The much-anticipated Chevrolet Volt extended range electric vehicle has made one of its first global appearances at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney.

Volt, to be launched in the US in 2010, uses electricity to move the wheels at all times and speeds in a significant advance from conventional hybrids.

When operating solely on its battery, Volt can drive up to 64 kilometres without petrol or producing exhaust pipe emissions. Once the battery's energy is depleted, a small petrol engine generates electricity to power the vehicle for hundreds of additional kilometres.

Volt is an important element of General Motors' strategy to provide a range of sustainable transport solutions to meet the current and future needs of motorists.

GM estimates that compared to similar sized petrol-powered vehicles, Volt will save motorists up to 1892 litres of fuel a year. This is based on US research that identifies 75 per cent of commuters travel an average daily distance of less than 40 miles (64 kilometres).

It also calculates that charging the vehicle at night through a standard power outlet will use less electricity annually than an average household refrigerator and freezer.

GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director Mark Reuss said Volt's Sydney reveal gave Australian audiences an early view of one of the most important technologies shaping the future of sustainable transport.

"It is a reflection of the importance of the Australian market for General Motors that a vehicle as significant as Volt has been provided for this show," Mr Reuss said.

"This technology is potentially the most exciting addition to GM's range of alternative fuels on the horizon.

"As we move forward, it will be innovative solutions such as Volt that will sustain global motoring by reducing our dependence on foreign oil."

Volt is planned for manufacture at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly and is scheduled for launch in the US in late 2010.

Volt - How The Technology Works

Volt is an Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (E-REV). In a significant advance from conventional hybrids, it uses electricity to move its wheels at all times and speeds.

For trips of up to 64 kilometres, Volt is powered solely by the electricity stored in its battery without using petrol or producing exhaust pipe emissions.

When the battery's energy is depleted, a small petrol-powered engine generates electric power for the vehicle to travel hundreds of additional kilometres.

Advanced technology enables the vehicle's battery to be charged in less than three hours on a standard 240v power outlet. Charge times are reduced if the battery has not been fully depleted.

GM estimates that compared to petrol-powered vehicles that average 7.8 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres, Volt will save motorists up to 1892 litres of fuel a year.

Volt - Vehicle Details

The design of the Volt production car has evolved from an original concept that was unveiled at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

General Motors created an energy efficient design for the production vehicle, resulting in one of the most aerodynamic cars in the company's history.

Many of the design cues from the concept car have been carried over in the production Volt, including the closed front grille, athletic stance and rear design graphics.

Inside, Volt will offer the space, comfort, convenience and safety features that customers expect in a four-passenger sedan.

Preliminary Specifications

Vehicle Type: 5-door, front-wheel-drive sedan.
Category: Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (E-REV).
E-REV Competitors: None.
Chassis: Independent MacPherson struts front, compound crank twist axle rear, four-wheel disc brakes, full regenerative brakes to maximise energy capture, electric power-assist steering.
Seating Capacity: Four.
Top Speed: 160km/h
EV Range, City (km's): 64km
Wheelbase: 2685mm
Length: 4404mm
Width: 1798mm
Height: 1430mm
Cargo Volume: 301L
Battery System
Type: Lithium-ion.
Energy (kWh): 16
Electric Drive Unit
Power (kW / hp): 111 / 150
Torque (Nm / lb-ft ): 370 / 273
Tyre and Wheel Size: Specially developed low rolling-resistance tyres on 17-inch forged aluminium wheels.