2011 Chevy Volt Spark pure electric car

2011 Chevy Volt Spark pure electric car FRONT VIEW2011 Chevy Volt/Spark: The forthcoming Volt is somewhere in between a plug-in hybrid like the 2011 Prius and a pure electric car like the 2011 Nissan Leaf (see below). Like the Prius, the Volt has both an electric motor/battery pack and a small internal combustion engine. But unlike the Prius and other hybrids, the Volt's gasoline burning engine is only used to provide back-up power for the engine's onboard battery packs in the event their charge runs low. It is not connected to the drive wheels or transmission. In effect, the Volt carries around its own built-in generator - making it independent of recharging stations.

2011 Chevy Volt Spark pure electric car INTRERIOR VIEWThe Volt's batteries may also be charged up by plugging the car in to any common household 110 volt outlet. This dual-mode recharging should give the Volt greater versatility and range than plug-in hybrids like the '11 Prius - as well as superior overall economy.

2011 Chevy Volt Spark pure electric car FRONT VIEWGM claims the Volt can go for 40 miles on a fully-charged battery without the gasoline engine ever coming on - and up to 300 more miles with the small gasoline engine providing generator power. If these claims prove accurate (and we won't know until the cars are actually available about six months to a year from now) the Volt would be the most fuel-efficient car ever mass produced.

But there is a potential downside: GM reportedly will price the 2011 Volt at between $35,000 to $40,000 - comparable to the cost of an entry-luxury BMW or Mercedes-Benz. Federal tax deductions of as much as $7,500 will help make the Volt more affordable but it will still take awhile to work off the up-front costs in "down the road" fuel economy gains. Middle class buyers most interested in a high-economy car may find the Volt too expensive.

Later in 2011 or 2012, GM may also offer a similar drivetrain in the Spark ultra-compact city car, which should be priced more affordably.

Tags: #Chevrolet