Monday, October 11, 2010

The Chevrolet Volt As A Strategic Weapon

Last week I ordered a Chevrolet Volt, and today received a very polite telephone call from Chevrolet confirming my order. The female caller indicated that I would be contacted by a Volt Advisor when my Volt was scheduled for production.

There are only three options available: 1) leather interior, 2) polished chrome wheels, and 3) a parking assist package which includes a rear view camera. I selected the leather interior and polished chrome wheels, but concluded that I didn't need parking assist. Most of the options on a conventional car are standard on the Volt.

Driving to work on a daily basis, I will not need to purchase gasoline. This will significantly reduce total cost of ownership for me, making the Volt less expensive to own and operate than the Chevrolet Impala.

The advantage of the Volt over other electric cars is its ability to use gasoline. A car with a limited range between charge ups would not have been practical for me. The Volt has no range limitations.

When it is operating on gasoline, the Chevrolet Volt uses a hybrid system which is somewhat technologically more advanced than the Toyota Prius. This enables the Volt to accelerate more rapidly whether on electric battery or on gasoline.

The Chevrolet Volt, and other alternatively fueled vehicles, offer the United States the opportunity to significantly reduce its dependence on foreign oil. In not contributing to the coffers of Hugo Chavez, Iran, and other hostile nations, I will enjoy a quiet victory by driving the Chevrolet Volt.

- James McQuaid


Popular Science: Never Mind the Naysayers: The Chevy Volt is Excellent

"Behind the wheel, we find that GM’s highest-profile concept car has become a refreshing, radically different kind of production vehicle.

For every wave of goodwill, the Volt has endured a backlash of bile and skepticism. By now, the car has become a political football, a proxy for anger over the bailout of GM and Chrysler and a symbol of the future of the American auto industry. That’s a lot of baggage for a compact car to carry. And it’s a remarkable amount of baggage to accumulate before anyone even knew how the finished car would drive.

Now, after several hours and nearly 200 miles driving and riding in saleable Volts, we know how the the finished product drives. And the news is very good."


Chevrolet Volt Wins Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award

"the Chevrolet Volt, which has been praised by Popular Mechanics as “more than the sum of its cutting-edge parts.”

Just one of the features that helped secure the award is the fact that when its 16-kilowatt-hour battery pack is empty, the Volt car automatically switches to a gas engine. Popular Mechanics thinks “it’s a dramatic reinvention of the great American car, without sacrificing the great American road trip.”


Car And Driver: 2011 Chevrolet Volt - Feature Test

"The immediacy you feel shows up better in the 3.7-second 30-to-50-mph time, which is just a couple of ticks slower than a V-6 Mazda 6.
In EV mode, the cabin is as quiet as a Lexus RX350’s at 70 mph, and even with the engine running, it matches the Prius at 72 dBA. The point at which the engine fires is barely discernible—the reconfiguring of the digital dash when it transitions is far more obvious. When the driver hammers the Volt in range-extending mode, the engine revs more assertively but is never harsh or intrusive.

Following the EPA’s proposed direction for its 2012 fuel-economy labels [pictured below], we computed an energy-equivalent efficiency of the Volt during our 152 miles of EV operation. Even with a lot of aggressive driving, the result is still impressive: 74 MPGe.

This is without a doubt the most important new car since the advent of hybrids in the late ’90s, and GM has nailed it."


USA Today Review: Chevy Volt delivers on GM's promises

"The Volt promised to overcome the two great weaknesses that short-circuited electric vehicles for a century: short driving range and long charging time.
Its batteries' 40-mile range is expected to cover the daily driving of 60% of American motorists. An onboard generator — yes, it's gas-powered — produces electricity for longer drives, eliminating the range anxiety that limited the appeal of electric cars from the 1907 Detroit Electric to the General Motors EV-1 and Toyota RAV4-EV in the 1990s.

Based on my recent test drive, the Volt is up to the job. It's fun to drive, practical, good looking and in a league of its own technically. The sleek compact accelerates briskly. Its handling is responsive and sporty. The interior provides plenty of space and comfort for four adults."


First Test: 2011 Chevrolet Volt
Mission Accomplished: Chevrolet Welcomes a New Era in Automobility

While commuting, Motor Trend boss Angus MacKenzie noted, “This is where the Volt shines. Quick and nippy in traffic, it proceeds with a silent, oozing surge of acceleration, like a downsized Rolls-Royce Phantom.”


MSNBC: The moment when a Volt runs down

"For the rest of the day, then, we're driving a car with a gasoline engine that is powering the electric drive train. When we stopped to fill the Volt's 9-gallon gas tank in Tacoma, the tripmeter read 45.3 miles, with about a third of a gallon of gas expended. If you don't count the cost of the electricity, our fuel efficiency is 128.1 miles per gallon. If you do count the electric cost, I figure we still did the equivalent of 80 mpg or so."


Going Hands On With GM’s Chevy Volt

by Nino Marchetti, October 11th, 2010

"It was a cold Monday morning in the Portland, Oregon suburb of Hillsboro when four mostly silent Chevy Volt cars rolled onto one of the campuses of Intel to greet local media, Intel employees and electric vehicles lovers alike. The vehicles, which were lined up for demo rides near a couple of electric vehicle charging stations, represent for GM, once a struggling American automaker but now slowly recovering, a future which could have it seeing green in more ways than one."


The Economist: The Volt's inner secrets

"If the battery is depleted and the car is running in range-extended mode, then a series of planetary gears that connect the electric motor and the generator seems to also transmit power to the wheels from the petrol engine itself, a bit like a hybrid Toyota Prius. According to Motor Trend, which has been putting the Volt through its paces, this means that although the petrol engine never drives the wheels all by itself, when the battery is low it “participates in the motive force” at higher speeds. The arrangement, the magazine notes, improves the efficiency of the vehicle by 10-15%."


Debate fueled on whether Volt is really electric

"If you buy a Volt extended-range electric car when it hits dealerships next month, you’ll run on a battery for the first 40 miles of your daily drive. A 1.4-liter gasoline-powered generator will produce more electricity for longer drives, for a total cruising range of around 350 miles."