How the Volt works
General Motors expects most Volt owners to charge the vehicle's lithium ion battery overnight at home by plugging it into a standard 120-volt household outlet or a faster 240-volt charger.
On a full charge, the battery powers the Volt's electric motor for an EPA-estimated 35 miles, although the regenerative braking system can help recharge the battery. During those first 35 miles or so, the Volt is a gasoline- and tailpipe emissions-free vehicle.
Sometimes, more electricity is generated than the amount needed to power the vehicle. If so, that electricity is redirected to the battery.
If the trip lasts more than about 35 miles, the battery's charge level falls to about 30 percent. At that point, a gasoline-powered engine/generator takes over to extend driving range by an EPA-estimated 340 miles on a full tank of gasoline.
The Volt's extended-range capability offers a total driving range of an EPA-estimated 375 miles.