The new 2011 Chevrolet Volt is another unique electric car. Surprisingly, it is also a good performing sedan car and falls in upscale midsize cars category. Our review for Chevrolet Volt is based on different published reviews online and data available on official Chevrolet website. Car reviewers were discussing about Volt since Chevrolet announced the idea to manufacture long range electric car.
Chevrolet Volt says it is a more car than electric and reviewers agree with Chevrolet, which exceeds their expectations. There was a debate that it is an electric car or it is a hybrid. Chevrolet Volt is a perfect electric car. Reviewers are happy with Chevrolet Volt, even automotive journalists announced Volt the North American Car of the Year 2011.
However, Volt is not a complete electric car neither a complete hybrid car. Volt has an electric motor that powers the care for 25 to 50 miles of driving, which makes it unique. After consuming the electric charge, Volt switches on a gasoline engine that works as a generator to provide more electric power to the motor. You can drive up to 375 miles in total, which makes the Chevy Volt a perfect commuter. If you drive less than 50 miles a day, then it is possible that you don’t even need a gasoline engine for more power. It is a complete electric car for buyers driving less than 50 miles a day.
The mechanism is different than other electric cars. Volt uses a gasoline engine to charge its batteries, which works as a generator to produce power. Other electric vehicles use all electric charge and there is no backup generator for charging the batteries. Chevy Volt was designed to be a complete electric car, but it operates like a formal car. Chevrolet Volt is easy to manage car unlike other electric cars. It cost about 80 cents worth of electricity to get a full charge to drive 50 miles. You don’t have to worry about long trips because it can travel up to 375 miles. Chevy Volt is fun to drive car with sufficient power and sporty handling unlike most hybrids. However, Chevy Volt is not for everyone. It is a unique car, and it is also priced high. The MSRP for Chevy Volt is $41,000, which is too much for a Chevrolet. After the federal government $7,500 tax credit, it is still priced high $33,500. You can have all electric Nissan Leaf for $25,750 after the tax credit.
It is hard to compare the Chevrolet Volt with competitors because Volt performs like a conventional car. If you compare the Chevrolet Volt with Nissan Leaf, then Volt has an advantage because Nissan Leaf has limited range. You just need to find the next gas station to go to another 300 miles. Motor Trend has also named Chevy Volt as the car of the year. If you are planning to lease an electric car, then Volt is the best choice. Another close competitor is Toyota Prius.
The Chevrolet Volt cost $240 for every 15,000 miles driven. It’s 1.4 liter gasoline engine charges the depleted batteries to provide power to go further. If you are charging the Volt on standard home outlet, it takes about 10 to 12 hours, and if you purchase the home charging station ($2,000), the charge time drops to four hours. You do not have to worry about finding a charge station; the next charge location is your nearest gas station. The backup engine generator is used to produce electric power for the batteries.
The Chevrolet Volt is introduced in limited markets at first. Chevrolet is planning to expand the market in 2011. The Volt is available in only one trim with a seating for four. You can choose between two different package options; the Premium Trim Package and The Rear Camera & Park Assist Package. The Chevy Volt comes with unique power train that has not been used before.
Chevrolet Volt Price;
Average Paid: $41,328 – $41,328, MSRP: $40,280 – $40,280, Invoice: $38,669 – $38,669
Chevrolet Volt Ratings;
Chevrolet Volt Performance: 4.8 (Very Good)
Chevrolet Volt Exterior: 4.5 (Very Good)
Chevrolet Volt Interior: 4.3 (Good)
Chevrolet Volt Safety: 4.9 (Very Good)
Chevrolet Volt Reliability: 4.4 (Good)
Power & Performance
The Chevrolet Volt distinct power train is the only difference cannot be found in any other vehicle. Reviewers reported that it drives like a normal car. Test drivers are happy with acceleration and handling is sporty, which is a surprise for an electric car. Reviewers complain about the brakes and rough ride, but the overall performance is excellent. Chevy Volt features a 16 kilowatt lithium ion battery and 111 kilowatt of electric motor, which provides electric power for 25 to 50 miles of drive (depending on conditions). The more you accelerate aggressively the less mileage it covers. The electric power train produces 149 horsepower, which is good for an electric car. When you ran out of charged batteries, a gasoline engine starts to produce electricity to power batteries. It is 1.4 liter four cylinder engine work mainly as a generator, but adds power to the wheels when you are driving over 70 mph. It is helpful in conditions to get the support from gasoline engine, but Chevrolet originally said it will never power the wheels.
Reviewers are impressed that Volt pick up the speed normally and has the enough power. There are no fuel economy ratings because it runs on electric power. You can drive up to 50 miles depending on conditions. The gasoline engine turns on occasionally to keep the engine lubricated and to prevent the gas from going bad. Some reviewers find when you go beyond the standard charge, they got about 35 to 40 miles per gallon. However, this rating has not been verified by Chevrolet or EPA. Chevrolet claims that you can drive up to 375 miles on fully charged motor and with full gasoline. The all electric Nissan Leaf give you only 100 miles of traveling. You can charge the Chevy Volt by a standard household 120 volt outlet. It takes about 10 to 12 hours to charge the batteries, but if you purchase the 250 volt outlet ($2,000 extra) the charging reduce to four hours. You can leave the Chevy Volt on charging at night to be charged by a standard home outlet.
Interior & Exterior
Most of the reviewers are impressed with futuristic and attractive interior introduced in Volt. Chevrolet Volt comes with perfectly engineered, unique design and high quality materials. Chevy Volt provides seating for four; front seats are most comfortable. However, the cabin is little cramped as compare to the normal vehicles. There are many interior features like seven inch high resolution screen, which you can configure to show information you want. There is another high resolution screen through which you can control the radio and bluetooth system. The standard radio is a six speak Bose system, designed to consume less energy. The smart phone app allows you to set the charging times to schedule.
Chevrolet innovative technology has managed to cut down the power consumption on interior features. The cargo space is very small; it offers only 10.6 cubic feet of cargo space. You cannot compare the cargo space with other normal sedans. The features offered by Volt covers everything that has been missed. The Chevrolet Volt is a eco friendly car with an attractive design. The exterior design is engineered to provide excellent performance and save energy consumption.
Safety & Reliability
There is no crash test data available from Chevy Volt and no crash tests performed by insurance industry. However, the standard safety features are like every other sedan. The standard features include Antilock Brakes, stability and traction control system. Chevy Volt has dual stage front and side airbags for front row and a driver knee airbag. There is Side impact airbags for rear seats as standard. GM OnStar service comes standard, which can detect crash and contact responders. There is one interesting safety feature ‘Pedestrian Alert’, which sounds a noise to alert the pedestrians that show Volts presence. The Chevy Volt uses an electric motor which is almost silent. You can also turn off the noise.
The Chevrolet Volt is a reliable electric car. It is a new car with new concept and technology. Chevrolet has tested the vehicle extensively before launching into the market. Chevrolet Volt comes with impressive eight years or 100,000 miles warranty on the battery pack, three year or 36,000 miles bumper to bumper warranty, five year or 100,000 mile gas engine warranty, and finally five year or 100,000 miles of roadside assistance. You can decide after the long list warranties how reliable Chevy Volt would be.
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