Updated: New Volt Pictures, Specifications, News

So, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt is close to being on the market, and so the ramp-up to production begins.  GM is showing off a lot of pictures of their new Electric Vehicle (EV), as well as some more specifications.  The most interesting part isn’t even in the press release – it’s what some other automotive media had found out: the Volt isn’t purely electric.  It turns out that certain circumstances, including driving above 70 mph, can cause the gas engine to turn on and help propel the car.

Update 10/12: Another press release, this time from ChevroletVoltage.com, says that the Volt’s gasoline engine is never powering the wheels, only providing power through the drivetrain to the electric motors and regulator, which then drive the wheels.  Click here to read more.

While all of GM’s prior marketing materials advertised the Volt as a pure EV, with the gas engine only there to help charge the batteries, there is a time when the gas engine is connected to the drive wheels, providing forward movement for the car.

I feel a bit cheated, but really don’t care, since it won’t affect drivers during their daily commute, unless they speed down freeways.  The reason GM says they haven’t said anything up until now regarding the gas engine actually helping, is because of recently-approved patents that they were trying to protect.

Here’s the explanation Motor Trend gives for why and when the gas engine helps vehicle propulsion:

“However of particular interest, when going above 70 mph in charge sustaining mode, and the generator gets coupled to the drivetrain, the gas engine participates in the motive force. GM says the engine never drives the wheels all by itself, but will participate in this particular situation in the name of efficiency, which is improved by 10 to 15 percent.”

Either way, the gas engine never takes over completely, so I guess the Volt can still qualify as an EV.  The Volt is still a break-through vehicle, both for GM and the industry as a whole, so I don’t want to discount this change too much.  I’m still hoping that the Volt finds its market and GM sells a ton of them, which would help pave the way for more automakers to come out with similar vehicles.

Now back to our regularly schedule specifications: an 8-year / 100,000 mile warranty on the batteries, a highly-efficient overall package, with sporting intentions and plug-in electric capability.  Not too shabby.

The full warranty breakdown:

  1. Three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper coverage
  2. Five-year/100,000-mile roadside assistance and courtesy transportation
  3. Five-year/100,000-mile limited gas engine coverage
  4. Six-year/100,000-mile corrosion protection coverage.
  5. Eight-year/100,000-mile battery warranty.

Show Press Release

by John Suit

Source: GM, Motor Trend via AutoBlog

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