2016 Chevrolet Volt: Electric Range That's in the Ballpark
by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor on January 22, 2016
We're still gathering drive data on our 2016 Chevrolet Volt to compile meaningful numbers on our EV range and gas-engine mpg. But here's another early anecdotal result, taking the car's trip computer at its word. During my first drive with the Volt, I was able to eke out 48.2 EV miles before staying on gasoline for the remainder of the miles.
OK, so that falls short of the Volt's EPA rating of 53 electric miles, and it's well eclipsed by Dan's 70-mile outing and the 62-mile performance we managed in an initial road test. But I was mildly impressed just the same that it came within five miles of the EPA rating given conditions: A short-trip to the on-ramp, followed by open highway miles at open highway speeds.
Maybe I'm still too entrenched in the mpg mindset where efficiency promises are always viewed with suspicion, and anything in the ballpark is generally deemed acceptable. But where a five-mpg shortfall in gasoline engine efficiency can earn you a class-action lawsuit, electric miles are a whole different voodoo.
Anyway, this is one isolated leg. But it's a marked improvement on Volt 1.0. When we had our former 2011 Volt long-termer, we averaged 37.3 electric miles during a year of driving (EPA rating: 35 miles). Here again, Dan managed to extract some real range, twice reaching 54 electric miles in heavy traffic.
Further geeking on energy consumption, the EV miles burned on this leg required just 14.3 kilowatt-hours. That works out to 29.7 kWh per 100 miles. By comparison, our 2011 Volt averaged 34.2 kWh/100 miles.
Like Magrath explains, I'm not sure the Volt is the right car for me either, but I like several things about it. For one thing, since 48 miles represents about 80 percent of my one-way commute, I could spend most of my time driving to the office on electrons — in the HOV lane.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor