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No. There is a direct connection to the drive train at higher speeds. GM hid that for a little bit and there was a little controversy when it first came out. But, it makes sense to have the engine drive the wheels at certain speeds as that is more efficient.
I think that you have the wrong impression. Here is a video of how the Gen 1 drivetrain works:
 

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I drove my car (chevy volt 2012) from AZ to OR. After getting past the mountain pass in Bend I stopped for gas. My car started and I got on the interstate then immediately the propulsion went out and a code said engine not available and I pulled off to the side and the check engine light was on. I called for my car to be towed to the dealership. After 5 days of no word or reply from the dealership I was told they want to run compression tests for $500 but it seems the engine needs to be replaced at a cost of $7400.

1) I know I can find an engine for cheaper than that
2) does anyone know of a mechanic who deals with volts in Portland, OR?
There are only two volt qualified dealers/mechanics in the Portland area, one in Portland itself (google chevy dealers) and the other is in Sandy, Oregon where I just had the systems battery replaced December on my own 2012 Volt. Good luck
 

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My volt is already at 135k snd still going strong (knock on wood). I;ve had 2 cars get to nearly 200k miles and the only reason they didn’t was because I had better cars, so they sat for years before I got rid of them. The 100k mark might have been true in the 80s-90s, but with the precision they can build engines today, I think the new number should be 150-200k miles. So it’s more wear and tear in the interior rather than engine wear as well as safety and tech that would cause me to trade in.
I would tend to argue that 150-200 might even be low....

I have a 2006 Honda Odyssey with 212k and the only "major" thing it needs is another timing belt change. Other than that it is purring along perfectly fine. I wouldn't have any second thoughts about driving it across country (after the timing belt is changed). The van has 2 other "minor" things which are moot. The motors for the auto sliding doors are 15 years old and are wearing out. But they still work fine, they're just a little finicky sometimes. The doors can always be manually opened/closed though. And the hot/cold blend door actuator for the a/c needs to be changed ($50 and 45 minutes of time maybe). But yea, other than those things, vehicle is perfect.

Likewise, I had a 2006 Toyota Prius with 209k. The only thing it needed when I sold it was a new application of clearcoat, and maybe paint. Other than that, it was also in excellent shape. Only reason I sold it was I bought a newer MY plugin Prius...which had 141k when I bought it.

I think the 80k-100k mile mark is just about when a vehicle is properly broken in :) If you take proper care of them they'll go for a very, very long time.
 
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