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Old 03-22-2011, 03:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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2nd View of the Volt



I just got to see the Chevy Volt again this past weekend.

It was on display at the Milwaukee Hybrid Group meeting. The owner of the car is one of the first in the state of Wisconsin.

He gave a presentation about his real-world experiences with the car. It was great to get to talk to a real, live person, instead of GM marketing materials.

Of the fun odd little things to know about the car, it has a BUTTON to change the time on the clock. Yep, twice a year when you change the clock for daylight saving, you only have to hit one button, instead of a menu. However, there's already PLENTY of buttons on the center console. Is one more really needed that you only use twice a year?

He also mentioned how he missed the remote entry feature that he had on his Prius. On the Volt, you have the "old-fashioned" remote key fob, that you must pull out of your pocket and press.

In things that he LOVED about the Volt - Running on electricity - and electric torque! He also talked about all the neat little features in the Volt smartphone application. You can check your state of charge, turn the AC or heat on and off, an do a zillion other things right from your phone!

This car has a nice two-tone leather interior, including heated seats. Not only are heated seats comfortable, but they are a rather efficient way to heat the driver instead of the whole cabin.

He did mention that there were several times in the winter when the engine would kick on when below about 26 degrees Farenheight, even though the batteries were not low. He didn't know the technical reason why it happens, although I would guess that it may have to do with battery thermal management. Just as the Tesla has a huge radiator to cool it's batteries, perhaps the Volt uses engine coolant for battery temperature control?

It was also fun to see the Volt get plugged in. On the driver side, there is a charging port with a J1772 connection. To connect to a plain 15 amp 120V outlet, a special adapter cable is used, which conditions the power and takes care of the "handshake" data connection that's part of the J1772 spec.

Once the car is plugged in, a green LED lights up on the top of the dashboard (where it is easily seen from outside the car) and the horn makes a short, soft beep.

I did also notice that the production version of the Volt still doesn't have a simple cover over the six power cables going back and forth between the inverter and the electric motor. Somehow it just looks, I don't know... unfinished? It makes everything under the hood look just a little cluttered.

I also noticed that under the back, where the fuel tank is, it has a number of exposed wireharnesses. Not that most people go sticking their head under the back of the car all the time, but it did still have that feeling of maybe missing a cover or additional piece of trim.

Would I buy a Volt? Nah, it's out of my price range. I'd also have to weigh the electric only range vs other vehicles like the Leaf.

Would I drive one? You bet. It looks nice, accelerates great. It's a pretty cool car.











YouTube - Chevy Volt Walk-around

YouTube - Chevy Volt Charging

(Hmm - YouTube changed their style of embedding. Can anyone help me embed these two video clips instead of linking to them?)

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Last edited by bennelson; 03-22-2011 at 05:38 PM.. Reason: added videos, corrected spot where I said Prius when I meant Volt
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Old 03-22-2011, 05:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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bennelson -

I think you meant Volt here :

Quote:
In things that he LOVED about the Prius - Running on electricity - and electric torque! ...
Great writeup. I have officially seen 2 Volts in LA so far. Never up close, just around and about.

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Old 03-22-2011, 05:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Whoops, good catch. I edited to correct that.
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Old 03-22-2011, 05:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I also saw the Volt at the Columbus International Auto show. Nice car, but I was highly unimpressed with both the size and the fact that it only seats 4. The car is a lot smaller in person that I thought it would be. I would venture a guess that it is not even as big as a Ford Fusion.

And GM really needs to stop playing up to peoples range anxiety. They are starting to look stupid now that we have a Nissan, two Fords, a Mitsubishi, not to mention a few others that run 100 miles on a charge.
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Old 03-22-2011, 06:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well, the Volt is a compact car. Its not even as big as a Prius (which is a midsize).
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Old 03-22-2011, 06:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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When is the volt coming down to the south?
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Old 03-24-2011, 04:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Electric seat heating also draws a lot of power from the battery.

I utterly dislike it as it feels like I've just wetted my pants when I try it out in someone else's car.
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Heating just the seats is more efficient than heating the entire cabin (of course it still takes energy!). Everyone has a different opinion on how they like heated seats. I haven't been a fan of them in conventional cars, but I may end up installing some in my electric car.

I'm also always surprised on what things people say they don't like about certain cars. Several people say they wouldn't buy a Volt because it doesn't seat five, yet rave how much they love their Geo Metro. Last time I checked the seating capacity on that car wan't much different....

I've also seen negativity in comments on new/different cars, such as the Volt, the the person has never even seen the vehicle in real life.

Most of the fun in talking to the owner/driver of this car was in his "real-world" experiences with it. He was relentless in making fun of the "TP Button" on the control column!
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Old 03-26-2011, 05:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Better not leave it "on" though !

Apparently, leaving it "ON" will switch on the ICE and still burn its fuel !

Left your Chevrolet Volt on overnight? That's okay — Autoblog Green
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Old 03-27-2011, 12:58 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bennelson View Post
Several people say they wouldn't buy a Volt because it doesn't seat five, yet rave how much they love their Geo Metro. Last time I checked the seating capacity on that car wan't much different....
Yay! I thought I was the only Metro owner who made that complaint!
I admit I am prejudiced against the Volt, and would probably find anything I could to tear it down, because I'm mad that the world insists on comparing a hybrid to an electric car. Furthermore, I think the Volt could have been an EXCELLENT electric car if they ditched the engine/gas tank and all related ICE stuff and filled the empty space with more batteries. That being said, I had a feeling in the back of my mind that maybe the 4 person seating might have been an exaggeration and that you'd be able to fit 3 kids back there in real life. But looking at the pictures, there's just no way. I love my Geo Metros to death, all of them, but the fact that they seat 4 is one serious drawback; but hey, for $500 I'll take it. If I'm going to fork out $40,000 or more though, it better be damn-near perfect! This kind of goes along with people wanting to demean my electric car because it gives the EV world a bad name. But when I look at all the different EV's of all types, they seem so very limited to me, and frankly useless: a bunch of 2-seaters, single cab pickups, kit cars with no top or windows, cars with a backseat full of batteries, no trunk, etc. But it seems OK with everyone- as though I am the only person in the world with a family. The typical family has over 2 kids, so will the typical family be forced to purchase a car that can never allow the entire family to go somewhere? And I am somehow an incredibly small minority? I do realize that there are always several cars in the family, and parents spend a good deal of time commuting alone, but it just seems wrong that right out of the gate you have to be stuck with a car that will never be the one to be taken on those unforgettable family getaways.....

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