The Chevrolet Volt electric car is the Automobile Magazine's 2011 Automobile of the Year. The award will be presented to Joel Ewanick, GM U.S. Marketing Vice President, on Wednesday at the Los Angeles International Auto Show.

Crowning Chevrolet Volt the Automobile of the Year, Automobile Magazine editors wrote, This is the most sophisticated, most important vehicle on the road today. It won't just change what we drive, but also how we drive. Owners will plug in at night, heat or cool their cabin before they leave the garage, and adopt new driving styles to maximize their electric range. Then, when the battery is depleted, they'll mindlessly motor on; free of the limitations that accompanies pure electric vehicles.

The award was good news for General Motors as it prepares an initial public offering of stock on Thursday.

The Volt was first shown as a concept in January 2007 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. In June 2007, GM's Board of Directors approved the start of product development for the Volt and the Voltec electric propulsion system.

In September 2008, the production version of the Volt debuted during GM's Centennial celebration. This month, retail production of the Chevrolet begins at Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, with the first retail customer deliveries scheduled for December.

The Chevrolet Volt is a plug-in hybrid concept car created by General Motors. Concept Chevy Volt is an electric vehicle with an innovative rechargeable electric drive system that runs on electricity, gasoline, E85 or biodiesel.

Chevrolet Volt electric car will cost $41,000 when it goes on sale in the US in December. The company has said that it will offer a $350-per-month lease deal that's essentially equal to the Nissan's Leaf. That will put the battery-powered Volt within reach of many people. As an all-electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt qualifies for a $7,500 federal tax credit.