[ad#post_ad]A simple question that GM has always refused to answer publicly since the beginning is what the size of the Chevrolet Volt's gas tank will be.
Long ago, then vehicle line director Frank Weber told me it would be between 6 and 10 gallons but would not be more specific. One reason often given for the lack of specificity was that engineers were still refining what the car's total range would be and would trade off size and weight of the full gas tank to acheive it. Though never admitted, clearly fuel economy in range-extended mode has also been a critical variable.
A few weeks ago I received an email from Eric Evarts of Consumer Reports. Eric wanted to know if I could help get them a test drive. I provided him with one of the Volt communications people's contacts, and last week two nearly fininalized Volt prototypes built off the DHAM line were driven 750 miles up to the CR test track in Connecticut to be put through some paces.
In his report , Evarts writes that the Volt's tank would be nine gallons in size, allowing the car to achieve "well above," the planned 300 miles of extended range, after the first 40 electric miles are depleted.
GM had always said they were aiming for a total of 340 or 350 miles of range. The presence of a nine gallon tank either means the range will be nearly 500 miles, well above previous promises, or that mpg in extended range is only in the low 30s. These facts remain to be disclosed.
I did confirm with Mr. Evarts the nine gallon number he published. "That's what they tell us," he said. "I imagine it's rounded."
Below is the CR video review. It fair to say it was very glowing; the car is silent, handles nicely, and looks good are some things the reviewer said. He also said it has a lot of torque and was surprsiging powerful, and that he found it roomly and comfortable as well.
The reviewer claimed the car will sell at around $40,000 before the $7500 tax break brings it to the low 30s.