GM's much-rumored electric vehicle introduction for the North American International Auto Show has indeed been revealed to be the Chevrolet Volt. Built on a new platform referred to as E-flex, the cute coupe spins the front wheels via a 161 HP electric motor and a lithium-ion storage pack with 16 kWh of capacity (a piece of technology that, by GM's own admission, is not yet ready for prime time). An Ecotec-branded turbocharged 71 HP three-banger sits under the hood to spin a 53 kW generator, which provides one method by which to charge the pack; the other consists of a pair of plugs (one on either side) that facilitate charging via a standard 110V connection. Six hours or so of charge time at home is good for 40 miles of range, after which the IE kicks in at a steady 1800 RPM to feed the packs. GM calls it an EV with "range extending capability", but to our eyes, it sure looks like a series hybrid. It also has us asking why a small diesel wasn't employed, as such an engine can provide wonderful efficiency when used at a steady speed and load (as former GM division Electromotive has proven with its locomotives over the past several decades).
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