|2011 Chevrolet Volt|
At this Saturday morning public car show a number of people came up and shared with me their opinions on the Electric Vehicle Technology. Being an early adopter of the Segway® Human Transporter technology, a battery powered electrically propelled platform that transports a single human being, with a range of 20 miles at up to 12.5 mph. I knew that there are plenty of haters of electric transportation technology out there. Though I still found it interesting that the haters seem to feel compelled to share with you, in no uncertain terms, their feelings on why these vehicles should not exist!
|A fine display of automobiles at|
Great Falls VA Cars and Coffee.
But the haters are far outweighed by the lovers of EV technology. People, young and old found the VOLT to be quite impressive, asking about the technology, sharing their knowledge of it, often somewhat misguided, but still very much appreciating the way this “New GM Vehicle” was built. Commenting on the high quality of the fit and finish, and that the VOLT felt like a $40K plus sports sedan, not an American ecnonobox, as they expected from an old line American auto manufacturer.
|Studebaker Electric from the early 1900's.|
|Chevrolet Volt engine compartment.|
|Cutaway of the Voltec powertrain.|
A Chevrolet Equinox running a
GM Fuel Cell powertrain.
|Aerodynamic comparison of the|
2011 Chevrolet Volt with a
1986 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16
|The Volt's passenger compartment|
provides plenty of space and comfort
Speaking of weight saving, you also find that this car has no optional sunroof, which would also take away on the interior space. The interior is roomy enough for most people, with interior roof height and passenger width spacious enough for the modern American body type.
|Volt's center console touch screen|
and touch pads.
Interior technology takes a bit getting use to! Instead of gauges, switches, buttons and dials, pretty much everything is a touch screen or a touch panel. Basic vehicle controls are where you would expect them, stalks for lights, turn signals and wipers, steering wheel controls for cruise control, using a Bluetooth® equipped phone, as well as mute and radio controls. The center console houses numerous touch controls for everything, which big hands can inadvertently cause another switch to be activated. You will find finger activated mechanical pull and push switches to turn the vehicle on and for power levels for the drive train, as well as the electrically powered emergency brake, and in a location that a passenger familiar to classic European cars might mistake it for a power window switch.
For driving you have a normal drive mode, a sport mode, which gives the VOLT a little more umph, and a mountain mode, which when activated, you feel the gasoline powered generator go into heavy duty electricity production to charge the battery so that you have extra power for driving up steep mountain grades.
The center mounted gear shift, feels very clunky, not smooth like the rest of the car, with Park, Reverse, Neutral and two Drive modes, D and L. Very familiar to anyone driving an automatic transmission car. The only difference is that the L position is like Drive, but gives the car more sensitivity to regenerative battery charging activities when you take your foot of the accelerator pedal.
|Power usage and production can be|
viewed on the touch screen.
Overall styling; this is not the space craft design of the 1990’s GM’s EV1 that was offered by the Saturn division, nor is it the bullet shape of the early Honda hybrids either. In all fairness, it looks like every other car on the road today with a classic Chevrolet grill displaying the familiar bow tie logo (the grill is not open to the engine compartment, like in a regular car, as there is no need for a large airflow to cool the engine.) The swooping sides, roofline and upright rear could be mistaken for a current model Acura. Door clunk on closure gives the car a feel of solidity, something that American cars have lacked. Tires are standard issue low rolling resistance Goodyear radials, just like the tires on any new car today, not run flats.
|Volt comes with a 110v plug in charger.|
|You will still be able to stop at your local gas station|
when driving a Chevrolet Volt. The gas fuels the
onboard electric generator.
EV technology will only continue to improve in the future, GM has done an excellent job in producing the VOLT, and I look forward to seeing what GM has next in the EV Technology pipeline. So for the haters out there: Get used to it; you are going to see this technology developing a whole new automotive enthusiast community!
|GM Futureliner from the 1940's Autorama traveling technology shows put on by GM.|