• Sep 13, 2010
2011 Chevrolet Volt – Click above for high-res image gallery

When General Motors conceived the electric powertrain for the Chevrolet Volt, the 40-mile electric driving range was specified so that most drivers would rarely, if ever, have to use any liquid fuel. Components like the battery were then sized to match the performance and range specifications. However, the whole point of incorporating the range extending engine was so the Volt could keep going without the driver having to continuously monitor the battery level, even though GM once told us that the Volt would move without gas in the tank.

Regardless, leaving the same gasoline in a tank for months or even years creates a new set of problems. One reason is there's no such thing as pure gasoline. What's sold at the pump is a blend of numerous hydrocarbon compounds like octane, heptane and other additives that lubricate valves and fuel injectors, along with a range of assorted chemicals. Many of these compounds will eventually evaporate, reducing the performance of the fuel and could possibly lead to engine damage.

To address this, the Volt has a completely sealed and pressurized fuel tank. Pressurizing the tank helps minimize evaporation from the liquid fuel, forcing it to stay in liquid form. Before the fuel filler can be opened to gas up the Volt, the tank has to be depressurized, which takes a few seconds after pressing the release button. The engine management system also monitors the time between when the engine runs and will periodically prompt the driver to run past the 40-mile electric range before recharging. If the driver doesn't force the Volt to run on gas, the system will eventually start the engine to consume some of the aging fuel and circulate the fluids within the engine. Once this maintenance mode is complete, the engine shuts down until it's needed again or enough time has passed. GM hasn't revealed what the time intervals are, but with Volt production right around the corner, we'll find out soon enough.



[Source: Plug-in Cars]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 43 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why doesn't GM just say you should consume 1 gallon per month to keep this is perfect working order.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Read the article. It does. It says if you don't use the engine for a while it will suggest you drive further than 40 miles so as to burn off a little gas without wasting it. Only if you don't do that for a while does it then just burn off a little gas and essentially throw the energy away.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I love how everytime there is a blog on here about this thing all the nut jobs and naysaying trolls come out of the wood work. How about we try having a semi intelligent conversation for a change? Is that to much to ask? Sheesh!
      • 4 Years Ago
      I just hope the pressurized gas cap doesn't fail. The first person to get doused with gasoline when they remove the filler cap is going to send GM a nice letter from a lawyer.

      How much is the tank pressurized? If they were going to put in a sealed pressurized tank why not just make the Volt engine run on natural gas.

      There just isn't anything that makes sense with this car. It looks like the upcoming Sonata hybrid will be the greenie car to beat. Why sacrifice everything you do with the Volt just to have one. All the car will be is a greenie status symbol.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It will only be slightly pressurized. And if it was designed to run on CNG or propane, where would people even fill it up? Most propane filling locations have been replaced by tank exchanges where you drop off your tank and pick up a new one.
      • 4 Years Ago
      All this says to me is 'Something to go wrong down the line.'
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Volt is purely a marketing tool, not a real solution. Once again, more proof that GM doesn't design these "products" past the dealer floor. Why don't they offer us what they make in Australia: American power, euro dynamics, international aesthetics. Wait a minute, maybe they are genius at building what Americans will swallow.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Because if that's all they built, the moment gas prices went up again the rug would be pulled from under them. They already went through that, putting all their eggs in the gas-guzzler (SUV) basket, and it bit them in the ass when gas prices went up.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What a ridiculous question.

      • 4 Years Ago
      I will get mine hooked on the city lights , by pirating power from a light pole thats outside our house....

      That way, I can stay green using public money.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Stealing from a municipal utility is stealing from everyone. There is no "public" money.

        You taking something from the utility that isn't paid for is just going to come back to bite me in the butt in the form of higher rates.
      • 4 Years Ago
      They are dual gasoline/electric hybrid headlights which have unique characteristics requiring a combination of both design and engineering solutions.

      If you don't drive at night very often, failing to use the headlights will cause the filaments to lose brightness and turn gummy (much like the gas in the fuel tank). GM has developed a special system that combines narrow headlights, keeping surface area small to reduce evaporation of volatile light compounds, pressurized light bulbs and an automated system that will turn the lights on periodically, even if you don't need them, to make sure critical seals and filaments stay lubricated.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is why I use StarTron in my fuel! Man it works! The story makes sense to me.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Greenies are gonna love this car :P
      • 4 Years Ago
      That Volt is about to knock off its lower front valance. Hope that isn't so low on the final model.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's probably really flexible rubber, but yes that is at least an inch lower than my car, which is already lower than most.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's flexible, it won't be damaged.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Middle Way: I would love to see GM market a high-speed, low-drag aero kit for the Volt:
        - low-drag wheel covers
        - rear-wheel spats
        - rear glass wind deflector
        - additional aero skirting

        You know, something that's actually functional and useful instead of the high-drag Honda "ricer" kits.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Looks like its low due to mid-corner body roll.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Stop complaining. You don't have to pay extra for the sweet ground effects kit ;D
      • 4 Years Ago
      If its necessary evil then be it.
    • Load More Comments