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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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Game Changer
By gregpet on 11/17/2010 5:45:43 PM , Rating: 4
This automobile is a game-changer.

Just because you people don't get it doesn't make it not true.

This car is not about getting 50mpg its about not using a drop of gasoline if you so choose. It's all electric without range anxiety. You don't have to be green and still appreciate this car - this technology is our best hope of lessening our dependence on foreign oil.

It's expensive but all limited production cars are (priced a Ford GT or Dodge Viper lately?). The price will come down with greater production.

RE: Game Changer
By therealgras on 11/17/2010 6:12:07 PM , Rating: 1
Volt uses gasoline. And how may parts used in manufacturing vehicles are made from petroleum products, there's more than just gas.

RE: Game Changer
By rolodomo on 11/17/2010 6:26:44 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely, I hate stopping at a gas station during my commute. I'm willing to pay premium for a car that allows me to forget about the gas station experience. I live in the city and the gas stations along my route are frequently problematic -- there either jammed packed with cars parked the wrong way (blocking) or the station is empty, but the weather sucks. Yep, I'll endure plugging the car into my garage electrical outlet instead everynight.

I didn't know they were leasing them, I'm seriously considering it.

RE: Game Changer
By Reclaimer77 on 11/17/2010 6:35:29 PM , Rating: 2
its about not using a drop of gasoline if you so choose.

So? What's that do for me exactly?

So I'm paying twice as much, and reaming my fellow taxpayers with a massive subsidy, all so I can NOT use gas. I'm not an green activist, so please, show me how the Volt helps my bottom line and offers me something over a standard car.

You don't have to be green and still appreciate this car

Yes you do. If you buy a car because you want to "get us off foreign oil", then not only are you ignorant but you're an environmental nutjob.

And, for the 1 millionth time, electricity doesn't come from thin air. You are just switching the demand from one natural resource to another.

RE: Game Changer
By Dorkyman on 11/17/10, Rating: 0
RE: Game Changer
By foolsgambit11 on 11/17/2010 8:42:41 PM , Rating: 3
And the coal plants powering this thing are way cleaner than an old-fashioned steam locomotive. Powering our grid with coal may not be ideal (if all you're looking at is environmental concerns), but thanks to scrubbers and other modern technologies, this vehicle should still be much cleaner than an ICE (or a steam engine) on a miles/pollution basis.

Even given that, I'm not really interested in this car, because environmental concerns aren't the only factor in my purchasing decisions.

RE: Game Changer
By cmdrdredd on 11/17/2010 9:11:31 PM , Rating: 3
this technology is our best hope of lessening our dependence on foreign oil.

Actually no, drilling our own oil that we have available would do that.

RE: Game Changer
By gregpet on 11/18/2010 10:23:38 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. Drill every last drop out of Alaska, Gulf of Mexico, East & West Coasts...

Just keep in mind that the US uses approx 7.5 Billion barrels of oil per year with 300 Million population. Just wait till the 1.2 Billion Chinese & 1.6 Billion Indian population all wants a car...

I believe that it is good that we are starting to take small steps away from oil consumption. If gas goes to $4 gallon again its nice to know a car will be available that MOST OF THE TIME won't use a drop of fuel...

RE: Game Changer
By Reclaimer77 on 11/18/2010 3:40:18 PM , Rating: 2
If gas goes to $4 gallon again its nice to know a car will be available that MOST OF THE TIME won't use a drop of fuel...

I'm sorry to spoil your Liberal fantasy, but most people will be forced to simply endure the $4 gallon fuel than buy a 40 thousand dollar car because they have to.

And most of the time? The Volt went from a reasonable 40 mile electric range to now about half that, or less, depending on certain factors. I don't know anyone that drives less than 20 miles a day.

You'll still be paying that $4 gas most of the time, and be saddled with a much larger car note. Sorry but the Volt just doesn't make sense at that price point.

RE: Game Changer
By gregpet on 11/19/2010 1:35:51 PM , Rating: 2
What part of
Drill every last drop out of Alaska, Gulf of Mexico, East & West Coasts...

makes you think I'm in a liberal fantasy?

The Volt range is actually 25-50 miles of EV. If you would do a little research instead of just hating the Volt b/c it was built by govt motors you may actually understand why ALL the recent press has been favorable towards the Volt (not to mention the awards). There are consumers that already have Volts (in test fleets) and they are easily exceeding 40 miles of EV range with their usage.

Also keep in mind that the Nissan Leaf's typical range is 47 to 138.

"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings

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