Poor Volt just looking for a little more understanding

One of the obstacles to selling more Volts is that many consumers just don’t understand the cars, according to an analysis published by Green Car Reports.

In published reports, GM execs said that the Volt's drivetrain setup may still be a little confusing to drivers used to a choice of regular vehicles or standard hybrids.

Rather than using gas alone, or gas power with electric assistance as in a hybrid, the Volt is powered mainly by electricity--but a gasoline engine is there to boost range, or add additional power under certain circumstances.

“Chevy says that customers not explicitly in the market for an alternative-fuel vehicle may not have given the Volt's powertrain, nor its benefits, much thought,” according to the story.

And when many consumers aren’t even aware of the benefits of hybrids or electric vehicles, at all, educating them on a more complex system like that of the Volt can be a challenge.

“For Chevrolet, putting all those benefits into the average 30-second commercial has proven difficult, even if greater detail is available on the company's website,” Green Car Reports noted. “Still, there are always ways of better explaining the benefits of driving a Volt, and Chevy has discovered the car's range between fill-ups is one such avenue.”

That’s one reason GM has begun emphasizing that Volt drivers go about 900 miles between each fill-up, not because the Volt will do 900 miles on a tank of gas, but because owners use the car's electric range for a great proportion of their daily driving. Most Volt drivers get about two-thirds of their mileage on electric power alone.

The analysis also suggested that GM should do more trumpeting how much Volt drivers love the car: it spent its first two years topping Consumer Reports satisfaction surveys.

Or maybe GM just needs a little patience. “Chevrolet might find that in time, consumers develop greater awareness of the Volt,” according to the story. “It's happened with Toyota's Prius, once a slow-burner and now by far the best-selling hybrid model worldwide.”