Chevrolet Volt (2012–2014)
European premiere Paris Motor Show October 2008. Production-ready version of the Chevrolet Volt E-REV (Extended-Range Electric Vehicle).
Batteries are pre-charged by connection to an electrical powerpoint. 1.4 4-cylinder engine reduced in power to 53bhp then charges the batteries when necessrary, but the car runs solely on its electric motor. Can potentially deliver 176mpg and 40g/km CO2. After charging can run for 40 miles with no tailpipe emissions at all.
Four-seater saloon car, with decent luggage and passenger space and stylish, contemporary looks. Production begins in 2010.
On sale in the UK from Spring 2012, the Volt will cost from £28,545 after the government backed £5,000 electric vehicle grant, making it less expensive than some traditional petrol or diesel engined five-door hatchbacks.
By plugging it in, drivers save themselves a fortune. The Volt has an electric-only range of between 30 and 50 miles depending on terrain and traffic conditions, after which its on-board generator kicks in to sustain battery power.
Unlike conventional hybrids, the electric drivetrain – known as E-REV, Extended-Range Electric Vehicle – directly powers the car’s wheels. The petrol engine is there to simply prevent the battery going flat, thus eliminating the fear of ‘range anxiety’ experienced by users of other electric vehicles, who are dependent on a limited range and a charging infrastructure before they can use their cars without compromise.
Yet if the driver is only commuting, he or she need never put any petrol in the car, meaning it only ever needs fuelling for longer journeys.
All UK Volts will come with full leather interior as standard, adding a touch of luxury to the world of electric commuting.