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All the controversy surrounding the Chevy Volt's unique drivetrain raises a bigger issue: Why would GM mislead the media for months about how it really works? Why does the company refuse to call the Volt a plug-in hybrid, the most obvious and accurate description of the car? Why, even now, having explained that the gas engine does indeed couple to the transaxle gearing that drives the wheels of the car, do Chevy PR people insist on making statements in their press materials like these?

When we report on electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids, the discussion often focuses on battery advancements, transmission technology, fuel economy, range and the like. Seldom do we discuss some of the smaller parts that make EVs and hybrids move, things like electric-drive axles. They can be important, too, and now GKN Driveline has announced that it has designed and developed a new range of axles specifically targeted at EVs and hybrids.

2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI - Click above for high-res image gallery

JB Straubel, Chief Technical Officer at Tesla Motors has just put up a new post at the Tesla Blog with an extensive update on the Roadster drivetrain updates that are coming later this year. As we reported at Tesla's recent schedule update, the Silicon Valley start up is currently planning a running change to the upgraded powertrain beginning with car #41 which should happen sometime in late summer. There aren't any huge surprises in Straubel's post, but there are some interesting details. When

General Motors announced that it will be introducing 19 -- yes, 19 -- new engines and powertrains for the 2007 model year. The powerplants span the gamut of technologies available today and include hybrids, traditional gasoline-powered engines, ethanol powerplants and everything in between. The claim to fame for every last one is better fuel economy, reduced emissions and more choice, the automaker says.