After years of suffering blows from environmentalists, General Motors emerged in 2007 with some of the most forward-thinking plans for green cars, most notably the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, as well as some mild hybrids but no full hybrid. Should you now take a serious look at Chevy’s eAssist mild hybrids, small and efficient new vehicles? Sure, if the mpg meets your needs, as quality is less of a concern at any rate. GM has steadily improved the design of all its products, and has received acknowledgments its QC program is mostly working – notwithstanding a drama-laden ignition switch recall. But where GM actually shines is the Volt. This “extended-range” electric car with gas-engine backup has shown the carmaker can produce a plug-in hybrid that three years after its launch still had the longest EV range of about 40 miles. The carmaker also has the Spark EV sold from launch only in California and Oregon, thus a compliance car to meet California-based regulations. GM has capability, but what its plans might be are a mystery, and it still still emanates mixed messages.

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