When Volt owners get in their cars in the morning, the gasoline engine will not rumble to life. The car will be totally quiet and vibration-free as the shift lever is pulled down to drive, just as it was on the cold Michigan morning I tested this car.
As I pulled away from the side of the test loop and pushed on the "gas" pedal, I felt the car pulling up to speed strongly. The car's actual zero-to-60 acceleration time will be a little over eight seconds, which is about average for a modern car. Up to about 30 mph, the Volt's electric motor gives quicker-than-ordinary response, which is why the car feels particularly muscular.
The Volt doesn't have a transmission, in any ordinary sense. It doesn't have "gears" - like "first gear," "second gear," "third gear" - because it doesn't need them. Electric motors deliver full torque even at their lowest speeds so there's no need to change gear ratios to keep the engine in a "sweet spot" for performance.
The Volt's electric motor is sized to provide performance comparable to a 250-horsepower V6, said Posawatz, and that seemed about right.