The 2011 Chevrolet Volt electric car qualifies for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500, effectively reducing the net base price from $41,000 to $33,500. Some states offer additional purchase incentives that can be combined with the federal credit. Other electric vehicle-related perks that vary by city or state include single-occupant access to carpool lanes, free metered parking and significantly reduced vehicle registration fees. Home charging stations, which cut charging times in half compared to standard wall outlets, are also eligible for attractive incentives. You can find more incentive information at fueleconomy.gov and pluginamerica.com.
By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.5
The 2013 Chevrolet Volt electric plug-in hybrid represents a unique twist on the hybrid-car theme. Unlike the Toyota Prius Hybrid, which uses its gasoline engine to power the car and the electric drive as a supplement, the Volt runs purely on electric current. Once its battery pack is depleted (after 25 to 50 miles), the Volt's gasoline engine kicks on to run a generator, powering the electric motors and helping recharge the batteries. This extends the Volt's range an additional 300 miles or more. With its cool and elegant styling, and even more cool and elegant interior, the 2013 Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid not only makes a statement about your environmental consciousness, it also says something about your good taste and appreciation for style.
If you're worried a pure electric car won't be able to satisfy your distance requirements before needing to be recharged, the 2013 Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid electric sedan is the answer: It carries a charging station around with it, in the form of its 1.4-liter gasoline engine.
Buying a 2013 Chevy Volt is an expensive proposition, even with the federal and state tax breaks. If you just want long range, good fuel economy and low emissions, a VW Golf TDI or Toyota Prius is cheaper.
The 2013 Chevrolet Volt gets a new Hold mode in its drive selection to conserve battery charge, and a new no-cost-option low-emissions package qualifies the Volt for single-occupancy HOV lanes in California and New York. New features include lane-departure and collision-warning systems, and GPS-enabled navigation.
Driving Impressions The 2013 Chevy Volt's electric motor delivers a big dose of torque right from the get-go, letting the car sprint away quickly from a standing start. The absence of engine...noise is a bit disconcerting at first, and when it does kick in, the way the engine's revs don't track road speed can seem odd, but you'll soon get used to the quirks. We can't call the Volt's driving dynamics "spirited," but the Cruz-based platform works well. The electric power steering is quite well-weighted and responsive, though the regenerative braking feels a bit unnatural through the pedal. This year, the EPA raised its estimate of the Volt's electric-only range from 35 to 38 miles, but obviously, actual range varies hugely depending on circumstances. The new Hold mode is useful, for example, when driving on a freeway heading into the city, where you'll want the full electric charge available.
DELAYED START AND DEPARTURE TIME MODE
Using information supplied by your local electricity provider, you can program the Volt to start recharging its battery pack when rates are at their lowest. And if you tell it when you plan to leave in the morning, the car will automatically schedule the charging process to ensure it's ready.
VOLT SMARTPHONE APP
The OnStar MyLink app lets you check your Volt's battery level, tire pressure, available electric range, lock/unlock the doors and start the A/C system to pre-cool the interior, all from your smartphone. You can control charging rate and get a text or e-mail alert when the battery is "full."
Taking a page from the Apple computer school of design, the 2013 Chevy Volt's interior is covered in bright white and dark accented plastics and touch-sensitive controls for the audio and climate-control functions. Two 7-inch LCD screens replace the traditional analog gauges, with one serving as the instrument cluster (speedometer, fuel and range gauges) and the other in the center stack displaying the electric motor/battery operation as well as the available navigation screen. The cool-looking touch-sensitive buttons are a little tricky to identify and operate. The rear seat takes only two occupants and their head- and legroom are snug.
With the goal of total operating efficiency, the Chevrolet Volt's design team crafted a body shape that could cheat the wind while delighting the eyes. Up front are a rounded nose, closed grille opening and steeply raked windshield. Sharp edges along the Volt's rear fenders help slice through the wind, as does the functional rear hatch spoiler. This is one of the most aerodynamic cars in GM's long and storied history. Even the Volt's wheels and tires are designed for maximum efficiency; the ultra-lightweight wheels (17.8 pounds) mount Goodyear Fuel Max low-rolling-resistance tires.
The base 2013 Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid comes with a more comprehensive feature set than just about any other Chevy on the market. It's also the recipient of all of Chevy's latest and greatest technology and features, including touch-sensitive climate, audio and drive controls, and an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty on its battery pack and associated electrics. Other standard features include air conditioning, keyless access, power mirror/locks/windows, 110-volt charge cord, color-touch AM/FM/CD radio and 17-inch wheels. Standard safety features include electronic traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes and eight airbags. You also get USB connectivity and five years of OnStar.
For 2013, most Chevy Volt options are grouped into a few packages, including Comfort (heated front seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel), Premium Trim (adds leather seat trim and a rear center armrest), and two Enhanced Safety packages, one including rear park assist and rearview camera and the other adding front park assist and the new lane-departure and collision-warning systems. Stand-alone options include an energy-saving Bose sound system (it's 40 percent lighter and uses 50 percent less energy than a conventional sound system), MyLink, and a navigation system with 30 GB hard-drive music storage and Sirius NavTraffic.
The 2013 Chevrolet Volt's propulsion system consists of an electric drive unit that makes 149 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, a 16kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a 1.4-liter/84-horsepower 4-cylinder "range-extender." That engine takes over when battery charge is depleted – normally after 25-50 miles of driving – and generates on-the-fly electricity for another 300-340 miles. Recharging takes 10-16 hours using a standard 110V outlet or about four hours on a 240V dedicated unit. The Volt has four operating modes. Normal is the most efficient, Sport provides more direct accelerator response, Mountain helps the battery cope with extended steep grades and Hold runs only on the gas engine/generator, conserving battery charge for when it may be wanted (in town, for instance).
AC synchronous electric motor/generator
16kWh lithium-ion battery pack
1.4-liter inline-4 (drives generator only)
111kW/149 horsepower @ 4,800 rpm
273 lb-ft of torque @ 0-4,800 rpm
EPA projected full-charge range: 38 miles (all-electric), 344 miles (gasoline range-extender only)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 93 MPGe (all-electric, mpg equivalent), 37 mpg (on gasoline engine/generator)
By Dan on Tuesday, March 24, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Makes driving fun again. VERY solid and reliable!"
Cons: "Nothing to really complain about."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Tried it out of curiosity and was so impressed we dumped our 1997 Explorer for it when the Alternator died. I was a GM hater until this car. 2.5 years into owning it and I still look forward to driving anywhere in it. We are saving about $300 a month on gas. Now paying only $30 a month for electricity and maybe fill its 9 gallon tank every 5 weeks. Data shows I go 1450 miles on average per 9 gallon tank. That's pretty good considering we drive have driven 3 cross country trips on gas alone with it so that 1450 would be higher with out those trips. Once you drive electric drive, you will hate pure gas cars. This is NO PRIUS! It's more like a sports car. We will replace our Expedition, also a 1997, with a Volt someday and be a two Volt family."
By Tominftl on Saturday, March 14, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I have a few gripes about my volt. 1. Rear seat legroom is a joke. 2. No a/c vent in backseat. 3. Backup camera not vivid like the Toyota. 4. No power seats or lumbar available Positives are: 1. Doesn't use gas very often 2. Great Bose stereo system 3. Nice styling. Aerodynamic. 4. Gets good gas mileage when using gas."
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By volt lover on Sunday, January 25, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,100overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, fun to own"
Cons: "4 seats biggest and only down fall"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"It is a drivers car. it handles like a sports car, yet easy to drive. I find the seats very comfortable, some find them too firm. The car is responsive and easy to handle. It has cool features of a high end car, yet is affordable. The price is a little high for most, but if you add the gas savings into the monthly payments, it worked out 52.00 better a month for me. I would recommend this car to the energy minded and the complete opposite minded, this is one car that anyone can agree with."
11 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By iceandsnow on Saturday, December 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,600overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, comfortable, versatile, economical"
Cons: "rear seat room, poor marketing of product"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've been driving for several decades and I suffer from Goldilocks syndrome, finding a vehicle I look forward to driving daily. I like the ability to solar charge my car at home while none of the range anxiety the pure electrics produce. It is a pleasure to drive, has the perfect blend of form and function. I haven't owned a GM vehicle in nearly 35 years, this brought me back. Amazing car, hope they make an CUV or SUV soon."
13 people out of 18 found this review helpful
By nutsforcars on Monday, December 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "mileage, technology that works, unique."
Cons: ""A" pillars are a bit wide."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I had no intention of buying this car till I drove one. I had seen a few of them but they never really appealed to me so didn't consider them to be "my" type of car, and I've had a lot of new cars. Why Chevy doesn't promote this car more is a mystery to me. I can honestly say after 6 months and 2,500 I am more impressed with it each time I get in and out it. Have Nav with backup camera, Bose, rear park sensors, leather, heated seats and chrome wheels and more. This car has rock solid build quality, good driving/ riding qualities, and is really a technological marvel. I lucked out and bought at a time when they offered no interest for 72 mos. and with the federal and stated tax credits, well that was "icing on the cake". Love the smart phone app which allows status notifications of charging,tire pressures miles driven and other things. Standard remote start is great in the cold weather. I think the people at Chevy thought of just about everything to make this an outstanding vehicle. Still waiting to give the car a test in the fairly heavy snow but talk on the forums is positive."
17 people out of 22 found this review helpful
By telveer on Monday, November 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "extended range. smooth electric propulsion. remote"
Cons: "lack of 5th seat"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"When I replaced by 15 year old commuter car with the Chevy Volt, cost saving was not a factor at all. I purchased the Chevy Volt because it was a technology marvel and perfectly suites my requirements. Now, more than a year later, I could not be happier with my purchase. There is absolutely no buyers remorse. How could you - when the car went 13500 miles on just 12.5 gallons of gasoline and about $400 in electricity? And maintenance? I rotated the tires at 7500 miles (free by dealer). I still have 35% oil life remaining. And as per the manual, I don't have to do any other maintenance (except tire rotations) for the next 30,000 or so miles! The car is fun to drive. Its not a sports car (0 to 60 in 8 seconds) but in local traffic, I can be far ahead of other cards because of the silent 150hp + 280 lb-ft instant electric torque. Many people think the battery is expensive and needs to be replaced every 3 years but the car comes with 8 year/a 100K mile traction battery warranty. In fact, all the electric drive components carry the same warranty! And battery technology 8 years (should the need to replace arise - its not like the battery will just die after 8 years!) will be much better to what it is today. And batteries will also be a lot cheaper 8 years from now. The only limitation I see in the volt is the lack of a 5th seat. Otherwise, this is the best electric/hybrid you can get."
22 people out of 33 found this review helpful