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Introduced as a concept car in 2007, the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt garnered a lot of publicity that eventually led to a production version of the alternative powertrain vehicle to emerge. Becoming the first mass-produced electric car fitted with a backup gasoline engine sold by a major automaker, the Volt became available in 2011. For up to 35 miles, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt could travel solely on electrical power. The compact sedan’s electric Voltec propulsion system consisted of a 16-kiloWatt hour lithium-ion battery pack and a pair of electrical motors generating a combined output equivalent to 149 horsepower. The T-shaped battery of the Volt could be charged in as little as four hours when connected through a 240-volt power outlet.
The gasoline engine (referred to as a range extender), was an 84-horsepower, 1.4-liter four-cylinder powerplant. Maximum traveling range of the Chevrolet Volt using electric and gasoline power was rated at 379 miles. Low-rolling resistance Goodyear Fuel Max tires on lightweight aluminum wheels, electro-hydraulic generative braking and optimized aerodynamics are features maximizing the momentum of the Volt. Inside the five-passenger interior, the Chevrolet Volt features a configurable instrument cluster as well as a standard seven-inch touchscreen infotainment display.
A 60-gigabyte hard drive, voice recognition and Bluetooth connectivity are high-tech features presented on all Chevrolet Volt models. A six-speaker Bose audio system was specially developed for as a low energy-consuming unit for the plug-in hybrid vehicle. Initially offered in limited markets, the Volt was widely available for sale during the 2012 model year. For 2013, the electric driving range for the Chevrolet Volt was increased to 38 miles.