Thursday, September 9, 2010

GM’s assembly line delivers bouncing baby Volt

Director Chris Paine (above) is still filming the follow-up.
from his "Revenge of the Electric Car" blog, the director of one of the great documentaries of the last decade: "Who Killed The Electric Car".
Chris Paine and the Revenge crew (Sean, Craig, Jessie, and Jessica) are proud to say that they are among the first film crews ever to professionally film mass production of an EV. (Of course, this is mostly because no one has made them in so long.) Since GM will be one of the first to the EV market with its Volt in 2011, we came to film them being put together through the multiple stages of the car manufacturing process. Chris is pleased to announce that he and his crew were there live to see the completion of Chevy Volt pre-production car #100 at the Hamtramck Assembly Plant in Michigan. The delivery was made at 9:25AM, August 25, 2010. The baby is 177 inches, 3500 pounds. One fine beauty. And accompanied by quite a few of the Volt’s siblings in all colors.

How the world has changed in five years!

In 2005 we were editing Who Killed the Electric Car? and trying to put together the pieces behind the ridiculous decision by car makers to terminate their advanced electric car programs. Now here we are in 2010, as welcomed guests of GM no less, watching electric cars roll off the assembly line for the first time since the EV1 stopped production in 1999. So it was very, very cool to see! And we feel that some very real changes are coming to the car industry.

In short, we had a great final shoot in Detroit.

Being in a state-of-the-art factory certainly updates every cliche of 1950′s car manufacturing. Robotic body and frame welding, magnetic delivery systems for motor/engine marriage to the carriage, dashboard installation by hand, battery pack installation by dolly, tires being torqued into position by wrench jockeys… it was a glorious sight. Hamtramck has an extremely complex integration of Auto Union procedures (and Hamtramck has a great local Union from what we could tell), management, workers, managers, conveyor belts carrying car parts, hundreds of components and thousands of processes. Torque pressure monitors, zipping airguns, palettes of parts, and layers of quality control processes. People plus machines plus computers plus experience.

Our favorite visuals of the shoot were or those Volts being manufactured on the same line as old-school gasoline guzzlers. How great to see a new Volt coming off the line after 6 Cadillac SRXs. With consumer demand for EVs (that means you, gentle reader) and continued government support, one day that ratio will be reversed. 1 Cadillac SRX to every 6 Volts. Or better yet the Cadillac SRXs will be electric too.
and in the comments section i found this little diddy:
"Seems the electric car killer really hasn’t changed their ways".

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