Price: TBA CO2: 0g/km
Things are off to a slightly dodgy start for the car that will be launched as a Holden in 2012. A Chevrolet Volt caught fire in America this month, three weeks after the vehicle was crash tested. General Motors insists that the car is safe, saying technicians failed to de-power the car’s lithium-ion batteries (an established safety protocol for electric vehicles after a crash) – coolant leaked onto them, crystallised and eventually sparked. Assuming this issue gets sorted, the Volt looks like a potential game-changer. It’s essentially a plug-in hybrid that can run as a zero-emissions electric car for up to 80km – and then a long way beyond, as a small-capacity combustion engine can be fired up to act as a generator. A simple-yet-clever idea that maximises the benefits of battery power without suffering the compromise of severely reduced range.