The Luxury of Little Fuel
As the world gets more and more congested, we find ourselves looking for ways to help. Help reduce our carbon footprint, help be more aware of global warming and the future of the environment, help develop and use more green technologies in our daily lives. But, we have questions when it comes to the automotive industry and electric and hybrid vehicles.
What if my city doesn’t have the full infrastructure for electric cars? What if our condo doesn’t have a charging station? Or what happens if I run out of electric power in my electric car?
These are viable and very critical questions to the increasing population of city dwellers and condo residents.
What do you do?
Thankfully, there are some options. Particularly one that works for the metropolitan city dwellers looking to make their carbon footprint a baby step.
The 2017 Chevy Volt has that capability. The car itself has an electric motor that does most of the work but a back up 1.5L gas engine. I know what you will say, gas engine, but why? Because it makes the car’s range live much longer. It keeps the electric motor alive.
When you are driving and when the electric motor runs out fully, the gas engine kicks in, charging up the battery again.
I went to Hogan Chevrolet, east of Toronto to try it out.
The car’s style has gone a long way. I have always liked the Chevy Volt’s appearance compared to some other hybrid cars. I don’t like when some car companies billboard the fact that your car is a hybrid or electric. It’s turns me off of cars like that.
It’s like putting a vinyl wrap on your car to say how much you like salad. It’s not for me. But, this car doesn’t try to be a billboard. It’s not trying to protest anything or upset anyone. Those who know about it will ask the questions, but we are glad it’s not proclaiming a cause.
The car itself is packed with a lot of tech and a lot of helpful features for different seasons. One to note going into the winter season is the heated steering wheel. No more rubbing your hands together like you are going to start a fire or blowing warm air in your hands like a Nintendo game cartridge.
The most interesting aspect that stands out from other cars is the car’s driver side dash. Shows the classics and also what’s happening in the car, but also it shows the amount of electric energy you have and the gas powered motor’s fuel as well. It was interesting to see how they worked together and the brakes charging things all up as well.
The batteries run along the car’s chassis and ends up in a T-shape towards the back. The battery takes away maintenance aspects and check ups that have plagued gas powered cars for years now. Perhaps the only thing you will have to change about this car is going from summer to winter tires. Takes the maintenance dates and times away from the car and the time it takes to do so right out of your schedule.
We were talking to the sales rep and he said that he has a customer that fuels up only once a year! That’s some serious bragging rights!
The 18.4 kWh battery powers the range of the Volt for up to 85 km and then when that’s drained fully, the 1.5L engine kicks in and charges everything up in tandem with the regenerative braking. This process means much less trips to the gas station but gives you piece of mind if you are worried that your care might ‘run out’ of power.
How do you power the car back up with regenerative braking? The Regen on Demand™ paddle on the back of the steering wheel seamlessly transfers kinetic energy to the battery while slowing the Volt down.
Owning a Volt
When it comes to owning a Volt, here’s something you can do to better your experience. If you are able to install a power station, go for the 240V charging station. If I know you, you will be busy running errands and don’t have time to wait for 8 hour charging time with a regular 120V system. This is why you need the 240V system, it helps you power the Volt up to a full charge in only 4.5 hours. Half a work shift or for the people we know, a third of a work shift.
If you are charging at ‘home’ then it determines what’s off peak hours and chargers then. Saving you money during those high electricity grabbing times.
The Bottom Line
It’s something we need to consider moving forward with the development of our cars. We are glad that Chevy has come up with a way to make it possible to have a car that’s easy on the carbon footprint, easy on the polar bears in the ice caps, and better on the smoggy skies. Having a car in the city like the Volt means you will barely touch the gas at all. It’s only when you head up north to ski for the winter is when you can rely on the gas engine. This car however doesn’t work to well with taller people, if you are over 6 feet in height, you may have some issues with comfort as a driver and as a passenger, but you can make it work if you have friends in that height range. Be interested in electric cars like the Volt if you want to make a positive difference on the road. Join the electric movement.
Thank you, Hogan Chevrolet, for the chance to drive the 2017 Chevy Volt.