One of the many things General Motors boasted about when it unveiled the Volt concept at the Detroit Auto Show in 2007 was its 600-mile range. This was achieved partially by the battery pack, which could sustain a (theoretical) charge allowing the Volt to run for 40 miles without reverting to the gasoline engine/generator, as well as a 12-gallon fuel tank. According to Kicking Tires, GM has shrunk the size of the tank by an unknown quantity and the result is a reduction in range from 600 to 400 miles – or 360 miles without the aid of battery power.
The General maintains that since most owners don't travel more than 40 miles in one day, it wasn't necessary to fit the Volt with a larger tank. That reduction in capacity will save some weight, but what will it cost in public perception? The hype surrounding GM's supposed savior and game-changer are based on two figures: range and cost. If GM can deliver on both counts, they might have a hit on their hands. If not, the Volt will be DOA the day it hits dealers.