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Ready or Not, Here Comes the Volt

In this handout image provided by General Motors, The first pre-production Chevrolet Volt is on the assembly line at the Detroit-Hamtramck manufacturing plant in Detroit, Michigan.
John F. Martin, General Motors
In this handout image provided by General Motors, The first pre-production Chevrolet Volt is on the assembly line at the Detroit-Hamtramck manufacturing plant in Detroit, Michigan.

Now we'll see if the new Chevy Volt lives up to the hype.

Now we'll see if it's a novelty for early adapters who want an electric car or if it's the mass market hit as GM is hoping.

Now we'll see if America is ready to embrace electric cars on a widespread basis.

Today, GM begins production of its all new Chevy Volt at its Hamtramck plant in Detroit. As Job #1 events go, this is one of the most highly anticipated we've seen in years. And for good reason. The Volt has been pushed by GM executives, auto industry leaders, and environmentalists as a game changer. The kind of electric car that will be in demand by every day Joes, not just the wealthy or eco-friendly folks in California.

At least that's the hope at GM.

Now we'll see if reality lives up to that promise. This morning, GM CEO Dan Akerson told me, "This is not the end, this is the beginning of the electrification of the car. I think 20, 30 years from now, we'll look back at this car it will be something maybe like the model T was in the early 1900s. This is the first huge step."

That's pinning some big hopes on one car.

So how will we know if the Volt is a success? Perhaps by April or May we will see if dealers are seeing if there's enough interest to push demand and then force GM to increase production. Personally, I believe demand will be driven by gas prices. If they stay moderate, so will Volt demand. If prices at the pump surge so will demand for the Volt.

But after three years of promises, the Volt is finally here. Let's see if the quiet car makes a lot of noise in the auto world.

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___________________________ Questions? Comments?BehindTheWheel@cnbc.comand Follow me on Twitter @LeBeauCarNews

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