2011 Chevrolet Volt

Base FWD 4-Dr Hatchback I4 auto trans

Base FWD 4-Dr Hatchback I4 auto trans

2011 chevrolet volt Reviews and News

1001 02 Z+2011 Chevrolet Volt+front Three Quarter View
In the long history of hype, the Chevy Volt is the consummate media star. From its 2007 show debut, to its evolution into a practical production design, to its current status as GM's Hail Mary savior, the Volt hauls a Peterbilt's worth of baggage. Now that we've had an opportunity to drive a developmental prototype using both electrical and combustion forms of energy conversion, it's time to see if the Volt really deserves all the attention heaped upon it for the past three years.
1001 02 Z+2011 Chevrolet Volt+front Three Quarter View
What's Under the Skin
Volt shares key platform components with the Chevy Cruze compact due to go on sale later this year (a few months in advance of the Volt's expected late fall arrival). While exact dimensions haven't spouted forth from the information fountain, expect a 106-inch wheelbase and an overall length of about 179 inches, both essentially Honda Civic size. A notable sacrifice is passenger accommodation. While the standard compact configuration is two front buckets and space for three (in a pinch) in back, the Volt's substantial central spine for the battery box provides no rear-center seating position.
Diminished Design Drama
While the Volt represented true exterior design drama in concept form, the toning down for production has diminished its sparkle. The front end looks busy and poorly integrated. The dark beltline bands replacing the impractical transparent panels look dated. To these eyes, the standard Cruze is more palatable. While GM designers surely felt the Volt had to be a standout, ordinary consumers probably won't insist on shouting their support of electric propulsion during every last trip to the mall.
Inside Furnishings
The interior design team also ventured far afield in their attempt to celebrate the electronic age. While the mostly touch-sensitive controls are logically arrayed and pleasant to use, the displays, trim treatments, and net interior impression shows several flaws. Thankfully, this aspect of the Volt is a work in progress. The psychedelic patterns adorning the door panels and the bright white Apple-esque center stack surround will be modified, toned down, or supplemented with alternative furnishings according to Tony Posawatz, my host, the first GM employee to sign on to the Volt project, and the current vehicle line director.
At the left of the video display cluster, there's an image bearing a vague resemblance to a gasoline pump, though the gray and blued colors aren't helpful in discerning that. Posawatz suggests it's like the signal strength meter in your cell phone: more bars means more charge in your battery available for propulsion. As you go they wink off; lift off the accelerator pedal and a bar or two might come back as the driveline's regenerative braking kicks in.
On the right side there's an even weirder gauge: a slowly turning green ball decorated with leaves. This is the electric car equivalent of the tachometer. Tromp the accelerator and the display goes deep in the drain direction; lift off to coast and it rises high in the save-the-planet direction. No matter what you do, the ball turns at a slow, steady speed as long as electronic systems are awake and running.
My favorite part of the interior is the driver's seat which is firm and supportive. The backrest wraps snugly around your ribs to hold you in place for your most ambitious cornering attack. Corvettes should have it this good. The steering wheel is another GM flawed design with spokes far too wide to encourage a comfortable finger wrap of the rim.
Entering the Electric Age
1001 01 Z+2011 Chevrolet Volt+rear Three Quarter View
You fire up the Volt by twisting the "ignition" key with the brake pedal pressed. While there's a flurry of light and display activity, the arousal process is virtually silent. Moving the awkwardly large shift lever down a notch or two initiates your drive into the electric age.
The whine of motors and gears previewed by the Tesla Roadster and poorly developed hybrids does not play in the Volt. This powertrain has been rid of any significant noise and vibration. It moves off the mark with the smoothness and excitement of a department store elevator. That's endearing but customers will eventually become immune to the silence unless they revert occasionally to a conventional car.
Another false forecast is the instant torque that gives the Tesla its giddy sports car feel during the first five or six seconds after a light. The initial Volt acceleration is barely substantial enough to merge safely into traffic. Instead of spinning the front tires and impressing the curious with a strong initial surge, Posawatz's crew spread the electric drive joy throughout the normal drive range. As a result, the soft thrust available from zero to 30 mph feels consistently the same with passing urge available from 50 to 70 mph. With a maximum of 149 horsepower driving an estimated 3500 pounds of curb weight (including 400 pounds of battery), the Volt will never be a drag star.
Decent Driving Dynamics
During our test drive late on a Sunday afternoon at a deserted GM Tech Center campus in Warren, Michigan, we had the run of the facilities with no fear of incurring the wrath of enforcement officials. Posawatz courageously gave the go-ahead for testing the Volt's all-out performance by remaining silent while we mashed and held the accelerator pedal to the floor for a long run on what amounts to a back straight paralleling Warren's Mound Road. Years ago, I buzzed a '55 Chevy hotted up by GM's Performance Division up to 90 mph on this stretch so I knew that it was long enough for flagrantly illegal speeds. Tapped fully out, the Volt gathered momentum smoothly but surely. At about 40 mph, when the electric range gauge was approaching zero, there was a subtle shudder and a sound similar to a heater blower whirring on a cold day. The 1.4-liter, 71-horsepower gasoline-fueled four-cylinder had fired up to help out with the demand for warp speed.
The uncanny aspect of the engine is that the intensity and frequency of its hum remains relatively constant while the car speed continues rising. It was only after I saw 92 flash on the digital speedometer and had lifted off the accelerator that the engine note softened. When Posawatz's speech returned, he noted that the Volt's maximum speed is governed at 100 mph and that it will eventually cruise down German autobahns at that velocity for extended periods.
While I decelerated in regen mode, the unwanted momentum was converted to electrical power and dispatched to the battery by the drive motor, now serving as a generator. Reversing the current drain is the engine's signal to take a break, so it slacks off during diminished electrical demand. The engineers' goal is to maintain consistent performance whether the drive motor's electricity is coming from the battery or the generator. During peak need, both pitch in. But when the battery charge dips below what Posawatz terms the minimum buffer level and all the drive juice is supplied by the engine-driven generator, performance is reduced. Simple math says why. In Sport mode, the electric motor turns the front wheels with 149 horsepower through a single-speed gear reducer (versus 121 horsepower in the Regular mode). The 71-horsepower engine doesn't match that so the battery is allowed to drain a bit below the normal minimal state of charge threshold to assist. When regen is available, that 'borrowed' charge is restored. However, the battery is never fully replenished during driving because it's cheaper and greener to draw that power from the electrical grid by plugging in the charger. In pursuit of a 10-year, 150,000 mile service life, the strategy is to treat the 400 or so lithium-ion cells with kid gloves. That means charging the battery only after it's heated to room temperature by a system that circulates warm anti-freeze through its confines. Also, only half of the battery's full 16 kilowatts of energy is ever intentionally used. While GM has not specified the exact limits, the guess is that the state of the charge is never allowed to drop below 30 percent or rise above 80-percent in the interests of battery longevity.
1001 04 Z+2011 Chevrolet Volt+side View
What's Under The Hood
Overall, the electric-drive powertrain impressed me as highly refined but hardly sparkling with enthusiasm for intense acceleration. Under the hood, there are four components bolted together in one assembly for noise, vibration, and collision performance optimization. The electric motor is mechanically attached to a gear reducer and differential that spins the front axle shafts. Adjacent to the motor is the gasoline engine which drives a generator. To save weight and cost the electric drive motor and the generator share a common housing. They are electrically but not mechanically connected. Also, there is no mechanical tie between the gasoline engine and the front wheels. While this arrangement sounds like a series hybrid, GM prefers to characterize the Volt as an extended range electric vehicle.
A large box of electrical gear mounts atop the propulsion and generating components. A few orange cables snake hither and yon but, according to Posawatz, the final underhood appearance is still not set. A charging port mounted in the left-front fender allows connecting to an electrical outlet for recharging the battery pack. Expect 8 or more hours for a full recharge on 120 volts or less than half that with the optional 240-volt charger.
Handling Counts Too
1001 03 Z+2011 Chevrolet Volt+side View
To investigate the Volt's driving demeanor, I whipped in a few aggressive lane-change steering commands at cruising speed. The on-center feel was positive to my touch and the effort build was nicely progressive and more shrewdly weighted than I expected. Give the Volt an A for electrically assisted steering execution. With Posawatz's permission, I took a few hot laps around a traffic circle to explore the outer fringes of grip and control. The Goodyear Assurance 17-inch radials quickly wilt under cornering pressure but at least body roll is reasonably well restrained by the suspension. There's more than enough understeer and no hint of tail wag or wobble. While the Volt is definitely not a BMW in green garb, it is at least predictable and reassuring in its moves. The tree huggers will love its amiable attitude, quiet disposition, and low gasoline thirst.
Business Game Plan
To build and sell 60,000 Volts per annum, GM invested $336-million in its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, originally Cadillac's home manufacturing base. While CEO Whitaker would love to see GM's can-do car on the road as soon as possible, there is engineering work left to be done, orders for the initial demonstration fleet to fill, and a production ramp-up to accomplish before you're likely to see Volts gracing Chevy showrooms. Unless you've got a deposit in place, you're unlikely to find one at retail before the clock strikes 2011.
The exact price is still unknown. Our guess-which is no better than the next-is that the sticker will start at $39,995 and a base edition will roll for about $32,495 after the federal government's generous $7500 tax credit is applied. In this area, the timing could not be better for GM. Toyota and Honda have both exhausted all their hybrid credits so Prius and Insight buyers now must pay full sticker (not counting state or local credits). Likewise, the applicable credits for Ford and Mercury hybrids expire March 31 of this year. This situation is sure to send shrewd green buyers straight to Chevy dealers once the Volt hits the market.
While it's too soon to say whether the Volt is the homerun GM really needs to buff its tarnished luster, we can conclude that the project is on track with better driving performance than we expected. This is definitely GM's best opportunity to show the world that it's alive, kicking, and still able to top the best imported technology.
0905 02 Pl+2011 Chevrolet Volt Prototype+front Three Quarter View
0905 02 Z+2011 Chevrolet Volt Prototype+front Three Quarter View
I'm driving through General Motors' Warren Technical Center at about 30 mph, and see some Canadian geese in the distance. "They'll move," I think, and hit the throttle a little harder. As I get closer, they show no inclination of moving. In fact, it's as if I'm not even there. It's only as I slow down and veer away from the plodding birds that I realize: of course the geese can't hear me, I'm driving a Chevrolet Volt prototype. There's no noise for them to hear.
With bankruptcy rumors swirling and news of tougher CAFE standards due this week, GM clearly thought it was the right time to give journalists a closer peek at Volt development--specifically, its Voltec electric propulsion system.
Soon-to-be-retired vice-chairman Bob Lutz was on hand, as were Volt program bosses Frank Weber and Tony Posawatz. The message from each of them was clear: GM is making progress on the Volt, regardless of what doubters may say.
Lutz, who will be on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman Wednesday to discuss the Volt, said the prototypes answered doubters of lithium-ion technology, including "some of our Japanese competitors."
0905 01 Z+2011 Chevrolet Volt Prototype+front Three Quarter View
Weber stressed that the Volt is not a hybrid but rather a breakthrough vehicle.
"People are still saying, 'oh this is a hybrid vehicle that you're doing,' just because we have an engine to generate electricity. I say, no. This car is an electric vehicle," he said.
We were allowed about twenty minutes in the prototype, ten behind the wheel. Posawatz cautioned that our mule, dressed as a Chevy Cruze, was an older example that doesn't reflect the latest stage of the development process. GM also disabled the gasoline engine in our model, as it's still fine-tuning the crucial software that will determine when and under what circumstances the generator will kick in.
Despite these limitations, it's possible to gather to a few distinct impressions. The first, as noted before, is the silence. It's one thing to coast along at 15-20 mph in a conventional hybrid, it's quite another to accelerate from 0-60 mph with no aural input beyond wind and tire noise. Even those sounds will be less noticeable on the final product, Posawatz said, as the Volt team is hard at work quieting noises that are usually tuned out by the hum of an internal combustion engine.
0905 03 Z+2011 Chevrolet Volt Prototype+profile View
The other noticeable difference from a typical small car lies with the braking system. The best way to shed speed in the Volt is often by lifting on the "gas" pedal. When the car is shifted into low mode, the motor serves as a generator, charging the batteries while simultaneously slowing the car. This is quite effective in low-speed, stop-and-go traffic, and might even come in handy during more spirited driving, as it increases the impact of lifting throttle in a turn, (Bob Lutz did note that he has a lot of fun driving in low mode). Unfortunately, the conventional brake pedal isn't as impressive, as it seems to take too long for hydraulic override to come in, creating a spongy, air-in-the-lines feel. Posawatz assures us this won't be an issue on the final product. "That's not one of our big technical challenges," he adds.
Otherwise, the mule feels like a normal, if slightly pudgy, compact. Acceleration is particularly impressive, even though our prototypes were providing only about 80 percent of the power of the final product. GM is aiming for launch feel on par with a 250-hp V-6 sedan, thanks to instantaneous torque, and expects a sub-nine-second 0-60 time. You'll be able to chirp the front wheels. Our mule likewise didn't have a production intent suspension setup, but the Volt's Delta II underpinnings, shared with the Cruze and the 2010 Opel Astra, already feel reasonably well composed, if a bit harsh over bumps.
Based simply on our seat time, it's impossible to say if GM will make its deadline and if the Volt will be the big hit the company desperately needs it to be. Posawatz readily admits he has a considerable list of concerns, including how well the batteries will hold up over ten years, and how customers will take to the EV experience. He also fears what might happen if one of the fledgling green car companies (i.e. Tesla, Fisker, Aptera, etc.) should have serious product issues - such as a battery that reacts dangerously in a car accident - and thus spreads a pall over the entire segment. He didn't even have to mention the possibility that his company, currently surviving on federal loans, might cease to exist.
In the areas under its control though, the Volt team remains confident.
"There is nothing in particular that is worrying me more than another thing," Weber said about the development process, while stressing that there is lots of work left to be done.
The car clearly remains a high priority for the company, such that it's safe to say that if there is a GM in five years, there will be a Volt. In the nearer term, the team says it hopes to have closer-to-production prototypes for us to drive by fall. We'll be there if it happens.
2011 Chevrolet Volt
2011 Chevrolet Volt
The Chevrolet Volt has been built up in a media frenzy prior to its release and it turns out that it may not be everything that it was cracked up to be. This is not a vehicle that can run on electricity alone, it is actually nothing more than another hybrid vehicle that uses a combination of lithium ion battery and a small 1.4 liter four cylinder engine. The one thing that does make this hybrid stand out from the rest is its ability to run solely on the internal battery when it is charged. Other hybrids do not give the driver the option to run on nothing but electricity.

This car can travel up to 40 miles on electricity before the gas engine kicks in. When you need to fuel this vehicle you can fill it with E85 or normal unleaded gasoline. The volt is almost the same dimensions at the Chevrolet Cruze and will be a big contender in the hybrid market when it is released. The future is definitely in a hybrid technology, but it is hard to tell if this vehicle has enough tricks up its sleeve to compete with others that have been in this market for years.
2012 Chevrolet Volt Rear Three Quarter12
The Chevrolet Volt is undergoing a formal safety defect investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. General Motors released a statement and said the investigation is “not unexpected.” NHTSA previously crash tested a Chevrolet Volt and the vehicle caught on fire three weeks later due to damage to the battery pack and coolant line.
2011 Chevrolet Volt Front Three Quarter
A partnership between General Motors and car-sharing service RelayRides was announced today – one that will allow owners of GM vehicles to more easily rent their OnStar-equipped vehicles to other users of the service. RelayRides, a car-sharing marketplace that gives owners the ability to rent out their personal cars when not in use, will team up with GM to make all OnStar-enabled models ready for use in the service. The program is scheduled for launch in early 2012, and will be GM’s first foray into car-sharing.
2011 Chevrolet Volt Rear Three Quarter
A new survey says that interest in the Chevrolet Volt electric car is tapering off. According to the research, the number of people considering buying a Volt in July was far lower than in March of this year.However, a Chevrolet spokesman tells us the only thing stopping Volt sales is availability of the car.
2011 Chevy Volt Capitol Building 01
Discussions between automakers, state, and government officials may be closing in on a finalized 2025 fuel economy standard, as The Detroit News reports that at least five major automakers are expected to stand behind the proposed 54.5-mpg goal. The Detroit Three, Honda, and Hyundai will reportedly rally in support of the new standard after the previous 56.2-mpg standard was shot down by automakers for its ambitious 5-mpg yearly hikes applying to both cars and trucks.
Chevrolet Volt Battery Second Use System 2
You’ve noticed it. More and more electrics and plug-in hybrids like the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt are appearing on the road, and it seems new electric concepts are introduced at every auto show. But what about 10 years down the road, when the electric batteries’ automotive life reaches the end of the line?

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2011 Chevrolet Volt
2011 Chevrolet Volt
Base FWD 4-Dr Hatchback I4
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2011 Chevrolet Volt Specifications

Quick Glance:
1.4L I4Engine
Fuel economy City:
35 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
40 MPG
149 hp
273 ft lb of torque
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats (optional)
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer Rear (optional)
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD
  • Navigation
36,000 miles / 36 months
100,000 miles / 60 months
100,000 miles / 72 months
100,000 miles / 60 months
Recall Date
General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling certain model year 2011-2013 Volt vehicles manufactured August 25, 2010, to June 26, 2013. If the driver exits the vehicle without turning off the electrical system, the battery may drain low enough that the gasoline engine will automatically start itself to recharge the electric battery.
If the engine runs for an extended period of time in an enclosed space, there may be a build up of carbon monoxide, increasing the risk of personal injury.
GM will notify owners, and dealers will update the engine management software to limit the time that the stationary vehicle can be left in the ON position, free of charge. The recall began April 15, 2015. Owners may contact Chevrolet customer service at 1-800-222-1020. GM's number for this recall is 14617.
Potential Units Affected
General Motors LLC

NHTSA Rating Overall
IIHS Roof Strength
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
NHTSA Rating Front Side
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
NHTSA Rating Rollover
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
IIHS Overall Side Crash
IIHS Best Pick
IIHS Rear Crash

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