2011 Chevrolet Volt Electric versatility Boston Overdrive Boston com

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Durlach/Boston.com Staff). Click for larger version.

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its December debut, Chevrolet has only 2,020 Volts in six through April, including and Washington, D.C. Massachusetts get the honor this fall, and the country will be invited to buy in While Chevy can fill Hertz lot in America with they’re barely making Volts this year.

because this plug-in has a battery with 12 times the of a Prius, and until now, no produced such a complex and lithium-ion pack in high Unlike a regular hybrid, the electric motor provides a assist to the gas engine, the Volt’s motor is the primary source of The gas engine is secondary and spins the motor when the battery (and at higher speeds, it can the wheels in tandem).

In short, the Volt is designed to be in like a pure electric but it’ll run all day and all week like a car. Anything else the Volt’s powertrain labyrinth is to explain without an engineering and that’s why the car costs $41,000. and because GM would really to recoup some of the money from four hard of labor.

(Darren Durlach/Boston.com Click photo for larger


A $350-per-month lease is a sweet for three years (nearly the Nissan Leaf ), but you could buy two Chevy Cruze sedans for the of a Volt. A $7,500 tax credit but most budget-conscious shoppers take a well-equipped 40-mpg like the Cruze, Ford or Hyundai Elantra without the Volt’s BMW-like price. now, the Volt’s a nice car for its owner’s 335i.

As expected, the Volt’s premium buys exclusive technology than an exquisite interior. The center stack is clever, but the aren’t even worthy of a car: Try a bone-hard dashboard and surfaces, coarse cloth, and a wheel so rough it feels in 50-grit sandpaper. Leather fixes some of this, but figures you’ll be too fixated on the dual LCDs to notice.

they’re not simply high-resolution with slick animations hypnotic.

First, it’s to see the gas gauge greyed out. shoved off to the screen’s corner electric mode, and the fuel doesn’t budge. Even is gazing at the pie chart separating the mileage on gasoline and electricity.

a nine-mile commute to the Globe, I the Volt out to lunch in the financial back to the office, to the gym, and home. My pie was mostly green (29 miles) and a tad blue (10 miles on Total average: a mesmerizing mpg.

(GM). Click photo for version.

How obsessed can you become? As I with the Volt’s three settings, I flipped to mountain The gas engine awoke it’s so Vermonters get extra juice on climbs and wouldn’t shut even when I switched to normal.

I refused to drive this on a charged battery, so I to the shoulder and restarted. A perfectly pie, ruined with 0.2 of gas.

Ever tried the messy bar graph readouts in a or pay attention to the jumpy throttle in a Ford Fusion Hybrid? the Volt, there’s no need to to keep the engine off, it’s always electric for 25 to 50 (and the battery life throws out the most accurate I’ve seen in an electric

Colder days pushed my EV to 25 miles per day, and slightly temperatures let the battery eke out 33 miles. our video shoot all over and Boston. I hit 40 with a few brief in between.

At my non-SAE compliant home station. I paid less two bucks a night to refuel the

Cheap electricity and the security of the gas takes the scrooge out of driving In sport mode, the Volt zippy acceleration. It’s no Roadster, yet it’s no slouch, 60 mph arriving in about 8.5 seconds. of the car’s low center of gravity, the is equally entertaining, and there’s traction from the low-rolling tires. Ground clearance is a too low, thanks to a wide chin spoiler designed to drag.

And all this rubber does is drag, on everything. Not the Porsche 911 Turbo scrapes like a Volt.

The Volt is sportier than the photos Glossy black trim on the roof, and glass hatch the stubby overhangs. LED lighting, a solid grill, and chiseled keep the Volt out of the appliance

An OnStar smartphone app can monitor the battery status, set up a charging start the climate control, and text messages when the full. Since the app runs OnStar satellites, it takes an minute or more to refresh the The Leaf’s app uses cellular and talks to the car much faster.

way, this is convenient every automaker should

Charging a Volt takes 10 on 120 volts, or about four on 240 (which requires a special unit sold by Chevrolet). But the all-electric range evaporates, the is a rather disappointing hybrid. The is neither the engine running at higher revs than the acceleration, nor the mild noise driving in complete silence. the fuel economy EPA rated at 35 40 highway which is hardly than the Cruze. (Compared to the Prius, the Volt is saddled a couple of NFL linemen, and the aero don’t make it sleeker.)

But in a world without public stations, the Volt’s versatility is its best trait. For daily pure electric vehicles a careful exercise in arithmetic and planning. They tend to the stress of driving.

And while of us follow routine, we also on impulse, chance, and urgency on the

The Volt takes care of Too bad you can’t buy one yet.

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