Chevrolet Volt Review
The Chevrolet Volt is General Motor’s answer to hybrid technology vehicles and is probably the most fuel efficient vehicle presently available in the market. The Chevrolet Volt is the new plug-in battery cum gasoline powered hybrid hatchback and the battery is a lithium-ion pack that powers the 149 horsepower electric engine independently for up to 40 miles of city driving.
The gas powered part of the engine also known as the E85 is an inline 4 cylinder and can supply power to the motor for an additional 300 miles. The Chevrolet Volt might just be the most fuel efficient car that one can buy today. The reason for the speculation surrounding the Volt as the most fuel efficient car around is due to the fact that its actual fuel efficiency cannot be measured in a normal way. Fuel efficiency is relative to how the car is driven.
The Chevrolet Volt is expected to hit the Indian market by the beginning of 2011 and should be priced around the 35 lakh mark making it quite steep. The fact that it is possible to never have to fill the car could play a role in its pricing as the Chevrolet Volt is the perfect vehicle for short trips in the city. Highway driving will require you to fill up accordingly as per distances traveled.
Performance – Chevrolet Volt in India
The Chevrolet Volt is front-wheel drive vehicle that is powered by a dual technology engine. It uses a battery that is used to power the electric motor and delivers good power of 149 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. The electric motor gains its power totally from the lithium-ion pack until there is 30 percent charge left. At this time it switches to the internal combustion engine which is a 1.4 liter four cylinder and runs on either petrol or E85 and when the battery charge is down this can run the car for up to 100 miles.
The Lithium-ion battery can only be charged with a 120 volt socket or a 240 volt power point. Charging the battery takes a maximum of three hours and enabled the Volt to travel up to 40 miles. Driving the car helps to replenish the battery charge to an extent and regenerative braking also allows the battery to recharge although not completely but more as a back-up.
Another cool fact about the Chevrolet Volt is the fact that it does not have a typical transmission relay. The Chevrolet Volt uses a single reduction gear which sends the power from the electric motor to the front wheels and performance and acceleration depend on the level to which the battery has been charged. Engineers at General Motors predict that the Volt will get from 0-100 km/hr in about 8.5 seconds with a fully charged battery pack.
The Chevrolet Volt is a five-door hatchback with seating capacity for four occupants. Standard features in the vehicle include automatic headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, remote ignition, six-way manual front seats, cruise control, automatic climate control, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, auto-dimming rearview mirror, OnStar – a navigation system with touchscreen, voice controls and real-time traffic, Bluetooth connectivity, cloth upholstery, and a six-speaker Bose stereo with CD/DVD player, auxiliary audio jack, iPod/USB interface and 30GB of digital music storage.
There is also a premium package trim available which puts on leather upholstery, heated front seats and leather wrapped steering wheel. In order to get front and rear parking sensors buyers will have to avail of the option of the Rear Camera and Park Assist package.
2011 Chevrolet Volt Photo Gallery
2011 Chevrolet Volt Styling
The 2011 Chevrolet Volt is a very unique car in terms of its interior as well as exterior design. The center stack is very distinctive and appears to draw its inspiration from something out of Star Trek as it has an almost unnecessary array of buttons and touchscreen activations. This should make owners happy as they will feel that the novel configuration of the center stack is one of the few features that may merit a premium price.
The Chevrolet Volt is loaded with all kinds of technological innovations and these include a colour display with built-in 30 GB hard-disk. The Chevrolet Volt is also very functional and the controls are intuitive. The futuristic looking dash and gauges are easy to read and will ensure the driver gets all necessary information with having to take his eyes off the road. There is also a meter to help the driver drive within the most optimum range for fuel efficiency and this id depicted by an almost floating sort of bubble. This stays green when fuel efficiency is at its optimum and turns deeper red when the car is not being driven for maximum fuel economy.
The downside to the Chevrolet Volt is the fact the buyers will feel that they have not got their money’s worth as some equipment expected in a car that costs 35 lakhs is missing like electrically powered driver’s seat and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Interior space though is good in the Volt and the front and rear cabins both provide ample space for all four occupants. The seats are also very supportive and ensure the driver is comfortable at all times. The rear of the Volt again is very spacious and has decent head room and leg room. The missing center seat should not prove to be a big problem although some families might actually miss it. A final production Volt has still not hit the roads so reports in interior build quality and design are imcomplete at best and we will only get a clearer idea in the months to come.
Pricing and Recommendations
The Chevrolet Volt is a completely fuel efficient vehicle. Chevrolet Volt price is expected to be around 35 lakhs and this could be the decisive factor for its sales in the Indian car market. It features a whole range of technological innovations, although a few standard trimmings would not have hurt and would also increase the aesthetic value of the vehicle.
The fact that it is a four-door hatch that seats only four people might be a further deterrent to potential buyers. Performance-wise though it has a very fuel efficient and clean engine that provides good acceleration even from a standing start. The cabin of the Chevrolet Volt is also quite and the ride is totally comfortable and matches to other electric vehicles in its class like the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius.
Handling in the Volt is also good although it seems to have a bit of a heavy front end that makes it slide around when entering corners. The brakes are also flawless and the pedals respond instinctively and accurately to driver inputs. From the ride quality to its weight ratio as well as the response of the steering, the Chevrolet Volt drives better and feels more accomplished than the usual suspects – The Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight.
2011 Chevrolet Volt India Specifications and Price
Vehicle Category: Electric Vehicle
Engines (combination): 1.4 L, 4-cyl inline, petrol, E85 / lithium-ion battery, 149 HP, 273 lb-ft torque
Drivetrain: Front engine, 4 passenger, 4-door hatch, FWD
Transmissions (standard): Single reduction gear
Curb Weight: 1346 kg
0-100 kph: 8 – 9 secs (est.)
Mileage city/hwy: Unlimited depending on distance driven
Chevrolet Volt price: Rs.35 Lakh (est)