Chevrolet Volt (2013 onwards) MSN Cars UK

11 Май 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Chevrolet Volt (2013 onwards) MSN Cars UK отключены
Chevrolet Volt Electric Cars

Chevrolet Volt (2013 onwards)

Transmission:  CVT automatic

Date of test:  January 2013

What is it?

Anything that is powered by batteries is guaranteed to run out just when you need it. It’s sod’s law. You’re waiting on an important phone call when you hear the unmistakable beep-beep-beep. Same with electric cars.

Take an unplanned detour without a fully charged battery and you’re in for a long wait at the roadside.

There is a way, however, to have your electric cake and eat it – and it’s in the form of a ‘range extender’ such as the Chevrolet Volt, which starts at £28,545 after a £5k government grant.

With a back-up petrol engine, ready to kick in when the batteries run dry, it promises a realistic first step in the realms of electric car ownership. But, you might be thinking, what’s the difference between this and a hybrid car such as a Toyota Prius. Let me explain…

Where does it fit?

The crucial difference between a range extender like the Chevrolet Volt and a hybrid like the Toyota Prius, is that the Volt’s batteries always power the front wheels. If the batteries run dry, the 1.4-litre petrol engine cuts in to charge the batteries and provide drive, but the engine is more like a generator than the principal propulsion device.

The Volt is built on the same platform as the Vauxhall Ampera. Toyota has a similar car in the Plug-in Prius while motors such as the Nissan Leaf and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV are pure electric and best-suited to city use.

What does it do well?

The Volt starts with the characteristic silence of an electric car and moves off just as serenely. If the lithium-ion batteries are fully charged, the Volt will travel up to 50 miles before the need for the 86hp, 1.4-litre petrol engine to cut in to feed the electrical motor. In a roundabout way, this means it is always working as an electric car.

And unlike a conventional hybrid, it qualifies for the government’s £5k green car grant.

You can also charge the batteries by plugging the Volt into the mains. A full charge takes four hours, which is super-quick by electric car standards and, if you worried about the life of the batteries, you can rest easy with Chevrolet’s eight-year, 100,000 mile warranty.

Chevrolet Volt Electric Cars

Performance is sharp thanks to 273 lb/ft of torque hitting the front wheels the instant you touch the pedal. It means the Volt sprints off the line as smartly as a hot hatch, even if its 0-62mph time of 9.0 seconds suggests a tamer drive. However, at motorway speeds it lacks mid-range muscle.

What doesn’t it do well?

The Volt is a bit of a porker, with the batteries weighing as much as two grown men alone. This means it feels heavy and slow-witted on the move, with steering geared more towards cruising than nipping nimbly through city traffic.

That heavy battery back is also placed longitudinally through the middle of the car which means there is seating for four only and somewhat limits its appeal as a family car. The rear quarters can also feel cramped for tall passengers because of a sloping roofline.

What’s it like to live with?

The Volt lives up to its futuristic billing with a white ‘i’-generation centre console that controls the stereo, sat-nav, heating and car’s eco functions. However, the buttons that operate it require a precise touch to work. A single-dial type of controller would have been preferable, cutting down on a proliferation of buttons in the cabin.

Otherwise the cabin is extremely comfortable for four people, with seats and a steering wheel that moves to find your perfect seating position, but the boot at 300-litres is a bit on the small side for a ‘hatchback’.

How green is it?

How does 235mpg and 27g/km sound? Optimistic maybe, and you will need to make the most of the electric functionality to achieve it, but it does mean the Volt will cost Smarties to run. It also qualifies for zero road tax and 5% company car tax.

Chevrolet Volt Electric Cars
Chevrolet Volt Electric Cars
Chevrolet Volt Electric Cars

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