Future Cars: 2012 Chevrolets Get Smaller, Greener Page 2

August 20, 2009

2011 Chevrolet Volt

2010 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible

2012 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible: Yes, it's late. Better than never, right? The convertible edition probably loses almost all the Coupe's tiny trunk, but it's worth it.

2012 Chevrolet Malibu: The new sedan gets upgraded with a softer look, a more sloping D-pillar, and a richer interior with a large navigation screen front and center on the console. No images have been released by GM.


*We call the Volt a hybrid because, to car shoppers, anything with batteries and a gas engine might be construed as a hybrid. Our green-car expert John Voelcker explains his side on our internal debate on the Volt "hybrid" thusly:As the term is commonly used, a hybrid refers to a car with a combustion engine that derives some portion of its motive power from electricity--whether regenerated from braking energy, charged up via the grid, or both. If you can plug it in, it's a "plug-in hybrid."

On the other hand, the Volt is an electric vehicle with a very short range. Its operating mode for the first 40 miles is exclusively electric. Duty cycle tells all, but large numbers of Volts may not switch on their engines for days, if ever. The gasoline engine is a range extender ONLY, and does not drive the wheels mechanically--it just recharges the battery.

To put it another way: The Volt is an EV. Take out the gasoline engine, and it still runs as an EV. But the Prius is a gasoline-powered car, with or without the ability to plug into the grid. Take out all the electric motors and the battery pack, and it still runs as a gasoline car.


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