Today on Planet 100: Test Driving the Chevy Volt (Video)


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Its been ten years since the demise GM's EV1 but now electric cars are back with the Chevy Volt. Will consumers embrace them this time round?The Chevy Volt works like an electric car for its first 25 - 50 miles. It burns no gas, but instead draws energy from a 400-pound lithium ion battery pack.

But a 50-mile range isn't enough to make a car practical, so the Volt also carries a 1.4-liter engine which powers a generator that sustains the battery charge enough to give the car another 310 miles of range.

View & Vote: Electric Cars Charging the Future

This is called "series" hybrid and it's fundamentally different from a "parallel" hybrid, like the Prius, in which the car's electronic control unit constantly switches between the engine and a much smaller battery pack.

Unlike the Prius or Nissan LEAF, the Chevy Volt's doesn't have that iconic look. Instead the Volt has a distinctly un-hybrid and un-EV in feel to it. Don't be misled by the Chevy-brand badging. The Volt is an upscale vehicle worthy of its higher price tag, which at $40K, is significantly higher than the Prius or the Leaf. On the upside, many of the premium features are standard, like navigation.

GM have produced a cool car that's mostly electric, but without any of the drawbacks of limited driving range. All that's between it and commercial success is $40K.

More Chevy Volt test drives:
Chevy Volt: The TreeHugger Test Drive (Photos + Video)
Test Drive the Chevy Volt Plug-In Hybrid Electric Car
Read more about the Chevy Volt:
Chevy Volt Gets 127 MPG Over 299 Miles of Real-World Driving
The Chevy Volt Will Get 50 MPG When the Battery is Drained, According to GM
Chevy Volt Battery to Have 8 Years/100,000 Miles Warranty
Google's Android OS Headed to the Chevy Volt [UPDATED]

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