2011 Chevrolet Volt: Keep It Charged Up!
January 21, 2011
I took my first spin in our long-term 2011 Chevrolet Volt last night. It was more than a spin really, it was a full 100-mile commute home and back. How did it do?
First, I was impressed with the 37.8 miles I traveled on pure electricity. In a world where manufacturer claims about electric range often have little to do with reality, getting 37.8 miles on a car that's supposed to go 40 miles on a charge was a pleasant surprise. Most of my driving was in stop-and-go traffic for the first 10 miles, followed by more medium speed travel (around 45 mph with occasional stop lights) for the next 15 miles, and then highway speeds for the last 12 miles of electric travel. I feel like that's a pretty realistic mix of conditions, so that 37.8 figure is an honest one in my opinion.
However, I drove the last 12 miles home, and the next 52 miles back to work, on pure gasoline (didn't plug the car in at my house for a variety of reasons). Under those circumstances the Volt averaged 32.3 mpg. Not a terrible figure, but checking our last Fuel Economy Update for the long-term fleets shows the Fusion Hybrid and Mazda 2 at about the same level, and our old 2004 Prius well above it. All for markedly less than the Volt's starting price of $41,000 (and those cars don't require premium, either).
So, to point out the obvious, if you're looking to justify the Volt's hefty MSRP: Keep it charged!
Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor at Large @ 1,121 miles