So what is it like to actually drive the Chevy Volt plug in …

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So what is it like to actually the Chevy Volt plug in electric car?

So what is it to actually drive the Chevy plug in hybrid electric

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This post guest blogger Chelsea my friend and costar of the 2006 film Who Killed the Electric   At a young age, Chelsea working for GM marketing their electric car, the EV1.  She married an EV1 service technician!  Now she as the Executive Director of Plug In (full bio here ).  So when he was a chance to test drive the of GM s effort to revive the electric she jumped.  This post was published on her newly minted .

Plug-ins and electric cars, of are a core climate solution. electric drives are more easily powered by carbon-free and indeed far cheaper to operate per than gasoline, even running on renewable power. And are the key alt-fuel strategy needed to with the energy/economic security of rising dependence on imported oil and the grim impacts of peak oil Why electricity is the only alternative that can lead to energy ).  I think the Volt was overdesigned CMU study suggests GM has wildly the batteries in the Chevy Volt hybrid ), but very much it succeeds.  I say that even GM s executive champion of the Volt the global warming denier.

Bob remains stuck in a fatally view about EVs and the future of saying in a long but dreadful Post article. that the Volt is an important symbol. We it. It has a chance to change our image.   Bob, that s what the car is all symbolism.  Can someone fire already ?

But I digress.  The rest of this is Sexton describing the story of her drive.

From the first unveiling over two years I ve wanted to drive one. At point last year, Posawatz s [the vehicle director for the Chevy Volt] words upon seeing me to be Hey, chels , and became I I know . Given the history, I ve all but a nuisance of myself for this seeking evidence of their about doing another car- fool me once, on you, but fool me twice and all of I eventually came to believe mean it, but I haven t been that they really get it it comes to what people about electric cars- when they re staking the of the company on another one.

they still trash the EV1 to the case for the Volt doesn t beyond the fact that are different cars meant for different markets.  While the EV1 t flawless, it became the benchmark of GM was capable of in both engineering and passion. As a result, they re now for building a car people are willing to get for- no small act to follow.

And at a when the company is fighting to survive, I wouldn t be the only one if the Volt would be nickel-and-dimed to a of its potential.

So when I got a surprise call a few ago inviting me to fly to Detroit for a test I hopped a red-eye and was there- Revenge of the Electric Car film in tow, of course. If the Volt wasn t enough, the Milford Grounds is like Disneyland to a like me (though my description of it filled with gearhead made my hosts blush a After a quick tour of the we arrived at the section of course had been closed for us. Standing in the of nothing but alternating stripes of and road, was a white Chevy emblazoned with large Volt graphics, like the kid standing on his toes for the class

Next to the car was Frank Weber Vehicle Line Executive, Volt], looking more and hopeful than I ve ever Self-described with the statement I am I am an engineer- I do not feel , Frank has seemed pessimistic to me against the backdrop of the Volt team- but he couldn t completely disguise his at finally having something to show after two years of I d had enough of the talking, myself- so little fanfare, I was pointed the track and let loose.

After the few of many laps, Jim, the who tended the car all day from a technical asked if might stop anytime soon. I think just wondered if all EV people that fast ¦

I drove the off and on all day long (stopping not because the car to, but because we were also GM folks in-between driving It is more refined than production cars I ve driven, a that ironically breeds it s hard not to drive it and think, oh, is fine, let s just get on with already . It s also the quietest plug-in I ve seen so far- must ve beaten every bit of whine out of that car, it sounds more docile it is. It s incredibly smooth, and very even on the intentionally rough ground roads. Because it s a mule, Frank assured me the car is only at about 80% of the final s performance capability, and that the bit of low-end torque I came wanting would be there.

While the acceleration is quite (0-60 in 9 seconds), I was admittedly by the off the line performance of GM s last EV, and the doesn t quite have the surge I was expecting as its progeny.

In the Volt can t rightfully be compared to the EV1 (I have badgered GM not to do it) but I am aware it and the other EVs of the 1990s are the frame of for many folks. I will say that this is not that. It is not a built car, so lacks all of the noises, and yes- individuality- implies.

Undoubtedly, some be disappointed by that fact- but GM is betting that the masses be thrilled by it. Most folks what they can do with the but don t give a rip about what s inside. It s the functionality and flexibility allows personalization and is most I suspect a similar line of is informing the Volt.

Mitsuoka Like Electric Cars

I also failed to talk the into letting me drive the in range-extended mode- I d really hoping to put to rest all the conjecture because no one s been allowed to it that way, there be something wrong with it. Frank was typically insistent it just wasn t ready. I assuring him I m familiar with systems, but he remained stoic, I finally pinned him- is so wrong with this car you won t let anyone drive it with the on? He paused, and admitted almost well, when the engine on, you can hear it. I kept waiting for but that was it-the big mystery ¦ you can the engine.

I started to note how would be, oh, I don t know, standard for an combustion engine in any car and that people prefer it that but I was chastened by my own admiration for the position he While there s absolutely a where you have to stop and start building, Frank s is indicative of the attention to detail paid to the Volt.

That some of the other folks with the other mules out we were there and happened to by a few times, in range extended the thing is already Prius And because the generator operates certain distinct power depending on the driver s right (more power requested, the band- if the request is at the lower end of any the extra energy is fed back the batteries) any detectable sound directly correlate with ambient and road noise. Can t firsthand on the power of the generator- it is on certainly enough to keep up all but the heaviest loads, but time and my test drive will

After I d looped myself and exhausted the car, we went to the Tech Center to interview Posawatz about the latest of the program and how it s been affected by GM s economic situation. The Volt is s baby (I actually watched his well up when the production rolled out on the platform at the 100-yr so I expected him to be upbeat, and he was they ve hiring for the Volt program, and are keeping noses down and not to worry about the political they have a car to build. And as if to it, he pointed to a digital clock on the in plain view to the core it counts down to the minute the of time til the next milestone: the day start building the first 80 Volts. Just in case takes his eyes off the ball. The is now just a few days away, and knows it.

These will be prototypes, but they ll be in the right and one step closer to production. My MacGuyver is already plotting an test-drive ¦It s professional duty and someone s gotta test low-end torque.

Driving the Volt was a mix of experiences it was a fun and it s great to see spots of hope in from folks who are excited to be on something cool again words). And let s face it, it was also a there were certainly years there when I t sure they d ever get this far on a plug-in car again. But in the building the car won t be their biggest it never has been.

Whether can get behind it effectively as it hits remains to be seen. And I remain frustrated at watching them to tell their own story, or they allow, say, Bob to go on national television. I think re learning, but I wonder often if the will come fast and at what cost.

I still don t that they entirely the nuances of passion people for electric cars but I do think they understand just s at stake for this one. It is the end of the game for GM, and they re all in.

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Mitsuoka Like Electric Cars
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