Chevrolet’s Volt was something of a revelation when it was introduced back in 2010, as a 2011 model. Volt was the first contemporary automobile to apply the principle of a diesel locomotive to an automobile. Just like the locomotive, the Chevrolet Volt uses an internal combustion engine to generate electricity to power the electric motor feeding the drive wheels. This way, it can use a very small engine—one too small to power the car effectively on its own—but still get reasonable performance from the automobile. In the Volt, the engine starts when its battery pack is depleted. Given the Volt is configured to accept a battery charge from an electrical outlet, and also has a range of approximately 40 miles on a fully charged battery, some drivers can use their Volt without consuming any gasoline at all. If you have a short commute for example, in many cases the gasoline engine will never ignite. While there were a number of gasoline/electric hybrid cars on the market when the Volt was introduced, the Chevrolet was the first to relegate the gasoline engine primarily to the role of a generator.
2014 Chevy Volt Test Drive & Plug-In Hybrid Car Video Review