We recently brought you the review of the Chevy Volt in charge-sustaining mode presented by New York Times writer Lindsay Brooke. His review praised the vehicle overall, but he was not fond of the charge-sustaining mode stating that it needed additional work. Aside from Brooke, only one other person has had the opportunity to drive the Volt in the much talked about charge-sustaining mode and that is NBC's Phil Lebeau of the Today Show.
Lebeau was technically the first, non GM person, to drive the Volt in the charge sustain mode. His review of the advanced integration Chevy Volt prototype is referenced below including both highs and lows.
Lebeau's drive and detailed video provides some insight into the Volt's LCD display screen. From the video, you can clearly see that this screen tells the driver how efficiently he or she is driving. The traffic light symbol turns from green to yellow to indicate less efficient driving. Additionally, the screen displays real time mpg. Lebeau was able to hit over 200 mpg during his test drive at the Milford proving grounds.
Lebeau's comments about driving in all electric mode and then transitioning into gas assist mode are similar to those of Brooke. As Lebeau states, "When you go from driving all-electric to running the gas-assist engine, the transition is disconcerting. It needs to be smoothed out, and GM engineers know it. When you're driving on the gas assist engine, there's no fall off in power, handling, etc. and perhaps I found it jarring because I went from the silent electric drive to hearing the engine. Whatever the reason, it needs to be improved."
Both reviewers praise the overall vehicle, but their praise quickly turned to criticism as the Volt enter its charge sustaining mode. The engineers over at GM are working on the problem and have noted that this will be the main focus from now until the release date of the Volt.
Issues aside, Lebeau closed by stating, "Overall, I was very impressed with the Volt I drove at the GM proving grounds. The acceleration and handling will surprise skeptics who think electric cars will feel like golf carts. It's not perfect and its price (estimated $40,000) could keep many people from being interested in the car. But based on what I've seen so far, GM should get a charge out the Volt."