Tuesday, November 1, 2011

2011 Chevy Volt: The World's Only Semi- Affordable Mass-Produced Electric (Gas)- Powered Vehicle


Highlights: This is GM’s first gas and electric-powered mass marketed vehicle. Early statistics reveal that 78% of Volt buyers didn't own a GM vehicle at the time of the purchase. On average, about 43% of Chevy buyers are conquests buyers, consumers outside of the GM brand purchasing a vehicle, according to R.L. Polk, a Michigan-based data mining company.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $44,180* (Base price of starts at $41,000)* The price will be lower once the $7,500 federal (and the applicable local tax credits) are applied.

Seating Capacity: 4 Bucket Seats

Standard Charging Cord: a 120-volt portable charging cord (takes 10 hours or more to fully charge the vehicle)

Standard Equipment: 17-inch wheels; tire sealant and inflator kit; GM’s remote start system; heated outside mirrors; manual controlled cloth driver/front passenger seats; remote keyless entry; tilt/telescopic steering wheel; display screens with charging times; steering wheel radio controls; cruise control; power windows; efficiency display gauges (screens) with programmable charging times; and automatic a/c

Standard Audio System: AM/FM stereo with DVD-ROM and MP3 playback - Includes voice recognition, Radio Data System (RDS) with a 30GB hard drive, and a limited subscription XM satellite radio

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles

Battery Warranty: 8 years or 100,000 miles

Bluetooth Compatibility: Yes.

USB Port: Yes.

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 1.4-liter, 4-cylinder turbo/149-hp

Recommended Fuel: Premium

Standard Fuel Mileage:
Electric Only: 95-city/90-hwy
Gas Only: 35-city/40-hwy




What’s New: GM’s gas-powered, electric vehicle is all-new for 2011. This is the only mass-produced electric, gas-powered vehicle available in the market place. Other than this vehicle being fueled by electricity, the Volt rides and drives like any other vehicle. The Volt can be recharged simply by plugging the standard cord into a wall unit with a 120v outlet. However, an optional 240v outlet is worth the expense to cut down on the charging time.




Pros: After arriving to much fanfare, the Chevy Volt hatchback has finally arrived with its solar panel roof. This high-tech vehicle not only runs off electricity, but gas too. Just like any gas-powered vehicle, the well-equipped Volt offers many of the same amenities. The only major options available on the vehicle are a rear camera with audible sensors, 17-inch polished alloy wheels, a 240v charger, which we strongly recommend, and a Premium Trim Package, which consists of leather seats, heated front seats and a leather steering wheel.

The Volt also offers an array of user friendly gauges, helping drivers understand the operation of this unique vehicle and monitor the miles when using either the gas or the electricity. With the Volt, drivers can schedule either immediate or delayed charges, as to eliminate charging the vehicle during peak hours.

Drivers can also monitor the usage of the electricity remotely via a Smartphone application or a computer.

Furthermore, with this vehicle running off of both gas and electricity, drivers don’t have to be overly concerned about locating a charging station, when they venture away from home base of their charging station, since the vehicle is equipped with a 9.3 gallon steel fuel tank, which is capable of achieving 344 miles. When the electric charge is depleted, the Volt immediately seamlessly switches over to gas mode.

Overall this vehicle will allow drivers to achieve maximum highway or city mileage, whether the vehicle is in gas or electric mode. There are some reports coming out of GM stating that some Volt owners are achieving up to 1,000 miles between fill ups. For the first 35 miles, the Volt can drive gas- and tailpipe emissions-free using a full electric charge. By drivers depending on the electric charge, this should help to eliminate pollution.



Cons: There are just a few major downsides to the Volt. The $40,000 plus price tag is out of reach of most consumers, even when tax credits are applied. So for the average consumers that would like to go green this vehicle is not within reach. Also being that the Volt is an electric vehicle owners may find it difficult, depending on where they are, to locate a charging station, when they’re away from home. Unfortunately, the Volt just like the all-electric Nissan Volt is ahead of the curve in the United States being that the infrastructure isn’t currently in place to accommodate electric vehicles.

Moreover, with the Volt being a mass market gas-powered, electric vehicle, one may find that they need to step-up to the 240v charging system which could be worth the investment to trim hours off of the charging time down to 4 hours, which could be upwards of a $1,000 investment. Unfortunately, it took us over 8 hours to partially charge our vehicle earlier this summer in the midst of Georgia’s extreme heat. Ironically, we didn’t notice a bump in our electric bill, when we charged the vehicle during off peak hours. We able to drive approximatley 22 miles, after charging the vehicle.

Furthermore, for consumers planning to use the pure electric portion of the vehicle, the range will extend between 25 to 50 miles, depending on the driving conditions, the driving techniques and the temperature. So, consumes may find that they’re more dependent upon using gas for the vehicle than what they had expected..

And how much does it cost to replace the lithium ion battery after the 8-year or 100,000-mile warranty? Now that’s something that no one wants to talk about.

The Verdict: Unlike the Nissan Leaf, which is electric only, the only other semi affordable mass-produced alternative gas vehicle, the Volt, runs off of both gas and electricity. The Volt, which is appropriately named for the charge it gives, gives the world a peak into the future of the auto industry and its ability to become less dependent on oil. While the infrastructure isn’t in place to accommodate most electric vehicles with readily available charging stations, GM has covered all bases by adding a gas tank to the Volt just in case one veers out of the range of an electric charging station. To put this in perspective, charging stations will have to be just as accessible as gas stations for consumers to purely run off of electricity and consumers will need to get more than 50 miles off of a charge. In fact, consumers will need 350 to 400 miles off a charge in order to make out of town trips and not for these vehicles to be just for short drives. 

For the initial owners who are brave enough to invest into the next-generation of vehicles, there is a cost that is attached to stepping out on a limb. At a $40,000 price tag, the Volt isn’t cheap to own. However, just like with early adapters of the hybrids, Volt owners will receive the benefit of tax credits to help pull down the price. And even some utility companies are also willing to help discount the price via local government incentives to hold down the cost of adding an upgraded outlet at home to cut down the charging time of the Volt. Besides these expenses, the Volt should save buyers since using electricity during off-peak hours is a lot cheaper than gas. Also by shying away from the gas this eliminates the pollutants that are omitted into the ozone. 



Volt’s Competition: Nissan Leaf (an all-electric mass-produced vehicle)


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