Low cabin noise intrusion plays a role in perceived ride quality. Chevy has made road and wind noise almost nonexistent in the volt. A key test of the volts quietness is when the little.4-liter engine that powers the generator turns. On occasion you can hear the engine, but mostly you cant. All this adds up to a four-passenger family sedan that is a superb ev commuter that can turn into a comfortable highway cruiser with the ability to add a dose of driving fun. About That fuel Economy, that short sentence at the bottom of the window sticker regarding fuel economy—Actual results will vary for many reasons applies to volt perhaps more than any other vehicle. When it comes to overall fuel economy (mpge individual results posted on fueleconomy. Gov show a range of 39 to 1,462 mpg with an average of 175.4.
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In this case, 273 pounds-feet of torque a number youd see in V6 engines. Zero to 60 mph arrives in a tick or two less than nine seconds, an indicator that merging into high-speed traffic is easily accomplished. The volt didnt major in driving excitement, but it is surprisingly fun to drive and dispenses predictable front-wheel drive handling. Gm obviously took care to engineer in above-average compact car road manners. With the Sport mode selected, and shifting to low when required, the volt is up to the task of negotiating curvy quarterly roads, holding sharp corners commendably well. With 435 pounds of batteries running down its spine, the center of gravity is low, favorable for gripping the road and minimizing body lean. Unlike many electric power steering systems, the volts is communicative with good on center feel and offers decent driver feedback. As for the quirky, almost brick-like feel of most regenerative brake systems, braking is solid and linear with the computer blending regenerative and mechanical brake force seamlessly. An independent strut-type front and a semi-independent torsion beam axle rear suspension are typical of cars in the compact class. Engineers have tuned it with soft spring rates and matching shock rates for good comfort and control. The setup absorbs the bumps and potholes of everyday driving quite well.
Rear seating is reduced to two because of the intrusion of the batterys center location. Legroom for back seat passengers is adequate for most, but those over six feet will be uncomfortable. Volt offers an arms length of standard convenience features as expected in a revelation car with a sticker price of nearly 40,000. Included are keyless entry, power windows, locks and mirrors, automatic climate control, OnStar assistance, siriusXM satellite radio, bluetooth wireless cell-phone link as well as usb and ipod connectivity. Optional are leather seating, a navigation system and a package that includes a rearview camera and front- and rear-obstacle detection. Expected safety gear includes all the biggies—eight air bags, anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist, electronic stability control and traction control. The federal government gives the volt a safety rating of five stars overall. Whether driving on a fully charged battery or after the gas engine comes on to maintain the battery packs state of charge, the volt behaves just like a pure electric car; speedy, smooth, and whisper-quiet. Since the electric motor is the main mode of motivation for the car, take-offs from a start benefit from typical ev low-end torque.
It is also the screen for the optional navigation system. Geeks will relish using the available mobile apps that can run on an iPhone or Android system. With a smartphone owners can access their vehicles current electric presentation range, check the batterys charge level, manage battery charging times and check what time the car will be fully charged and ready. Other functions can be performed remotely also—like remote start or unlocking doors. With just a couple of taps, the volt can be pre-cooled in the summer and pre-warmed in winter. The cabin is the best Chevy interior available with high quality materials and grains. Up front, head- and legroom are generous and front bucket seats are pleasingly comfortable. A height-adjustable drivers seat and tilt/telescopic steering wheel make it easy to adjust for a good driving position.
Optional seventeen-inch polished aluminum wheels add a touch of style to the judicious use of chrome and piano black over the window line. Interior, volts cabin blends Chevys traditional twin-cockpit design with a dashboard that looks more like an advanced hub of operations than an instrument panel. Instead of traditional gauges, the driver faces a seven-inch lcd screen displaying speed, odometer/trip distance, battery level and electric driving miles. Theres also a meter with a green revolving ball that indicates hard acceleration or hard braking keep it in the middle and youre driving efficiently. When the battery is depleted, a gas gauge replaces that meter. The center stack eschews conventional switchgear in favor of an ipod type flat, touch-sensitive control panel for audio and climate settings. However, attempting to use them without intimate familiarity will result in hurtling down the road like a drunken sailor. Above the panel is a second seven-inch display screen that shows the usual infotainment and climate control details, but also power flow, energy usage information and charging details.
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It helps maximize performance by maintaining a sufficient charge so sale that extra power needed to negotiate steep grades comes from the battery and needs to be engaged well in anticipation of heading for the hills. The hold feature as found also on European Volts and near twins Opel/Vauxhall Amperas, essentially holds the battery state-of-charge level allowing for pure electric driving at a later time in the journey. Additionally, the driver can shift to low instead of Drive for more aggressive regenerative braking. It conserves energy by changing the throttle and brake settings so you have to brake less lift off the accelerator and the car dramatically slows down. Chevrolet doesnt position the volt as a plug-in hybrid, but as an extended-range electric vehicle, which in practice means it falls somewhere between an electric car and a standard gasoline-powered car. The volt operates entirely as an electric car for its first 30 to 40 miles after a full charge of the battery with extreme cold possibly reducing range to as little as 25 miles, and judicious or slower speed driving possibly increasing electric range. The engine doesnt drive the wheels it only kicks in to power a generator motor that sustains the battery charge enough to give the car another 300 miles or so of range once the battery is depleted.
Exterior, the production Volt looks nothing like the sporty, coupe-like concept that debuted at the 2007 Detroit auto show. Instead, reality dictated that it needed a more conventional, functional shape for aerodynamic reasons and to accommodate people and the things people haul along. For the volts design, Chevrolet uses a shape thats come to define hybrid and electric vehicles: a four-door hatchback with a smooth front and a high, abrupt tail. The truncated rear, called Kammback, is a design shape that reduces the air resistance of the vehicle. The tails low drag contributes to the volts drag coefficient.28 that helps eke every last mile from the battery. While its general profile resembles the honda Insight and toyota Prius, the volt is clearly a chevrolet with the trademark twin-bar front grille leading to headlamps that sweep into the front fenders.
At the time, some experts predicted that such a battery could possibly be production-ready by 2010 to 2012. Other experts said the technology was 10 or more years away. Not quite four years later, the volt arrived with.5-foot long T-shaped 16-killowatt hour lithium-ion battery. Weighing 435 pounds, the battery is incorporated into the frame beneath the passenger compartment along the center tunnel and is liquid cooled and heated to keep the 288 cells in the optimal temperature range. Charging the battery which the aforementioned chemistry tweaks upped.5 kwh this year is a simple task, simply plug the supplied charging cord into a 120-volt household outlet and then plug the other end into the charge receptacle on the volt. An alternative is an optional 240-volt charging unit that cuts charge time significantly.
With the new battery chemistry, charge times are increased slightly: a 120-volt outlet could take.5 hours and.25 hours to charge when using the optional 240-volt charger (up from 10 hours and four hours, respectively). The drivetrains final component is a planetary-geared single-speed transmission. It operates in conjunction with three independent clutches to manage and distribute power from either or both of the electric motors and gas engine to the front drive wheels. For example, during certain cruising situations to obtain maximum efficiency, torque from the gasoline engine is blended with the small motor generator to supplement the drive motor. While the gas engine mechanically assists the drive motor, it does not power the volt by itself. While computer programming decides the drivetrains most efficient operation, the driver can play a role with four different driving modes: Normal, Sport, mountain and the new Hold mode. When the car is powered on, the default mode is Normal and delivers a typical accelerator feel. Selecting Sport provides a livelier accelerator response with the downside of using more electrons from the battery. Mountain mode is for, well, traversing mountain terrain.
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This type of hybrid powertrain is not new, and in fact, general Motors toyed with the idea in 1969 with the Stir-Lec ii, a second-generation experimental hybrid vehicle that operated similarly to volt. A big difference between the two is the volts battery can be charged by plugging in to either a 120-volt or 240-volt home electrical outlet. The hybrid design may be simple but the complexity under the volts hood night is staggering. The car doesnt have one electric motor; it has two—a 111-killowatt (148 horsepower) main traction motor and a 55-kw (73 horsepower) generator motor. A.4-liter 64 horsepower four-cylinder engine doesnt drive the wheels it only kicks in to power the generator motor to sustain the battery charge enough to give the car an extended range of 300-plus miles. And that only happens once the battery is depleted. Speaking of the battery, when the concept Volt was introduced in 2007, gm stated that to make it a reality required a large lithium-ion battery weighing nearly 400 pounds.
Thats not all of the good news, however. Engineers tinkered with the recipe of the lithium-ion batterys chemistry to gain a few extra miles of electric range 38 miles compared to 35 miles for the 2012 edition. The officially rated miles per gallon equivalent (mpge) also increases to 98 mpge from 94 mpge. The 2013 Volt arrives in the north American market with a new Hold drive mode, which allows the car to operate on gasoline only and save the battery for later. This feature was art first seen on 2012 European market models to enable drivers to save the electrons for green urban zones where emissions are penalized. Also new are two safety features as part of the Enhanced Safety package: lane-departure warning and forward collision alert. Additional changes include a new power gauge, an optional rear-seat armrest and new exterior and interior color choices. Simple, yet Complex Powertrain, at first glance, the volts drivetrain is a somewhat simple series hybrid design: A small gasoline engine powers an electric motor-generator that produces electricity that sustains a battery charge and is then directed to an electric motor that powers the front.
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