I was doing my Saturday 'hang out' ritual at my Chevy dealer this weekend (I steal the Saturday lunch) and decided to swipe a Volt for a bit of a extendo road test.
Not my cup of tea, but a rather slick setup.
IMO and I think a engineer will agree, the Volt is the first 'True' hybrid.
Like a diesel electric locomotive, the engine is not directly attached to the wheels.....it spins a generator.
The difference is, a locomotive has no battery....its engine only spins a generator and that current, through a reostat, powers the electric motors at the wheels.....a true hybrid.
In the case of the Volt, a battery sends current to the motor at the wheels and the engine comes into play only when the battery is low or, and this is slick, it will directly power the wheels through a sprag type setup if additional power is needed, like climbing a steep hill.
All the other so called hybrids use a stator and rotor attached to the engine and act as a assist....the engine is directly attached to the transaxle and must be running to move the vehicle.
Anyways, hows it drive?
Well, my first thought is this thing is the fastest golf cart in the world!
A few silent runups on the tollway to 80 mph....kinda shocking....a bit of wind noise, a bit of tire noise, and thats it.
Very strange to not feel a shift of any sort....it just builds speed, and rather rapidly I might add.
When I left the dealer it was not fully charged....it was showing a potental range of 30 miles.....my, uh, gas pedal? games knocked that down to about 15 miles at which point the engine started.....this is shown on the instrunent panel and can be heard while stopped.
Kinda strange though.....runs at the same RPM standing still or cruising because it is only charging the battery.
A whole bunch of different inputs to get used to.
I really think G.M. is on the right track for the green crowd out there....maybe for those that hate to buy gasoline as well.
Truth be told, with a 40 mile range before engine startup, most folks, me included, wouldn't buy fuel for who knows how long.
The computer will run the engine from time to time with the intention of excercising the fuel system, oiling the engine internals, drying out the exaust etc.
Obviously I don't know what it would do for the electric bill with a nightly charge but I suspect there would be a savings.
Regarding charging, a fully depleted battery requires a 12 hour charge at 110 volts but if you buck up and have a 220v charger installed at your home that time is reduced to four hours.
The odds are, however, the regular commuter type driver likely only puts 30 miles a day or less on it so the charging time would be less.
Factoid, the computer will ask permission to run the engine and make every attempt to burn one tank of fuel per year.....
A couple of things I found kindof neat.
Because the heat and A/C is electric, you can program the car to pre heat or pre cool the interior prior to you entering it.
You can also program it to only accept charge during the 'low price' per kilowatt hour nightime rate.
Just felt like talking about it to you all.....I think this is the direction of the 'commuter' vehicle but this one can be used for a coast to coast trip.
I was rather impressed.....I'll let someone else buy it though......that way, there is more fuel for my various gas hogs, LOL!