Volt is an electric car that can create its own electricity. Plug it in, let it charge overnight, and it’s ready to run on a pure electric charge for up to 40 miles(3) — gas and emissions free. After that, Volt keeps going, even if you can’t plug it in. Volt uses a range-extending gas generator that produces enough energy to power it for hundreds of miles on a single tank of gas.
General Motors believes the Volt will earn an EPA rating of 230 mpg in city driving. The company hasn’t provided an estimate on the car’s highway mileage, in part because the EPA is developing a new mileage testing procedure specifically for Volt-like vehicles. GM CEO Fritz Henderson, however, has said the car would carry a combined mileage rating of more than 100 mpg.
The Volt is designed to finish most drives with its batteries holding as little as 30 percent of a full charge. If the Volt is allowed to run the EPA’s circuits that way, designers say, it can complete the tests using its gasoline engine less than 15 percent of the time — and receive an MPG rating in the hundreds.
Owners will plug the Volt into a standard household outlet to recharge its batteries. It can be plugged into either a standard 120-volt wall outlet, or into a 240-volt outlet like those used to power large appliances. Plugged into a standard 120-volt outlet, the Volt will recharge fully in about eight hours. Plugging the Volt into a 240-volt outlet cuts charging time to less than three hours.
The batteries can also be charged by the gasoline engine onboard the Volt, which will kick in when the battery charge is below 30 percent. As in other hybrids, regenerative braking will help to capture brake energy to recharge batteries as well.
The Volt’s gasoline engine is a 1.4-liter four-cylinder model. It can use gasoline or E85 as fuel. This engine, however, doesn’t power the wheels of the car. It acts as a generator to recharge the batteries while the car is in motion.
That gasoline engine is connected to a fuel tank that holds only six gallons of gas — but, working with the car’s batteries, that should be sufficient to give it a 400 mile range between fill-ups.
Price Range: Pricing for the 2010 Chevrolet Volt has not been finalized. The most recent estimate places the price at $40,000, with a $7,500 federal tax rebate available after that price.
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