This is to the author: Please get your facts straight. The car is NOT 57,000. The MSRP is $40,280. Even with most options, the car is about $43000.
Now, factor in the $7500 tax credit, the car is $35500 with backup camera, and premium leather and only $32,780 if you get the base model. How in the world did you come up with $57,000? Most dealers are NOT charging over MSRP.
I have owned the Volt for about a month now. I have gone 1000 miles, and used about 3.5 gallons of gas, and about $28 of electricity. I am in no way a hypermiler, and I get about 40-43 miles per charge-- and I'm in Texas! (100F weather recently). Even on gas, I get about 40MPG. I bought my car at MSRP $43,204.
I should also note that I came from an Acura TL which gave me about 21MPG average... The Volt is actually more comfortable and quieter the the TL.
A $57,000 price tag puts this in the Tesla category--a vehicle aimed at those who like, and more realistically, can afford--luxury cars. I know former luxury car people who traded down in terms of luxury for the Prius because they liked the "greenie status," but the Prius didn't cost near as much. Is there enough luxury here to make it appealing to the high audience or is there a model with a more palatable sticker price? Seems like it might be stuck in between.
A cross country drive seems like an unusual test for a car that requires access to a charging outlet. And the price makes it seem they don't really want to sell that many.
I think that until the battery packs can be improved, the electric cars will have limited utility. Given the current state of the art, they should be designed so as to perform that service well. That service being the daily commute (less than 100 miles) of one or two people. A car designed for that service could be made a lot more affordable and still have a luxury look and feel. It would be a small two seater and have a very low curb weight.
At the noted price, someone buying a chevy volt must be a dedicated early adopter. The chevy volt appears to be an attempt at a replacement for the family sedan. As such, it is over priced compared to the alternatives and limited in its utility.
I think the design and engineering are interesting but they have targeted the wrong market. The technology does not suit the application.
When the technology (batteries, controls and charging system) catch up, the family sedan will probably have battery packs built into the structure and utilize individual wheel motors. This frees up considerable space in that the engine compartment disappears altogether along with all the ancillary heating, cooling and transmission components. A battery pack the same size as the comparable fuel tank, but distributed throughout the vehicle structure in a distributed fashion would allow for greater freedom of design and engineering.
I didn't realize the Volt burned gas to run a generator. Hmm. I would think that function would -- in time, with engineering advances -- contribute to longer drive time between charges. I'm also curious about the amount of gas consumption goes with a drive between charges.
Your initial impressions have changed my perception (fair or unfair) of the Volt as a first-generation white elephant that's not ready for normal driving by an average driver. It sounds like you had a really positive experience and that the driveability of the Volt is much more refined than I imagined. I'm still concerned about the long-term durability and, of course, the price. However, I am willing to rethink my stance in the face of the information you've provided. I'll be interested to read your forthcoming posts on Volt energy usage.
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