Astra Mules Used for Latest Chevy Volt Tests

Recent reports indicate that GM's highly-anticipated extended-range electric car, the Chevrolet Volt, has now entered its final phase of development. That means engineers are putting the finishing touches on the packaging of the vehicle. As a result, they're now testing a more production-ready vehicle. Enter the Astra.

Up until now Volt prototypes have been built on the larger Epsilon chassis, but production Volts will be based on GM's Delta architecture. AutoCar UK reported late last month that Astras are now being used to "integrate its complex electric, electronic and mechanical drive components into their final production form." Read more about the testing in the clip below; follow the link at the bottom of the page to read the full story.

The Chevrolet Volt has begun its final development phase to integrate its complex electric, electronic and mechanical drive components into their final production form. Until now, GM engineers have been developing Volt systems in larger experimental cars, dubbed 'Malivolts' because they use the bodies and running gear of the recently superseded Chevy Malibu saloon. The task now is simplify and miniaturise the components to fit a smaller, Astra-derived package, including a 180 kilogram T-shaped battery pack that fits along the transmission tunnel and under the rear seat. At around 1600kg the Volt is substantially heavier than an Astra, but its overall weight distribution is closer to 50:50. The Astra-related design, which will eventually carry Chevrolet, Opel and Vauxhall brands, should be on sale in the US before the end of 2010 at a price GM says will attract genuine family car buyers, not just early-adopters.

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