TTAC Rewind: Recapping the Life and Death of the Chevrolet Volt

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Good evening. TTAC rewind is a bit late today due to your humble author being on the road again.

Anyway, I was talking to a few other journalists this week about the Chevrolet Volt and my contention that while it had its faults -- a bit overpriced, the lack of a middle seat in the rear -- the car was generally pretty good, and its extended-range electric powertrain setup could've been revolutionary for electrification, but GM simply didn't market it strongly enough.

Fate smiled upon me while digging through the archives for this Sunday's rewind -- and I found Steph's well-done recap of the car's life and death from 2019. It's worth a read, especially if your bracket is as busted as mine is (a sarcastic thanks to Kansas and Purdue for bowing out in the first weekend). Take a few minutes to stroll down memory lane without going too far back in the past.

[Image: Chevrolet]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for, CarFax,, High Gear Media, Torque News,,, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as,, and He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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6 of 51 comments
  • Cprescott Cprescott on Mar 20, 2023

    What doomed this car was it did not have the right charging system. The engine was too large to be a generator - it needed a narrow power banded diesel with fewer cylinders to make this thing work. It was a boneheaded attempt at building a hybrid while not building a hybrid. It was classic GM. Stupid is as stupid does.

  • Carlson Fan Carlson Fan on Mar 20, 2023

    GM completely blew the marketing of the Volt. The commercials were terrible. You'd swear they told the advertising company to come up with an ad that would make sure no one went out and shopped a Volt after seeing it!...........LOL

    My buddy asked why I bought a car that only goes 40 miles on a charge? That pretty much sums up how confusing and uninformative the advertising was.

  • Bobbysirhan Bobbysirhan on Mar 21, 2023

    A friend had one when they first came out. He was CFO of some green California company and could charge the Volt at work. At home, the PHEV gave him an excuse to make his wife park her nicer car outdoors while the Volt get their condo's one-car garage.

    He liked the Volt, and he spent very little on energy during the 'first one's free!' era of EV ownership. Of course, the green company went bust soon after, and he wound up with a job that involved far more driving and ultimately the need for a more substantial car.

    I drove the Volt once after his wife had made a return trip to Los Angeles, depleting the battery. I don't know what a first gen Volt drives like with a charged battery, but it was really gutless with two adults, a yellow lab, and a dead battery. My other memory of it was that it had a really cramped back seat for a car that was about as large as a Civic. My friend who bought it liked it though, and that's not always been the case for GM vehicles.

    • Tagbert Tagbert on Mar 23, 2023

      I don’t have experience with the gen 1’s but the gen 2’s work equally well from the battery or the engine and neither mode is gutless. It only has about 150HP but it has 290ft/lb of torque. The result is not fast but quick. Quicker than most non-sports car ICE vehicles.Yes, the back seat headroom was limited in both the first and second gen. GM (and other manufacturers) was doing nearly fast-back design then for all it’s non-trucks and I don’t think it was the right choice.

  • Hugh Hugh on Mar 23, 2023

    I have no trouble believing they exaggerated somewhat, but I also figure they were factoring in the cost of the research and engineering. I am just disappointed at how they abandoned their own product (again).