2011 Chevrolet Volt Full Test

It's irrelevant that, depending on how their electricity is produced, electric vehicles don't come extremely close to living up to the zero-emission label they often get. Also irrelevant is the point that battery packs with  capacity to power a vehicle for any significant range are prohibitively pricey today. That's because the trump card already has been played: It's called government intervention. The Obama administration has began to unleash part of a planned $69 billion to thousands of clean-energy companies through tax credits, loans, and grants as well as to consumers, with a $7500 federal tax break for purchasing a automobile that has at least 16 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy stored in a battery pack. Do you think it's a coincidence that the Chevrolet Volt's lithium-ion pack contains exactly that amount?

Mass-produced electric cars are finally here. And, this time around, it appears they're here to stay.

But beyond the commonality of large battery packs, the Volt sets itself apart from the Nissan Leaf and the forthcoming EV crowd: It also has a gas engine that can step in to extend the Volt's range when the battery's energy is depleted.
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