AutoblogGreen reports that GM has unveiled a plug-in, hybrid, 4-door electric sedan capable of running on unleaded gas and ethanol. The Chevy Volt has a range of 640 miles on a single 12-gallon tank of gas — which is 53 miles per gallon, a hair better than my Prius’ actual measured average of 47 mile per gallon. But, the Volt becomes a green monster when you take this into account: the gasoline engine has no mechanical connection to the wheels. The only purpose for the 1.0L three-cylinder engine is to charge the lithium-ion batteries that power the car’s electric motors. Since the car can be plugged directly into your home electrical system in order to recharge, Volt drivers will only need to charge up using that gas engine during long trips. The batteries offer a 40-mile range, meaning that the average driver would be able to make his/her daily commute using no gas at all.
The car on shown here in Detroit is a runner, and hopefully GM will let AutoblogGreen behind the wheel before too long. GM made sure to emphasize that the Volt and E-Flex are not science fair projects or PR stunts. For the sake of GM and the domestic industry as a whole, they better bring something like this to market sooner rather than later.
According to the AutoblogGreen article, GM has actually already assigned a vehicle line executive for the Volt (at GM, once a given vehicle has a vehicle line executive, then the project is considered officially intended for production), and the only remaining hurdle is securing a supplier for the necessary lithium-ion batteries.
To top it all off, the Volt has a great retro sci-fi look — sort of a Buck Roger’s race car. This is a car designed to excite both flashy throttle-jockeys and sensible greenies, and succeeds stunningly on both counts.
Thank God the Big Three are finally choosing to join the rest of us in living in the future.