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Chevrolet Volt Richmond VA

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Royal Chevrolet
(804) 321-4600
8641 Sanford Dr
Richmond, VA
 
Whitlow Chevrolet Corp
(804) 320-8000
9701 Midlothian Tpke
Richmond, VA
 
Capital Chevrolet Pontiac GMC
(804) 222-4600
5500 S Laburnum Ave
Richmond, VA
 
Royal Chevrolet Buick Pontiac GMC Cadillac
(434) 237-9400
801 Graves Mill Rd
Lynchburg, VA
 
Shelor Chevrolet Toyota Chrysler Subaru Dodge Ford
(540) 382-2981
I-81 & Exit 118 C
Christiansburg, VA
 
Patrick Chevrolet
(804) 222-3553
4810 Nine Mile Rd
Richmond, VA
 
Dominion Short Pump Chevrolet Buick Pontiac Gm
(804) 364-4500
12050 W Broad St
Richmond, VA
 
Dominion Chevrolet
(804) 524-3524
105 Valley Rd
Chester, VA
 
Heritage Chrysler Plymouth Jeep Eagle Chevrolet Geo
(703) 690-2902
1800 Old Richmond Hwy
Alexandria, VA
 
Luray Chevrolet Buick
(540) 743-7800
2039 US Highway 211 W
Luray, VA
 

2011 Chevrolet Volt Review

2011 Chevrolet Volt
Several months ago I had the opportunity to spend enough time with a Chevrolet Volt to get a good first impression of GM’s entry in the high-tech automotive field. Based on that, I wrote a first-drive driving impression, not expecting to find one available in the local press fleet.

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.
(A full battery charge can only be obtained by plugging into an external source of electricity.) Occasionally the motor-generator will be driven by the gasoline engine, generating electricity, and connected to the drivetrain directly via clutch as well, meaning that some small amount of internal-combustion torque reaches the driving wheels. You, as driver or passenger, will never notice, and it’s a bit of engineering trivia meaningful only to the most persnickety automotive taxonomist. If the Volt isn’t an “extended-range electric vehicle”, it’s the first production plug-in hybrid, and, as either, its drive system is the most advanced currently in production.

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 ...

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