Volt has earned the designation, 2011 Car of the Year, by “Motor Trend” magazine, as well as Automobile of the Year from “Automobile” magazine. On the heels of those wins, at the Los Angeles Auto Show the Volt garnered the annual Green Car of the Year award, sponsored by the “Green Car Journal.”
According to the General Motors Volt Website, “‘The Green Car of the Year® award validates the Chevrolet team’s promise to deliver a practical electric vehicle,'” said Joel Ewanick, VP, U.S. Marketing, General Motors. “The Volt’s a transformational technology that will lead our industry into a new age of vehicle electrification’…. Besides the Nissan LEAF, the Volt also beat out the Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid .”
Now the Chevy Volt has also been named “Car and Driver’s” 10 Best Cars of 2011. What do they say about it? Their Website lists the highs, lows and verdict:
Highs : Electric motoring without a range issue, seamless operation, surprisingly crisp dynamics for an efficiency capsule.
Lows : Expensive, heavy, not-great economy when running on gas, a bit short on back-seat and cargo space.
The Verdict : The ideal, near-term EV solution.
With accolades like these, are there any reasons to not leap into the world of electric vehicles? Well, expense is still an issue. Looking at the General Motors Volt Website, they list the Volt price range as between $40,000 and $35,000 with the assumption of a federal tax credit up to $7,500. Even at $35,000 (plus additional charges for local delivery, taxes, licensing and options) the price point may well be above the purchase option for many people. However, the more consumer demand, the faster the cost will decrease. At least that’s the theory from economics 101.
Placing the cost issue aside, what does the Volt offer that prompted Car and Driver to write, “Mass-produced electric cars are finally here. And, this time around, it appears they’re here to stay.”
As a consumer who has little patience for cars that have problems, I expect them to perform well and it appears the Volt has innovations that will help assure better performance. For example, GM states that the battery has more power, with its Lithium-ion cells that should out-perform and out-live the nickel hydride cells. Also, it has “liquid thermal cooling and heating” that is advertised as keeping the battery at a constant, conformable temperature for when charging and discharging. These have been problems in other older EV models, and Volt takes the lead in new engineering to overcome the initial problems.
The Volt has new aerodynamic engineering to increase fuel efficiency and mileage. GM boasts on its website that the Volt will commute gas-free on electric for about $1.50 a day.
Safety is an important issue, and the Volt has a “cocoon of standard safely,” with eight airbags, as well as a 5-year OnStar subscription with Automatic Crash Response.
For those who expect bells and whistles, the Volt does not disappoint. GM calls it “Infotainment”, and some of the items include XM NavTraffic, Bose energy efficient sound system, Bluetooth and a 30 GB audio data storage unit.
Will it live up to the hype? Motor Trend magazine, Car and Driver, Automobile Magazine and Green Car Journal seem to believe so. The only way to be sure is to start with a test drive and see for yourself.
Car and Driver: Website
General Motors Chevy 2011 Volt: Website