The Chevy Volt: The Belt and Suspenders of the Automotive World


| 8/11/2017 11:23:00 AM


Tags: electric vehicles, reviews, David Borden,

In this guest series, former hot-rodder and mechanical engineer David Borden offers advice for first-time electric-vehicle drivers by reviewing the 2017 Chevy Volt Premier. Watch the Green Transportation Blog for David’s additional notes.

In keeping with my cautious and frugal Yankee heritage and senior status, I am slowly transitioning to a single car. As an interim step, I bought a 2017 Chevrolet Volt Premier with two optional safety and convenience packages, and these are my initial impressions.

I would have liked to have made the change directly to a single fully-electric vehicle, but the limited number of charging stations available today, and the time required to recharge, meant compromises were in order. The majority of my trips are urban short-haul in nature, but I still need the occasional run across several states to visit friends and family, so jumping to total electric power was not prudent. I needed range which was not limited by the current availability of plug-in recharging stations.

The Volt met that criterion: As long as the propulsion battery is charged, it will function as an electric car — for a guaranteed 53 miles — and then transition to a gasoline-powered hybrid, using the propulsion battery as an energy buffer. With that capability, range is extended by several hundred miles and only limited by the availability of gasoline, hence the Chevrolet name for the IC Engine, “Range Extender”.

Advice for First-Time Electric Vehicle Drivers

If you haven’t driven an Electric Vehicle (EV) before, it is a new experience. Different, but similar enough so that transition from a “normal” car is easy. There is no key; slip the fob provided into your pocket, slide behind the wheel, buckle up, and “boot-up” the computer …

adowney1
8/19/2017 3:17:17 PM

Also have a 2017 Volt Premier. Am retired. Have driven 6,000 miles over 8 months of local driving. I still have 2 gallons of gas in the tank from when I bought the car from the dealer! Am not a "tree hugger", just a common sense person (I have a rooftop solar system because is saves money) . I've probably owned / driven 30 cars over my lifetime. The Volt is the easily the best of them all. Per Chevy 80% +/- of Volt owners charge using 120 volts.


adowney1
8/19/2017 3:17:08 PM

Also have a 2017 Volt Premier. Am retired. Have driven 6,000 miles over 8 months of local driving. I still have 2 gallons of gas in the tank from when I bought the car from the dealer! Am not a "tree hugger", just a common sense person (I have a rooftop solar system because is saves money) . I've probably owned / driven 30 cars over my lifetime. The Volt is the easily the best of them all. Per Chevy 80% +/- of Volt owners charge using 120 volts.


dougpeng
8/15/2017 8:56:28 AM

As a Chevy Volt owner myself, I am a big proponent of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) over all electric cars (BEV) like Teslas, Leafs, and Bolts. In fact, if I were to make an early bet now, I believe PHEVs like the Chevy Volt will win hands down over all electric BEVs once people start driving electric cars and realize they don't need 200 mile batteries because their home is the "gas" station where they can easily fill up with electricity every night. The best way to describe a PHEV is "Electricity for your daily commute and gasoline for your weekend getaways". This combination makes sense for two reasons 1) Lithium-Ion batteries are very heavy. A Tesla battery weighs 1,200 lbs in which you are only using 10~15% of it on a daily commute basis. That means you are lugging around 1,000 lbs of unused batteries which is the equivalent of hauling three full size refrigerators in your everyday commute! 2) And when you are making those infrequent long weekend getaways, filling up at a gas station is still far more convenient than waiting 1~4 hours at a charging station assuming it's even available. When those Model 3s become popular, lineups at freeway/highway charging stations will invariably become common. With a PHEV, you can switch back to gas mode for those infrequent weekend getaways and don't have to worry about lineups or non-existent charging stations.


dougpeng
8/15/2017 8:56:27 AM

As a Chevy Volt owner myself, I am a big proponent of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) over all electric cars (BEV) like Teslas, Leafs, and Bolts. In fact, if I were to make an early bet now, I believe PHEVs like the Chevy Volt will win hands down over all electric BEVs once people start driving electric cars and realize they don't need 200 mile batteries because their home is the "gas" station where they can easily fill up with electricity every night. The best way to describe a PHEV is "Electricity for your daily commute and gasoline for your weekend getaways". This combination makes sense for two reasons 1) Lithium-Ion batteries are very heavy. A Tesla battery weighs 1,200 lbs in which you are only using 10~15% of it on a daily commute basis. That means you are lugging around 1,000 lbs of unused batteries which is the equivalent of hauling three full size refrigerators in your everyday commute! 2) And when you are making those infrequent long weekend getaways, filling up at a gas station is still far more convenient than waiting 1~4 hours at a charging station assuming it's even available. When those Model 3s become popular, lineups at freeway/highway charging stations will invariably become common. With a PHEV, you can switch back to gas mode for those infrequent weekend getaways and don't have to worry about lineups or non-existent charging stations.


nancbob
8/14/2017 8:02:35 PM

very informative article by Dave, well written as well as interesting. As a side note, I went to school for our 1st 12 years.





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