It's expensive and thirsty – but Volt clearly shows way ahead

BBC Newsnight's "Ethical Man" was given exclusive access to the big hope for electric cars, General Motors' Volt, which will be called the Ampere in Europe. He test-drove the car, which will be launched in the US in 2011.

The first thing I noticed about the Volt is that it is incredibly quiet. When I sat behind the wheel I couldn't tell it was on.

When I put my foot down, I was amazed. What I hadn't anticipated about electric cars was that they have incredible torque, the delivery of power to the engine – you get this incredible acceleration.

All of a sudden you are rushing around at 60mph. It's much more exciting than you would have expected from an electric car. I found it fun; it was quite thrilling to drive.

The Volt is big by British standards. It's a big heavy car, a proper four-seater saloon, but it feels very powerful. You can throw it around.

And no disrespect to the G-Wiz but that felt like an electric wheelchair compared to this.

My abiding feeling is that there were problems with the range (the Volt's battery has a range of 40 miles, though its petrol engine can go 640 miles) and it takes three and a half hours to charge.

And it's quite expensive. It costs about $40,000, about £25,000 in the UK with the subsidy the Government announced today, but it is a really convincing car.

You can imagine people who like driving cars would really like it.

I think it shows that there really is a future for electric cars.

It's a proper vehicle.

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