A central factor in the Chevy Volt's engineering design is that it can be driven for up to 40 miles on electric power only. A lot of electric car enthusiasts and manufacturers have come up with varying ranges for their vehicles. An example of this is the fact that the Tesla Roadster is designed to get about 250 miles on electric range.

Obviously GM wants to keep the Volt affordable and so arrived at a sweet spot figure of 40 miles. This distance was determined be achievable with a battery of 16 kWH weighing about 400 pounds in car similar in weight, size, and performance of the Chevy Cobalt.
GM cites the statistic that 78% of commuters drive less than 40 miles per day. The graphic above is the official GM slide referring to that data.I was able to locate the original study from which the information was gleaned.

Published by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the Omnibus Household Survey, or OmniStats data, were based on a household survey of 1000 randomly selected households asked about their driving habits in the previous one month (done in 2003).

The entire report can be read here: ( LINK )

The graphic below is the same data shown in it's original form:

Will the typical Volt driver be representative of this survey population? Since people on this site are obviously those interested in buying a Volt, it would be interesting to do our own informal poll here. We have replicated the study exactly here. Go to our polling page and vote, it's the last poll on the page: ( LINK )