2016 Chevrolet Volt – Review and Road Test

By Paul Riegler on 12 April 2016
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The original Volt reached showrooms at the end of 2010 as a 2011 model. Introduced not as a hybrid or plug-in hybrid, General Motors called it an “extended-range electric vehicle.” Most of the roughly 85,000 sold in the United States were sold in California. The current Volt, which began to light up the streets last October, is a completely new model with a much more elegant exterior and well thought out interior.

It boasts an all-electric range of 53 miles (85 kilometers), up from the original model’s 38 (61). It is capable of delivering 42 mpg (5.6 l/100 km) in gasoline-only mode, an increase from 37 (6.4). In all electric mode, the EPA rates the Volt at 106 MPGe for combined city/highway fuel economy, an increase from the earlier model’s 98.

Unlike most hybrids, where the vehicle runs on electricity off and on, the Volt operates as a pure electric vehicle until its capacity falls to an almost discharged state. As long as there is power available in the battery, the Volt runs on one or both of its electric motors. When the charge has been nearly depleted, the Volt’s gasoline engine powers up an electric generator that charges the battery and occasionally applies power to the wheels. Regenerative braking further contributes to the battery’s charge.

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We liked the second generation Chevrolet Volt so much we wanted to drive it on both coasts and doing so gave us the opportunity to place the Volt in different driving conditions and see how it performed.

For four days in the San Francisco Bay Area, we covered roughly 250 miles (402 kilometers), with a ratio of 50% city and suburban, and 50% highway driving. We ran the Volt both on electric power and petrol, starting with a Volt that had a stated range of 40 mpg (5.9 l/100 km) upon leaving San Francisco International Airport. The overnight charge added 45 miles (72 kilometers). As a result, roughly 85 of our 250 miles were powered by the grid and the remainder by fossil fuel.

Click here to continue to Page 2Driving the Volt in New York

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