Chevy Volt: One Year and 26,861 miles of Driving

June 20, 2012  -  New Canaan, CT

Motor Trend Magazine completes a one year test drive of the Chevrolet Volt covering over 26,000 miles with zero problems.

On most days, we get several questions about the Chevy Volt.  On others, we seem to get bombarded.  It seems the more Chevy Volts we deliver to customers, the more exposure the car gets and the more consumers all around the metro New York market ask questions.

If you've been visiting this site, you've read our reports on how well the Volt performs in real world use.  But rather than us telling you about the Volt, today we thought we'd share the opinion of the automotive experts at Motor Trend Magazine.  One thing is sure about automotive journalists - they are not shy about expressing their opinions!

Motor Trend keeps a small selection of vehicles in what they call their 'long-term test fleet'.  They keep these vehicles for one year and they see some fairly heavy use.  Various Motor Trend Staff members will use these vehicles for everyday driving, company business, as well as longer road trips.  In the case of the Chevrolet Volt, they have recently concluded their one year use and amassed 26,861 miles in the process.  That is definitely higher than normal annual use, and, in all honesty, not the optimum for an Electric Car like the Volt.  That said, the Volt performed brilliantly.

The full text of their report is below, but our favorite lines are these:  "the real headline here is that nothing ever went wrong the car. Zip. Zero. It was breathtakingly reliable, given that the Volt is (and try arguing this with me) the biggest quantum jump in automotive technology in decades."

Had Motor Trend taken delivery of their new Chevy Volt from KARL Chevrolet, we would have certainly reviewed our suggested maintenance plan which includes an annual oil change for the onboard gasoline powered generator.  We have also suggested a six month service visit to allow our technicians the chance to rotate your Volt's tires, complete a general vehicle inspection and ensure that all software is up to date.  Other than that, you are looking at a car than can SIGNIFICANTLY reduce your vehicle operating expenses while being kind to the environment.  It all adds up to a remarkable vehicle.

If you would like to experience what driving electric could do for your budget, please contact us to arrange a personal private test drive of the Chevy Volt.

CLICK HERE to View our Current Inventory of Chevy Volt models

CLICK HERE for details on KARL Chevrolet's Freedom Volt Lease Special!

2011 Chevrolet Volt Verdict

With a Year Gone By, Its Time for Some Answers

From the August, 2012 issue of Motor TrendBy Kim Reynolds | Photos Motor Trend Staff  
 
At 26,861 miles and during the very last week of its stay with us, our long-term Chevrolet Volt's computerized maintenance warning finally illuminated: Time to change the oil. For the First Time. I'd been fretting about whether the remaining oil life display had gone haywire, and was actually headed for the dealer, anyway.

Of course, not all those miles had been gasoline-powered. And even then, the little 1.4-liter engine's workload was fairly low stress -- it doesn't do a lot of revving. Even so, I had an oil sample taken and sent it to Blackstone Laboratories for analysis.  Result? Traces of aluminum, copper, and particularly iron, were high. I sent the report on to GM for comment, and they replied that this was "within normal range." Blackstone's Andy Martin retorted, "Well, you can't go wrong following what's recommended, but..." Yes, if I had known this, I'd have changed it earlier, too.

So there we are. A final curiosity from the car I drove from Detroit to L.A. with my daughter riding shotgun, filled 66 times with gas, charged 271 times, and a thousand times politely answered questions like "aren't you worried you'll run out of electricity and stop?" and "afraid of it catching fire?" and "how much?" Now that the Volt's year with us is up, it's time for some answers.

I'll start with those three questions I've heard so often. When the battery was depleted, the engine always started seamlessly. The Volt doesn't "die" at the end of its EV range, as pundits have claimed. Nor did it ever erupt into a lithium-ion inferno. However, it's quite evident from the car's sales that it simply costs too much for most folks (a $32,495 base price even after the federal tax credit).

Still, the real headline here is that nothing ever went wrong the car. Zip. Zero. It was breathtakingly reliable, given that the Volt is (and try arguing this with me) the biggest quantum jump in automotive technology in decades. Spooky-advanced-tech cars like this, I've noticed, are actually frequently more robust than conventional cars because their engineers are playing it very, very safe, knowing that everybody's watching with magnifying glasses.

"GM made big claims for the Volt, and our example lived up to every one of them", stated Kim Reynolds of Motor Trend.
 
A close runner-up to that impressive reliability is the fact that the car operated exactly as Chevrolet claimed it would. Driven normally, our car usually traveled between 35 and 40 miles per charge (our average was 36.8; at worst, it was 24 miles; at best, 45). Our battery-depleted (gas-powered) mpg was 38.7 (the EPA says 37). Here, in Southern California, the Volt cost about 60 percent less to operate as an electric car than as a gas one.

Niggles? The car's very low air dam (a mere 3.5 inches above the pavement) is essentially a sacrificial flap expected to scrape and flex; and ours become rather ratty-looking, though I regarded the marring as proud battle scars in the name of aerodynamic efficiency. (Even now, I'm still braking for small dips out of habit; a 1.2-inch-shorter substitute is available.) Another footnote was that filling the car with gas was sometimes balky, with the dispenser frequently shutting off. I found that holding it in a lifted position solved the problem, but, of course, you have to stand there and hold it.

A parting thought? To all the skeptical "gotcha" observers and disreputable political talking heads, I'd like to remind you of the 2001 Toyota Prius. I well remember driving it. It was homely. Its regenerative brakes were soupy. It wasn't cheap. Many suspected that Toyota lost money on it, and its technology benefited from Japanese government support. It sold poorly.

Hmm, I just checked Prius (family) sales for April 2012, and guess what? It's in third place among all cars, behind the Camry and the Accord. My point is, we need a much bigger perspective here. The Volt's costs will come down. Efficiencies will be incrementally learned. Let's meet up again in 11 years and see how the 2023 Chevrolet Volt is doing then.

Our Vehicle  
Service life  12 mo/26,683 mi  
Base price  $39,995  
Options  Audio system with nav package ($1995), Premium Trim Package ($1395: heated leather seats, leather steering wheel, door trim), rear camera and parking assist ($695), polished aluminum wheels ($595), Bose Premium speaker system ($495) Price as tested / $45,170 ($37,670 after federal tax credit)  
Avg econ/CO2  47.6 equiv mpg/0.45 lb/mi  
Problem areas  None  
Maintenance cost  $126.36 (tire rotation, oil change)  
Normal-wear cost  $0  
3-year residual value*  $16,797  
Recalls  Battery safety enhancements (not an official recall)  
*Automotive Lease Guide  

Motor Trend reports that the Chevrolet Volt is over 60% less expensive to operate than a comparable gasoline powered car
2011 Chevrolet Volt  
POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS  
Drivetrain layout  Front engine, FWD  
Engine type  I-4, iron block/aluminum head, plus AC electric motors  
Valvetrain  DOHC, 4 valves/cyl  
Displacement  85.3 cu in/1398 cc  
Compression ratio  10.5:1  
Battery type  16-kW-hr lithium-ion  
Power (SAE net)  84 (gas)/149 + 72 (elec)/149 (comb) hp  
Torque (SAE net)  92 (gas-est)/273 (elec)/ 273 (comb) lb-ft  
Redline  N/A (4800 rpm max)  
Weight to power  25.3 lb/hp  
Transmission  Cont variable auto  
Axle/final-drive ratios  2.16:1/7.01:1 (hwy speeds, N/A below)  
Suspension, front; rear  Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; torsion beam, coil springs  
Steering ratio  15.4:1  
Turns lock-to-lock  2.8  
Brakes, f;r  11.8-in vented disc + regen; 11.5-in vented disc, ABS  
Wheels  7.0 x 17-in, forged aluminum  
Tires  215/55R17Goodyear
Assurance Fuel Max  
DIMENSIONS  
Wheelbase  105.7  
Track, f/r  61.2/62.1 in  
Length x width x height  177.1 x 70.4 x 56.3 in  
Turning circle  36.0 ft  
Curb weight  3767 lb  
Weight dist, f/r  61/39%  
Seating capacity  4  
Headroom, f/m  37.8/36.0 in  
Legroom, f/m  42.0/34.1 in  
Shoulder room, f/r  56.5/53.9 in  
Cargo volume  10.6 cu ft  
TEST DATA  
Acceleration to mph  
0-30  3.2 sec  
0-40  4.7  
0-50  6.5  
0-60  9.0  
0-70  11.8  
0-80  15.2  
0-90  20.0  
0-100  30.3  
Passing, 45-65 mph  4.8  
Quarter mile  16.9 sec @ 84.3 mph  
Braking, 60-0 mph  112 ft  
Lateral acceleration  0.82 g (avg)  
MT figure eight  28.1 sec @ 0.59 g (avg)  
CONSUMER INFO  
Stability/traction control  Yes/yes  
Airbags  Dual front, front side, f/r curtain  
Basic warranty  3 yrs/36,000 mi  
warranty, eng; battery  5; 8 yrs/100,000 mi  
Roadside assistance  5 yrs/100,000 mi  
Fuel capacity  9.3 gal  
EPA city/hwy/comb econ  35/40/37 mpg; 95/90/93 mpg-e*  
Energy cons, city/hwy  96/84; 35/37 kW-hrs/ 100 mi*  
CO2 emissions  0.52; 0.00 lb/mi (at car)*  
Recommended fuel  Unleaded premium or 110- or 220-volt electricity  
*On gasoline; pure EV mode  

Read more: http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/oneyear/alternative/1208_2011_chevrolet_volt_verdict/viewall.html#ixzz1yNQAYdvB

 

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2 Responses

  1. Anonymous
    Of course, since all those miles had not been gasoline-powered, the 1.4 liter generator engine barely gets a workout. Long term maintenance on this car should be very minimal - has any study been done to see the effect of many miles of electric driving? This car looks great by the way!
  2. Emily
    Hi my name is Emily and I just wanted to send you a quick message here instead of calling you. I discovered your Chevy Volt: One Year and 26,861 miles of Driving | KARL Chevrolet | Chevrolet Dealer New Canaan Connecticut page and I loved it. Please keep writing more.

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