The extended range Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle is priced at £28,545 in the UK (after deducting the £5,000 government grant). In Chevrolet’s press release, it stated that the Volt is unlike most electric cars since “the only time a Chevrolet Volt really needs a charge attached to it is when you buy it in the first place!”
When running purely on electricity, it has a range of 30 to 50 miles depending on terrain and traffic conditions. After this, the on-board generator kicks in to prolong battery power. The Volt’s petrol engine is different from hybrids as it functions only to generate power to prevent the battery from running out.
This addresses the ‘range anxiety’ that users have of other electric vehicles that have a limited range and depend on a charging infrastructure.
Chevrolet UK Managing Director, Mark Terry, said that the company sought to “back up a century of progress with our vision for the next century,” adding that it’s now a reality. He described the Volt to be a “truly incredible car” – the first to be compromise-free and have zero-emissions.
That the Chevrolet Volt has been refined, much less designed, in order to excite is without question. One benefit of the new design is that is allows less energy to be used in order to overcome air resistance. This certainly contributes to around 8 miles of electric range with extended range at 50 miles. What made this possible is owing to the fact that both the design team and the engineering team worked with GM’s aerodynamic experts in the company’s own wind tunnel to create the Volt.
As such, the Volt is likely the most aerodynamic model in its history. Take the front portion for example. With the flush and rounded front fascia coupled with the grille and the narrow corners, this lowers drag since air can move easily around the Volt. The use of sharp edges in the rear plus the specially designed spoiler ensures that air flow is controlled. Helping reduce the drag, and even the turbulence, are the aggressive rake on both the windshield and the glass on the back.
Compared to other models in the same class, the flush relationships and the gap of the element-to-element are far better, be it the exterior or the interior. The company even made sure not to disregard the underhood compartment. Everything follows high standard as it relates to appearance and complements the rest of the vehicle as it uses the same colors or grained surfaces. The design also helps communicate its capabilities as an electrically-driven vehicle.
Its performance-oriented, sleek, and bold, profile helps it appear like a midsize and upscale sport sedan. This was thanks to a wheelbase measuring 2,685 mm (105.7 inches), front tracks at 1,556 mm (61.2 inches) and rear track at 1,578 mm (62.1 inches). Aiding in this look is the sculpted belt line, wheels-out stance, and premium execution. Director of design Bob Boniface shared that as the Volt is a radical car, the company wanted a design that was sleek and offered a dynamic statement.
Looking at this vehicle, he added, one can observe that the execution is both refined and technical considering the different interrelating surfaces that have those sharp creases and edges. The Chevrolet bowtie is carried by the rear liftgate appliqué in a unique gloss black. This is also in one of the two insignias of the Volt with the other one placed on the forward quarter panel. Six colors for the exterior will be made available and this includes Black and Cyber Gray Metallic, Crystal Red Metallic Tintcoat, Silver Ice Metallic, and White Diamond Tricoat. The last one is called as Viridian Joule Tricoat. If the name is unique, this is because this was selected during a national contest conducted back in 2009. While the design is indeed excellent, the core of the Volt is none other than the Voltec propulsion system.
This system ensures the Volt gets a total maximum range of 350 miles and is due mainly to the combination of the efficient engine which helps extend the range and the pure electric drive. The battery itself has the T-shared lithium-ion battery pack at 16 kWh. Manufactured in the U.S., specifically in Brownstown Township, Michigan, the battery is 5.5 feet long and weighs 435 pounds, around 198.1 kilograms.
The energy created by the battery powers the electric drive unit, the one that moves the vehicle, which has total output at 111 kW or 149 hp. When running on solely the energy inside the battery, the Volt can go between 25 miles and 50 miles, and all the while running emission-free. Of course, one would also need to factor in the temperature, current terrain, and the driving techniques. Driving the Volt solely under electricity is truly lively.
Maximum speed is at 100 mph with peak torque at 273 lb.-ft. (368 Nm). Acceleration from 0 to 60 mph is possible in 9.0 seconds. It can reach a fourth of a mile in under 17.0 seconds. Once the energy in the batter is all used up, the Volt can easily shift to the extended-range mode. The power is inverted and obtained for the 1.4-liter gas-powered engine with output at 63 kW (84 hp). This gives the Volt an extra range of 310 miles.
Once depleted, recharging the battery is both intuitive and simple. It can be done through a 240-volt dedicated charging station or a standard 120-volt electrical outlet in the house. Using the former, charging can take around 4 hours with the latter taking between 10 up to 12 hours. After the Volt has been plugged, it is possible to set a schedule to immediately charge it or possibly delay it. The owner can even manage the charging to meet the departure or during periods when rates are lower. It is also possible to remotely monitor and manage the vehicle using a computer through MyVolt.com. It can also be done through a smart phone application which is the Chevrolet Mobile App and powered by OnStar MyLink.
Overall, the battery equipped in the Volt was constructed to deliver what customers want which include durability, performance, quality, reliability, safety, and most importantly, value. In addition, the company made sure to give it an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty. When it comes to the battery packs on the Volt, testing was done as far back as 2007 with engineers at GM managing to fulfill validation testing of more than four million hours and one million miles.
The same was done on the nine modules on each of the pack and the 288 prismatic cells. Of the 161 components of the battery, 95% of these were designed and engineered by GM. Even then, the development team, validation and even test teams did not only meet the needed specifications but even managed to validate each one.
General Motor executive director for global electrical systems Micky Bly shared that the company’s customers are committed to having technology that can lower reliance on petroleum. As such, he continued, the company promises to offer the highest of standards to its customers when it comes to reliability, performance, quality, safety, and value.