2011 Chevrolet Volt
You’ve heard about Chevrolet’s Volt Advanced Hybrid for a long time now, and we’ve given you our impressions about driving a test mule with the Volt electric drive in action, but recently we got to drive the real Volt, close to what will be on sale in showrooms at the end of this year.
Chevy says this Volt prototype is about 65% production ready. They’re still tweaking everything from instrument panel displays to power train noises, all to make sure the revolutionary Volt won’t jolt the average family buyer.
The Chevrolet Volt is now referred to as an extended range electric car. And what that refers to is you have a 400 pound lithium-ion battery pack, which is right here in the center of the car, that will give you a 40-mile range under most conditions, enough for people basically to use it as a commuter car and never use any gas at all. But if you’re going to do a long trip, there is a 1.4-liter gasoline engine under the hood, and while it doesn’t actually turn the wheels, it does act as a generator to give you an extended range, over 300 miles depending on how much gas you have in the tank.
So, with the Volt you can use it as a commuter car, and not use any gasoline in most cases, and on the weekends take that long vacation with the family and know that you are still driving one of the most efficient vehicles that has ever been mass produced by any manufacturer. And do it with all the comforts that you’re use to in a midsize family car; with a good stereo, with air conditioning, comfortable seats, and all the other amenities that most folks expect.
The Chevrolet Volt does looks like it’s one vehicle that the family can say, “this is the only car we need for everything we want to do.”
The Volt will first be available in California and around Washington, DC., but as production ramps up, sales will spread nationwide quickly. The expected base price of $40,000 will be tempered by federal and state tax incentives that could bring the final price down to around $30,000.
lithium-ion battery pack
1.4-liter gasoline engine
Could be around $30,000