“Until today, talking about whether the internal combustion engine (ICE) in the 2011 Chevrolet Volt should have a direct mechanical connection to the wheels was an interesting thought experiment,” notes an article at AutoBlog.com.
“Sure, there were hints and patents that suggested that the ICE could drive the wheels, but General Motors kept saying its ‘extended range electric vehicle (ER-EV)’ was just that: an electric car with a gasoline-powered generator on board. Guess what?”
“GM has now confirmed, late in the game, that the Volt can, in some situations, use the ICE to power the wheels. This came to light after Motor Trend was allowed to test the car for three long drives and discovered…”
Meanwhile, Business Week has published another take on this issue, entitled “GM Defends Volt While Critics Say It’s Not a Real Electric Car.” From their story…
“General Motors Co., the largest U.S. automaker, is disputing accusations that its low-emission Chevrolet Volt is a hybrid and not a true electric vehicle a month before the car goes on sale.”
“Auto critics Edmunds.com, Motor Trend and Popular Mechanics have said that during heavy acceleration the Volt uses its gasoline engine to power an electric generator which helps turn the wheels, similar to how hybrids run. GM said on its website that the car is an extended-range electric vehicle, not a hybrid like Toyota Motor Corp.’s Prius.”
“The Volt debate illustrates the marketing challenge for automakers selling new technology in cars that don’t fit standard classifications and whose performance is difficult to measure…”