Finally, after almost four years, we've driven theVolt in a variety of conditions, talked over our impressions, and reached a conclusion: Yes, the 2011 Volt electric car is a real car.
It may be propelled by electricity. It may plug into a wall socket or a special garage recharger to "refuel." But the new and remarkable compactalso rides and drives quietly, seats four comfortably, and performs briskly.
The fact that it also has a revolutionary powertrain that operates as an electric car or a plug-in hybrid--and is the firstyou can plug into a wall to recharge--could almost be an afterthought. It's that well executed.
The sole fly in the ointment is the inevitably high early adopter price: $41,000. New auto technology always costs a lot when it first hits the market, and the Volt's lithium-ion battery pack all by itself likely costs half the price of a new 2011 Chevy Cruze subcompact.