GM is accelerating development of the 2010 Chevy Volt in an attempt to ready the production version for a reveal as the company celebrates its 100th anniversary in September. Although we know GM desperately needs a cutting-edge Prius-killing success to stem the sales slide, given past RenCen rush jobs, we're not sure that setting a time deadline instead of a performance benchmark is the best way to move forward. A look at potential pitfalls after the jump.
Exploding batteries: Remember the flaming plug-in Prius from a few weeks ago? No, that wasn't a manufacturer-sanctioned ride, but it still plainly shows the dangers inherent in releasing unproven technology. The fact that GM has yet to name a supplier for Volt's lithium-ion battery pack (though we hear it'll be either Continental or CPI) is another red flag for the power source.
Embarrassing show mishaps: GM needs a win...and they need it to be a clean win, both on the stage and showroom floor. No panels falling off, stalls, massive oil leaks, fires, or collapsing spokes-robots on stage. Asking engineers to work 18-hour days in an effort to ready bleeding-edge technology for debut at a huge, public event, all while holding their jobs over their heads, is a recipe for disaster.
Gas price crashes: Let's not forget November is rapidly creeping up on us. This is an election year. Don't be terribly surprised if gas prices suddenly fall to earth in a magical, ballot-influencing Bullworth-like fashion in September. The result would be GM touting Volt's amazing fuel economy at the same time Tahoes again start flying off dealer lots.
Are any of these outcomes probable? No. Possible? Yes. [Automotive News (Sub. Req.)]