First unveil of the new Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid
2 October 2008

Europe's press were given their first chance to see the Chevrolet Volt when it was unveiled at the Paris show. GM’s revolutionary range extender car breaks the mechanical link between the internal combustion engine and the wheels for the first time.

More details have also emerged about the Volt’s mechanical make-up. It will use a new 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine (which will also be used in the new Chevrolet Cruze) that’s been detuned to produce just 53bhp.

That’s enough, at 1100rpm, to power the Volt’s electric motor although the engine doesn’t recharge the battery. Instead it kicks in to generate power when the battery’s charge drops to below two thirds full; the battery then drives the motor.

The economy and emissions figures are exceptional, unrivalled by any mass-produced car on sale today or due on sale in the next 18 months. GM claims around 176mpg and 40g/km of CO2

The car’s exterior, which has attracted criticism for looking too conventional and not being attractive enough, has been designed to be as aerodynamically efficient as possible and still accommodate four people plus luggage. The door mirrors, for instance, are straight off the Volt concept car, but greatly cut drag.

Inside the Volt is a four-seater, because the lithium-ion battery pack divides the rear of the cabin, creating the effect of a transmission tunnel.

Dan Stevens

Join the debate


2 October 2008

Three cheers for Chevy - at last someone has had the courage to actually produce something that is a genuine step forward towards making sure the car will survive, they should be applauded. I hope it will be a big success for them. It is a pity that it is not more adventurous looking but it has one or two nice points, like the wing mirrors and the graphics of the lights. I appreciate that the overall shape is limited by the need to be as aerodynamic as possible (even Honda's Insight looks like a Prius) but the worst point is those horrible black panels below the side windows - Why ?? it would have looked so much better if they had kept it looking as though it had the really narrow windows of the original concept. All in all a damn good effort.

Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

2 October 2008

Genius. Of all people, Chevrolet. Not quite done yet eh? Write off the American car industry at your peril...

Bring back steel wheels.

3 October 2008

Wonder how they came up with the 176mpg figure... Guess there is some EU directive or another on this, based on driving a standardised route and distance - and if so, did it start with batteries fully charged? Like if the batteries lasted for 40 miles and the standard test is 100, it only had to burn petrol for 60 miles or so.

Whatever though, we're potentially looking at a realsitic 150 to the gallon and space to bring others with you. This seems to be the real step forward the prius wasn't!

3 October 2008

176mpg!!??!! Even if it only achieves two thirds of this figure due to more spirited driving, it would still be a bloody good mpg for a car of this size. Hope they can do something to make the price a little sharper, but other than that it looks like a winner to me (although what's with the weird black bits on the side, below the windows??).

6 October 2008

The deal with the Volt is that it breaks the mechanical link between the engine and wheels. The Toyota Hybrid system is way more complicated. By allowing the engine to run at its most efficient, acting a a generator with no acceleration and little loading, fuel consumption is transformed. This idea of micro generation - having, say, tiny power stations at the end of the street, rather than a few huge power stations and the resultant transmission losses, is a big part of the future 'fuel saving' revolution. (I won't call the shift 'green' because that's such a debased and political term). We'll probably come to see the Volt as a landmark in the history of the automobile.

6 October 2008

[quote HiltonH]We'll probably come to see the Volt as a landmark in the history of the automobile.[/quote]

There's one major problem - read this: <br> <br>

If these guys are right (and Edmunds is respected in the States) then the Volt is effectively useless for anyone other than a commuter with a plug at work. You only get 40 miles before the battery runs out, after which point you're trying to power a 1700kg car along with its engine thrashing away to turn its electric motor. <br>

If this is the future, give me a Prius.

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