The 2011 Chevrolet Volt makes its debut as General Motors' first plug-in gas/electric vehicle. It is slated to see limited production in calendar 2010, with launches in California, Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Washington, DC. Nationwide availability is slated for late-calendar 2011. GM calls this 4-passenger, 4-door hatchback
an "extended-range electric vehicle" in that it does not work like most hybrids. With many hybrids, their gasoline engines and battery-powered electric motors can provide power to the drive wheels. With Volt, the wheels are always driven by electricity, provided either by the onboard battery or gasoline engine that powers a generator. The car can plug in to a standard household outlet and charge overnight.
A high-output 240-volt charging station will be available that should cut charging time roughly in half. Chevy claims a range of 40 miles solely on a fully charged battery and about 340 miles when the gasoline engine is used. The gas engine is an 80-horsepower 1.4-liter 4-cylinder. Available safety features include ABS, traction control, antiskid system, curtain-side airbags, front-side airbags, and driver and passenger knee airbags. Among the available features are a remote-charging and vehicle-control program that owners can download and run from Blackberry and Apple iPhone cell phones. A navigation system is standard, as is a hard drive for storing digital-music files. Leather upholstery, heated front seats, front- and rear-obstacle detection, and a rearview camera are optional. We have not yet tested the 2011 Chevrolet Volt.