Photo Gallery:
2012 Chevrolet Volt

Day 1

Day by Day Review: 2012 Chevrolet Volt daily car reviews chevrolet
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I am excited this week — I have been presented with a challenge, and I have accepted it. Of course, it is a challenge I placed on myself, so I’d better accept it. This week I drive the Chevrolet Volt: not a hybrid, but an electric vehicle with extended range. We can argue the semantics all day, so whatever GM wants to call it, let’s go with it. The electric range of the Volt is between 40 and 80 kilometres, according to GM. My commute, as measured by the Volt today, is 24 km each way, for a total of 48 km. I’m sure you figured out the challenge: can I get to work and back on a single charge without using fuel?

It will be interesting, as Paul Williams, who handed me the car today, said he was getting 46km on a charge, so it will be tight. But before we go any further, let’s explain exactly how this car is laid out and how it works.

Day by Day Review: 2012 Chevrolet Volt daily car reviews chevrolet
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The Volt is a four-passenger, four-door hatchback, and offers a considerable amount of cargo space due to its efficient placement of the batteries. Three hundred litres of cargo capacity is the official rating. The drivetrain uses two electric motors, one that produces 110 kW (the primary motor) and one that produces 55kW. Very difficult to explain in words, but the entire system uses a set of gears and clutches to transfer the power from the motors to the wheels.

Also present is a 1.4-litre gasoline engine, rated at 85hp, which is connected via a clutch to the secondary motor to transfer power to the battery or the drive wheels. The battery is a lithium-ion pack with a 16kWh capacity, and based on my electricity bill, this means it will cost me roughly $1.40 to charge the battery. If this nets me the 50 km needed to get to work and back, then I’m saving about $3 a day in fuel, or approximately $800 a year over a vehicle that averages 8.0L/100km.

But I do have to plug it in when I get home or the whole shooting match goes out the window, and we have been advised that if you do not have a covered garage that you should not really charge the Volt outside to protect it from the elements, so this could be an issue for some.

So I am excited to see if I can save myself $10 this week — let the challenge begin!

2012 Chevrolet Volt
MSRP as tested (excluding destination): $48,150

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