This week we’re looking at the 2011 Chevrolet Volt from the eyes of one of my publishers, Vincent Bodiford. Together we have owned newspapers in Colorado and Texas and now he publishes several papers in California.
Herewith is Vince’s take on the new Volt.
The 2011 Chevrolet Volt is a true long-range electric car. When Chevrolet was founded 100-years ago, cars were fueled by diesel, gasoline, steam and electric power. Gasoline eventually beat out all other fuels, but today the electric car is making a comeback.
Electricity reappeared at first in our modern hybrids – then pure-electric short-range cars. Chevrolet has bridged the endurance gap with the game-changing Volt, which runs entirely on battery-supplied electricity. When the battery runs down, a small gasoline engine starts and turns a generator, making all the electricity needed to run the motors and the systems. It’s a brilliant automotive execution of a the very same thing that makes railroad locomotives move – diesel engines turn generators to make electricity that turns the electric motors.
Solid as a freight-train and as luxurious as European sedan, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt has establishing an entirely new segment of long-range all-electric cars. The five-door, four-passenger Volt is not a hybrid – it’s a one-of-a-kind, all-electrically driven car with a range of up to 379 miles.
Handling & Performance:
The Chevrolet Volt is powered by the Voltec propulsion system, which is a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and electric drive unit that provide pure electric range between 25 and 50 miles, depending on terrain, driving techniques and temperature. The 1.4L gasoline-powered engine extends the range up to an additional 344 miles on a full tank of fuel. Driving the Volt on our Freeways, we averaged about 40 miles battery range, and well over 100-mpg blended fuel economy (it sipped just 7-gallons of fuel in a week).
Driving the Volt proves electric driving can be spirited. Even though it’s a bit heavy, it easily reaches a top speed of 100-mph. At low speeds, the electric drive unit’s excellent low speed torque of 273 lb.-ft. takes it from zero-to-60 in less than 9-seconds and the quarter mile in less than 17-seconds.
Charging the Volt’s battery is simple, and can be done through 120V conventional household electrical outlet, or through a dedicated 240V charging station. The car is rechargeable in about four hours using a 240V outlet. It’s compatible with Charge-Point, and it can be charged for free at over 75 Chevrolet dealers in California.
Futuristic in styling and technology, the Volt is bold and sleek, the performance-oriented stance conveys its electrically driven capabilities, and it looks like an upscale, midsize sport sedan. When you look at this car, it’s very technical and refined in its execution, with lots of interrelating surfaces that bring clean, crisp edges and creases.
Inside, the Volt offers the space, comfort, convenience and safety features that you expect in a premium five-door sedan – including storage compartments and 40/40 rear-folding seats. The Volt seems to express a new era of Chevrolet, with a cabin that is striking and innovative, including a front and rear dual cockpit design.
Fit and Finish:
Pricing starts at $32,780. which takes into account a $7,500. tax credit. Our fully-equipped test car was priced at $43,390., which included $2,390. in options, including premium trim package.
Conveniences and comfort:
There is much more technology inside the Volt than its electric propulsion system. It contains virtually every modern high-tech innovation – including high-res displays, and the ability to monitor and control vehicle functions remotely. It’s packed with GPS Navigation, Bose XM-premium sound, OnStar, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, and OnStar’s Mylink mobile app, that lets you engage with the Volt functions using a smart phone.
Volt’s warranty is comprehensive but not easy to understand – including 3-year/36-K miles bumper-to-bumper, 5-year/100-K miles gasoline powertrain and roadside assistance, 8-years/100-K miles battery warranty, and 6-year corrosion protection.
Chevrolet Volt $40,000, Chevrolet Malibu Hyrbid n/a, Ford Fusion Hybrid $29,000, Honda Civic Hybrid $24,000, Honda Insight $18,000, Infiniti M Hybrid $54,000, Lexus CT 200h $29,000, Nissan Altima Hybrid $27,000, Nissan LEAF $33,000, Toyota Camry Hybrid $27,000.
Even though it is technically a hybrid with a gas engine it really is all electric propulsion and fuel economy is about 90 mpg., as opposed to a hybrid that gets more like 40 mpg. However the difference in cost of the Volt will require over 10 years to break even as compared to a Hyrbid that gets about 40 mpg.
There are limited recharging sites but like anything, users will find out where all are. The cost is high, but there is a tax credit available that reduces the differential or added cost of the Hybrid competition.
1.4 liter 149 horsepower 4-cylinder engine, continuously variable transmission, air conditioning, power windows & locks, seating for 4, CD Player, NAV system, front and side airbags, SBS brake system, traction control, stability control.
$3.55/ Gal avg. August 18, 2011
for more information.
95 City and 90 Highway MPG
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