The GM Volt is what I call an technology-enabled concept. We have a certain group of technologies that can fit together but we need mature, safe, and economical components ready at the same time to put the vehicle on the road in hundreds of thousands and then millions.
The Volt essentially removes petroleum or biofuels as the primary source of energy. They are demoted to a back-up source that is on call when needed. This is what we and the whole developed world need. It is a cure for petroleum depletion, emissions creation and greenhouse gas production. True, the missing energy would come from a mix of sources from solar and wind (most preferred), to coal and gas and nuclear, but still at levels that are basically more efficient.
I know Prof. Andy Burke of University of California, Davis, an early advocate of Plug In Hybrids like the Volt. He is a mild mannered researcher who kept coming to technical conferences reporting on the pluses and minuses (pardon the pun) of the different battery technologies and their use in plug in hybrids. It took a few years for the technology to catch on. Those technical and economic enablers are still needed. What if the perfected lithium ion batteries need a certain mysterious element known as "unobtainium" that is available only from the far side of the moon, or near where Osama bin Laden lives?
Remember also, that if battery storage is good enough, the Volt can be used without the engine at all. Keep the engine in storage for when you need it. You can take it out of the garage and plug it into the car for that trip to Aunt Ruthie's next weekend. During most weeks, keep it out, save the weight and do the "electric ride." Now, that is living large, 21st century style!
[Source: Mother Earth News]