2011 Chevrolet Volt Long Term Road Test


2011 Chevy Volt: The Perfect Compromise?

January 28, 2011

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On my daily commute I get notoriously poor fuel economy. It's bumper-to-bumper traffic that jumps from 0-40-0 and 0-30-0 and 0-50-0 three times a minute and I've got a heavy foot. Poor fuel economy is the price I pay for driving how I want. I'm okay with that. When I had a Mazda3 I averaged 15 mpg on this commute. I was okay with it.

So when I got into the Volt for my normal commute for the first time, I expected it to be like the Mini E or the Plug-in Prius we had and return roughly 50% of advertised electric range.

.....I was wrong.

The first picture in this series is from my parking spot at home when I booted up (you don't start this time) plugged in my iPhone, turned on the seat heaters and AC (that's just how I roll) and hit the road. The following is the big screen version of my consumption and range before takeoff.

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So we're looking at 11.8 miles on this charge and 24 miles of battery life remaining. When I started my trip, battery range was listed at 39 miles. 39 - 11.8 = 27.2 so I was already nearly 3 miles worse than the computer anticipated. ( I had to drive Takahashi home, I was going faster than normal and it wasn't representative of my normal commute.)

Here's the after...

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Exactly 8 miles later I was in our office and the battery remaining computer was sitting pretty at 18 miles left on the charge. For those keeping track, I used 7 miles of battery for 8 miles of driving. If I continued on this commute more, I assume the computer would learn my style and it would be even better.

On an every day basis, I drive to work and then I drive home. If I need anything (groceries, etc) I walk. It's one of the nice things about living in the Miracle Mile. 5 days a week I'd be happy as can be with an electric car. I love new tech, I like the torque, I like how quet they are and the EV powertrain suits a bad commute far better than even an automatic-equipped gas engine with stop/start. Trouble is, when the weekend comes, I'm on the road 2-3-400 miles just to get out of the city. This car is the perfect hybrid for that. (As it was designed to be.)

If my apartment building or office had a charger (and I didn't have access to one already) and it was $10K cheaper (Sorry, it doesn't feel or drive like a $40K + car) I'd own one. Plus it's a hatchback, we all know I loves me some hatchback.

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Inside Line @ 1,151 miles

(Notable: Rear room isn't great for anything that isn't a backpack. I never have rear seat passengers so I'm okay with this.)

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2011 Chevrolet Volt in VA is:

$121 per month*
* Explanation
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