Motor Trend and Automobile magazines Tuesday both named the Chevrolet Volt the 2011 Car of the Year.
“We expected a science experiment, but this is a moon shot,” Motor Trend editors wrote for the January 2011 issue. “The Volt delivers on the promise of the vehicle concept as originally outlined by GM, combining the smooth, silent, efficient, low-emissions capability of an electric motor with the range and flexibility of an internal combustion engine. It is a fully functional, no-compromise compact automobile that offers consumers real benefits in terms of lower running costs.”
And in naming the Volt their Automobile of the Year, Automobile editors wrote:
“This is the most sophisticated, most important vehicle on the road today. It won’t just change what we drive, but also how we drive. Owners will plug in at night, heat or cool their cabin before they leave the garage, and adopt new driving styles to maximize their electric range. Then, when the battery is depleted, they’ll mindlessly motor on; free of the limitations that accompanies pure electric vehicles.”
As the world’s first electric vehicle with extended range capability, the Chevrolet Volt has a total driving range of about 350 miles. For the first 25 to 50 miles, the Volt drives gas- and tailpipe-emissions-free using electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery. When the Volt’s battery runs low, a gas powered engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range more than 300 miles on a full tank.
The Motor Trend Car of the Year award was presented to Tom Stephens, GM vice chairman for Global Product Operations, at the General Motors wind tunnel in Warren.
Aerodynamics engineers there helped develop an equally revolutionary design: With a drag coefficient of .28, the Volt is also the most aerodynamic sedan in Chevrolet’s history. Lowering the drag coefficient increases the vehicle’s efficiency, as less energy is used to overcome air pressure. As an example, aerodynamics contributes up to eight miles of electric range, and 40 miles of extended range.
Said Stephens: “The Volt team has worked under extraordinary circumstances to produce this breakthrough vehicle.”
The Volt was first shown as a concept in January 2007 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. In June of that year, GM’s Board of Directors approved the start of product development for the Volt and the Voltec electric propulsion system.
In September 2008, the production version of the Volt debuted during GM’s Centennial celebration. This month, retail production of the Chevrolet begins at Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, with the first retail customer deliveries in December.
The full report from Automobile appears in the January issue of the magazine (on newsstands in early-December) and online at www.automobilemagazine.com.
The full report from Motor Trend appears in the January issue of the magazine (on newsstands in early-December) and online at www.motortrend.com.
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