But while even providing only 10% of the fuel economy initially touted, these more real-world figures are merely an exaggeration. The bigger problem is that, as Mr. Oldham now claims, is that GM lied to them about the powertrain.
Since the Volt was first unveiled as a concept car, GM engineers, public relations staff and executives have all claimed adamantly that the internal combustion engine did not motivate the wheels. If that were the case then the Volt would be nothing more than a very advanced hybrid. Even as late into the development cycle as this June, we were told the only drivetrain that motivated the wheels was the electric one. The auto trade press swallowed the line, hook and the sinker. Sam Abulesmaid at Autoblog even ran a piece headlined "Repeat after us: The Chevrolet Volt's gas engine does not drive the wheels!." And why shouldn't he have lapped it up when in online chats, the Volt's chief engineer Andrew Farah was saying:
"you're correct that the electric motor is always powering the wheels, whereas in a typical hybrid vehicle the electric motor and the gasoline engine can power the wheels. The greatest advantage of an extended-range electric vehicle like the Volt is the increased all electric range and the significant total vehicle range combined."
This meant that the gasoline engine was nothing more than a "range extender" designed to charge the batteries which would allow the electric drivetrain to continue to move the car — and allow GM to claim that the Volt was something different, something new and something worthy of taxpayer dollars.
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