Volt’s Wild Ride: A Long Drive In Chevy’s Electric Vehicle
I had the rare pleasure of driving a brand new Chevy Volt up the Eastern seaboard yesterday, a four hour trip from DC to New York in the driving rain of a dying nor’easter. Organized by beleaguered carmaker GM, the drive was an attempt to reach out to tech geeks and bloggers to drive what amounts to the most high-tech car I’ve ever driven. According to a GM spokesperson, the car’s programming alone is more complex than the code in a F16 fighter jet.
How was the ride? Well, first let’s talk a little about the car.
The Chevy Volt is an all-electric vehicle with an M. Night Shyamalan twist. The car contains a huge, T-shaped battery that recharges in 10-12 hours, depending on the voltage, and a small 1.4L 80hp internal combustion engine – sorry, generator – that powers the car and charges the battery when you deplete the original charge. The wheels are powered by a high-torque electric motor that is alternatively power either from the battery or the generator. If you drive, say, 30 miles a day there is a very good chance your engine will never kick on, thereby saving you a tankful of gas. If you need to go far you can use the gas generator to push you another 300 miles or so. In this way it is an EV without the problems in range.