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Report: Chevrolet Volt Sales Triple in 2012 4
Jan
Posted by Darryl in 2011 Chevy Volt, 2012 Chevy Volt, Automotive, Chevrolet, Chevrolet Volt, Chevy Volt, Electric, hybrid, News on 01 4th, 2013

The Chevy Volt has undoubtedly had a slow start in terms of sales – only moving 7,671 units in 2011. While it is still evident of slow but steady economic recovery, consumers are starting to catch onto what the new Chevy Volt really has to offer and have tripled sales accounting for GM selling 23,461 Volts in 2012.

The Chevrolet Volt, commonly misrepresented as a hybrid similar to the Toyota Prius, is actually an electric-powered vehicle that happens to utilize a gasoline engine acting as a generator to recharge its electric motor battery.

The Chevy Volt remains to be one of Chevrolet’s lowest-selling cars beating out the 14,000 Corvettes sold last year by just over 9,000 units. Moreover, the Volt outsold the Nissan Leaf in 2012 where Nissan only managed to move 9,800 units, a minuscule increase of just 1.5% from 2011. The Nissan Leaf is the Volts nearest competitor, which at one time in 2011 outsold the Volt.

The biggest factor contributing to the increase in Volt sales throughout 2012 was its increased popularity in California, which tends to suffer from a massively crowded road grid. The Volt, due to some minor engineering tweaks, is now eligible for California’s carpool lane stickers for the first time.

Of course the negative press from sources reporting on a fire case well after an accident and GM voluntarily recalling the cars to fix the potential issue did not help matters. In the end, it was found that even before the recall the Volt did not pose any greater fire risk than other cars on the road today.

“More than half of all Volt sales are in California,” said Alec Guitierrez, an analyst with Kelley Blue Book. GM also claims that the care has been catching on in other markets, such as Chicago and Michigan.

Price point of the Volt due to new incentives bringing some payments down to as low as $289 a month have contributed to the Volts sales increase. Additionally, the $7,500 tax credit is also an enticing figure even if the car price starts at nearly $40,000.

Ownership of the Chevy Volt has been easy on pocket books where owners have claimed paying just pennies to keep it going and virtually reaching triple digit gas mileage numbers.

The Chevrolet Volt can drive on average 38 miles on full plug-in-electric power according to EPA estimates before the gasoline engine switches on to generate power for the electric powertrain, essentially extending the range.

[source: CNN Money]



Second Look: 2012 Chevrolet Volt – Electrifying the Automotive World 13
Jun
Posted by Harvey Schwartz in 2012 Chevy Volt, Automotive, Chevrolet, Chevrolet Volt, Chevy Volt, Electric, featured, hybrid, Test Drives on 06 13th, 2012

When it first debuted in the 2011 model year the all-new Chevy Volt established an entirely new segment in the global automotive marketplace.  The Volt is a five-door, four-passenger midsize sedan designed to provide the benefits of an electric vehicle without the range limitations associated with other electric vehicles.

After recalls and production stops to fix battery and braking problems, all has been ironed out and the 2012 Chevy Volt is ready to take-off from Chevy dealers across the U.S. and around the world.  After test driving the Volt for seven days I came away impressed with its power, quietness, ultra-modern and comfortable interior and driving fun and enjoyment.  Charging it up every night I also hardly put any expensive gasoline into the small 9-gallon tank.

New for 2012 is Chevy’s MyLink Infotainment system which includes Bluetooth-enabled streaming audio for music and select smartphones, voice recognition for the phone, music and audio systems.  Pandora and Stitcher smartphone compatibility, Gracenote (Playlist+ and Album Art) and software that can be updated for the Gracenote database.  A new convenience feature is passive entry for all doors and liftgate (with the keyfob in your pocket or purse you just have to grab the big pull-out door handles to open any of the doors when locked), larger 17X7 inch aluminum wheels (mine were the optional polished aluminum), turn-by-turn navigation included with OnStar, and Summit White that my test Volt was painted.  Blue Topaz metallic is another new paint color.

The Volt is truly unique because it offers a total driving range of up to 379 miles, based on EPA estimates.  For the first 35-45 miles it can drive gas-free and tailpipe emissions-free using a full charge of electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery.  When the Volt’s battery runs low, a 1.4 liter, cast iron block/aluminum head, DOHC gas-powered engine/generator seamlessly engages to extend the driving range another 344 miles on a full tank.  This distinguishes the Volt from electric-only vehicles, which cannot be operated when recharging is not immediately available-such as during a power interruption or on a long-distance trip.  When you take your foot off of the throttle and when braking, electricity is generated and sent from the front wheels to the battery.  In slow stop and go city traffic you’ll hardly use any of the electric power from the battery.

The heart of the Chevrolet Volt is its Voltec propulsion system, which combines electric drive and an efficient, range-extending engine.  The Volt’s long-life battery consists of a 5.5 foot 435 pound T-shaped 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack.  It supplies energy to an advanced 111-kW (149hp) electric drive unit to propel the vehicle.  Using only the energy stored in the battery, the Volt delivers an EPA estimated 35-45 miles of fuel-and tailpipe emissions-free electric driving, depending on terrain, driving techniques and temperature.

The Volt’s battery is simple and intuitive, and can be done with a 120V conventional household electrical outlet, or a dedicated 240V charging station.  The vehicle is completely recharged in about four hours using a 240V outlet and 10-12 hours in a 120V outlet.  Once the vehicle is plugged in, owners can schedule either immediate or delayed charges, even coordinating charging according to departure time or when electricity rates are lower.  Owners also can manage and monitor the Volt remotely via computer on MyVolt.com or an exclusive smartphone application.  Chevrolet Mobile App powered by OnStar.

Working closely with aerodynamicists in GM’s wind tunnel to shape the Volt, design and engineering teams developed the most aerodynamic vehicle in Chevrolet’s history-0.28.  By reducing the energy needed to overcome air resistance, Volt aerodynamicists contributed an estimated eight miles of electric and 50 miles of extended range.  The Volt’s rounded, filled and flush grille and front fascia, tapered corners, low height, aero-styled/heated/folding/power-remote sideview mirrors, and lower grille enable air to move easily around the car to reduce drag.  In the rear, sharp edges and a carefully designed spoiler on top of the rear ligtgate control air flow.  An aggressive rake on the windshield and back glass also help reduce turbulence and drag.  Below is a full-perimeter, color contrasted bodykit that lowers the car’s center of gravity enabling it to hug the road and also increase it high speed stability.  A front airdam helps channel air into the lower grille to cool the engine, while a rear diffuser underneath help manage airflow out the rear. Top speed is 100mph.

Volt’s construction is a single-body-frame, (unibody) with front/rear crumple zones, galvanized steel front fenders, hood, roof, door panels while using one-piece bodyside outer panels and thermo plastic olefin (TPO) front and rear bumper fascias.

Inside the Volt offers the space, comfort, convenience and safety features that customers expect in a premium five-door sedan-including storage compartments and 40/40 rear folding seats that enlarge the already large trunk.  It also delivers them a variety of interior color, lighting and trim options unlike any offered before in a Chevrolet sedan, but with Chevrolet’s signature dual cockpit design.  The car is very advanced with two seven-inch, high-resolution full-color screens are featured with ‘touch activation’, no buttons or dials, except for one to change the navigation system and one for the radio volume/on/off.  On is a reconfigurable graphic cluster display with all of your important driving cues, and the other, in the center stack featuring that ‘touch screen’ display for the climate control, radio control and navigation system.  Down below is the integrated shifter that is large and easy to use.  The seats are very comfortable and supportive with leather trim optional.  Standard interior features include an audio system with CD player/MP3 playback and a seven-inch color touch screen display, USB audio interface port, SiriusXM satellite radio with three-month trial, Bluetooth phone connectivity, automatic climate control, keyless push button start/stop ignition, auto-dimming reaview mirror, MyVOLT.com vehicle connectivity, three auxiliary 12-volt power outlets, front dual cupholders, storage bin, rear dual cupholders and storage, remote vehicle starting system, dual map lights, map pockets behind each front seatback, variable speed intermittent wipers/washers, dual lighted vanity mirrors, thick cut-pile carpeting and front/rear floor mats, tilt/telescoping, sporty, 3-spoke steering wheel with cruise-control buttons and audio system buttons, power windows all with express down with driver’s side express up, power door locks.  A charge cord and 120V portable charger is standard.

Options in my test volt included a premium Bose audio system with navigation, DVD Rom and 30GB audio hard drive storage, leather/heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear camera and ultrasonic front/rear parking assist sensors.

The Volt’s MacPherson strut-type independent front suspension setup, a sophisticated compound crank rear axle, specially tuned coil springs, and a quick-reacting rack-mounted electric power steering system with a ZF steering gear have been tuned to deliver a smooth, refined ride with very responsive handling and a solid, on-center feel.  A low center of gravity combines with the wider track and long wheelbase for balanced performance, and front and rear hydraulic ride bushings help eliminate road harshness and vibrations.

Braking is also superb with power-assisted, regenerative front brakes with vented 11.8 inch vented rotors with 60mm single-piston binders, and 11.5 inch vented rotors with 38mm single-piston binders in the rear.  Standard ABS helps keep you in control during severe braking maneuvers and when braking on slick or wet pavement.  Volt rides on lightweight aluminum wheels that weigh only 17.8 pounds each compared to 24.2 pounds for typical 17X7 inch wheels.  They are wrapped with Goodyear 215/55R17 inch Fuel Max low-rolling resistance all-season radials that are optimized for electric vehicle range, noise, feel and performance.

Standard safety features include airbags-dual-stage frontal/side-impact/knee for driver and front seat passenger, airbags-roof rail side-impact for front and rear seats, traction control, StabiliTrak, LATCH system for child seats, theft deterrent system, daytime running lights, pedestrian friendly alert, 3-point safety belts for all four seats with front pretensioners/load limiters, headlamps auto on/off, and a tire pressure monitoring system.

With a starting price of just $39,145.00 what else is there to say.  The Chevy Volt has the size, comfort, high-tech, unique propulsion system, futuristic interior, ride comfort and handling, like no other electric/gas vehicle on the market, especially for the price, which also doesn’t take into account federal, state and local government rebate programs.  If you only drive 35-45 miles per day, and more than 50% of U.S. drivers do, you’ll never have to put gasoline into your Volt.

2012 Chevy Volt Beauty Right Done Small
2012 Chevy Volt Beauty Headon Done Small
2012 Chevy Volt Beauty Side Done Small
2012 Chevy Volt Beauty Rear Done Small
2012 Chevy Volt Dashboard Done Small
2012 Chevy Volt Center Control Panel Done Small
2012 Chevy Volt Cluster Done Small
2012 Chevy Volt Front Seats Done Small
2012 Chevy Volt Rear Seats Done Small
2012 Chevy Volt Door Trim Done Small
2012 Chevy Volt Cargo Hold Done Small
2012 Chevy Volt Badge Done Small
2012 Chevy Volt Engine Small

COPYRIGHT:2012:HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base Volt $39,145 As-Tested $43,485 *without $7,500 federal tax credit
  • Engine/Motor: 1.4-liter 4-cylinder (acting generator) & 2-motor electric – 149 horsepower 273 pounds-feet torque (instantaneous)
  • Drive: FWD (Front-Wheel-Drive)
  • Wheelbase: 105.7in.
  • Total length: 177.1in.
  • Total width: 70.4in.
  • Total height: 56.6in.
  • Track: f/r-61.2/62.1in.
  • Headroom: f/r-37.8/36.0in.
  • Legroom: f/r-42.1/34.1in.
  • MPG est.: 95 mpg city/93 mpg highway – *94 mpg combined highway/city-electric – 37mpg combined highway/city gasoline only
  • Fuel tank: 9.3 gallons
  • 0-60mph: 8.9 seconds
  • EPA cargo volume: 10.6 cu.ft.
  • Curb Weight: 3,781


2012 Chevrolet Volt Review & Test Drive 7
Dec
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in 2012 Chevy Volt, Automotive, Chevrolet, Chevrolet Volt, Chevy Volt, Electric, featured, hybrid, Test Drives, Volt on 12 7th, 2011

The all-new 2012 Chevrolet Volt has entered into its second year of production remaining mostly unchanged with the exception of a few tweaks. Having been on American roads for a year now, the new Volt continues to be among most fuel efficient cars on the market.

The debate continues on whether the Volt is a verifiable hybrid, electric car or just what some of the more car-centric techie folks refer to as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Either way, the Volt has embarked on a lonely road. This very road is well-traveled if you are one of the lucky owners of General Motor’s most technologically advanced vehicle yet.

I reviewed the 2011 Chevrolet Volt earlier this year with a clear open mind spilling copious amounts of data. This year, after many breakthrough but friendly debates with other automotive journalists, I start to come to an understandable conclusion of the Volt’s long-term effectiveness and general perception from the public. The new Chevrolet Volt is a well-built 4-passenger plug-in hybrid electric vehicle in a class of its own that anyone can drive and appreciate.

The all-new 2012 Chevrolet Volt enters into its second production year carrying over the same design but adding new standard features such as an updated keyless ignition/entry system. The new keyless entry system adds front door buttons for quick keyless unlocking and locking. Other changes include putting the previously standard (for 2011) Navigation and Bose stereo system packages on the options list. I also took note to a traction control disable button on the roof panel which could not be found on the 2011 model.

If you are not all familiar with the Chevrolet Volt, then it can be easily understood if you think of it as an electric vehicle with a gas-powered generator that keeps electricity pumping when the battery becomes depleted. Although the Volt is a much more complex object, to the driver everything is simplified to the point that you can jump in and drive to any destination that a paved road will take you. In other words, if you are in within 300 miles of a gas station, then you will have no issues reaching your destination as fast as you can legally drive.

On the flip side of things, the new Volt can be used solely as an electric car giving drivers a range of 25 to 50 miles on a fully charged battery without using a drop of gasoline. Once the battery power is 70% depleted, the small 1.4-liter four-cylinder gas engine kicks in as a power source for the electric motor.

I found my new 2012 Volt, after depleting the usable battery range, still kicking over to battery power under low-speed conditions. Most times, such as when stopping at a stop light, the engine kicks off to save gas much like a hybrid would. The major difference in the electric motor drivetrain in the Volt versus a hybrid is the Volt’s 111 kilowatt 149 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque electric motor powering the front wheels. The robust electric motor handles all of the duty of propelling the 3,781 pound vehicle. The internal-combustion gas powered engine does not provide power to the wheels except under rare high-speed conditions through planetary gear-set.

Aside from educating consumers on how the Chevrolet Volt operates, you must know that Chevrolet has created a perfect blend between a hybrid and electric car. The new 2012 Chevy Volt takes the best of both worlds and masks hard-working components under sleek sheet metal and driver information displays.

The all-new 2012 Chevrolet Volt has a relaxed ride where the suspension seems to be a bit on the soft side. Power output comes on instantly, hence the instant 273 ft-lbs. of torque available from the electric motor. This gives the Volt an edge when power is immediately demanded. Unfortunately, with only 149 horsepower, the power seems to flatten out as you reach cruising speeds at full throttle. Of course the Volt is no drag racing machine by any means, but it could benefit from a bit more horsepower to keep that burst of power momentum going. The Volt’s handling abilities are predictable and over-all the vehicle feels somewhat balanced. Braking, off-braking and deceleration engagement feels like any other gas-powered vehicle with a torque converter and automatic transmission. General Motors went over the Volt’s power management and control system with a fine tooth comb that it gives a driver an experience not much different from other cars.

As far as any new software updates, the new 2012 Chevrolet Volt does not drive different from the previous 2011 model year. If GM made any changes in power management, they are unnoticeable. I did notice that the electric range seemed to have improved slightly where I was able to get 39 miles from a full charge versus the 2011 Volt’s test of 34 miles earlier this year with similar driving conditions.

On the inside things are ultra quiet until the slight buzzing hum of the 4-cylinder engine kicks in when charging power is needed. It is a rather odd feeling when you cruise at highway speeds and the gas engine is mostly out-of-sync with the position of the gas pedal. If you ever demand acceleration power, don’t be alarmed to hear an abrupt acceleration of the gas engine attempting to recuperate used battery energy.

When the new Volt is running exclusively off of battery power, things tend to get quiet to the point that pedestrians may not hear the Volt creeping up on them in a parking lot. For that reason, GM has a dedicated “horn twiddle” or what is called a pedestrian friendly alert. Essentially the alert, accessed by a button on the turn-signal stalk, softly chirps the horn as to not startle pedestrians but instead cautiously warn them of your presence. On the older 2011 Volt, the pedestrian alert was activated together with the headlight flasher instead of being a separate function found in the new 2012 model.

The new 2012 Chevrolet Volt’s interior remains mostly unchanged. The touch-sensitive center-stack buttons look to be larger than the 2011 model but still take a while to get used to even if you are a pro at using your iPhone or other touch device. Simply put, you will end up at some point and time mistakenly pressing buttons. The audible button feedback is a necessity as it is a confirmation of the touch-sensitive buttons being depressed.

The four seating configuration is fine for 4 adults but do not expect to have left-over space to for more than 4 large bags in the rear hatch. The leather bucket seats offer excellent support. The padding for the seats is a bit on the thin side but remain to be comfy enough for a 300-plus mile trip.

The new 2012 Chevy Volt gives the driver enough viable data to make on-the-fly driving style adjustments for the sake of conserving battery power. One can even put the A/C or heat into an ECO mode to conserve energy. Basically all vehicle equipment runs off of the main battery’s power so every bit of energy conservation adds to your electric range provided you have charged the Volt beforehand.

Estimated charging times can be accessed at anytime for either the supplied 120 volt portable charger cord or via an optional 240 volt station charger. Charging times for the standard 120 volt charger take about 9 hours while the optional $490 240 volt station charger takes only 4 hours.

Owning a new 2012 Chevrolet Volt will put you in a league of your own in knowing that you get on average of 93 mpg. That figure is attainable if you factor in several full charges. On gas alone you will expect to get about 37 mpg, which was precisely my figure for around town gas-only driving. However, I did manage to considerably lessen my mpg figure to about 32 mpg following a several abrupt stops and starts just as an inquisitive test.

Modestly priced at a base price of $39,145 you get a fairly good deal if you consider the $7,500 tax incentive for the purchase of the Volt. My test vehicle was fully loaded with Bose audio, hard-drive based Navigation, heated leather seats up front and review camera/park assist. The as-tested price of my 2012 Chevrolet Volt came in at $45,170.

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2012-chevrolet-volt-rear-hatch
2012-chevrolet-volt-storage-charger
2012-chevrolet-volt-charging-point
2012-chevrolet-volt-emblem
2012-chevrolet-volt-engine-motor

Copyright: 2011 AutomotiveAddicts.com

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base Volt $39,145 As-Tested $43,485 *without $7,500 federal tax credit
  • Engine/Motor: 1.4-liter 4-cylinder (acting generator) & 2-motor electric – 149 horsepower 273 pounds-feet torque (instantaneous)
  • Drive: FWD (Front-Wheel-Drive)
  • Wheelbase: 105.7in.
  • Total length: 177.1in.
  • Total width: 70.4in.
  • Total height: 56.6in.
  • Track: f/r-61.2/62.1in.
  • Headroom: f/r-37.8/36.0in.
  • Legroom: f/r-42.1/34.1in.
  • MPG est.: 95 mpg city/93 mpg highway – *all contingent on a charged battery – AutomotiveAddicts.com fully-depleted battery estimates: 41 mpg city/37 mpg highway
  • Fuel tank: 9.3 gallons
  • 0-60mph: 8.9 seconds
  • EPA cargo volume: 10.6 cu.ft.
  • Curb Weight: 3,781


GM Counters Chevy Volt Fire Fears By Offering Loaner Cars 29
Nov
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2012 Chevy Volt, Automotive, Chevrolet, Electric, Extended Range Electric Vehicle, Kurt, News on 11 29th, 2011

The 2012 Chevy Volt

There’s been a significant amount of coverage in the news lately about post-crash fires in Chevy Volt extended-range EV’s, likely as a result of an NHTSA investigation into the car. While there have been no documented cases of an undamaged Chevy Volt causing a fire, GM is erring on the side of caution and offering free loaner vehicles to any Volt owner who has concerns about the fire risk posed by the car.

The president of GM North America, Mark Reuss, stressed the company’s emphasis on safety in a recent press release, saying, “Even though no customer has experienced in the real world what was identified in this latest testing of post-crash situations, we’re taking critical steps to ensure customer satisfaction and safety.”

Those critical steps include arranging loaner cars for Volt owners concerned about safety, and Reuss commented, “A vehicle loan program of this nature is well beyond the norm for a preliminary investigation, and it underlines our commitment to the vehicle and its owners. These steps are the right ones to take regardless of any immediate impact on our operations.”

GM is also working on the issue of how to deal with Volt battery packs following a severe crash. This issue applies not only to the Volt, but to any other electric car or plug-in hybrid on the market, since all could potentially pose a fire risk following severe damage to the battery packs. GM is working with the Society of Automotive Engineers to develop post-crash protocols on draining battery packs to prevent future incidents.







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