2011 Chevrolet Volt

Switching between the drive modes is seamless, with no chug or shudder when the gasoline engine comes to life. The gasoline engine is very quiet, perhaps because it's so low revving (it tops out at 4800 rpm); it doesn't need to rev very high because it's primarily recharging the battery, not powering the wheels. Even when in gasoline mode, the Volt works sort-of like a hybrid, shutting down the engine at very low speeds. Because the car in EV mode is so silent, flashing the high beams will also get you a soft bleat of the horn, for use when warning pedestrians of your presence (rather than blasting them with the regular horn).

Mileage and range
When I picked the car up, it was running on stored battery energy, and indicated 27 miles of range. I made it almost all the way home under electric power, but the battery ran out after 24 miles (the driving was mostly at moderate highway speeds, with lots of hills). Indicated range is a guessing game, as a car can't know how it's going to be driven in the miles ahead, but the Volt was able to predict far more accurately than the Nissan Leaf I had recently.

After running down the battery getting the car home, I plugged it in for an overnight recharge. (A full recharge using household current takes about 10 hours.) The outlet is behind a fuel-filler-style flap on the left front fender, and the extension cord stores in a cubby under the cargo floor. Plug it in, and a light on the top of the dash glows green to let you know charging is taking place. When the battery is topped off, the green light flashes.

The next morning with a full battery, the car showed an available 36 miles of range. In fact, it wasn't until I'd driven 41 miles (most of it around town) that the gasoline engine fired up to keep the battery pack from running down any further. The only sign that that happened, by the way, was that the instrument screen changed from showing the battery indicator counting down the EV range to a gas pump graphic showing 295 miles of estimated fuel range (from the small, 8-gallon tank).

BlueGTR
Re: JgowerThe full charge from empty Volt battery meter usually runs around 8kw and with my electricity rate cost me around $1.65 per 40 miles of driving.
jgower
I'm wondering, for my own personal information, how much of a difference charging the volt will make on my electric bill. How much electricity is used in a ten hour charge? My electric bill always tells me how much a kw costs, so how many kw does it take?
Jayhawker91
It's not a joke, nor is it more trouble than it's worth. It is more than ready for prime time. I've owned a Volt since February. I have 1,945 miles on the car and have used a total of 4.5 gallons of gas. Plugging in my car when I'm at home isn't challenging or tough - it takes me an extra 15 secs when I pull in, and 15 secs when I leave. It's just a new way of doing things - just like how most of us plug in our mobile phones in the evening (I know, retrostang, you only use a corded landline, right?)And I don't quite understand how it is an experiment - seeing how my car is every bit as capable, and maybe more so, than your hybrid. Silly comments from the uninformed gallery today...
BigBlock45
Mmm, "except for its price" tells me the Volt is not ready for prime time but is still an experiment which we get to pay for! Considering the price, the copromises in design and the short range.. I'll stick with a Hybrid. Nice try, though.
dubfun
Seems like it's more trouble than it's worth.
retrostang
What a joke! Who wants to plug their car in every time they pull in their garage. I'll stick with my Mustang.
Volt1919
I want to point out that all Volts come with a cargo cover that can be used to cover up the cargo area so people can't see what you are carrying. The cover is found in the trunk next to where the charge cord goes.
Petros
Apart from its price, I find the Volt as the best "Green" car to own. Its pure electric movement is more enjoyable than the Prius and obviously less stressful than the Leaf. Plus, if you only drive around 20-30 miles a day (the case for most of us) then you're driving only on electricity.

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