Timing, as they say in the watch business, is everything.
In the case of this year's Ward's 10 Best Engines testing, the Chevrolet Volt had the good fortune of arriving at our offices in mid-November, the day after we finished evaluating theLeaf electric vehicle.
Don't get the wrong impression. Our time with the Leaf was uplifting.
But some of us had limited exposure to the strange new world of electric vehicles, so we needed to adjust our thinking about automobiles and how they work. We needed to be baptized at the altar of electrification.
There were white-knuckled moments in the Leaf for certain Ward's editors who couldn't quite understand how 2 linear miles (3.2 km) can consume 10 miles (16 km) worth of electricity.
Yes, range anxiety is a hurdle taller than a high-tension wire that Americans must clear if the era of EVs is expected to have any legs.
And for that reason, the Volt's propulsion system is a magnificent achievement that marries the best attributes of all-electric vehicles with those of fun-to-drive, fuel-efficient gasoline cars.
Sometimes Ward's editors debate passionately whether an engine belongs on the list. Not true for the Volt. Everyone recognizes what a game-changer it is.
BATTERY: 16 KWH LITHIUM-ION
DRIVE MOTOR: 111 KW
GENERATOR MOTOR: 54 KW
MAX POWER: 149 HP
TORQUE: 273 LB.-FT. (368 NM)
ENGINE SITE: ASPERN, AUSTRIA (FUTURE FLINT, MI)
ELECTRIC MOTOR SITE: BAY CITY, MI
BATTERY ASSEMBLY: BROWNSTOWN, MI
APPLICATION TESTED: '11 CHEVY VOLT
EPA EV MODE: 93 MPG EQUIVALENT
EPA GAS ONLY: 37 MPG
EPA COMBINED: 60 MPG