It seems like I’ve been working overtime lately, just writing articles on the Chevy Volt. Having driven one from NY to Detroit, I can tell you that it’s an exceptional automobile, and one that far exceeded my expectations of what the extended range EV (or serial hybrid, if you insist) could be. Apparently, I’m not alone in my defense of the Chevy Volt, since Motor Trend just named it “Car Of The Year”, followed by Automobile, who named the Volt “Automobile Of The Year”. So much for the critics claim that the Volt is “just another hybrid”.
In awarding the Volt the Car of the Year, Motor Trend’s editor-in-chief, Angus MacKenzie, said:
“The more we think about the Volt, the more convinced we are this vehicle represents a real breakthrough. The genius of the Volt’s powertrain is that it is actually capable of operating as a pure EV, a series hybrid, or as a parallel hybrid to deliver the best possible efficiency, depending on the user’s duty cycle. For want of a better technical descriptor, this is world’s first intelligent hybrid. And the investment in the technology that drives this car is also an investment in the long-term future of automaking in America.”
I’m not sure I’d call the Volt a parallel hybrid, but I couldn’t agree with MacKenzie more on the rest.
As for Automobile’s award, the magazine gives a ten page explanation on their logic behind choosing the Volt. They describe it as “unquestionably an electric car from the driver’s seat”, and say that “power delivery is fluid, acceleration is smooth and cruising is nearly silent”. In other words, Automobile magazine agrees with my assessment.
I’ll admit to being skeptical of the Volt’s qualities before I drove one, but a cross-country trip was enough to turn me into a believer. I’d strongly encourage anyone with a passion for automobiles or technology to go drive the Volt at your first opportunity. When you fully understand the car, you begin to realize what an achievement it truly is. You can love it or you can hate it, but you won’t be able to ignore it much longer.