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Chevrolet Volt Washington DC

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Rosenthal Chevrolet-Geo
(703) 920-8700
3400 Columbia Pike
Arlington, VA
 
Heritage Chrysler Plymouth Jeep Eagle Chevrolet Geo
(703) 690-2902
1800 Old Richmond Hwy
Alexandria, VA
 
Darcars Chevrolet O New Carrollton
(301) 459-1300
7710 Annapolis Rd
Lanham, MD
 
Sport Chevrolet
(301) 890-5601
3101 Automobile Blvd
Silver Spring, MD
 
Koons Chevrolet Geo Tysons
(703) 356-0400
2000 Chain Bridge Rd
Vienna, VA
 
Ourisman Chevrolet Co Inc Sales & Service
(301) 423-4000
4400 Branch Ave
Temple Hills, MD
 
Alexandria Chevrolet
(703) 329-1300
1800 Old Richmond Hwy
Alexandria, VA
 
Jack Winegardner Chevrolet Inc
(301) 292-6500
11001 Indian Head Hwy
Fort Washington, MD
 
Mike Pallone Chevrolet
(703) 451-4511
7722 Backlick Rd
Springfield, VA
 
Fox Chevrolet
(240) 456-4640
415 Washington Blvd S
Laurel, MD
 

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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