Where Did We Drive It?
Our 2016 Chevrolet Volt made the usual rounds this month, mainly ferrying editors to and from our office in Santa Monica on their commutes. We also drove it to Rosamond, California, home of the famous Willow Springs Raceway, for our annual driving school. On the way, the Volt made a cameo appearance at Vasquez Rocks, aka arguably the most exciting sight on the desolate stretch between Santa Clarita and Palmdale.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on September 29, 2016
We've written a few prior updates about the regenerative braking paddle on our 2016 Chevrolet Volt's steering wheel. None of them has been positive. After driving our Volt for about two weeks, though, I've found that using the paddle in conjunction with the "Low" driving mode works pretty well.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on August 9, 2016
We recently leased a 2016 Fiat 500e for my daughter. In case they don't sell them where you live, the "e" stands for electric. I'm not a fan of the regular 500's engine and transmission, but that stuff gets magically wiped away when they build a 500e, leaving behind a torquey, cute-as-anything pocket rocket with an ultra-low center of gravity.
But I digress. We're supposed to be talking about the 2016 Chevrolet Volt long-term test car I drove home a couple nights ago. The connection, literally, comes in the form of the Fiat's 120-volt Level 1 power cord.
I'm lazy, you see. Why unwind the Volt's Level 1 cord when my daughter's Fiat cord is already plugged in and ready to go?
It's easy to forget that our 2016 Chevrolet Volt is a hybrid. After all, with anywhere from 50 to 70 miles of electric range, you can drive for an entire day on electricity without even thinking about it.
by Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor on May 13, 2015
Rather than take a flight up to California's wine country for a work trip, I opted to drive the 425 or so miles each way. So the call went out to our in-house wranglers to see which of our long-termers needed some miles. Since our 2016 Chevrolet Volt has been used primarily as a commuter with a charge station on at least one end of the route, it was lacking in the long-distance part of its life.
by Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor on May 11, 2016
I arrived at Edmunds HQ at 6:45 on Monday morning. The 2016 Chevrolet Volt was in desperate need of a bath, and our preferred car wash wouldn't open for another couple hours. Perfect, I thought. This would (or should) be enough time to fully recharge the Volt's depleted battery
Based on my experience with our old 2014 BMW i3, I estimated I would make it out of the office with the Volt around 10 a.m.. The i3 had a 22 kilowatt-hour battery and an all-electric range of 72 miles. It took about four hours to fully charge.
Our Volt, meanwhile, has a range of 53 miles from an 18.4 kWh battery. Using the i3 as my mental yardstick, I reasoned that it would take less time for the Volt to charge.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on April 26, 2016
One of the big improvements for the 2016 Chevrolet Volt is greater full-electric driving range. The previous generation Volt had an EPA-estimated range of 38 miles; the new model can go 53 miles typically before switching on its gas engine/generator (and we've already exceeded that easily a few times). The upshot is that we're spending even more of our time driving our Chevy Volt like it was an electric vehicle (EV).
That's pretty neat, but it also made me wonder: When it's just using its electric battery power, how efficient is the Volt compared to other plug-in hybrids or even other EVs? Or, put in the way we would ask a friend about his or her regular new car: what kind of mpg is it getting?
Let me start by immediately walking that assertion back. Not every car, of course. The world still needs Mustangs and Corvettes and 911s and things of that nature. Or I do, at least.
But what if every commuter car were like our long-term 2016 Chevrolet Volt? Urban fuel consumption — and thus pollution — would plummet. Gas-price anxiety would stop being a thing, yet there wouldn't be any range anxiety, either. Sure, electrical grids would have more to deal with, but that's not really a problem. And everyone would enjoy instant-on electric propulsion that really thumps in the heavily trafficked zero-to-40-mph range.
These were the thoughts I was having last weekend as I drove our Volt all over Los Angeles and Santa Barbara Counties. TLDR: If everyone had a Volt, I think the world would be a better place.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on March 8, 2016
My commute is dreadful. It's 46.6 miles from Santa Ana to Santa Monica, and my route includes some of the worst L.A. freeway miles imaginable. To survive, I time-shift and work an East Coast schedule, setting my alarm at 4:15 am in order to get on the road at 5:00 am (OK, usually 5:15 am), at which point I have a decent chance of getting to work by 6:00 am. My early arrival allows for an early escape that usually gets me out ahead of the worst of the afternoon commuting wave — theoretically, at least.
But a recent week was full of scheduled meetings that would stretch into late afternoon. I would have to work a normal schedule. My solution? Drive our 2016 Chevrolet Volt and take full advantage of its single-occupant HOV lane access stickers.
by Mike Magrath, Features Editor on February 22, 2016
I'm a competitive person no matter the subject. So when we got our new 2016 Chevrolet Volt, I knew I'd be playing the "how far can we (reasonably) go in the real world on a charge?" game and I assumed it would be with Dan Edmunds. Again. (Carlos and I will later play the "How little distance can we reasonably cover in the real world?")
And then Dan got 70 miles and I had to beat it. I just didn't expect it to be so easy.
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.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on December 31, 2015
Longtime readers may remember our 2011 Chevrolet Volt long-term test car. You may also remember that Magrath and I got into a cut-throat maximum range competition. I ended up winning that no-holds-barred geek-off with an all-electric run of 54.6 miles, a figure that exceeded that Volt's 35-mile electric range rating by a full 56 percent.
My commute tends to have the right conditions for prolonged EV range; primarily, slow-and-go freeway traffic that never quite stops, never quite gets going faster than 50 or 55 mph. So I applied all the lessons I learned driving the old Volt and promptly went 70 miles on a full charge in our new 2016 Chevrolet Volt on my first attempt.