Sunday, November 21, 2010
2011 Chevrolet Volt Review
The 2011 Chevrolet Volt is a midsize five-door hatchback sedan with seating for four.
This June, the Cruze mules will be retired, and for the first time, the Volt’s powertrain will be mated to the Volt body.
“The beauty of the Volt is the size of the battery,” affirms Posawatz. Weighing in at 400 pounds, the lithium-ion pack allows the Volt to travel as far as 40 miles on electric power. (Having a center tunnel in a front-drive car gives the Volt mule’s cabin the feel of one from a rear-wheel-drive vehicle.) Like most traditional electric cars, the Volt will recharge via a wall plug; the engine is simply to get you to your destination when the charge is depleted. VEHICLE TYPE (Chevrolet Cruze–based prototype): front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 4-door sedan
Although the maximum total power output of the Chevrolet Volt battery pack is 16 kWh, the Volt only uses about 50 percent of the battery’s total power. In the Volt, the battery feeds a 149-hp electric motor that drives the front wheels. The gas engine is never used to charge the battery; the engine turns a generator that directly feeds power to the electric motor. If the engine is revving at 2000 rpm and making 25 hp, the electric motor will be able to make only 25 hp. The upshot: The Volt will be quicker running on battery power than it will be when the gas engine is providing the electricity.
The Premium Trim package adds leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and heated front seats. The Rear Camera and Park Assist package adds a rearview camera and front and rear parking sensors.
The front-wheel-drive 2011 Volt is powered by an electric motor rated at 149 hp (111 kilowatts) and 273 pound-feet of torque. This motor draws power from a lithium-ion battery pack until the battery charge is 70 percent depleted. The battery can only be completely recharged through either a 120-volt or 240-volt outlet, but regenerative braking and the engine generator can replenish it slightly.
Safety features on the "2011 Chevy Volt" include antilock brakes, stability control, front side airbags, front knee airbags and full-length side curtain airbags.
The change-over from battery charge to generator power can be difficult to notice, though the pre-production Volts we've driven do have a disconcerting generator noise level; the engine revs regardless of engine speed.
The 2011 Chevrolet Volt ranks 3 out of 19 Upscale Midsize Cars. Amid industry debate (“It’s an electric car!” “It’s neither!”), Chevrolet has rolled out the Volt. The Volt is neither a hybrid car nor an electric car. Chevrolet calls it an extended range electric vehicle. For those buyers, the Chevrolet Volt is largely an electric car.
If you’re fine with leasing and worried about range, the Volt is the better option.
Next to the Leaf, the Volt’s closest competitor is the Toyota Prius. Using only electric power, for the Volt to cover 15,000 miles would cost about $240 in electricity charges – which means that to offset the Volt’s price premium over the Prius would take over 17 years.
The Chevrolet Volt combines an electric motor, which powers the car for the first 50 miles or so of driving, with a 1.4-liter gasoline-powered engine that acts as a generator, creating electricity for the electric motor once the batteries are depleted. To travel solely on electric power, the Chevrolet Volt must have its batteries charged. Because it has a backup engine that generates electric power, the Chevrolet Volt does not have a limited range between charges like purely electric cars do.
The Chevrolet Volt is being introduced in limited markets at first. In 2011, the Volt will expand to other markets.
The Chevrolet Volt is a completely new car with never-before-used powertrain technology.