Today the silence ended.

We've driven the 2011 Chevy Volt Test Mule, We've cringed through the Volt Dance and we watched the Freedom Drive unfold over the July 4 weekend.

While we've known about the car's 40 mile all electric range, 9 gallon fuel tank and planned 10,000 car production schedule for this year, General Motors has kept quiet on its plans for the Volt's battery warranty.

GM announced today that along with its usual 5 year, 100,000 mile warranty on the 2011 Chevy Volt's 1.4 liter gasoline engine and 3 year, 36,000 mile general warranty it will offer an 8 year, 100,000 mile warranty on the car's electric drivetrain, battery pack and charger.

In other words, everything which makes GM's first electric vehicle since the crushed EV1 an electric vehicle will be covered for up to 8 years or 100,000 miles, whichever is sooner.

This news will be welcomed by anyone looking to buy their first electric car, especially those concerned that the yet-to-be-confirmed $40,000 price of the 2011 Chevy Volt would depreciate quicker than a comparable-prized gasoline car.

The Volt's warranty is similar to those offered by Toyota on its 2011 Prius, levelling the playing field between the plug in extended range electric Volt and existing hybrids on the market.

Since most cars today easily cover more than 100,000 miles in an eight year period, just how long can you expect the Chevy Volt drivetrain and battery warranty to last in real life?

Let's give some examples.

Drive your Volt the equivalent of the 1,776 mile trip the Chevy Volt made during the "Freedom Drive" weekend every week and the Volt's warranty would run out in a year and a quarter.

Drive 600 miles per week, or 31,200 miles per year, the 100,000 mile warranty would run out in three years and four months.

For consumers travelling 400 miles per week, the warranty represents nearly five years of coverage.

But for those wanting to use the Volt as a daily commuter, driving 40 miles per weekday on electric power only, then driving an average of 100 miles per weekend, the warranty would last six and a half years.

GM have yet to announce the replacement cost of the 16 kWh T-shaped battery pack which is responsible for the 40 mile all-electric range of the 2011 Volt, but if the costs for a replacement battery for Toyota's Prius is anything to go by, it won't be particularly cheap.

2011 Chevrolet Volt in Waco, Texas, en route during the 1,776-mile Freedom Drive PR stunt

2011 Chevrolet Volt in Waco, Texas, en route during the 1,776-mile Freedom Drive PR stunt

The 2011 Chevy Volt represents the best of both worlds. An EV round town and a car capable of making longer trips with the family at weekends.  It is not meant to be a long-distance cruiser.
For a daily driver covering around  20,000 miles a year, the 2011 Chevy Volt's warranty looks a great deal -- provided GM's final cost is kept in the $40,000 mark.

Expect Nissan's Warranty information to follow soon. We can't wait to see what coverage Nissan will offer on its 100-mile per charge, all electric hatchback.
Watch this space.

[General Motors][]