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2013 Chevrolet Volt Quick Driving Impressions 18
Jul
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, Chevrolet, Chevrolet Volt, Chevy Volt, Electric, hybrid, Test Drives, Volt on 07 18th, 2013
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The new 2013 Chevrolet Volt carries on its efficient duties with the addition of a few new features that add to its versatile and innovative electrified platform. The new 2013 Volt also continues its substantial compliance on the road much like any other midsized or compact sedan virtually streamlining its electric powertrain and gasoline engine generator.

The public has learned much about the Chevy Volt recently where its image is getting more polished each year with slight improvements. The saying goes that it can only get better and Chevrolet has done just that, made the Volt even better even when pitted against its mainstream competition.

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The 2013 Chevrolet Volt receives a new Hold feature adding to the Sport, Normal and Mountain drive modes. The new Hold feature basically holds the battery charge and only utilizes power generated from the 1.4-liter gasoline engine stored in a temporary battery buffer. Essentially, using the Hold feature will allow you to retain all of the wall-charged energy in the new 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Previous year Volts included just a 16.0 kWh battery. The new slightly higher capacity boosts the range to an average of 38 total miles solely on a full electric charge. Adding to the total range is the Volt’s ability to utilize the batteries hi-tech-controlled buffer where power is generated from its gasoline engine fed by a 9.3 gallon gas tank.

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My drive in the new 2013 Chevrolet Volt consisted of a nice mix of highway and densely populated city driving with relatively light traffic. I was able to muster out a total of 43 miles from a fully-charged battery. In all 43 miles I used the air-conditioner and lights as my drive approached sunset. The normal drive mode was used about half of my drive while the other half sport drive mode appeased me most. I took special note to the sport mode advancing the throttle position for a bit more response, something enthusiasts would take pleasure in. The over-night charge (est. 10.5 hours) before my drive used the one of the new selectable charge modes in the faster 12 amps mode vs. the reduced 8 amps mode.  Of course using the updated 120-volt wall-charger I noticed a much cooler plug when compared to my review of the 2012 and 2011 model-year Volts.

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Some have demonstrated more than 50 miles on a single full charge in the new Volt exclusively using the battery charge capacity. General Motors claims users will see on average of 38 miles on a full charge. As you can imagine, that figure can sway greatly dependent on driving conditions and usage of power accessories such as the climate control. After depleting the battery charge, or using the hold feature exclusively, you will expect to get an average of 37 mpg. I saw just that during my drive with my best figure being 45 mpg and worst coming in at 32 mpg. The 32 mpg figure was due to driving up a few tall bridges and driving ‘slightly above’ posted interstate speed limits. Amazingly, there is a exponential diminishing return when you start to approach 80 mph and eventually topping out at the Volt’s 101 mph electronically controlled top speed. Of course, I found its top speed while on a closed course I was able to use for half an hour. What an experience having this extended range electric vehicle out on a closed course.

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The ride quality of the new 2013 Chevy Volt seemed to be a bit more compliant than previous years. I attempted to find additional information on any spring rate or damper changes but could not confirm any definitive data. With that said, the 2013 Chevy Volt rides great for its weight and feels well-balanced. Though, the ultra-efficient low-rolling-resistant tires are prone to screeching at any moderate to hard turn-in exhibiting an abundance of understeer at the mercy of stability control working overtime.

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The instant torque from the electric motor, a full 273 ft-lbs. available from a start, really makes the Volt come to life especially in the mix of heavy traffic and highway cruising. Over-all power produced from the electric motor is only 149 horsepower but really rests on its torque figure to get things in motion. You may not win many drag races but you sure can get a jump off of the line and out of the hole with ease having an all-electric platform to propel the vehicle.

Concluding the new features added for the 2013 Volt is a new lane-departure and forward collision warning system. Of course potential California Volt owners can now rejoice due to the Volt receiving a low-emissions package so they may legally travel in the carpool lanes no matter how many occupants are in the vehicle.

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The new 2013 Chevrolet Volt is a factual marvel no matter how you want to slice its innovative drivetrain, complex vehicle management programming all combined to make it a seamless driving experience. The lofty initial pricetag starting at $39,149 before the $7,500 tax credit is probably one of the unattractive aspects of the Volt. Though, adding in the tax credit makes all of the difference in the world for the true economical-minded. With that in mind, the Volt, for some, could very well be a good value and foundational emergence into the future of what is to come from extended –range electric and alternative power vehicles. The as-tested price of my loaded test vehicle came in at $45,540 including a $850 destination charge. Still, a definite a winner in my book… after the tax credit.

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Copyright: 2013 AutomotiveAddicts.com

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base Volt $39,145 As-Tested $45,540 *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


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.

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2012 Chevy Volt Rear Seats Done Small
2012 Chevy Volt Door Trim Done Small
2012 Chevy Volt Cargo Hold Done Small
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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


2013 Chevrolet Volt Gets Better With Increased Range via Larger Battery 7
Jun
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, Chevrolet, Chevrolet Volt, Chevy Volt, Electric, hybrid, News on 06 7th, 2012

Even though the new Chevy Volt has received is fair share of criticism lately, it remains to be the most innovative and technologically advanced vehicle on the road today built by hard working Americans. As proof of a working concept, the Chevy Volt is getting better with the introduction of an increased electric range, a 3 mile increase, thanks to a larger battery. Additionally, the new 2013 Volt’s EPA ratings have climbed from 94 MPGe to 98 MPGe receiving an over-all range increase to 380 miles. Charge times for the new battery are expected to slightly increase taking 10.5 hours with a 120V outlet charger and 4.25 hours with a 240V rapid charger.

We still believe in the Volt and expect it to be the way of the future as others could adopt such innovation without the unfair scrutiny of those who are not so favorable of the US government.



Coolant Likely The Source Of Chevy Volt Fires 7
Dec
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Chevrolet, Chevy Volt, Electric, Kurt, News on 12 7th, 2011

Turn on the news these days, and it seems like every media outlet is alerting you to the dangers of the Chevy Volt extended range EV. If you believe the far right, the Volt is a ticking time bomb, waiting to spontaneously combust in the garages of unsuspecting owners. It’s also part of a secret coverup, since GM (allegedly) conspired with the NHTSA to delay notification of the Volt’s fire danger.

We’re well versed with the Chevrolet Volt, and Harvey, Malcolm and myself all have extensive seat time behind the wheel of the series hybrid. To put it bluntly, the risk of fire under normal circumstances is so small that we’d consider it insignificant, and all of us have parked Volts in our driveway or garage without undue concern. If you think there’s a fire risk, remember this: you’re probably driving a car that’s filled with highly flammable gasoline, which you park in your garage each and every night. Are you worried about this fire risk?

As Left Lane News and Fox News point out, the likely source of the fires in post-crash-tested Volts is battery coolant. In liquid form the coolant isn’t flammable in any way; dried, however, a component of the battery coolant (likely a salt) will conduct electricity and can potentially cause a short in circuit boards.

Part of the NHTSA crash test procedure involves rotating a car 90 degrees following the side impact testing. In gas-powered cars, this is done to check for fuel system leaks; as it happens, the side impact test caused a battery coolant leak in the Volt. While no short-circuits were caused by the liquid coolant, the dried coolant is thought to be the cause behind the fires in crash-tested Volts, which occurred weeks after testing.

GM is in the process of designing a solution, which may involve changing the coolant, reinforcing the battery pack, encapsulating the affected circuit boards or a combination of all three. In the mean time, our advice is this: don’t buy into the hysteria.



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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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


Consumer Reports: Chevy Volt Delivers Highest Satisfaction 2
Dec
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Chevrolet, Chevy Volt, Consumer Reports, GM, Kurt, News on 12 2nd, 2011

The 2012 Chevy Volt. Image: GM Corp.

Consumer Reports has just released its latest owner satisfaction ratings, and the Chevy Volt extended range EV tops the list in customer satisfaction. The Volt scored 93 percent on CR’s owner surveys, edging out the Porsche 911 and the V-8 Dodge Challenger, which each scored 91 percent. The findings from Consumer Reports give the Volt some precious good news, just as the NHTSA begins an investigation into post-crash-test fires caused by the battery pack.

GM has been working hard to ensure Volt owner satisfaction, offering to provide free loaner cars to Volt customers or even buy back cars from those truly concerned, but the (remote) risk of fire has been turned into a feeding frenzy by the media. To date, the only fires where the Volt was the documented cause occurred in NHTSA testing, where the car was struck from the side, then rotated 90 degrees on a rotisserie. The actual fire occurred weeks after the crash test, and the car that burned had lost battery coolant following the crash test.

In the “we’ve known this for years” department, CR says that the segment with the highest owner satisfaction is sports cars, with the Porsche 911 and V-8 Dodge Challenger topping the list. Other cars in the segment that scored well include Audi’s S4, A5 and S5, the Chevy Camaro and Corvette, the Mazda MX-5, the Ford Mustang GT and the MINI Cooper Convertible. It sounds like you just got the justification you needed to trade that Camry in on a new Camaro.



Confirmed: Cadillac Will Build Converj, Call It ELR 18
Aug
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Cadillac, Cadillac Converj, Cadillac ELR, Chevy Volt, Electric, Extended Range Electric Vehicle, GM, Kurt, News on 08 18th, 2011

The Cadillac ELR. Image: © GM Corp.

Just last week we told you that, like zombies and politicians, the Cadillac Converj electric car concept had risen from the grave. Now GM is confirming those rumors, admitting that development work is underway for a car it’s calling the Cadillac ELR. The name ELR (“Electric Long Range” is our guess) befits the car’s electric propulsion system, and ties in with the brand’s three-letter naming convention.

Like the Volt, the ELR will be powered by a lithium-ion battery pack powering an electric drive unit. When the batteries are depleted, a range-extending generator will kick in, giving the ELR the benefits of an electric car around town, with the range of a conventional, gasoline-powered car for longer trips. GM isn’t releasing any details on the ELR just yet, but Green Car Reports says it will be built around the Voltec 1.5 drivetrain; in other words, it will be more advanced than the current Volt, but not yet up to the specifications of the next-generation Volt.

The two big unknowns are performance and price. The current Volt has a battery range of around 35 miles, under “normal” driving conditions, but it’s tuned to limit acceleration to achieve this range. Cadillac buyers will likely expect better performance from the ELR, so some range will need to be sacrificed in the name of acceleration. Balancing the two will take a significant amount of work, as well as a significant amount of market research to determine what buyers want, and what they can live with.

Then there’s the issue of price. The Cadillac ELR will clearly sell above the Volt’s $40k price point, but will be better-appointed and more luxurious. It’s rumored that GM still loses money on each Volt sold, and they can’t afford to do the same thing on two cars across two divisions. To be profitable with the ELR, GM will need to contain the production cost, which all-too often means reducing interior content. If the ELR stickers for $15k more than the Volt (and we’re just guessing here), consumers will expect that much more performance and that much more quality.

We’re fans of the Volt, but we’re bigger fans of the Voltec drivetrain’s potential. Cadillac has done well with their CTS and SRX models in recent years, so it knows a thing or two about building cars that the public wants to buy. We’re guessing that Cadillac will be successful with the ELR, and we can’t wait to drive one.

Source: GM



GM Plug-In Hybrid Crossover (MPV5) Going to 2012 NAIAS 20
Jun
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in auto show, Automotive, Chevrolet, Chevrolet Volt MPV5, Chevy Volt, GM, News on 06 20th, 2011

General Motors does not plan to let-up on production of the Volt and its new plug-in hybrid technology any time soon and to support that notion, GM is set to introduce a new Plug-In Hybrid Crossover at the 2012 North American International Auto Show.

A new GM Plug-In Hybrid Crossover, potentially a production version of the Volt MPV5 Concept as shown in the images below, will be on hand for spectators and journalists next year in Detroit for the 2012 NAIAS. The new Plug-In Hybrid Crossover was announced recently, by Dave Barthmuss, group manager for GM’s western region, to be officially introduced at next year’s auto show.

So far, the idea of a Cadillac SRX plug-in hybrid has been put to rest. Currently, from many online sources, the new plug-in crossover will feature the Volt’s drivetrain consisting of a 6-kWh lithium-ion battery sending power to electric motors with 111 kW (150 horsepower) and 273 lb-ft of torque. The same 1.4-liter engine found in the Volt would act as the generator to extend range to 300 miles from the initial 32 miles of electric-only power.

Chevrolet Volt MPV5 electric concept 1
Chevrolet Volt MPV5 electric concept 3
Chevrolet Volt MPV5 electric concept 2
Chevrolet Volt MPV5 electric concept 5
Chevrolet Volt MPV5 electric concept 6
Chevrolet Volt MPV5 electric concept 4
Chevrolet Volt MPV5 electric concept 7
Chevrolet Volt MPV5 electric concept 8
Chevrolet Volt MPV5 electric concept 9

[source: egmCarTech]



Nissan Shows You What A Gas Powered World Would Look Like 1
Jun
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Car Commercials, Chevy Volt, Kurt, nissan, Nissan Leaf, video on 06 1st, 2011

The electric car wars between Nissan and Chevy are starting to heat up, as evidenced by Nissan latest video, which begs the question, “what if everything ran on gas?” The video is amusing, complete with scenes of a smoke belching alarm clock, a two stroke hair dryer and an office gasoline dispenser to top off your laptop. There’s the requisite amount of choking on exhaust fumes, and even a greasy computer and mouse to remind us that gas is dirty, and that we should feel guilty for using it to destroy the environment. Watch the controversial video below.

Maybe a better question to ask is “what if everything in the video had the same indeterminate battery life as the Leaf?” How would you like to own an alarm clock that occasionally ran out of battery power on hot or cold days, before it woke you up? Wouldn’t a computer that ran out of power every 5,000 to 7,000 keystrokes be fun, especially if it died while you were mid-spreadsheet? And let’s not forget the joys of forgetting to recharge your microwave, forcing you to cook that pot pie in the oven and wait half an hour to eat (assuming you remembered to recharge your oven, that is).

As for the whole “clean versus dirty” argument, let’s be clear about one thing: very little electricity in the United States is produced by “clean” methods such as wind power or hydroelectric generation. Your “environmentally friendly” EV is really powered by coal, or oil, or even trash in some municipalities. Maybe it’s nuclear powered, which begs the question of what happens to fuel rods when they’re used up? Would you want them buried in your backyard, or even the next town over?

As I see it, Nissan is living in a glass house, and this video is their attempt at throwing stones. Nothing good ever comes out of that.



Chevy To Shut Down Volt Plant For Upgrades 19
May
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Chevrolet, Chevy Volt, Electric, ev, GM, Kurt, News, Opel Ampera on 05 19th, 2011

A Chevy Volt being assembled. Image: © GM Corp.

If you’re patiently waiting for dealer inventory of the 2011 Chevy Volt to build up before buying one, you may have to wait a little bit longer. Chevrolet has announced a four-week shutdown of their Detroit-Hamtramck plant, beginning in June, to ramp up for increased production of Chevy Volt and Opel Ampera models. The plant will receive new tools, updated equipment and an overhead conveyor system that’s expected to increase productivity. The Hamtramck plant is expected to have the capacity to produce 60,000 Volt and Ampera models in 2012, some 45,000 of which will be destined for the United States. The 2013 Chevy Malibu will also be produced in the plant, alongside the other GM models.

When production resumes, the plant will have the capability of producing 16,000 Volts in 2011, which will go a long way towards filling demand and providing dealerships with test units. Initially, the Volt was only offered for sale in California, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.. By the end of 2011, however, the Volt will be available to consumers nationwide and the Opel Ampera will begin shipping to dealerships in the EU and China.

Since it’s launch in late 2010, Chevy has sold 2,029 Volts through April. That’s nearly double the amount of Nissan Leafs sold to date, but Nissan delivered more Leafs to customers last month than Chevy did Volts. Chevy insists that demand for the Volt remains high, and that the limiting factor has been production. We’ll know for sure once GM completes the update of the Hamtramck plant and Chevy reports on their August sales numbers.

Source: Chevrolet



2011 Chevrolet Volt Review & Test Drive 19
May
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, Chevrolet, Chevrolet Volt, Chevy Volt, Electric, featured, hybrid, Test Drives on 05 19th, 2011

The new Chevrolet Volt is one of the most talked about vehicles today.  After spending countless hours behind the wheel of one, I completely understand why. The new 2011 Chevrolet Volt just may be ‘the car’ that helps set a new trend towards weaning us off of our abundant dependency of oil in the United States.

Even though the Chevrolet Volt is a technological marvel of today, tomorrow it may be that one stepping stone which paved the way for something greater.  This car may possibly be the one setting in motion the chance that majority of vehicles sold will consume very little fuel. Until then, the Chevrolet Volt starts its life as a hot commodity for all things eco-friendly and gas saving.

I had the opportunity to review the Chevrolet Volt for a week. During my time with the Volt I attempted to put it through its paces in every imaginable circumstance that I could conjure up on the sunny streets of north Florida. I have to say after my experience I walked away from the Volt pleasantly surprised and at the same time scratching my head. Since you are probably wondering about the scratching my head part, let me explain that first.

The new Chevrolet Volt encompasses a different style that contrasts every other gas and hybrid-variant vehicle on the road today. This contrast is obviously due to the Volt’s drivetrain that consists of two robust electric motors putting out a combined 150-horsepower/273 pound-feet of torque responsible for propulsion and brief periods of battery regeneration and its generator, a 1.4-liter gasoline engine. Acting as a power source for the electric motor, is the 1.4-liter 80hp 4-cylinder gasoline engine, which requires premium fuel. The gasoline engine acts solely as a generator to passively and actively charge the battery so that the Volt’s electric motor has a steady flow of electricity. The electric motors provide instant torque, which means all 273 foot-pounds of torque is available at any time. This makes moving all 4,533 pounds from a standstill an easy task allowing the Volt to go from 0 to 60 mph in a respectable 8.9 seconds.

There have been many lengthy discussions among automotive journalists and experts about whether or not the Volt’s gasoline engine provides any direct power to the wheels and to quickly answer that question from my own research, I would have to say, yes it does.

To better understand the complex nature of the Chevrolet Volt, (how the gas engine only provides a small percentage of direct power via the planetary gear-set and electric motor above 70mph at times near full depletion of the battery), one would first need to have the capacity to understand a rocket scientist. At the same time, they would need to interpret a new foreign language. In other words, all of the answers can be found with a simple Google search and some technical thinking. Doing this research would also question if the Volt should be classified as a hybrid vehicle, plug-in hybrid, or extended range electric vehicle. If you go out and drive a Volt, you would probably come to the conclusion that it is mostly an extended range electric vehicle. Basically, the Volt can be whatever the heck you want it to be until it comes time to collect the $7,500 Chevy Volt federal tax credit, which will apply to plug-in-electric cars.

With everything previously mentioned taken into consideration, the Chevy Volt drives and behaves like an electric car. Things get complex underneath the skin,  but it is easy to void out the complexity when you are able to just jump in the Volt and drive anywhere you want without any electric-vehicle range anxiety.

The Chevy Volt has a small gas tank and for good reason. Only 9.3 gallons of fuel is needed to give a fully charged Volt the “extended” range of over 370 miles. I was able to get exactly 34 miles out of a fully charged battery during a normal driving commute consisting of about 40% city and 60% highway. A second run, after charging the Volt’s 16 kWh Lithium-ion battery via the included 120-volt charger overnight, I was able to get 28 miles using my heavy right-foot and utilization of the A/C in comfort mode. Putting the A/C in eco mode would decrease energy consumption allowing a longer range.

You may be tempted to start conserving power use unconsciously after you have performed a charge on the volt.

I know because I did this just trying to get a “feel” of things and how the Volt’s power management all comes together. Full electric mode is selected automatically anytime the battery is charged enough to sustain driving without the gas engine’s assistance. All of the accessories play a part in depleting the battery from the headlights to the air conditioner. Because the air conditioner draws a considerable amount of power, especially during extreme outside temps, the Volt provides an energy efficiency monitor.  How efficient your driving style is will also be displayed through the energy monitor to aid in a driver’s ability to monitor energy consumption.

When it comes to giving the driver enough information to successfully manage charging and over-all consumption, Chevrolet covered all angles. The information display via the center-stack LCD touch-screen is a virtual gateway into the brain of the Volt. Not only can you display how efficient you are driving, but you can get an instant ETA as to when your battery would be fully charged using either the included 120v charger or the optional 240v charging station. It took about 9 hours to complete an overnight charge.  This gave me enough juice to drive 35 miles with no noticeable power loss. My average “gas-only” runs yielded 37mpg to 42mpg. Steadily driving with a fully depleted battery you notice times when the engine will hum along with the expected buzz sound from a small 4-cylinder engine. Combined electric-only and gas trips sometimes averaged to around 164mpg. Calculating and taking into consideration the amount that you would spend on charging the Volt overnight, you could considerably save a lot of gas money. If your daily commute is under 35 to 40 miles, the Volt hardly ever uses gas. These are times that the Volt will automatically burn gas just to keep things circulating and eventually forcing you to put gas in the tank. You probably already know that going months on end without firing up a gas engine can cause issues in the long run.

It is rather funny to hear the engine rev up and then level-off at a much lower RPM while driving a steady 70mph as the system recoups a temporary battery charge. The Volt cleverly manages to always have enough stored energy in the battery to give you 100% of the electric motor’s power. The only time that this “reserve” power is in jeopardy is climbing mountains which is why Chevrolet provides a mountain mode which will run the engine more frequently creating a larger buffer-charge. This extra charge or flow of energy would be needed when a mountain climb causes an extended load on the electric motor.

The Volt is virtually silent when running in full-electric mode. At times I found pedestrians walking in front of the Volt when cruising through parking lots because they simply could not hear it. Luckily the high-beam headlight flasher will also sound the horn in several abrupt pulses to get the attention of someone not paying attention. Once again, another useful feature that is specific to the Volt’s unique character.

On the inside of the Chevrolet Volt is another untraditional characteristic; 4-passenger seating. Most 4-passenger vehicles carry a hefty price tag and are usually considered to be luxury vehicles. In the Volt’s case, it must sit its precious cargo in 4 individual bucket seats mainly due to its battery design. The T-shape 400 pound battery runs down the middle of the car ending at the rear under the hatch cargo area. Seating space is good but those looking to pack-up a family of four for a week-long trip may have difficulty fitting all of their belongings in the small 10.6 cubic-feet of space. Aside from the cargo area, all 4 seats are comfy and provide ample support for even 6-foot tall adults. The dashboard makes the Volt very different from any other GM vehicle. The center stack buttons are mostly touch-sensitive, sometimes a bit too sensitive. You will also find a nicely integrated 7-inch touch-screen LCD for navigation, stereo, energy monitor and an optional back-up camera. On the driver side, there is a large LCD screen for all pertinent information to the driver, which comes with some customizable views. All of the colors are vibrant in the driver’s LCD info screen, possibly showcasing more of a “green” aspect of the Volt.

The new Chevrolet Volt is conservatively designed with a stylish edge. Unlike some EVs, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids, the Volt brings a common passenger car style to the table, which is a good thing. The Volt only subtly sets itself off from other normal gas-burning cars. The Volt actually looks good to the majority. Everything about the Volt works in tandem from its styling and innovative electric-gas drivetrain, to the low-rolling resistance tires, and 17-inch light-weight forged aluminum wheels. It all comes together in an intricate package that could potentially appease anyone in the market for either a hybrid or plug-in gas-electric vehicle.

After having spent a week with the new Chevy Volt, I walked away knowing with a certainty, that General Motors made a masterpiece out of a clean “green” sheet of paper. This masterpiece carries several expectations, but I feel confident that it will fulfill most of them while venturing into the realm of an unpredicted electric and hybrid vehicle future. After-all, it is the 2011 North American Car of the Year.

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Copyright: 2011 AutomotiveAddicts.com

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base Volt $40,280 As-Tested $43,485 *without $7,500 federal tax credit
  • Engine/Motor: 1.4-liter 4-cylinder (acting generator) & 2-motor electric – 150 horsepower 243 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.: 95mpg city/90mpg highway – *all contingent on a charged battery – AutomotiveAddicts.com fully-depleted battery estimates: 37mpg city/46mpg highway
  • Fuel tank: 9.3gallons
  • 0-60mph: 8.9 seconds
  • EPA cargo volume: 10.6 cu.ft.
  • Curb Weight: 4,533


An Opel Ampera… Police Car? 14
Feb
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Chevy Volt, Electric, ev, News, opel, Opel Ampera, Police Cars on 02 14th, 2011
Opel Ampera Police

Image: Opel Germany

The above image comes courtesy of Opel Germany, who thinks it may be a good idea to produce the Opel Ampera (the EU’s Chevy Volt) in a police version. Starting at a price just below $58,000, that’s going to be a tough sell even in Green-obsessed Germany. As much as I was impressed by my time with the Volt, I’m pretty sure that it would have too many limitations to be a functional police cruiser, even if you used it exclusively in urban environments. First there’s the issue of the Ampera’s range; if the standard car’s range is impacted by using things like the radio, climate control and headlights, how do you think a version equipped with strobes, a light bar, more (high wattage) radios, electronics and siren would fare? Would an EV range of 20 miles be acceptable to police agencies, even if the car could still be driven via the gasoline generator? When do police cars at busy departments get enough down time to effectively charge the batteries?

Then there’s the whole matter of acceleration and top speed. The Volt was, admittedly, quicker than I expected it to be, but it’s still no match for anything with sporting intentions. Its top speed of 100 miles per hour is good enough for congested city streets, but it simply won’t cut the Sempf on the Autobahn. Even the Germans will have a hard time embracing a “green” police car with limited battery range and an economy car top speed. I wish Opel Germany a lot of luck with their sales efforts on the Ampera Polizei, because they’re certainly going to need it.

Source: Carscoop



Jay Leno Takes Delivery Of His New Chevy Volt 22
Dec
Posted by Chris in Automotive, Chevrolet, Chevrolet Volt, Chevy Volt, Electric, hybrid, Jay Leno, News on 12 22nd, 2010

Who else but Jay Leno has such a large car collection and has recently opted to purchase a new Chevrolet Volt? I can’t think of anyone. Jay is a one-of-a-kind person who never flaunts the fact that he has millions to spend however he pleases. Instead of Jay taking delivery of the latest exotic or luxury car, he decides to be a little on the economical side of things this day by taking delivery of his brand new Chevy Volt.

The new Chevrolet Volt is full of technology and probably enough computer power to launch the space shuttle. With that said, this car is right down Jay’s ally. It is obvious he has something against EV vehicles such as the new Nissan Leaf in the way he says that you can just jump in the new Volt and go anywhere versus the pure electric cars will only take you half way. Check out the video below as Jay picks up his new Volt from a Northridge, Ca dealership.

[source: AutoGuide via Chevrolet YouTube Channel]



EPA Rates Nissan Leaf & Chevy Volt With MPG Equivalent Estimates 29
Nov
Posted by Larry in Automotive, Chevrolet, Chevrolet Volt, Chevy Volt, Electric, hybrid, News, nissan, Nissan Leaf, Nissan Leaf EV on 11 29th, 2010

Many critics have been awaiting the EPA fuel-economy estimates for the Chevrolet Volt. Many enthusiasts believed it would be some type of chart fuel-economy sticker that the Volt would receive due to its complex nature of allowing fully-electric driving under 35 miles but over that it would start utilizing the gas engine as generator for the battery. They were partly correct, the new EPA fuel-economy sticker for the Chevy Volt is nothing short of a spreadsheet of data explaining the ‘equivalent’ consumption to expect under electric range and then under a miles-per-gallon equivalent. The key figure under the expected 35 miles of electric range is a 93 miles per-gallon equivalent and a 60 miles per-gallon under gas-electric power.

If you are still confused, don’t worry, I am still trying to piece this puzzle together myself. The EPA previously released estimates for the Nissan Leaf. With the Nissan Leaf being an actual EV vehicle that does not require a drop of gasoline, the EPA manages to give the consumer yet another type of equivalent mpg figure being that of 99mpg. Basically this figure tells the consumer they will be consuming the amount of energy/money it takes for a gas powered vehicle that gets 99 miles to the gallon. Hypothetically speaking, if you had a car that got 99 miles to the gallon, you would spend roughly the same amount on gas for that vehicle as you do with the Leaf with consumed electricity when it is plugged in. This is the way it also works with the Chevy Volt only it is a two-fold scenario due to the Chevy Volt actually being able to consume gas in addition to traveling up to 35 miles solely on electric power. You will ‘consume’ energy and rack up a larger power bill when the Volt is plugged in to charge just like the Leaf.

Check out the charts and press releases below to see if you understand this situation any better than me.

Chevy Volt EPA Sticker

Chevy Volt EPA Sticker

Chevy Volt EPA Estimates Press Release

DETROIT – When the 2011 Volt begins arriving in Chevrolet showrooms over the next few weeks it will have an all-new fuel economy label to go with its unique propulsion system.

With its ability to operate completely gasoline- and emissions-free for 25 to 50 miles and then continue indefinitely with its range- extending engine, the Volt’s energy efficiency depends on how you use it.

Because the Volt works like no other car before it, General Motors and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency collaborated to design a new label to help consumers understand what to expect when they drive the Volt. Before plug-in cars like the Volt, calculating fuel economy was simply a matter of filling the tank with fuel, driving the vehicle and dividing the distance by the amount of fuel consumed.

Even though they have no tailpipe emissions, electric cars still use energy so the MPG equivalent (MPGe) is determined by measuring electricity use and converting it based on the energy content in a gallon of gasoline. This MPGe rating allows consumers to compare the Volt’s efficiency to other cars in its segment.

The Volt uses two energy sources, electricity from the grid, and gasoline from the pump, with the mix depending on how far you drive and how often you charge the battery. The Volt is a complex vehicle that is incredibly easy to use. And while the new fuel economy label also looks complex, it has more information than any EPA label before it.

Nissan Leaf EPA Sticker

Nissan Leaf EPA Estimates Press Release

FRANKLIN, Tenn., Nov. 22, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved its fuel-economy label for the 100-percent electric Nissan LEAF, rating the vehicle to be “best” in the midsize vehicle class for fuel efficiency and “best” for the environment. The new label shows a best-in-class 99 miles-per-gallon (MPG) equivalent (combined city/highway). The MPG equivalency rating was developed by the EPA as a way to provide a standard so consumers can compare vehicles across the spectrum and make an educated purchase.

The 2011 Nissan LEAF, which uses no gas, was also rated best-in-class for the environment based on emitting zero greenhouse gases or other traditional tailpipe emissions. The label, which will be part of the Nissan LEAF’s Monroney label, is now ready for placement on the vehicles in anticipation of the December launch.

After completion of five-cycle testing, the EPA has rated the Nissan LEAF with an MPG equivalent of 106 city, 92 highway for a combined 99 MPGe. This calculation is based on the EPA’s formula of 33.7kW-hrs being equivalent to one gallon gasoline energy. In addition, the label displays a charging time of seven hours on a 240V charge and a driving range of 73 miles, based on the five-cycle tests using varying driving conditions and climate controls. Driving range on the Nissan LEAF, as with all vehicles, varies with real-world driving conditions.

“We’re pleased the label clearly demonstrates the Nissan LEAF to be a best-in-class option, reflecting that it’s a pure electric vehicle, uses no gas, has no tailpipe and has zero emissions,” said Scott Becker, senior vice president, Finance and Administration, Nissan Americas. “The label provides consumers with a tool to compare alternative-fuel vehicles to those with a traditional internal combustion engine and allows them to make an informed purchase decision.”

Sales of the Nissan LEAF will begin in December in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Tennessee. In January 2011, sales begin in Texas and Hawaii, with additional market roll-out continuing later in 2011.

In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing.  Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010 and has been recognized as a 2010 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America, the Nissan LEAF and zero emissions can be found at www.nissanusa.com.

[Sources: Nissan, General Motors]







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