Chevrolet Volt Leavenworth KS
Kansas City, MO
Kansas City, KS
Kansas City, KS
2011 Chevrolet Volt Review
Never say never in this business I’ve just spent a short, interesting week with a Volt at home, with a 300-mile roundtrip road trip — to, amusingly, the regional launch of someone else’s new hybrid — for part of the driving experience. It was a good showcase for the strengths and weaknesses of the Volt and its “extended-range EV” electric-gasoline drivetrain.
Weaknesses first: GM calls the Volt an “extended-range electric vehicle”. Plug it in for a full charge — which takes about eight hours on 110VAC or four at 220 — and it will run between 30 and 50 miles as an electric vehicle. At all speeds, with all accessories on. No compromises. And when the EV battery reaches a minimum point, the gasoline engine turns on and (partially) charges the battery, which powers the traction motor, so electric power still the main propulsive torque source.
The only real weakness is in the charging infrastructure. Yes, the Volt recharges on regular 110/120VAC house current, but the charger is picky about being attached to a well-grounded circuit and won’t work if it isn’t. It didn’t like my 1943-spec house wiring. Nor was there a conveniently-located outlet in the hotel parking lot. With a pure EV, these would have been major problems; with the Volt, no worries, just put a little unleaded regular in the tank and drive. And if I was considering purchase, I’d upgrade my house and garage wiring. Although it was originally available only in California, Texas, Michigan, and parts of the Northeast or DC, GM has just announced that the Volt can be ordered throughout the country. You may have to wait a while for delivery, but not as long as previously.
Strengths? See above. It’s a fully-functional automobile, and also a showcase for GM’s engineering, design, and construction abilities. It’s not inexpensive — new technology rarely is — and the 2011 Chevrolet Volt at $40,280 ...