When is a 2011 Chevrolet Volt not a plug-in hybrid? 

When it covers 2,500 miles between fill-ups.  

That’s how far Maryland resident Jeff Parmet has driven in his 2011 Chevrolet Volt in the past six months.  In fact, he’s just visited the gas pump for the first time since buying the car.  

Until its release last winter, Chevrolet was pretty adamant that its 2011 Volt was a range-extended electric car. That is, until it was disclosed that under circumstance, its range-extending gasoline engine could directly drive the front wheels, making it a plug-in hybrid.

A whole group of electric car fans were horrified. “How could General Motors have cheated us?” they asked. To them, the Volt was nothing more than the automotive equivalent of a mudblood. 

2011 Chevrolet Volt

2011 Chevrolet Volt

But just like that clever wizarding mudblood Hermione Granger from Harry Potter, the Chevrolet Volt has proven time and time again that it is capable of being just as much an electric car as the all-electric 2011 Nissan Leaf. 

Driving 2,500 miles on a single tank of gasoline equates to 2,156 miles of all-electric driving, with just 344 miles of gasoline-fueled driving. Put another way, with the Volt’s 9-gallon gas tank, that equals an average equivalent fuel economy of 277 miles per gallon.

2011 Chevrolet Volt

2011 Chevrolet Volt

That’s enough to make cars like the gasoline-sipping 2011 Toyota Prius look like a Humvee. 

Although most Volt drivers are unlikely to achieve such a long period between fill-ups, perhaps it's time for Chevrolet--and the electric-car industry--to acknowledge that, when driven mindfully on sub-35-mile trips, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt is most definitely more electric than car