The Volt is an amazing accomplishment. It's about time people started hearing more about it. I had to add my own comment to the Times article, as quoted below:
Some commenters don't quite seem to get it. Is the Volt a perfect solution? No, but it's a great solution for TODAY.There is so much more that could be said. The little details they thought of that never get mentioned... like the fact that, if you open the hood while the car is powered on, the engine will start up and run until you close the hood. Why? Because what if you had the hood open, stuck your hand into some crevice somewhere, and then the electric management system decided it needed to use the generator? Suddenly, with no warning, you might loose a part of your body you would prefer to keep. But if the engine starts as soon as you open the hood, you are forewarned that stuff in there has the potential to hurt you. That's just one small example. There are many, many more.
A pure electric car is not practical right now. Lack of infrastructure, lack of range, charge time... You have to carefully manage your energy usage while driving. Volt has enough range that it can be all electric for most people most of the time. After that, it will operate in extended range mode just like any other car. Driving more conservatively will get you more miles of all electric range, but if you don't, you can still drive anywhere (even without ever plugging it in) at a very tidy 36 MPG estimate.
Using electricity to fuel up the car does transfer the pollution from the car to the electric plant, but generators run day and night whether the electricity they produce is used or not. Most people will charge their car at night when much of that power is not being utilized.
To the commenter who is waiting to see the plug-in version of the Prius... That's great, but it will reportedly get you only 10 to 13 miles on pure electric. That tells me they did not put the thought into their design that GM did. Their plug-in part was grafted onto the old Prius design. The Volt, by comparison, is a clean sheet of paper. They looked at how people use their cars and designed the electric range to fit into 80% of use patterns. Then they added the generator to fill in the gap. So most people can drive gasoline-free five days out of the week. But they can drive further whenever the need arises. And the beauty is the seamlessness when switching from electric to gas.
And yes, I drive a Volt. I've used 1/2 a gallon of gas in 700 miles of driving.