Since the original dispute between Ford Model A owners and traditional horse-and-carriage drivers, no automobile technology has been so polarizing as the electric vehicle. Could the Chevy Volt be the ambassador to the conventional crowd?
Some people look at the Chevy Volt and see a $34K electric vehicle with a measly 38-mile range. After all, you can buy the Nissan Leaf, with a range of 75 miles, for about $4K less! “Why would you spend $4,000 for half the range?” seems like a reasonable question except, for some strange reason, people forget that the Chevy Volt is not a pure electric vehicle [EV], like the Nissan Leaf, but is equipped with a 1.4ℓ backup generator, making it an Extended-Range EV [EREV].
For people considering electric vehicle technology, EREVs could be the perfect stepping stone. The Chevy Volt, and the now-defunct Fisker Automotive, EREVs have all the efficiency and fun-to-drive of pure electric vehicles, with none of the range jitters. Of course, learning how to drive an EV and manage your range is important, but not everyone is ready to make that switch.
Gary Witzenburg at AutoBlogGreen recently had a week with a Chevy Volt, with his family, and his experience goes to show that Chevy Volt is probably the easiest transition into an electric vehicle that can be had. Even with EV fast-charging stations, such as the Tesla Motors Supercharger Network [compatible only with Tesla Model S], expanding across the country, you still have to know where they are and plan your trips accordingly. With a EREV, such as the Chevy Volt, you can charge at home and have the confidence that you won’t get stranded because the two EV charging stations at the airport are occupied.
On another note, Witzenburg spent six days driving his Chevy Volt 583.1mi, mostly on the highway at typical highway speeds. Charging on just 120V and using just 12.6gal of gasoline, his overall fuel economy was 46.3mpg, and that’s in a car that’s more fun-to-drive than any other 46mpg vehicle. Now, Witzenburg was driving his Chevy Volt like a conventional vehicle. Imagine if you did a little bit of planning and drove it like some other Volt owners, who manage up to hundreds or thousands of miles per gallon, with no lack in confidence.
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