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The 2011 Chevy Volt from GM is the first American-made mass-market electric vehicle.  (Source: GM)
Two top auto magazines agree -- the Volt is a groundbreaking achievement

"Nobody will buy a Volt." "You can't make a profitable electric vehicle."

General Motors has heard it all.  But it has defied its critics and persisted, completing the world's first mass-market plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid.  The vehicle survived an economic downturn, the largest industrial bankruptcy in U.S. history, and perpetually noisy critics, and is on course to go on sale at dealerships on November 30, 2010.

Now the car has received the distinction of being named the car of the year by two top American automotive publications 
Motor Trend and Automobile.

Motor Trends writes:

In the 61-year history of the Car of the Year award, there have been few contenders as hyped -- or as controversial -- as the Chevrolet Volt. The Volt started life an Old GM project, then arrived fully formed as a symbol of New GM, carrying all the emotional and political baggage of that profound and painful transition. As a result, a lot of the sound and fury that has surrounded the Volt's launch has tended to obscure a simple truth: This automobile is a game-changer.

Chris Theodore, a seasoned automotive engineer and one of the panel judges, enthuses about his surprise at how impressive the Volt's final results were.  He states, "I expected a science fair experiment. But this is a moonshot."

Automobile comments:

In its metamorphosis from 2007 concept car to 2011 production car, the Volt has gone through a reckoning. The turbocharged three-cylinder engine and chunky, Camaro-esque styling have been traded for a normally aspirated four-cylinder and a decidedly pedestrian shape. Claims of 0 to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds, a 120-mph top speed, and a total driving range of 640 miles turned out to be the usual concept-car lore. The true numbers are 9.0 seconds, 102 mph, and 350 miles. But the Volt is far deeper than an eco-numbers car. In fact, it's more than just a car. It's an idea. And during the past three years, that idea -- blend the environmental benefits of electric driving with the convenience of gasoline -- didn't change at all.

We've been following the Volt since its first days as a concept.  Given its evolution it's pretty easy to see why the car won these distinctions.

While there were some minor tweaks to the powertrain from the original concept, GM delivered on virtually all of its primary objectives with the vehicle being able to travel approximately 40 miles on a charge and an additional 310 miles on a fuel-efficient gasoline engine.  The price is also right near the long speculated $40K mark, coming in at $40,280 USD, before tax credits, factory incentives, or other subsidies.

The Volt is definitely a groundbreaking work by the American auto industry, which will hopefully soon be followed by Ford's Focus Electric battery EV.  The Volt will go head to head with the 2011 Nissan LEAF EV plug-in which is gasoline-free, but has a shorter 100-mile range.

The Volt could win all the awards in the world and that wouldn't convince some of its detractors.  But for those on the fence, it's important to recall that similar criticisms were leveled against the Toyota Prius.  But that mid-to-low volume mass-market hybrid established Toyota as the world leader in hybrids, a position that it has since profited on tremendously as the technology matured and became profitable.  Now GM is poised in a similar position and this time, it is ready to be the one to take the lead.



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RE: meh
By SoCalBoomer on 11/17/2010 2:52:23 PM , Rating: 0
Should have been awarded based on production models anyway - where is this available? I can't find one listed at any local (I'm in LA) dealerships as being purchase-able or deliverable NOW. . . so it's a bogus award.

C&D and Automobile and others won't award until the vehicle is actually available. . . which is correct.


RE: meh
By theapparition on 11/17/2010 4:26:55 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
C&D and Automobile and others won't award until the vehicle is actually available. . . which is correct.

LOL,
Automobile just gave it car of the year. You can't even read the article and we're supposed to care what you think.


RE: meh
By kchase731 on 11/18/2010 3:05:09 AM , Rating: 3
im in detroit...i see these silly things all over the place. i even passed a dealer lot with them on it. i have a deep suspicion that this is a massive marketing ploy...not a car people "want".

4 years ago, when it debuted at the NAINAS much different times (economically, governmental, and so on) this thing looked great. it was a real BEV, and it was what GM promised for the future.

Bailouts, buyouts, cop-outs, and on and on later...the volt is a hybrid and an over priced one.

i have a ton of family that relies on UAW, GM, Ford...for a living, retirement and more. I want to say they are all drinking the GM (government motors) kool-aid. this is not the future. the volt is a "forced" "government" (obama) idea...one more failure.

the original concept, design, and idea...that was good. this is a built to $ lame product. the fact that the government needs to subsidize it $7500 worth is a good indication...that the bail out, the future, and the plan for GM is rooted in ideas....not public demand.

FAIL


RE: meh
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 11/18/2010 7:26:52 AM , Rating: 2
People are buying this plug-in hybrid, and paying a premium for it. So people must really want it. Who cares what GM makes as long as it sells?

I didn't know that about Obama and how he forced this into production a year before he was elected. See, government control is rampant.

</Jesse Ventura>


RE: meh
By phantom505 on 11/18/2010 7:37:51 AM , Rating: 2
What happens Thursday when they are sold back to the market?

Turns out that the government bailing out a failed business and selling back for a small profit has happened before. Like under Regan and the S&L scandals. That's what the FDIC does.

It's really not a big deal. Get over it.


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