Chevrolet Volt wins Car of the Year in North America

10 Jan 2011

General Motors has struck gold with its new electric car, the Chevrolet Volt, which today won the 2011 North American Car of the Year award.

The Chevrolet Volt, which was recently named as the most likely electric vehicle that US consumers would buy in a Zpryme survey, as reported on last week, today triumphed over other electric contenders such as the Nissan LEAF and Hyundai Sonata, which were also finalists, to win the coveted 2011 North American Car of the Year award.

This is the third time Chevrolet has won the North American Car of the Year, and the fourth time for General Motors (GM). Most recently, the Chevrolet Malibu was the 2008 North American Car of the Year.

Speaking at today’s announcement, GM CEO Dan Akerson said that since development began GM believed the Volt had the potential to transform the automotive industry.

“Being named the North American Car of the Year will help convince customers that the Volt is truly a breakthrough vehicle, delivering the benefits of electric driving without the range anxiety associated with pure electric vehicles,” said Akerson.

Chevrolet Volt battery animation

Chevrolet Volt battery animation. Image courtesy of GM

Driving range of the Chevvy Volt

The Volt has a total driving range of up to 379 miles, based on EPA estimates.

For the first 35 miles, it can drive gas- and tailpipe-emissions-free using a full charge of electricity stored in its 16kWh lithium-ion battery. When the Volt’s battery runs low, a gas-powered engine/generator operates to extend the driving range another 344 miles on a full tank, according to GM.

In December, the first Volts were delivered to retail customers in California, Texas, Washington DC and New York. GM says that, due to strong public interest, Volt US production is being raised to 45,000 Volts in 2012 from 30,000.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic