Europe will get a first look at the production version of the Chevrolet Volt at the Paris auto show next month.
The Volt was unveiled at the General Motors 100th anniversary celebrations in Detroit on Tuesday.
GM has been racing to finish development of the extended range electric car in time for the planned U.S. launch in 2010.
The Volt will be built at GMs Hamtramck factory in Detroit. It is expected to come to Europe in 2012.
GM CEO Rick Wagoner said: "The Volt symbolizes GM's commitment to the future the kind of technological innovation that our industry needs to respond to today and tomorrow's energy and environmental challenges.
The Volt is designed to run for 40 miles (64 kilometers) powered by a lithium-ion battery pack that can be recharged from a standard electric outlet.
The car also has a gasoline tank to power the vehicle on trips longer than 40 miles. To increase aerodynamics and help achieve the 40-mile electric range, the production model unveiled on Tuesday is more rounded than the concept version GM introduced in January of 2007.
GMs Opel/Vauxhall brand will launch the E-Flex electric vehicle architecture seen in the Volt ahead three to six months before the Chevrolet Volt comes to Europe.
GM wants Opel/Vauxhall to be seen as a technologically advanced brand in Europe and for this reason the brand will launch the E-Flex electric vehicle architecture seen in the Volt ahead of Chevrolet.
GM Chief Operating Officer Fritz Henderson did not disclose how much the Volt will cost but said he hoped tax credits would make it more affordable for consumers.
The Volt's first generation will not be a moneymaker for the company, Henderson said.
"For most of our Generation 1 technologies, I don't know that I have ever seen a situation where we make money," Henderson said. "I don't necessarily think this is going to be the exception."
You may e-mail John Revill at [email protected]