[ad#post_ad]Earlier this week I and 14 other members from around the country had to turn in our Chevy Volt consumer advisory board test cars, having completed our 90 - day assignments
I possessed and exclusively drove that car from November 11, 2010 until February 9, 2011.
In those 90 days I put on 5100 miles of primarily intensive high speed highway driving through some particularly harsh Northeast winter conditions including several snowstorms, icy roads and uniformly sub freezing temperatures.
As many new owners can attest, the car handled like a champ. It was a rock-solid dependable vehicle that was a pleasure to drive.
For the 5100 miles I achieved a lifetime average of 110 miles per gallon. This reflected driving 60 miles per day round trip with a typical EV range of between 25 and 30 miles. I burned 46 gallons of gas.
My gas usage was higher and EV range lower than most drivers due to the nature of my long daily commute of 60 miles, high speed 90% highway driving, and robust use of the cabin temperature controls, keeping the car set to 74 degrees of comfort mode at all times.
I used the iPhone app only sparingly often not remembering to pre-heat the cabin, which if I had done so would have increased my EV range by about 5%.
I never experienced any mechanical or electrical problems with the car at all. It behaved flawlessly. I always found it comfortable an inviting.
Acceleration was sufficiently energetic and the car always outperformed the basic sedans of the road passing and entering highways with ease. I used sport mode about half of the time, and drove in the L position nearly all of the time.
The center stack remained a little bit tricky for me. I enjoyed its high tech qualities and modern implications but always tended to hunt for my key of choice a bit much and didn't always find hitting it that easy. It did not work with a gloved hand. I truly enjoyed the center stack touch screen, though wished the music wouldn't come on every time the screen turned on. A separate radio on/off switch is needed. More scientific energy usage data, and a more refined eco-coach ball would also be helpful.
Plugging in and charging using the 240-v Voltec charger was simple and satisfying, and the iPhone app helped remind me to a couple of times when I forgot. I opportunity-charged at my office during the day for a few hours here and there using the 120-v portable charger which also worked flawlessly.
Overall I spent roughly 70% of my time driving in EV mode. During the 3 months I covered over 100 miles in day (the max range of a pure EV) at least 6 to 8 times.
It has been my dream for many years to be able to drive without gasoline and to see our country wean itself from oil addiction. From 2009 to 2010 I drove a MINI E 100 mile electric car. That vehicle allowed me to achieve about 90 percent of my daily driving but in cold weather came close to or at zero after covering 60 miles. I did have range anxiety and required increased trip planning forethought.
The Volt allowed me to enjoy the pleasure of electric driving for the vast majority of the time and yet I never had to give a thought to range.
This was the goal of the concept from 2007 and GM has achieved it perfectly.
I have been driving my own purchased Volt for the past 2 days and I am struck by a much more refined level of driving and detail quality. Clearly there are subtle improvements over the capture test fleet car.
I fully expect in the years ahead the Volt to become a highly popular car and finally the roads of this country will growingly be populated with cars that can drive without gas. The dream is now a reality. We are starting to wean off of oil.