Project Volt – 48 Hours With Chevy’s New Hybrid

by steve on August 20, 2012

Chevy Volt

Through the magic of having a decent Klout score I was chosen by Chevrolet to have a two-day test drive of a brand-new Chevy Volt in return for talking about it to you through my social network.

So why not?  My ’88 Saab 900 is going need to be replaced someday.  My ’74 VW Thing has a smashed-in rear.  Someday I’m going to have to enter the new millennium.

First impressions:

  • Fancy!
  • Quiet!
  • Holy cow, I drove 3.4 miles and didn’t use a drop of gas!

Stay tuned – I can tell I’ll be doing a bunch of driving shortly.

…and we’re back.  I forgot to note exactly how many miles I drove in total, but I went out to Hillsboro and back, up to Tacoma and back and ran around with Chloe.  That works out to 8-something hours of highway driving and several more hours of sitting in city traffic.  At the end of my time with the Volt it told me I averaged about 56 MPG.  My regular driving is all city, I’d probably be at 100+ mpg if I hadn’t left town.

Let me sum up the experience for you:

  • Clearly they’ve put a lot of thought into how getting around in an electric car can be made seamless.
    • You just get in and drive.  No need to fool with the electric bits if you don’t want to.
    • You can’t get stranded if you run out of battery power.
    • It doesn’t show compromises of earlier electric cars in being tiny or having no power.
  • It’s clear they wanted to get away from the image of past electric cars being weak tea.  With it’s aggressive  styling and plentiful go-go power in the pedal means you can drive like Arnold Schwarzenegger while using gas like Al Gore.
  • You’ll love not burning fuel in city traffic.  It’s awesome.
  • I don’t have the stats handy, but it appears to have somewhat less cargo room than a non-hybrid.
  • I’m not currently shopping for a car, so I don’t know how it compares to the alternatives, but I enjoyed the experience and give it two thumbs up.
Want to read my Twitter stream, the review from the driver’s seat?

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