Since the Chevy Volt, the “electric vehicle with extended range” as GM calls it, will finally be available starting in December, the test drives and reviews are beginning to come in. The Volt is basically a plug-in electric car – the battery drives the electric motor which powers the wheels. The extended range part comes in because the Volt has a gasoline powered motor that basically serves to keep the battery fully charged. In pure electric mode, the Volt gets about a 40 mile range – in other words if you drive less than 40 miles per day, and charge your Volt each night at home, you’ll probably very little gasoline. (One interesting note – if the Volt isn’t driven in 45 days or having filled up the gas tank in 12 months, the car will run the gasoline engine to keep the gas engine healthy and to keep the gasoline from going stale. Even with that occasional usage, it is possible to only have to fill up the Volt’s gas tank once a year if your daily driving is less than 40 miles and you keep it charged.)
So far, the test drives have been mostly short drives, and it’ll be interesting to see the reviews of usage over extended periods of time – that’s when potential buyers will know what its really like to live with the Chevy Volt. But for now, the test drives basically all say that driving the Chevy Volt is very much like driving most cars in this size range. For example, from PC Magazine: “Driving the Volt didn’t feel particularly “electric”. It had ample pep. Smooth handling and solid, if slightly mushy, brakes. I never detected a hint of engine noise from the transmission-less Volt, even when accelerating. GM execs said the Volt can go for 0-to-60 MPH in roughly 8.8 seconds.”
So if you’re interested in possibly being one of the first buyers of the Volt (current pricing is at $41K, but with a federal tax credit of $7.5K. Leasing will be $350 per month), here’s a couple of articles you might want to check out.
Barrons – The Unremarkably Remarkable Volt
MotorTrend – First Test: 2011 Chevrolet Volt
CrunchGear – Volt’s Wild Ride: A Long Drive In Chevy’s Electric Vehicle
PC Magazine – Test Driving the Chevy Volt
Bloomberg – Chevy Volt Gets Range on 435-Pound Battery, Vindicates Michigan