2011 Chevrolet Volt: My Pac-Man Tied for Second
March 04, 2011
Last night I took the Chevrolet Volt to my mother-in-law's house. She lives in the San Fernando Valley, about 21 miles away from where I live. I had already used up six miles of electric charge to drive home from the Edmunds office. In order to get to the Valley, you have to drive up a fairly steep hill. I saw the electric range meter fall quickly as I climbed, and figured I would have a record-low electric-only range when the charge was finally depleted. It turned out to be quite the opposite.
On my way home, the electric range read 16 miles. I wanted to make the charge last, so I drove in the slow lane, going 50-60 mph. By the time I got to the top of the hill (at Skirball Center Drive, for those familiar with the area), the Volt's display said I only had two miles of electric range left. But these would be the longest two miles I had ever driven.
I was now going downhill and was able to coast at 50-55mph without giving any throttle at all. It was nighttime, so there was hardly any traffic. I was almost at my exit and the range was still pegged at 2 miles. I didnt set out to break the range record that day, but as I passed the 42 mile mark, I thought to myself "I might be able to make a run at this thing!"
In a desperate attempt to conserve energy, I turned off the seat heaters that my wife was using and kept driving as consistently as possible. I exited the 10 Freeway on the Robertson offramp. This is about 10 miles from when the electric range first showed only two miles left. As I continued to drive on the street, the meter fell to one mile and soon after that the gas engine kicked in.
The Volt's display showed that I had driven 45.5 miles on electricity only. This is less than a mile short of the 46.4 record set by Dan Edmunds, but I did tie with Karl Brauer for second place. Looking back I shouldve stayed on the freeway to keep the momentum. But regardless, it was a good run.
Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate @2,932 miles.