If you wish to start a full-on, broken bottle, brass-knuckle bar fight with a General Motors’ engineer for the Chevrolet Volt, try calling it a hybrid. If you have teeth and are standing vertically, you’re a lucky one. General Motors is quick to point out that the Chevrolet Volt is an electric car with a range-extending gas generator.
According to General Motors and Andrew Farah, Chief Engineer for the Volt, there is no direct MECHANICAL linkage from the engine to the wheels. The planetary gear-set transmission, which can harness the power from the Chevrolet Volt’s two (yes-2) electric motors, channels the power to the wheels. As the small gas engine whirls on (when battery power is depleted) one electric motor turns into a generator as it spins, sending energy from the gas engine to the battery and, thus feeding power to the wheels via the other electric motor.
I barely do.
All kidding aside; the technology is fascinating and the overall driving character of the Chevrolet Volt is mighty good.
…But, how about it as an everyday car? You know, the way TFLCar tests all their vehicles, from an everyday, every-man perspective?
As a commuter shooting back and forth to work, it’s ideal. If you live within 30 to 40 miles of work and have access to a charger, it’s possible not to use a drop of gas for weeks on end. It’s easy as hell to pop in a charger daily and it becomes second nature after a few days.
My favorite cousin, (who’s a nasty, bad-ass hockey player and has a small family) has a Chevrolet Volt and he loves it.
Here’s the thing: I can only partially agree. It’s take-it-or-leave-it with me. I can’t see hauling much (especially long hockey sticks) with anybody in the car. In Colorado (he lives La-Vida-Loco in L.A.) having a hatchback means having a useful rear windshield wiper. The Chevy Volt does not come with one.
It’s incredibly low to the ground too. If you simply must have something high-tech that can go through snow – consider a Subaru Crosstrek XV Hybrid or even the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. The chin is so low on this Volt that I scrape every speed-bump, even at low speeds.
Finally there’s the back seat. GM placed the batteries down the central spine of the Chevrolet Volt. This means that there’s a hump, similar to a transmission hump in rear-drive cars, down the middle of the car. It means that GM is unable to make a location for a third/center rear passenger possible. Whatever the reason may be, it’s downright impossible to take a fifth passenger with you. GM placed a two-cup cup-holder and an opening armrest there. The loss of that seat costs the wundercar some serious points.
The Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius and Honda Insight have room for a third person in the back seat.
Other than those quibbles, the Chevrolet Volt is a great collection of technology and a pretty good car to boot.
Check out its 0 to 60 mph run at the IMI Racetrack!
The “Mr. Fusion” reference is aimed at the Back to the Future movie franchise and not the Ford Fusion.