Chevrolet Volt Named Motor Trend 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."
Many of those benefits are due to the Volt's groundbreaking propulsion system. 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, Mich.
Aero dynamics 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.
"Chevrolet is truly honored to receive one of the world's most coveted automotive awards," said Stephens. "The Volt team has worked under extraordinary circumstances to produce this breakthrough vehicle."
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.
General Motors last received the Motor Trend Car of the Year award in 2008, for the Cadillac CTS.