Based on a few miles in one of the test vehicles, the Chevrolet Volt should be powerful, because electric motors give instant torque, according to USA Today, regarding one of the first test drives of the plug-in electric vehicle. The Volt should also be quiet, with none of the whine typical of electrics when they accelerate. Tony Posawatz, vehicle line director for Volt, says the car will have some type of noisemaker to alert blind pedestrians crossing at intersections of Volt's presence. 

Robert Kruse, GM's executive director of global engineering for hybrids, electric cars and batteries, says owners will be able to tell Volt they want to leave the house for work at, say, 8 a.m. and the car will automatically get the battery pack and the car itself heated or cooled so it's ready. The battery pack should be good for at least 100,000 miles, Kruse says. 

The Chevrolet Volt electric car's lithium-ion battery packs remain under development and testing. The Volt is scheduled to go on sale in November 2010. 

Price is still unsettled. GM notes that buyers should be able to qualify for a $7,500 electric-car tax credit. Expect a window sticker of $35,000 to $40,000. Fuel economy ratings are also still unsettled. GM and the government are discussing how to calculate a realistic fuel-economy number.