2011 Chevrolt Volt: Would You Believe 54.6 Electric Miles?
May 12, 2011
My new 2011 Chevrolet Volt electric range record of 54.3 miles on a charge lasted all of 14 hours. This morning I was doing so well that I actually drove past the office to once again see how long I could fend off the dinosaurs. In the end I squeaked 54.6 miles all-electric miles out of our plug-in Chevy, turned around, and drove back to the Edmunds parking garage.
Like yesterday, I left later than I wanted to and caught traffic. And that's the secret to good range: wade out into LA traffic instead of waiting it out or trying to miss it by punching out early. You want a traffic-enforced average speed of around 30 or 35 mph on a long freeway commute with a top speed of no more than 50 mph and no really slow periods or dead stops.
Of course this means out I'm on the road for nearly two hours *each way* instead of the usual hour and fifteen minutes.
It's a real-world situation, but not a tolerable one. I'd go nuts if I did it every day. I'll resume my habit of trying to beat traffic and run with others equally eager to get where they're going, even if it does mean I'll only get 40 electric miles out of the Volt instead. I'm totally fine with burning a little gasoline to preserve my sanity and spend a bit more time kicking back with the family.
Still, I have backed up my record, so I guess it's certifiable. And the very existence of traffic signifies that there are plenty of commuters that are driving the right mode to get decent electric range out of a Volt if they tried. Ironically, single-commuter carpool stickers and the higher speeds they permit could actually reduce a Volt's electrric range.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 5,849 miles