Home Chevrolet Chevrolet Volt (2013)

Chevrolet Volt (2013)

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There are hybrids, plug-in hybrids, electrics, even a thing called eAssist which is a mild hybrid, but there is only one Volt.

The Chevrolet Volt is a plug-in hybrid that operates unlike any other; here’s how: A single 10-hour overnight charge from your 110-volt household electrical outlet in the garage will get you anywhere from 25 to 40 miles of gasoline and emissions-free commuting, depending on how heavy footed you are.

Translated; the average American commute to work is 16 miles. That means that even if your employer doesn’t have an electrical outlet for you recharge one you arrive at work, you can still make it back to the house on that overnight charge you paid about $1.50 for. There is at least on Texas power provider that is promoting free electricity at night, so charging the battery during the specified hours could cost you nothing.

So what happens when the battery is depleted? A 1.4-liter, 84-horsepower gasoline engine kicks on to power up the generator to give you an additional 344 miles of driving before a stop at the gas station.

Here’s the window sticker’s breakdown on the Volt: 94 MPGe and 37 MPG with the gasoline engine. It states that you’ll save $7,600 in fuel costs over 5 years with an out of pocket gas bill of $1,000 per year. Sound like a lot? Not at all. Have you ever done the math on the amount of money you spend in a year filling up your ride?

As for the car itself, the design is sleek, aerodynamic and very GM. The ride and handling are very good with an almost German-car feel. The back 2 seats are comfortable, but like almost all mid-size 4-door sedan’s the legroom can be a little tight.

Up front are two info screens. For the driver, the screen is reconfigurable, so various functions can be displayed including whether your right foot is caressing or abusing the accelerator pedal. I liked that display the most, just to see how well I could do to keep up with traffic from a stop while using the least amount of electric power. I did pretty well after a few tries.

One new item on the 2013 model that is worth noting is a “hold” function. Say you are taking a road trip that involves highway AND city driving. In the “normal” mode, the Volt would use all of it’s stored electricity first, then switch to the gasoline engine once it’s depleted. The “hold” function allows the driver to use only battery power during those typical gas-sucking city speeds.

My Volt was pretty much loaded up with options, like the $2,000 high-end audio and navigation system, Bose speakers at $500, leather everything for $1,400 and polished wheels to the tune of $600. What I’m saying hear is, just like every other car, tack on the options and $39,145 base price swells to $45,170 after the $850 destination charge.

Although the Volt gobbles up highway miles with ease, is navigation really necessary? It is designed as a commuter car that CAN get to Dallas and back without being plugged in. On the other hand, when you get into this price range most folks opt for the most if not all of the extras we mentioned.

The government currently offers a $7,500 credit on the car, so that should help a little.

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