Shocking: Volt production by 2010?

General Motors has put Volt production into warp speed, announcing that it hopes to have the car in production by 2010, Automotive News reported Monday, detailing steps the automotive giant is taking to get the car into production.

Larry Burns, Vice President for GM R&D, told Automotive News the Volt is a formal production program just like the Malibu or Corvette, and said that production engineering for the car is currently underway at General Motors.

GM first unveiled the Volt concept in January with a gas-electric powertrain, and just last month with a hydrogen fuel cell.

Burns said GM has allocated development funds, the engineering work is underway, and Delta II has been selected as the platform to carry the new E-Flex system. GM has also decided to offer two different versions of the system: one powered by a gasoline engine and the other powered by a fuel cell.

Testing of many components of the system will begin this year. As soon as the design is frozen, it will take GM about 36 months to get the car into production, meaning the car could be built by 2010, the report says.

GM wants to build the Volt in the United States as a demonstration of the technological might and as an answer to the Toyota Prius. Lordstown Assembly in Ohio, where the Cobalt is screwed together, is said the front runner to build the Volt. Tooling and engineering costs are estimated at more than $500 million.

Recently, GM's Bob Lutz was quoted as saying "Competitors who write this off as a PR exercise are going to be brutally surprised."