Overview: This is the 2016 Chevrolet Volt Premier Hatchback plug-in hybrid. Well the Volt has survived the market changes over recent years, but I’m guessing it has more to do with the Subsidies Electric vehicles are subject to rather than because of consumer acceptance. In the meantime since 2013 the Avalanche, Aveo, Aveo5 and HHR are no longer made.
You may recall past discussions of how electric vehicles are not a new thing. At the turn of the 20th Century Electric cars were made and had about a 100 mile range. Electric cars today do no better. Hybrids however are new technology products and like this Volt are far better than all electric.
You also may know that I would never own an All Electric vehicle. They simply are not perfected. In the meantime this Volt is the best option. Fuel economy is wonderful with 106 mpg combined electric and gas engine. Gas only delivers 42 mpg which is quite good. It is a win-win combination and one you can live with.
All electric cars like the Tesla is, in my opinion, are a disaster and not recommended.
When it comes to new power plant options I’m more impressed with the Hydrogen powered engines. I believe Hydrogen will have as good a chance of replacing Gasoline engines as All Electric cars could. If there is a miraculous breakthrough in better storage batteries everything could change. But I’m more excited with the fact consumers can produce hydrogen fuel at home or anywhere. In the mid-1970s gas stations were cut in half and more adjustment nearly 50 years later is likely. Perhaps someday they would be totally eliminated if Hydrogen and / or Electric becomes the primary source of energy for our cars.
General Information: It is assembled in Detroit, MI, USA. Classification is Compact. Cars from Chevrolet: Camaro, City Express, Colorado, Corvette, Cruze, Equinox, Express / Cargo van, Impala, Malibu, Silverado 15, 25 and 3500, Sonic, Spark, SS, Suburban, Tahoe, Traverse, Trax and Volt.
Opinion and Observation – Automotive Innovation Reviewed:
History: 1948 – Daimler Mercedes Benz introduced Electric Windows; 1940 – First car to have air conditioning was a 1940 Packard; 1938 – Buick introduced turn signals; 1929 – First car radio introduced; 1923 – First Supercharger Ferdinand Porsche, Stuttgart, Germany; 1920 – Power steering invented by Francis Davis; 1903 – Windshield wipers patented; 1885 – first patent for seat belts; 1901 – invention of disc brakes by British inventor Frederick William Lanchester; 1901 – New York first state to require license plates that were called “Number Plates”. France did it in 1893; 1898 – First drive shaft invented by Louis Renault; 1890 – Canadian Thomas Ahearn invented the first electric car heater.
Handling & Performance: In 2013 I reported I could travel 35-38 miles on battery only. In 2016 I found I was getting about 50 miles. There are settings in this new model to use electric only, hold electric and use engine only or the default Normal setting is a combination where the engine would engage when electric is exhausted.
So if you commute around 40 miles and can plug in at work maximum MPG can be achieved. Of course, if work is only 20 miles from home, this car makes even more sense. A full charge takes about 4.5 hours at 240 volts and 13 hours for 120 volt service (12 amps).
Styling: Very pretty design. I like it a lot and could see myself owning this car.
Fit and Finish: Very good.
Cost: After looking at a Tesla for $100-150,000, Volt make much better sense. Volt is a very efficient low cost transportation option. Cars like Tesla are more about snob appeal. For me, the major advantage to the Volt is comfort appeal, knowing that I wouldn’t get stuck for hours for re-charging. I was always stressed over planning and constant worry about how far I would be able to travel between charges. Thus All-electric becomes very expensive and Volt becomes the better choice..
Conveniences and comfort: The Volt is eligible for single occupancy HOV lane Access in California and that is worth the price of admission for many. . . especially in places like Los Angeles.
Consumer Recommendation: You do the math, but based on a compact at about $20,000 that gets around 40 MPG and this Volt at $39,000, even if it gets 106 MPG, could be a break-even cost. Keep in mind there is a cost to the electricity used at home. In Los Angeles and other cities that allow single Diamond Lane access for cars like this Volt it can be a great benefit.
Options that I recommend include blind zone alert with lane departure alert and rear cross traffic alert.
Chevrolet Volt $39,000, Ford Fusion Energi $37,000, Lincoln MKZ $36,000, Lexus LS $42,000, Nissan LEAF $30,000, BMW i3 $47,000.
Good News: Attractive styling, hatchback convenience, comfortable commuter with combined 106 mpg efficient.
Bad News: ?
Standard Equipment: 1.5 liter internal combustion engine, Electric Drive unit, Lithium Ion battery propulsion, front and knee front seats, side curtain and seat mounted airbags, 4-wheel ABS disc brake system, LATCH child system, thert deterrent systrem, stability control with traction control, remote keyless entry with remote start, power door locks with lockout protection, tire pressure monitor, keyless access, rear vision camera, automatic parking assist, front and rear park assist, 17” aluminum wheels, heated power mirrors with manual fold, rear window defroster, vairable intermittent wipers, climate control air conditioning, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, Leather wrapped heated steering wheel with controls, display screens, cruise control, leather appointed heated front and rear seats, 60/40 split fold rear seat, power windows, cargo cover, Mylink radio with XM and 8” screen, front bucket seats, Apple Carplay capability, wireless device charging, Bose 8-speaker audio, OnStar with automatic crash response, Navigation, two USB ports and auxilary input port, Bluetooth hands free.
$2.79/ Gal avg. April 24, 2016
for more information.
42 MPG Gas Only and 106 Combined City and Highway MPG
Pricing: MSRP $37,520.