By on October 18, 2010

Tomorrow your humble Editor boards a plane for Michigan, en route to a date with the Chevrolet Volt. TTAC has followed the Volt’s bumpy road to production-readiness since Bob Lutz decided that the Prius had to be “leapfrogged,” and we’ve tracked every change to the Volt’s mission, message and mechanical blueprint along the way. And though cars don’t exist in a vacuum, giving the Volt a fair review will require us to leave a lot of this contextual baggage at the door.

Certainly we will continue to report and opine on the development of the Volt program, but our forthcoming review will be focused on the vehicle itself. Because this is a clear break from our previous reporting on the Volt (which focused on the program rather than the car), we would like to take this opportunity to find out what you, our readers, are most interested to learn about GM’s green halo car. Obviously we will be giving our driving impressions (with the requisite TTAC flair) and we will try to report observed efficiency in as accurate a manner as is possible, but there’s still an awful lot to learn about this symbolically significant but still poorly-understood vehicle. So tell us what elements of the Volt’s performance, presentation or technical gubbins you are most interested in. Would you rather know how efficiently the Volt can be driven or what to expect as a worst-case mileage? We only have a little more than a day with the Volt… help us make the most of it!

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72 Comments on “Ask The Best And Brightest: What Do You Want To Know About The Chevy Volt?...”


  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Drive till it runs out of battery, then drive till it runs out of gas, report data.  Period.

    • 0 avatar

      +1. Drive it as you would a normal economy car, until the damn thing won’t go anymore, and report what you get. That’s all we need to know.

      (And if that combined figure actually averages out to more than 40 mpg total, I’ll eat my hat.)

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      Who the hell drives a car that way?

      Drive the car until it runs out of juice, yes.

      Report on the fuel economy, yes.

      Report on “overall” fuel economy, as driven like a normal person.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      The Volt is brand freaking new technology.  Don’t you want to know?  GM and the EPA have given us so much bullsh*+ about the MPGs on this car I’ll need to see test like this to cut through the hype.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      MT consistently got 40 miles out of a fully-charged battery in “normal” usage.

      MPG is consistently reported at 30-40 mpg.

      Your search for a single data point that applies to pretty much nobody is pointless.

    • 0 avatar
      MikeAR

      That’s exactly whar I want to see too Dan. No charging or filling up just driving with specifics on average speeds and type of roads/streets. In other words, give us a baseline to compare with our daily driving.

    • 0 avatar

      Is it available with an optional 6.1L HEMI?

    • 0 avatar
      cirats

      Dan and Mike – Again, what’s the point?  If what you’re trying to do is get a baseline so that you can compare how you might operate the Volt to how you operate your current vehicle, then you’re missing the whole idea, which is that you don’t operate the Volt like you operate your current vehicle; i.e., by driving it around without refueling until the gas tank is almost empty.  Rather, you plug it in when it’s convenient to do so, and if your driving patterns make it inconvenient to plug it in every 40 or 50 miles, it’s clearly not the car for you and shouldn’t be bashed for that.

      I’m not a target customer for this car unless it’s a lot sportier than I imagine it probably is, but a vehicle with even a 30 mile battery and 30 MPG on the back-up gasoline engine would suit me just fine, as it would probably suit 75% of the 800,000 other people who live in the city where I do because it would get us all back and forth to work every day without using a drop of gas and probably run a few errands to boot.  I leave the confines of my city no more than once a month and could almost invariably take our family’s other car to do so.  Even if my wife and I both drove such vehicles, I bet we could both average 75+ MPGs and the only reason it would be that “low” is because of the 4 or 5 times a year we drive several hours to get somewhere. 

      Yes, I realize that, even at 75+ MPGs, it would still take years to make back the added cost of this vehicle versus, say, the Cruze.  Which is why my main question for the reviewer is probably what the baseline comparison is for this car in terms of driving dynamics, fit and finish, etc.  The calculus is one thing if that comparable car is an $18k car, but quite another if that comparable car costs $33k.  Of course, we’re all assuming it’s closer to the former than the latter, probably rightfully so.

      In terms of battery versus engine performance, the most important question for any buyer is how far it can go on the battery alone based on where and how that particular buyer is likely to drive most days (hilly, hot/cold, etc.).  Once a buyer has that information – which hopefully the reviews will help them figure out – they can determine whether the Volt would work for them.  I don’t even think post-battery MPGs are that relevant, though they certainly matter some.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      BINGO! The simplest way to determine “real world” fuel economy is to fill the thing up, charge it, then run it until it stops (or comes close to it), fill the tank and calculate mileage. I would be curious to know how far it will go until it rolls to a stop.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Dan, I’ve got your back on this, I agree. Just carry a jerrycan with you! That way, you have the baseline data, then do the same in real-world circumstances and compare results. Of course, you have detractors, but everyone has their own idea of how to reach a conclusion on what to expect. That’s O.K., too.

      Bigtruckseries; Uh, it’s not a Dodge, so no HEMI! I know you’re joking (I think)!

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      Cirats: your method of determining the mileage by just driving til the tank is empty is flawed. first, economy wise it is useless. Second, the car manufacturer just installs a very tiny tank and the mpg number will be huge. with a larger tank, the mpg number will be low. this almost would be as accurate as comparing my car (fill it up every two weeks) to any other driver’s car by just saying how often it gets filled up :-)
       
      Why not determine mileage in gasoline and EV mode and the potential buyer (your or me) can figure out for himself what real world mileage will be (by either never using gas, or often using gas). the government (nor car manufacturer) should make that equation themselves since it always will be flawed.

    • 0 avatar
      PeregrineFalcon

      @HerrKaLeun: “Cirats: your method of determining the mileage by just driving til the tank is empty is flawed. first, economy wise it is useless. Second, the car manufacturer just installs a very tiny tank and the mpg number will be huge. with a larger tank, the mpg number will be low. this almost would be as accurate as comparing my car (fill it up every two weeks) to any other driver’s car by just saying how often it gets filled up :-)”

      This is the second or third time I’ve seen this on TTAC, and it might have been you the other two times, but what exactly is invalid about dividing miles travelled by gallons of gas consumed? Size of tank has approximately jack sh*t to do with the mileage (as in, mpg) except for the small impact of “less weight carried.”

      I haven’t been on TTAC in months, so is this guy some new breed of “doesn’t understand the fundamentals of mathematics” troll?

      @EducatorDan: Yes, and further to that, see how it drives differently during heavier load (passing, acceleration, uphill grades, etc) when the battery is serving the same function as a boat anchor. Optimally with four people and a trunk full of luggage; a likely road trip scenario, since your passengers will be a little upset if you’re planning to stop every 30 miles to recharge the thing.

    • 0 avatar
      Shantanu

      Peregrine, the size of tank in this case determines how much gas is used. Say a car gets 30 miles on electric regardless, and when running only on gas, gets 30 miles per gallon.

      Car 1 has a full charge, and a gas tank that holds 1 gallons. It travels 60 miles on 1 gallons of gas, thus has 60 miles per gallon.

      Car 2 has a full charge and a gas tank that holds 10 gallons. It travels 330 miles on 10 gallons, and thus has 33 miles per gallon.

      So in a series hybrid, the size of tank does make a difference.

      Honestly, the most important things to know would be the range with a fully charged battery with a decent load (say 3 people and groceries), and the fuel efficiency of using the gas range extender. Anyone should be able to figure out that as you use more gas, your overall fuel economy will reach a limit, that limit being the gas engine fuel efficiency AFTER more than the range is driven.

  • avatar
    segfault

    Forget to put it in “mountain mode” before driving it up a long, steep grade and report what happens compared to, say, a Cobalt/Cruze and a Prius.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t remember any long steep grades in Michigan, and I’ve driven across the southern end, and bicycled across the U.P. Both were fairly flat.

    • 0 avatar
      Trend-Shifter

      Talking about steep grades in SE Michigan… 
      In 1989 I moved from the Los Angeles area to the Detroit area.   I worked in Mount Clemens.    My ex colleagues would call me in winter time and say “So how hard is it driving up Mount Clemens on a snowy day?”     

      For those of you that have never been to Mount Clemens, Michigan… imagine the Bonneville Salt Flats with trees.   

      That said, near the GM Milford testing grounds there are few hilly grades on I-96 that could degrade a battery charge in short order.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Go to Google maps and select “Terrain” under the “More” menu. Look North and around Ann Arbor. Of course, there’s always the hill at Ford’s track in Dearborn – I’m sure they’d be more than happy to help you out!

    • 0 avatar

      SEMI is indeed pretty flat, though there are some hills. As pointed out below, Michigan has some low mountain ranges, the Hurons and Porcupines, but they’re up in the western UP, about 500 miles from Detroit. If Ed wants to see how it performs on hills, I can tell him about what passes for a steep grade in suburban Detroit since I cycle a lot.
       
      Haggerty Rd is hilly, so is Franklin Road. Kensington Rd. going north from Kensington Metropark is pretty steep. GM’s Milford Proving Grounds is up at the top of that hill so I’m sure that the Volt’s been driven up that hill a few times. It’s steep enough and long enough that I’ve gotten my bicycle up to about 45mph on the way down.
      On the highways, there’s a long hill as you pass through Ann Arbor on M14 going west as you climb out of the Huron River Valley (most of the hills in SEMI have something to do with the Huron, Rouge and Clinton river valleys). There’s also a long climb (for the region) on US23 north of I96, just north of Brighton.

  • avatar

    I’m with Ed.Dan. But I am very curious what happens to performance when it switches to all gas mode. I have visions of sagging performance–something that would definitely keep me from buying the thing if I were inclined to buy it in the first place.
    Too bad there aren’t any mountains in Michigan.

    • 0 avatar
      Samson

      That’s not entirely true, however the Porcupine and Huron mountain rangers are about as far away from Detroit as you can get and still be in Michigan, you could probably make in 7 hours with a reckless disregard for Yooper speed traps.

  • avatar
    Zammy

    How hard is it for the home mechanic to change the batteries?

    Does it come with a full-size spare?

    How long until we get an AWD version?

    0-60 and quarter mile times? 

    Is there a disable (automatic or manual) for the front passenger airbag? The limited back seat makes it more important a child can ride in the front.

  • avatar
    Vlad1024

    Does it come with a spare(at all)?
    I also think you should see what it does when the battery dies.  Everyone will report on what it does when the battery is happily in it’s operating envelope but we all want to know what happens it isn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      Absolutely THIS.
       
      The idea of buying it for daily commuting is an easy case. I want to know how well it does for everything else we use cars for…namely, long trips. If those compromises are huge, then the value is much smaller for many buyers.

  • avatar
    V572625694

    1. How can TTAC craft this review to blame the UAW for all shortcomings?
    2. If you had to choose between them based on just the cars and their US prices–not politics or national pride–would you take the Volt or a Prius? Or a Leaf?

  • avatar
    Stingray

    I read how the transmission/hybrid/unicorn farts system works in the car in a Motor Trend article (if someone knows a better source, feel free to post link). It seems to be superior than the Prius one.
     
    So, and I feel ashamed for this, I’m interested in knowing how this hybrid/extended-range/whatever mobile works.

  • avatar
    Facebook User

    Just thrash the thing as anyone on here would had they been given an opportunity to. Simply report back on anything that felt different/wasn’t quite right or conversely was exceptionally impressive.
    How does it handle? Is it worse than a Prius or closer to the semi-fulfilling experience of euro fiesta? Hows the response? Is this purely an appliance or is there an ounce of fun attached to it? I get the tech and surely it will at least get decent mileage in the real world on daily commutes it was designed for but I want to know just exactly where on the driving fun scale it falls between a GTi or my roommate’s 2004 4 cylinder Camry. In regards to mileage EdDan has it right…drive it until its dead. Then for giggles, plug it in and see how long it takes to get a full charge. Oh, and when the performance of the car changes relative to the engine either charging the battery or not, how would the uninformed public perceive this change? Does it suddenly change the way the car reacts to inputs during stop and go traffic? Any potential for a UAesque or similar complaints from people not understanding what the car is doing and how the driver should adapt?

    After that important work is done, lets really get to the bottom or the true heart of any driving experience, with all that low end torque available…DOES IT DO BURNOUTS ? ? ?
    Thanks in advance, cheers!

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    1) Performance.
    How is this car feeling from zero to 40?
    I don’t really care about the zero to 60 since 60 percent of my drivi g is red light to red light.
    Poor low end torque drives me to drink.
    But so does a shift in the wind direction.
    2) Performance.
    How does this car feel in turns? Is there a feeling of control loss making you grip the wheel or hit the break?
    3) Performance.
    How does the car steering feel?
    Is it like my favorite of all small cars, the Mazda3?

  • avatar
    benzaholic

    How much juice do the accessories drain?
    If you’re stuck in traffic in central Texas in August, or in Chicago in January, you’ll have the A/C or the Heater pretty much on full blast, and you’ll have the radio screaming to take your mind of the banality of it all.
    How long before the engine has to start in this case?
    Probably very difficult to answer, because you’ll be able to recapture some energy with the brakes.
     
    Perhaps a different approach to that question:
    How much power do they expect users to be able recapture with the brakes?
     
    Oh, and if you open the driver’s window just a little, so you can flick your cigarette ashes (since nobody provides ashtrays anymore), do you get crazy wind noise?
     

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    General functionality of all the equipment, and report on any unusual equipment or features. Thanks!

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    - EV range city driving w/o AC and heating (and how many kWh to recharge?)
    - EV range city driving w AC, heating, lights, music etc.
    - EV range highway with AC/heating, lights etc. (assuming a commuter car, 60 mph will do)
    - real mileage after batteries are drained (city, highway, AC/heating etc.)
    - how long driving with gas till batteries are recharged? does it recharge them to 100% or just to 30% and to 100% on the plug?
    - how long to charge?
    - range with gasoline / what is the tank size? since they call it emergency power, I assume it is a small tank
    - 0-40 mph, 20-60 mph, 0-60 mph and max speed in both EV and all-gas mode. compare to typical competitors incl. Prius. Report on when it drives on electricity and the gasoline engine kicks in (they say above 70 mph???)
    - trunk space, is it a hatch? How does cargo space compare to competitors (i.e corolla, Prius, Fit)
    - Seating for adults comfortable? Seating for adults on long trips (unlikely considering the prospective commuter and not long distance driver)
    - what tires? super expensive ones, or regular ones (need to keep my operating cost down, ya know)
    - does it look like non-battery related things could be fixed by normal mechanics or does it require special tools a la BMW? big part of operating cost is if the dealer has real competition or not.
    - is everything easy to access (i.e replacing light bulbs, spare etc., oil stick, battery, fluid check etc.)
    - what are service intervals and expected cost (I assume even if you drive EV only, that oil needs to get changed annually, what oil is it?)
    - any other money pit booby traps expected?
    - Try to find out what battery life they promise and what replacement cost. Possibly count against other saved maintenance items.
    - is the dashboard informative but not distracting? I WANT to see the battery details, charging etc. at all times because I’m a nerd, but I don’t want to be distracted.
    - general impression of how it drives, like it tips over, or really stable.
     
     

  • avatar
    Tree Trunk

     
    Just remember that whoever buys this car is not looking for a car that has pickup like a Ferrari or corners like a BMW.
    I guarantee you that if you try to drive it like sports car that it will be thoroughly unsatisfying and will result in a miserable range and MPG.
    What you should really be looking at is a comparison with the Prius, but at least one step up on based on the sale price.
    All that matters to green crowd and yes I am one of them, is that car gets smoothly from A to B, gets good mileage and has a reasonably nice fit and trim.
    0-60?, who cares as long as you can keep up with traffic and get good mileage.

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      I think no one expects the volt to beat a Porsche. but I like to see if there is a difference in performance between EV and gasoline driving (i.e. generator undersized??).
       
      Also EV or Prius rivers expect some decent acceleration to get on the interstate without getting hit. I think as long as it keeps up with a corolla, every reasonable person will be OK with the Volt.
       
      I would want to monitor battery temperature when accelerating and breaking for long times

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      HerrKaLeun

      Exactly!
       How do we get from wanting a car that performs with a smile to A Ferrari????!!

      But hey, it’s 40 grand, less my taxpayer subsidy. So it is in the BMW range price-wise.

      Is it not asking to much for a car to make driving sort of enjoyable?
      If a Mazda3 can deliver this, a 40 grand car should as well.

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    Here would be my test plan:

    1.  Bring a portable GPS unit to back up the dashboard data. 
    2. Fill-up on fuel and verify the battery is at full charge.
    3. Drive normally with a complete mix of various driving patterns.  Think real world test loop.  Alternate (3) environmental modes.  Heat, air conditioning, none.    Accelerate and brake conservatively to promote good driving habits & mileage.    Do not exceed the speed that would kick in the “direct drive assist”.     
    4.  Record how long in both time and mileage when the engine kicks in to supplement the battery.
    5.  Drive until you have 1/8 of a tank of fuel.  (Real world refill time)  Fill up with fuel and calculate the mileage.  
    6.  Now go play to get driving impressions:
    * “mountain mode”    
    * “above 70 mph direct drive assist”,
    * cornering/cones
    * rough road pot hole test (rattles/squeeks)
    * 0-60
    * standing 1/4 mile
    * skid pad
    * and the most important test…can it do a burnout!   

  • avatar
    NOPR

    I’m curious how it reports its own fuel economy. For instance, say you drive 80 miles with a full charge and use one gallon of gas. 40 miles electric and 40 miles gas. Will it display an average fuel economy of 40mpg or 80 mpg?

  • avatar
    pleiter

    How many electrical faults does it take to explode the battery ? Remember the dude that jacked the Toyota module to induce runaway applied 5 simultaneous failures, two of which were smart failures (50 ohm, not more, not less). If the BIG battery that is under your derriere, charging/discharging, is not two fault tolerant, then someone should call Ralph Nader.

  • avatar
    mcs

    Try to calculate how much electricity it takes to recharge the thing – we want to know things like charge efficiency – how close is it to the 10 kwh they’re claiming?. Maybe GM could loan you a power meter.

    • 0 avatar
      SunnyvaleCA

      That’s a great idea, especially since GM is claiming how much lower cost it is to run.  If it has 50% charging efficiency, that effectively doubles the cost of a recharge.  Anyway, if it charges on 120 V power cord, insert a Kill-A-Watt device in there and see how it goes.

  • avatar
    DAC17

    Frankly, between us friends, I couldn’t care less about the Volt.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    To paraphrase a “Click and Clack” program from years ago:
     
    “You bought a GM cahhhhhh???”  (Sorry, that’s the best spelling I can come up with for a Boston accent?

  • avatar
    nonce

    How many hookers can you fit in the trunk?

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Actually, what I really wanted to know is, what’s Bob Lutz really like? – but it’s too late for that.
     
    This is supposed to be more than a city car, so check freeway behavior, passing ability, and seat comfort for long trips, not just around town economy or battery performance. Steering feel, throttle response and maneuverability should be standard concerns. For a $40k car, the interior better be well appointed, and it would be nice to know how long before adults in the back seat start squealing like stuck pigs.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      “Actually, what I really wanted to know is, what’s Bob Lutz really like? – but it’s too late for that.”

      I was thinking more like maybe ask Lutz if he’ll pose for a picture with a cigar in one hand and one foot on an upside-down Volt.

  • avatar

    Take it to the Detroit Science Center’s DTE Energy Sparks Theater, hit it with a couple of thousand volts (simulating a lightning strike) and then call Chevy to come and pick up their bailoutmobile.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Does it come in any color besides silver?  Is the interior what you’d expect in a competitor to the diesel 3-series?  But mostly, how much fun is it to drive?

  • avatar

    Two questions to ask the engineers. One, when will the cars be fitted with E85 compatibility? Will it be when the national rollout occurs in MY 2012?
    Also, can the car be converted to a pure EV down the line?

  • avatar

    Some things I have not seen addressed. Maybe someone covered them, but I haven’t read them anywhwere:
     
    1. Prospective maintenance costs.  What will it need in the first 3-5 years?  What is the service schedule going to be like? How often will you need oil changes on the “unused” or “used” gas motor?  Does it use weird expensive tires, I remember reading awhile back that one of the new small cars that cost around $14,000 had a $1400 tire replacement cost… because they were odd sized and (IIRC) Goodyear was the only one that made them.
     
    2. What will the warranty be like? I really don’t think Chevy could get away with anything less than 8 years/100,000 miles on electrical (and battery) and 10 year/100,000 on the other powertrain components (gas engine, wheel bearings, bumper to bumper).  At even the subsidized prices, this is the only thing that makes the car buyable for anyone willing to take a chance on it, especially a first gen model (not me).
     
     

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Does every car come with an Electric Vehicle badge as though it was built for the college science fair?

    What other car is mentioned more by the GM people: the Cruze or the Leaf?

  • avatar
    Ronman

    Ed all i want to know is:
     
    does it drive normal, like a Cruze lets say,
    Is the human/machine interface easy and intuitive?
    Have they done all they could to save on weight saving within the comfort/safety constraints?
    Is it possible to J turn, hoon around in it?
    Does it handle like a conventional car that is not a product of years of committee deliberations?
    Does it truly feel like a step forward in engineering (like PDK and Direct injection), or is a VW TDI going to feel as thrilling?
    Does it carry luggage with poise or will the extra load hamper efficiency and performance.
    Does it come with soundtracks for noise generation when running in EV mode? what tracks are listed? ZR-1, Camaro SS< Malibu…etc?
    Does it beep when reversing,
    Does it have bob Lutz’s Photovoltaic roof as option operational? or was it just marketing gimmick…
    Does the electric range drop when used at night with all the lights and auxiliaries running?
    Is it better than the Prius?
    Would you buy one to save the planet? and GM?
    I have a lot more questions, but only a test drive will answer some of them, the rest only time will tell…

  • avatar
    Rday

    I am interested in how the volts works when using its’ heater and air conditioner. Since you will be in Mi during mild weather, neither of these systems will most likely work well unless you ‘force the issue’. I think that when you factor in Michigan winters and Texas summers, the volt will be a real dog. So please give it a test to see what you can figure out.

  • avatar
    dman16

    Can you ask for a follow up test drive in a 100,000+ mile test vehcle and report on those performance specifications? That’s what really matters!

  • avatar
    mcs

    One of the first activities on the agenda that you will encounter is a contest to see who can get from DTW to the hotel with the least amount of power used. I wonder what the reward is for best mileage? GM is providing an incentive for the journalists to hyper-mile – hardly an accurate test. I noticed in the chart that in order to make the mileage sound better, GM is putting in an adjustment factor based on the number of passengers in the car. What a scam.
     
    http://www.chevroletvoltage.com/index.php/Volt/chevrolet-volt-media-drive-challenge-more-than-40-miles-on-battery-alone-the-norm.html

    • 0 avatar
      Tree Trunk

      Shocking! auto journalist testing a new green car will be given an opportunity to get the highest MPG possible.

      What’s next, will the new Jeep be tested off-road, the new BMW on a race track, the new Minivan at the mall…

      I am waiting for the outrage for other manufacturers that try to show their car under the most favorable conditions likely to appeal to the target buyers!

    • 0 avatar
      protomech

      If you look at the table, it looks like they’re adjusting, for purposes of the competition, remaining supposed EV miles *down* by one mile in the case of only a single driver.
      That seems rather arbitrary — and foolish, as it doesn’t appear to correct for miles already traveled — but it doesn’t look like they’re trying “to make the mileage sound better”.
      For example:
      Brian Douglas & Lou Ann Hammond from Carlist.com and DrivingTheNation.com got 45.8 miles in EV mode, with a projected 5 remaining miles (50.8 theoretical EV miles).
      Seth Fletcher from Popular Science got 45.7 miles in EV mode, with a projected 6 remaining miles (51.7 theoretical EV miles). As he was the only driver, they deduced a mile from the remaining, for a total of 50.7 EV miles placing him below Brian and Lou Ann.

  • avatar
    Morea

    To amplify what HerrKaleun said above:  keep an eye on battery temperature when accelerating hard or climbing steep grades (effectively the same from the battery’s point of view).  I assure you the GM person riding with you will be keeping an eye on this.  Note if there is a fire extinguisher mounted surreptitously in the cabin or the trunk. (I kid you not.)

    Forget questions about fit and finish, etc.  The only answer you’ll get is, “This is a pre-production model, all that will be fixed before production starts.”

  • avatar
    AMDBMan

    It may be a little late in the game for this question, and it probably has been asked and answered a few times before. Though I can’t say I’ve been following the Volt with the same enthusiasm I reserve for other cars, I still haven’t really seen anyone address this. If anyone knows of a good, thorough analysis, I’d love to see it.
     
    I live in NYC, where the Con Edison power grid gets really loaded up, especially in the summer. What’s going to happen when people start plugging in cars when they get to work? Before anyone else makes the point, I realize that most people who work/live in NYC don’t drive within the city to get to work. The question still stands though. Lets suppose this plug-in car idea really takes off. Are the distribution grids going to be able to handle it? I imagine that people who will buy this will likely be charging it during the night time, so electric rates and grid load will both be lower than during peak day-time hours. But still, whats going to be the impact on both the individual owner (electric bills) and on the typical grid?
     
    I guess a 1- or 2-day test drive won’t answer these questions, but they’ve been in the back of my mind for a while now. Thanks for any info you can provide.

    • 0 avatar
      nonce

      A few things:
       
      1. As you say, charging is ideally none at night-time, not day-time, when power is expensive.
       
      2. That said, day-time charging is an important addition, especially with limited ranges.  EVs, like air conditioners, are very friendly to be being cycled off periodically.  (My utility turns mine off for several minutes at a time without me ever being aware of it.  And I get a credit for letting them do this.)  Your utility is probably ready for this question if you ask them.
       
      3. There aren’t a million of these things rolling out tomorrow.  There are tens of thousands coming online over the next few years across the country.  We will need some time to learn and adjust, and starting with a small number is how to do that.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I too would like to know how far it’ll go on batteries alone and on the gas engine. How many “miles per tank?” I get around 650 in my car. I doubt the Volt can manage that, but my car also doesn’t have a battery pack to take me the supposed 40 miles without using pump petroleum.
    The Volt is supposed to be an economy car (though it’s a pricey one). So I want to know exactly how economical it is after someone spends $40000 on one.

  • avatar
    geofcol

    Just got to know what the TTBBC* is. Also what happens to electric range if you shave while driving to work.
     
     
     
    *Total Time Between Brush Change

  • avatar
    stryker1

    how many times can you open and close the sunroof before it becomes jammed open?

  • avatar
    dougw

    From the comments I am reading here today, I recommend that you not waste your time testing it at all.  No matter what you report, you will see the same incredibly unsophisticated thinking regurgitated again and again with no minds opened, nor opinions altered by anything resembling facts.

    It reminds me of the farmer criticizing the model T the first time he rode in one: “There’s no place to hitch the horses.”

    It is troubling to see concerns voiced about dragging dead batteries about, then wishing for a large heavy tank full of gas to achieve huge “range” figures in a vehicle whose delineated purpose is to serve as a method to simply cut down on the dependence on gasoline to fulfill the tranportation needs of a certain population of drivers who find it to be exactly what they need for a large enough portion of their driving.

    The rest of the market simply needs to move on and stay their course if they so please.  The Volt should be seen as one in a myriad of differing approaches for maintaining a mobile future for all of us.  None are claiming to be the best.  Of course there can’t be a magic formula that will give everyone their perfect fantasy vehicle.  Expect a fractured market for the next decade or two as all these solutions are tried out and developed.  It will be a time of fantastically varied choices for us all, which is far better than car life was during the past gas crises.  Surely you can see that.

  • avatar
    daga

    Find out how to hack the battery conditioner so that you can use up more of the battery, and then how to cover your tracks so the warranty isn’t voided.

  • avatar
    Lokki

    Actually, I’d like to see you drive it to a Chevy dealer and see how prepared the Service Department is for these cars.  No one else is going to be able to work on them, at least for a year or two. 

    An indication of how seriously GM is taking this project is how well they’ve prepared their mechanics to work on the Volt. Has GM sent anybody from the dealership to school to learn about them?  I don’t believe that high-voltage work or regenerative braking system system troubleshooting are something they’ve done before, and those are areas for which special training is a must.

    Success in troubleshooting and repairing the early production models is going to be critical to GM.  With the internet, everyone in the country will know of every vehicle that is down for repairs for more than a day.

    Oh, and DougW:
    It reminds me of the farmer criticizing the model T the first time he rode in one: “There’s no place to hitch the horses.”
    You remind me of the advocates of Samuel Langley’s airplanes…. they should have worked fine.
       


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