2011 Chevrolet Volt: Works for My New Commute Too
August 09, 2011
The Chevrolet Volt made a lot of sense when I lived about six miles from work. But now I live much further, and the last time I took Volt home, it was only 75 percent charged, so I wasn't able to get an accurate representation of its range.
I now have an 18.5 mile commute that goes up a hill before a drop into the San Fernando Valley. I catch a fair amount of traffic on both ends of the commute, which actually helps out the Volt by keeping the average speed down. Going up the hill at full highway speeds would significantly deplete the charge.
When I left the office, the Volt estimated that I had 39 miles of range on the fully charged battery. I drove home calmly and frequently used the "L" gear when I was in traffic to take advantage of the more aggressive regenerative braking. I alternated between "D" and "L" as if the Volt had a manual two-speed transmission. This kept me off the brakes and kept the eco ball centered in the gauge cluster. The weather was mild, so I didnt have use the A/C. I drove with the general flow of traffic and the fastest I went was about 65 mph.
I was able to make the 37-mile round trip and still have 14 miles left on the estimated electric range. This was impressive, given that the Volt went up a hill twice. If you add up the figures, the car theoretically could have gone about 51 miles. This would've been a record for me, but still short of Dan's impressive 54.6 miles. I dont have any kilowatt numbers or utility bills to back this up, but given that I can make my commute both ways without using gas, I'd say the Volt still makes sense for my commute.
Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate @ 9,069 miles