Astra Mules Used for Volt Testing (Visit this link)
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systems in larger experimental cars, dubbed 'Malivolts' because they use the bodies and running gear of the recently superseded Chevy Malibu saloon.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.