One of the many things General Motors boasted about when it unveiled the Volt concept at the Detroit Auto Show in 2007 was its 600-mile range. This was achieved partially by the battery pack, which could sustain a (theoretical) charge allowing the Volt to run for 40 miles without reverting to the gasoline engine/generator, as well as a 12-gallon fuel tank. According to Kicking Tires, GM has shrunk the size of the tank by an unknown quantity and the result is a reduction in range from 600 to 400 miles – or 360 miles without the aid of auxiliary (read: grid-provided) power.
The General maintains that since most owners don't travel more than 40 miles in one day, it wasn't necessary to fit the Volt with a larger tank. That reduction in capacity will save some weight, but what will it cost in public perception? The hype surrounding GM's supposed savior and game-changer are based on two figures: range and cost. If GM can deliver on both counts, they might have a hit on their hands. If not, the Volt will be DOA the day it hits dealers.