The Chevy Volt, the world’s first electric car with long-range capability via its gas engine, was launched today at a ceremony at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant.

What makes the Chevy Volt different from other electric cars is that it can run not just on battery, but also on  gas.

The Volt goes 35 to 40 miles on battery before needing to be switched over to its gasoline engine.

Stats show that most Americans travel 40 miles or less a day during their daily commute. However, many of us are reluctant to purchase a car that limits us to that range. The gasoline backup engine  “eliminates range anxiety,” said GM vice chairman Tom Stephens.

According to the EPA the 2011 Chevrolet Volt will go 35 miles on electric power before transitioning to its gasoline engine. The Chevy Volt is rated at the equivalent of 93 mpg while traveling under electric power, 37 mpg using its gasoline engine.

Combining the mpg’s over a 400 mile long trip, would put the Chevy Volt at an average rating of 60 mpg.

General Motors says it has 200 Chevy Volts  ready for consumers. They will be sold through select GM dealers across the US. More Volts will be rolled out of the plant over the next year to year and a half.

The retail price will be approximately $41,000, prior to a federal tax credit of $7500. GM said at the $41,000 price, the Volt is being sold at near cost.

“I have a sense this is going to be a game changer,” GM CEO Dan Akerson
 said. “We have to be prepared to meet that.”