Daddy Clay reviews the 2012 Chevy Volt. Episode 831 is brought to you by BabyBjorn.
Volt is unique among electric vehicles because you have two sources of energy. You have an electric source–a battery–that allows you to drive gas free. And there's also an onboard generator that produces electricity so you can go further, though you will need gas to power the generator. While more expensive than other electric vehicles, there are still government incentives as well as gas savings to consider when examining the Volt. Other cheaper electric vehicles will get you around town just the same, but the Volt can get you as far as 375 miles away from home with a full charge and a full tank of gas for the generator. Like the other electrics, an all electric gas-free range is only about 35 miles.
With a comfortable interior and buckets seats for everyone, along with video game-like gauges and screens, the Volt is simply fun to drive. Acceleration is quick and without hesitation. However, regenerative braking has a much different and unresponsive feel compared to traditional disc or pad brake systems. This takes some getting used to.
It's kid toting friendly as the 2 back seats are LATCH equipped, but it's not exactly a big family vehicle. Because of the placement of the large ion battery, the Volt is only a 4 seater. That heavy battery also gives the Volt a low center of gravity that prevents body roll through corners and really seems to hold the car to the road.
If you have a green family of 4 (or fewer), you should definitely check out the 2012 Chevy Volt.
Daddy Clay: Today in the lab, we review 2012 Chevy Volt.[music]Clay: After spending just over a week with the Chevy Volt here, I am willing to say that this may be the coolest car currently produced in North America. Why do I say that? Well, partly from the feedback I got from the fifth graders in my kids elementary school. They kept asking me, "Hey, is that a Chevy Volt?" Also my old high school buddies, who gave me lots of props for driving this thing to a recent reunion, this car turns heads.One of the things, that of course, attracts attention about this car is the propulsion system. It is an electric vehicle. It's driven by a 450 pound, five and a half foot long T‑shaped lithium ion battery that sits right down the middle of the vehicle.That thing produces lots of power. But, unlike other electric vehicles this car also features a 1.4 liter gas engine that serves as a generator and extends the range of this car from the 30 or 40 miles that you might expect from an all electric vehicle to over 350 miles. In case of emergencies that 1.4 liter gas engine will actually drive the wheels. So, It's not an all electric vehicle but, most of the time it is.The driving experience in the Chevy Volt is really quite pleasant. First of all, listen, so quiet, that electric motor is almost completely silent which is so pleasant. The steering feel weight is solid and good. You can tell the heavy battery keeps this vehicle very firmly planted down on the ground.It's got a low center of gravity, so it doesn't have very much body mean at all in the turns. The highlight here of course is that electric acceleration with almost no sound at all. This car launches itself very, very willingly, particularly when you got in the sport mode.The braking here, well it's not so great. That's to be expected because with all electric vehicles you've got regenerative brakes. That is the energy captured by the brakes is then funneled back into the battery. The response is well, brick like with no feedback.So sometimes you come close to rear ending people. But, it's worth it to save the world. Listen to this, you know what that is? That's your pedestrian warning horn. It's a quiet and non jarring horn that you use to warn people that a silent car's approaching. I used it several times on Halloween to keep from smooching to the trees.The interior, I like. I find this black leather to be very luxurious. The seats are extremely supportive both in front and back, you've got these very nice bucket seats. The Telematics, they're very compelling. While in some care you may be compelled to drive fast and push the performance, almost video game like aspects of these two seven inch full color screens, make it almost like a video game to try and save energy, conserve your battery, be green.This beast of a lithium ion battery is mounted transversely through the car, right under here. The price of that however, only two backseats. They are latched enabled, but if you've got three kids like me, this can be a deal killer. The overall driving impression, well, it's little unlike anything you've ever driven before because of the electric propulsion system. The interior is what you'd expect from an entry level luxury sedan and the telematics and the color display, it's just downright nerdy.The volt is cool but, is it better than the competition? That depends on who you think the competition is ?. Is it an all electric vehicle, like the Nissan Leaf? Well, I think, it's clearly better from both the standpoint of its looks which is more dad friendly and the performance because of the range extending gas engine. But, is that really the competition? It's clearly much more money than the Nissan Leaf. As a matter of fact, at nearly $44,000, this car prices more than a entry level BMW or Mercedes.That's not the whole story because currently the government is offering $7,500 tax rebate. That's not a credit, that's $7,500 dollars off the top for the purchase of an electric vehicle. Plus you have to take in the gas savings, the government estimates you will save average $7,500 over an average car in gas savings alone. What does this vehicle really cost? And should it be compared to a $30,000 sedan. If so, I think this could be a fantastic choice. If you're a dad of two or if your kids' values design and technology, then be green over pure performance, the Chevy Volt maybe worth having a look at.We want to thank our sponsors BabyBjorn, speaking of technology and design, have you seen BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light unfold. It's nothing short of electric.Thanks BabyBjorn, thanks Chevy and we'll see you next time here in the Lab.