The 2011 Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid is arguably the most advanced hybrid and the most fuel-efficient car on the market, and is in fact called “extended-range electric vehicle” by General Motors because it has, in effect, two different powertrains: an all-electric one (battery and motors) that drive the car for the first 40 or so miles after a full plug-in recharge, and a gas-powered hybrid system (with gas engine and fuel tank) that automatically takes over after that to give about another 300 miles of range.
- Year Model: 2011
- Manufacturer: General Motors Company (Chevrolet Division)
- Fuel/Vehicle Type: Plug-in Hybrid
- Mileage (mpg): 93 mpg- equivalent
- Body Type: 4-Door Hatchback Sedan
- The 2011 Chevy Volt can operate either as an all-electric vehicle, a series hybrid, or a parallel hybrid, depending on the battery’s state of charge (SOC) and the vehicle’s operating conditions.
- The front-wheel-drive 2011 Volt operates as a pure battery electric vehicle drawing power from a lithium-ion battery pack until the battery charge depletes from full charge to a predetermined threshold, at which point, the Volt’s 1.4-liter four-cylinder internal combustion engine, which requires premium fuel, comes to life as a replacement power source for the electric motor.
- The Volt’s regenerative braking also contributes to the on-board electricity generation. Under certain higher-speed conditions, in order to improve performance, the four-cylinder can also help power the wheels directly and can be engaged mechanically via a clutch to assist both electric motors to propel the Volt.
- When plugged into a wall outlet, the lithium-ion battery can be fully recharged in about 10 hours on normal 120-volt household current, or four hours with a special 240-volt charging station.
- A remote-charging and vehicle-control program allows auto climate control air conditioning, so the owner to pre-heat or pre-cool the vehicle before getting in.
- 2011 Chevrolet Volt accelerates quickly from a standstill and is very responsive at moderate speeds as well
- Chevy Volt is as silent and smooth to drive on pure battery as any all-electric vehicle, and the change-over from battery charge to generator power is inaudible, seamless and difficult to decipher, making the car a competent vehicle even when the engine-generator kicks in.
- The U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) rating for the Volt’s tailpipe emissions is 84 grams of carbon dioxide per mile, which puts the Volt ahead of the Toyota Prius in terms of low greenhouse emissions as measured at the tailpipe. In the Other Air Pollutants category, the Volt rates six out of ten, with ten being best.