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Managing Technology-Based Projects: Tools, Techniques, People and Business Processes by Hans J. Thamhain

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Chapter 10

Defining the Project

CHEVROLET VOLT ELECTRIC CARS DEVELOPMENT

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Motor Trend magazine named the new Chevrolet Volt the “2011 Motor Trend Car of the Year®.” The annual award was one of the most prestigious honors bestowed in the auto industry. “The future is here, and America is back in the game,” says General Motors.

As of October 2013, 50,000 Volt electric cars were delivered in the United States since Chevrolet introduced the car in 2010. With combined global sales of more than 60,000, the Volt is the top selling plug-in electric vehicle in the world. However, success did not come by luck or chance. It is the result of a carefully planned project that dates back to earlier GM pilots, such as the EV1 electric car produced between 1996 and 1999. After killing the EV1, GM had to come a long way to earn back the trust of electric-car lovers. But the Volt just might do it. With carefully laid plans and strong resource commitments, GM moved the project from concept to production in under four years. Before developing the vehicle for volume production, Chevrolet introduced its first “series plug-in hybrid car,” as a “concept car” at the North American International Auto Show in 2007.

Most of the Volt initial design parameters defined for the concept car (referred to as “iCar”), were kept throughout the design process up to the final production version. However, by comparison ...

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