I had a Chevy Volt for a week's test drive and took it on a road trip to the mountains in New York State. There was an interesting interplay between kinetic and potential energy in the hills when the car was fully charged and running in the EV mode.
You can read about it (and my adventures in charging the car) in my report here, which was posted on EE Times' Automotive Designline.
Like Rob, I had not realized that it burned gas. I thought this was a pure EV, not a PHEV.
Anyway, if you can't plug it in (such as the author's comment about the hotel), what type of milage does it get in the pure gas engine format? This would be an interesting topic for both the situation where no charging stations exist and for those who want to keep the car until the wheels fall off and don't want to pay through the nose for a replacement battery, and probably the associated "recycling" surcharge.
The other question comes from the fact that the author mentioned the miles per charge weren't quite what was expected. I'd like to see what they are about six months from now in the Northern areas.
Our local Chevy dealer has a Volt out front and, when I get a moment, I going to call the salesman and see if my wife and I can't take a test drive. I did take a quick look through the side window of the Volt and was shocked by how little room there seemed to be in the back seat area - the leg room seemed infinitisimal and the foot room was zero. Interesting - that will be one of the first things I will take a look at.
The price - well, the $57,000 rocked my socks! That will bear some looking into. If we were talking about a $38K sticker with a $7,500 rebate - that just barefy gets it to the marginally not-ridiculously outrageous price level for this guy. $57K - way over my limit.
Even at $40K when you start to look at ar payments and how much money one really spends on gas and it's tough to make the numbers work out. My car currently gets 28 mph and I drive 80 miles a day. Even with the money I spend I gas, there's just no way with gas prices where they are at that I could make the car pay for itself with the savings in gas. And I think that's where a lot of these cars will fall short. At least until gas rises sgnificantly.
To commenter umo, who had the question about how we paid, we did indeed pay $57,000. We did that to get the car immediately and also to get a red one, which is the color used by our partner Avnet Express in our Drive for Innovation. But umo is correct about the $40k MSRP and $7,500 tax credit, which we should have noted.
If the price is closer to $33,000 after the tax credit, the cost vs. performance issue begins to change. Combine that with performance advances -- ala the Pike's Peak race (where an EV came in 20th) -- and we're getting closer to the time when an EV becomes a realistic purchase. With cafe standards going up, and gas prices going up, we may be just a few short years away from an EV as a fair middle-class choice of transportation.
So it seems that old friends are now showing up not for a free meal, but rather a free charge. Sounds like that's what Brian had in mine when he couldn't charge the Volt at his hotel. Why is that a surprise? Half the time I go to a hotel, I can't find an outlet to plug in a laptop or an iron. Can you imagine the fee they would access for charging an electric car? If a phone call is $10.50, than a charge must be about $80.50.
Otherwise, everything looks pretty good about the Volt, except of course for the sticker shock. It's interesting that the Prius seems to have become an everyman's car, but the Volt is still up there in something like EV1 territory.
Is Brian traveling with a dog, ala John Steinbeck?
Festo's BionicKangaroo combines pneumatic and electrical drive technology, plus very precise controls and condition monitoring. Like a real kangaroo, the BionicKangaroo robot harvests the kinetic energy of each takeoff and immediately uses it to power the next jump.
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