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Chevy Volt Video Is The Ad They Should Have Run A Year Ago

Posted in auto industry, Car Buying, Chevrolet, Electric Cars, General, GM, Newsworthy by Kurt Ernst | December 26th, 2010 | Leave a Reply |

New Chevy Volt Video Is The Ad They Should Have Run A Year Ago

When Mike and I drove the Chevy Volt from New York to Detroit, I was seriously impressed with the capabilities and long-distance comfort of the car. I wrote several articles on the Volt, including a rebuttal to a political editorial penned by columnist George Will. No car in the history of mankind has been as polarizing as the Volt: the extreme left hates it because it CAN use fossil fuel, and the extreme right hates it because it was built by “Government Motors” and can use fossil fuel. At least the left and right wing extremists agree on something.

The sad part is that both camps have credibility among their followers, and both get lots of air time. The result is that the average person doesn’t understand the Volt, and when a George Will or a Rush Limbaugh come out and says “it’s just another hybrid”, that’s what people believe. I’ve even seen Prius owners decry the Volt’s mileage as “only 37 MPG”, which misses the point entirely. Let’s say you own a Prius and commute 50 miles daily. Based on the EPA combined fuel economy of 49 MPG, you’ll use 1.02 gallons of gasoline. That same commute in a Volt would be done on battery power for 35 miles, and using the gasoline generator for 15 miles (assuming you couldn’t plug in the Volt at work). Based on the EPA’s combined fuel economy rating, the Volt would use .40 gallons of gas for the same commute, or less than half that consumed by the Prius. If you have the ability to plug in the Volt at work, you’d use no gas at all.

Love it or hate it, the Volt is remarkable for one thing: it’s the first production extended range EV (or serial hybrid, if you prefer) built by a major automaker. The technology has been used in diesel electric locomotives and in diesel electric submarines for years, but has never been downsized into an automotive application until now. Remember that the Volt was built on a very tight timeline, using existing materials wherever possible. Just imagine what automotive engineers will be capable of, given a more reasonable development time and a larger budget.

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