What Makes the 2011 Chevrolet Volt a Better Electric Vehicle? (video screen capture)

What Makes the 2011 Chevrolet Volt a Better Electric Vehicle? (video screen capture)

If you haven’t been following it, Motor Trend has a 2011 Chevrolet Volt in their fleet for long term testing. These long-term tests tend to reveal what the real day-to-day experience with a vehicle can be. It doesn’t mean that it is the ideal or even the exact experience every consumer will have, but it does give more information than even a week behind the wheel when driving a car during a media review period. So far Motor Trend as only logged some 1357 miles with almost a 50-50 split between city and highway driving. The conditions are also not what Chevrolet engineers would call ideal with fringed temperatures and feet of snow. However, if you live in the Northern part of the U.S. this is a reality for you and your vehicle every year. How is the Volt fairing?

Honestly, from the two reports from Motor Trend the 2011 Chevrolet Volt is holding its own. As a caveat, we do have to point out that since the distance traveled is about 50-50 city and highway (with a slight leaning to city), the mileage isn’t going to be the ideal EPA estimate. However, it is a good depiction of why the Volt is more palatable to consumers (in theory) due to the “hit the open road” nature of American lifestyles. The bottom line right now is that the Volt is showing a cost per mile of  $0.08. To give you a comparison, if the same distance was traveled by a Toyota Prius and the calculations for cost per mile were based on achieving the EPA rated mileage, the Prius would come in at $0.06 per mile. Our guess however, is that with the winter conditions the hybrid system would see a similar degradation in electric assist performance, so those numbers might be closer than you think.

The good news is that the Volt is showing itself capable of trudging through snowy streets and being livable in what is to this Texas-breed boy’s opinion almost unlivable conditions. Michigan is no place for those who can’t take the cold, that is for sure. On that note, the Motor Trend folks did note that the pre-heat function doesn’t seem to warm the cabin up to the climate control setting, nor does it seem to get their during drives of about an hour. The indication right now is that the cabin will stay some 10 degrees or more cooler. Motor Trend says:

So far I’ve been underwhelmed by the preheat feature. Given 15 minutes in the garage while plugged in and set to 75 degrees the digital thermometer readings weren’t far above ambient. Ditto this morning, with 35 minutes of pre-heat at 75/Eco setting resulting in a 47.9-degree footwell temp, and 39.1 in the cabin despite consumption of 1.23 kW-hrs of grid electricity. We’ll try a few more settings, and then possibly ask our dealer if something’s amiss.”

We know our interest is perked. Stay tuned as we look for updates on the Volt long-term test. Our opinion, take the Volt on vacation to sunny California. Our guess is both driver and vehicle will be happier. 


[Source: Motor Trend]