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I appreciate that Chevy is using the Volt to “usher in GM’s second 100 years” but I just don’t see the Volt being the car to guarantee that proposed longevity. Hit the clicky thingie to read more about the Volt and find out why…

The car’s decent looking I guess. Viewed from the side it’s not too bad. The back is ok, but actually a little Prius like in some inexplicable way. The front’s another story. I’m not a fan of Chevy’s recent chunky split grill, so it automatically loses points for that. On the other hand, I’d say it’s one of the most successful implementations of said grill to date.

Inside, there’s a driver-configurable flat-panel instrument panel as well as “touch screen-style infotainment controls” (whatever that means). I dig the white-ness of the interior, although, without seeing the materials in person, I’m inclined to believe that it might be a cleaning nightmare. Then again, what modern car interior isn’t?

Of course the big thing with the volt is that you just plug it into a regular power outlet to charge it in about 8 hours (3 if you have access to a 220-volt outlet). The Volt isn’t a hybrid, really, because the wheels are only driven by the electric motors. There’s a 1.4-liter gas engine in the Volt, too, but it’s only used as a generator, to make electricity when the original charge runs low (or out).

Chevy claims the Volt will go 40 miles on a charge, which is great for people who work close to home or simply don’t drive much other than into town for groceries, etc. And because it’s got four seats and decent trunk space, it’s a practical car for greenies who want to take friends into town for groceries. Or bowling. Or to picket those horrible, awful gas companies. Before filling the generator’s tank.

For me, the problem becomes that range. 40 miles may be great for the “average” commuter, but it’s still 40 miles. And to go more than that, you’re still using gas. Considering that cars like the Tesla Roadster are hitting the streets now – and it’s all-electric, of course – and judging by some of the comments that folks from companies such as Mercedes and BMW have been making of late regarding the future of electric vehicles, it seems like all-electric is the way of the future, not a non-hybridy hybrid.

Anyway, it’ll still be two years before the Volt hits the streets, so we’ve got even longer than that to wait before we see if GM’s half-billion-dollar gamble will pay off.