Originally Posted by Yachtzee
I understand what you're saying, but if I'm not plugging it in to get a full charge, I'm not getting the promised savings and I'm therefore left with a really expensive Prius, which aren't cheap to begin with. With my driving needs, I'm likely to be driving it in regular hybrid mode more often than not. I could get a Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI and fit the whole family into a car that has good performance and good fuel economy for much less than a Volt. And of course I like cars I know I can get 200k miles and 10 years out of, and VW's been making TDIs for years, so its proven technology. If you want me to be an early adopter on the Volt, Chevy, you're going to have to make sure I can afford it and give me a warranty that tells me you'll fix anything at least until I pay off the car.
GM's problem is that any time they make something cool, they price it out so that only aging baby boomers can buy it. Their entry level and midsize cars generally tend to be boring, at least since they got rid of Pontiac, where you could get a G6 GT without breaking the bank. Meanwhile, people my age and younger are looking to Asian and European manufacturers for affordable cars that get good mileage while still giving good performance.
There's a difference in saying that the Volt doesn't meet your needs as saying that it's not as worthwhile of a car as a TDI, even at the same price point. Perhaps your daily commute is considerably longer than 20 miles. The majority of commuting Americans do live within 20 miles, and the Volt is potentially a much better fit for their lifestyle.
Your second point about reliability and early adoption is true. There is more inherent risk with any technology that is not fully matured. And for that reason, a TDI may be the better choice today. But it's not necessarily correct to assume that a VW will be inherently more reliable than a Chevy, at least according to JD Power. And to Chevy's credit, they have a 10-year/80,000 warranty on the batteries and electric motor system.