2011 Chevrolet Volt in IIHS crash test
Extended range electric automobiles like the 2011 Chevrolet Volt are at the cutting edge of automotive technology. When something goes wrong, there are often twice as many systems to consider, which can make repairs more complex than with a conventional gasoline powered or or a battery-electric car.
Take crash repairs for example. As Kicking Tires recently found out, the cost to repair a crash-damaged 2011 Chevrolet Volt can be considerably higher than the cost to repair a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu with the same amount of damage.
In May, a 2011 Chevrolet Volt owned by Cars.com (parent to Kicking Tires) was involved in a frontal collision. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured in the impact, which was severe enough to trigger steering wheel and knee airbags.
Initial written estimates quoted a repair price of $11,588. By the time the car was completed, however, the cost had risen to $14,187, thanks to additional repair parts being required. Furthermore, a coolant leak was discovered after the car was reassembled, prompting the need for a replacement cooling pump.
Since the Volt uses separate cooling systems for its batteries and gasoline engine, there are five heat exchangers (or radiators, in more common terms) used in the Volt, compared to two or three in an average automobile. The Volt also has a significant number of computerized systems that require reprogramming after a serious crash, adding to the expense of repairs.
If the Volt cost $14,187 to repair, you'd assume that a comparable repair on a 2011 Chevy Malibu would be far less. The difference, however, is less significant than you probably think: the same damage on the Malibu would have cost the insurance company $12,006, a difference of $2,181. Given the Malibu’s lower purchase price, that amount of damage probably would have led the insurance company to declare the Malibu totaled.
To give you an idea how focused General Motors is on ensuring customer satisfaction with the Volt, a dedicated Volt adviser checked in with the repair shop several times per week. A single Volt representative handled the incident from start to finish, and GM was quick to point out that no special treatment was given because the car was owned by Cars.com.
While we hope none of our readers crash their own cars, we’d love to hear from any Chevrolet Volt or Nissan Leaf owners requiring body work on their cars. What was your repair experience like?