"The Volt symbolizes GM's commitment to the future," said Rick Wagoner, the company's chairman and CEO.
The Volt will be driven by electricity stored in a large T-shaped lithium-ion battery pack running the length of the car. After charging for several hours, the Volt will be able to run for up to about 40 miles without using gasoline.
GM did not announce pricing for the car, which will have the equivalent of about 150 horsepower and a top speed of 100 mph, the automaker said.
The car's zero-to-sixty time will be under nine seconds, said GM vehicle line director Tony Posawatz. That would make the performance about average for a modern car
"The center of gravity of the car, with the center battery pack, it's going to have real great ride and handling," said Posawatz.
To charge the batteries, drivers will plug a cord into a port just ahead of the driver's side mirror. The cord can then be attached to an ordinary home electrical outlet.
The car will cost "less than purchasing a cup of your favorite coffee" to recharge, and use less electricity annually than a refrigerator, according to GM. The Volt should cost less than 2 cents per mile to drive on electricity, GM said, compared with 12 cents a mile on gasoline at a price of $3.60 a gallon.As the battery begins to run down as the car is in use, a small gasoline engine will turn on and generate enough electricity to drive the car about 300 miles, said GM.
Unlike hybrid cars, or plug-in hybrids, the Volt is driven only by electricity. The gasoline engine never directly drives the car's wheels.