[ad#post_ad]The key advantage of the Volt is being able to drive for the majority of daily needs using only electricity.  The gas-powered generator is there only for back-up purposes, and for the majority of owners may only rarely if ever get used.

Since the generator may only be rarely used, it is significantly possible oil change requirements could be much more rare than in conventional cars.

The Volt automatically measures oil life and sends this information to users via the OnStar diagnostic email and smartphone app . The life of oil depends on both number of engine cycles, temperature exposure, and age of the oil.

GMs executive director of EVs and batteries Micky Bly explains how this will work in the Volt.

"We have adapted our patented oil life monitor (used on most GM vehicles the last 8-10 years) to the Volt's unique operating conditions and its interactions with the engine oil quality," he says. "We have added a maximum calendar life of 2 years as a cap on the oil life...so that would be the maximum period before an oil change is needed."

"By using the oil life monitor it insures the customer will optimize the engine performance and be notified if an oil change is needed," he says. "As we learn more about the Volt in field usage, we may increase that cap."

A driver who drives primarily in EV mode will after about six weeks get a dashboard message telling him or her to allow engine maintenance mode. This process burns some gas to prevent it from going stale, but also lubricates the engine with oil.

"Oil likes to run at a certain temperature, and to burn off some of the water and some of the ligands that gather in oil," says Bly. "We call it engine maintenance mode. We'll ask if you mind if we run the engine a couple of miles just to freshen up basically, and then that will be fine."