When General Motors announced pricing for the 2011 Chevrolet Volt last week, one new technical detail grabbed some attention. Vehicle line director Tony Posawatz was apparently the first exec to mention to the press that the range-extending engine in the Volt had been calibrated to run on premium gasoline.
There have been some question about what happens if you put regular gas in the tank and whether that would damage the engine. GM powertrain spokesman Tom Read confirmed to Autoblog that the Volt's 1.4-liter inline-four is equipped with a block-mounted knock sensor like virtually every other modern engine. The engine is calibrated for premium with extra spark advance to optimize the efficiency and output of the engine. If regular gas is used, the knock sensor will adjust the spark advance to prevent engine damage. Premium gas also reportedly has a longer shelf life than regular, which could be an issue for Volt drivers who maximize their plug-in's electric capability by using as little gasoline as possible.