GM shows off Chevy Volt at Rochester Auto Show

Mar 4, 2011

General Motors is doing a big promotional push around the Chevy Volt during the Rochester Auto Show. Here's a tour of the car, with GM's Gary Stottler, produced by the Innovation Trail's Zack Seward.

The Volt can go up to 50 miles on a full charge, and when that's gone, a gasoline engine kicks in. That design pushed U.S. News and World Report to ask exactly what kind of car the Volt is. Answer:

The Volt is neither a hybrid car nor an electric car. Chevrolet calls it an extended range electric vehicle.  What makes the Chevy Volt so unique is its powertrain: it has an electric motor that powers the car for the first 25 to 50 miles of driving.  Then, with its batteries depleted, the Volt switches on a gasoline engine that acts as a generator, providing more electric power for the motor. With most Americans driving less than 50 miles a day, it’s possible that the majority of Volt owners will rarely hit the electric motor’s mileage cap.  For those buyers, the Chevrolet Volt is largely an electric car.

The privilege of going electric (or "extended range electric") will cost you: the Volt runs about $33,000.

It's that price tag that gives auto critic Edmunds pause, describing the Volt as:

arguably the most fuel-efficient car on the market, but it's pricey for what you get.

Car and Driver was a little more unequivocal:

This is without a doubt the most important new car since the advent of hybrids in the late ’90s, and GM has nailed it. Is this the handing off of the Prius’s very illustrious torch?

You can't buy a Volt in Rochester yet - that's coming later this year - but you can check the vehicle out at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center through this weekend.