-50 miles on a single electric charge before a gasoline-powered generator provides electricity to power the wheels for an additional 300 miles, according to GM, which will produce it at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant. California, New York City, and Austin, Texas are launch markets.

General Electric announced Nov. 11 that it will buy 12,000 GM electric vehicles, starting with the Volt in 2011, and will buy 25,000 electric vehicles overall by 2015 -- representing half of its global fleet of 30,000 vehicles. GE wants to speed adoption of electric vehicles worldwide and says it is in position to do so because it has one of the world's largest fleets, operates a global fleet management business, and offers charging stations, circuit protection equipment and transformers "that touch every part of electric vehicle infrastructure development."

Emergency responders are gearing up for the variety of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles coming to the U.S. market. The U.S. Department of Energy says electric vehicles are designed so their batteries can be isolated and their power systems disabled in the event of an accident or emergency. High-voltage power lines in these vehicles are colored orange.

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