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 Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 7.3
Neither a conventional Prius-like hybrid, nor a pure electric like the Nissan Leaf, the 2015 Chevrolet Volt tries to be a bit of both. For about 30-40 miles, the Volt will run in a pure-electric mode, even at freeway speeds. That's not a huge range, but Chevrolet insists it's within the average daily driving distance for 80 percent of drivers. Should your battery be depleted, no worries, as there's a gasoline engine under the hood that acts as a generator to keep you going for another 340 miles or so with an EPA-estimated mileage of about 40 mpg. The best news is that, unlike competitors such as the BMW i3, the Chevy Volt isn't awkward or ungainly. In fact, inside and out, it's pretty cool.
If you relish the idea of driving an electric car, but fear the idea of being stranded with a dead battery, the Chevy Volt might just be the ideal solution. It even qualifies for high-occupancy vehicle access with a single driver, a big deal for those living in congested areas.
The Chevy Volt isn't exactly cheap, even after factoring in tax incentives. If you regularly drive more than 40 miles each day, you'll frequently wind up using gasoline in your supposed EV. But the biggest drawback may be that the Volt can seat only four people, limiting its usefulness.
The 2015 Chevy Volt sees a few minor changes before an all-new model debuts for the 2016 model year. The battery capacity increases slightly – although the official range remains unchanged – and OnStar gains 4G LTE, allowing the Volt to be a Wi-Fi hot spot with a subscription.
Driving Impressions Avoiding gas stations is great, but we still think one of the best things about EVs like the Chevrolet Volt is low-end torque you get from a...... dead stop. The Chevy Volt offers enough thrust to push you into your seat as it silently whisks to 50 mph. In EV mode there's no engine noise, and that takes a bit of getting used to. When it's running, the range-extending engine's revs don't rise and fall relative to the car's speed. That aside, the Volt is otherwise unremarkable behind the wheel. It offers a comfortable ride, and it corners better than you'd think. The electric power steering feels responsive and properly weighted, without being vague on the highway or too heavy in a parking lot. Note that the Volt's claimed 38-mile EV range depends on how lead-footed you are on the gas pedal. Uh, rheostat. You know what we mean.
DELAYED START AND DEPARTURE TIME MODE
The Chevy Volt tries to make its charging fit your schedule and budget. You can program the Volt to start recharging its battery pack when rates are at their lowest, and you can also program a departure time, and the Volt ensures it's fully charged by the time you leave.
VOLT SMARTPHONE APP
The OnStar MyLink offers myriad remote controls for your Chevy Volt. You can 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 while it's still plugged in. It'll even email you when it's fully charged.
The 2015 Chevy Volt's interior offers up futuristic-looking controls, arranged conventionally. The bright white or dark-accented plastics boast touch-sensitive controls for the audio and climate-control functions. Two 7-inch LCD screens convey information, with one replacing the instrument cluster (speedometer, fuel and range gauges), and one atop the dash, used for monitoring the electric motor and battery, and the available navigation screen. While the cool-looking touch-sensitive buttons are a little tricky to identify and operate, the layout is conventional, and it's easy to find the various controls. There's good cargo space behind the snug 2-passenger rear seat.Exterior
Chevrolet's design team had to create a shape that was at least as aerodynamically efficient as the Toyota Prius – all in the name of better fuel economy – but without aping it outright, as Honda did with the Insight. We'd say, mission accomplished. You'd never mistake a Volt for a Prius, thanks to its Chevy-signature grille design, creased fenders and wide stance. The Volt's sharp-edged rear fenders help it slice through the wind, as does the functional rear hatch spoiler, all of it making the Volt one of the most aerodynamic cars in GM's long and storied history.
The options list for the 2015 Chevrolet Volt isn't particularly long, but that's because so much comes standard. There are the touch-sensitive controls inside for climate, audio and driving, plus an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty on the battery pack and associated electrics. It also comes with automatic climate control, cruise control, keyless access, power mirror/locks/windows, 110-volt charge cord, a touch-screen audio system with USB and Bluetooth inputs, and 17-inch wheels. Standard safety features include electronic traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes and eight airbags. You also get five years of basic 4G LTE OnStar service.
There are four main option packages for the 2015 Chevy Volt. A Premium Trim package adds heated leather seats and a rear center armrest, while two safety packages add rear-parking assist and a rearview camera, and front-parking assist and collision-warning systems, respectively. A navigation system adds touch-screen navigation, obviously. You can also have a 240-volt charging system added to the cost of the Volt, making quick recharges easier, plus there's a lightweight energy-saving Bose audio system available.
The primary motivator for the 2015 Chevy Volt is an electric motor making 149 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, supplied by a 17.1 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. When the battery's depleted, a 1.4-liter, 84-horsepower 4-cylinder gasoline engine kicks in, acting as a "range-extender." It will continue generating electricity until the tank runs dry, around 300-380 miles, depending on how lead-footed you may be. To recharge the battery takes between 10-16 hours on standard 110V house current, or about four hours on a 240V dedicated unit. You can select among four operating modes: Normal for efficiency, Sport for better acceleration, Mountain to help preserve the battery on steep grades, and Hold for when you want to use the gas engine exclusively.
AC synchronous electric motor/generator
17.1 kWh 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), 380 miles (gasoline range-extender only)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 93 MPGe (all-electric, mpg equivalent), 35 city/40 highway mpg (on gasoline engine/generator)
There's only one 2015 Chevy Volt model to choose from, and its Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts around $35,000. With leather, navigation, Bose audio and the rearview camera and park-assist package, it climbs to about $40,000. That's pricey, even when you factor in the potential $7,500 federal tax credit and other state and local credits. Of course, the potential savings in fuel could significantly offset that price. Another thing to think about is that, if you fully recharge the Volt each day, it'll cost only about $1.50 per day, helping to offset the $490-plus-installation cost of a dedicated 240V home charger. Be sure to check KBB's Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their 2015 Volt, and note that resale will probably be around the same as a Nissan Leaf, but below established players like the Toyota Prius and VW Golf TDI.
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."
8 people out of 9 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."
10 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By JD on Monday, November 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great refinement solid engineer with 2 exceptions"
Cons: "91 octane required and nav system"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"We're coming from a Toyota matrix and quality is far improved with this car. We bought this used and have only had for a month so we'll see over time how the battery does. I couldn't get a Prius or any other hybrid currently on the market- the Prius and all other hybrids use the infamous CVT transmission my transmission mechanic said $8000 for any Prius with a bad transmission when our conventional Durango cost us $2500. for tranny overhaul. The volt stands alone as an electric car with gas range extender- their is a tranny- it is 1 speed direct drive with a digital clutch so much more efficient and simpler to repair than any other PHEV. The main drawbacks here are required 91octane (I called volt and asked if 87 octane is OK and they claim 87 is fine but watch for pinging. The car pinged immediately sounds like a tin can filled with rocks. Went back to 91 and engine quiet again). The only other issue is the navigation. We have a garmin and it is far better. I know the 2016 volt burns 87 octane and hopefully they fix the nav too. Overall this is a tight, highly refined Vehicle with potential for very high gas mileage around 200 mpg if always plugged in. We get about 58 mpg since we live out of town which is fantastic mileage. I can also go get the mail or drive around our 6 acre farm fuel free after plugging this in. It's a great car high recommendation."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful