By now car fans will be well in the know about the Chevrolet Volt, the pride of General Motors. The plug-in electric car has been on sale in the States since late 2010, but now it’s Australia’s turn.
Unsurprisingly, it will be badged a Holden Volt. Forget the Toyota Prius or the Honda Civic Hybrid, the Chevrolet Volt is America’s most fuel efficient compact car according to the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) – it can do up to 80 kilometres on its lithium-ion battery alone. Yes, we know that there are a lot of people (and proof) saying that electric cars are not the way forward (Honda’s hydrogen wins are particularly impressive) but we’re not going to debate that here, just let you know about the Volt heading down under.
Unlike other hybrids, the Volt is a proper electric car, not just a car with an electric motor that helps out the petrol engine at times. While this does have a petrol engine, it is used to generate more electricity in case you run out of range from your charge – which is not unlikely. However, for your day to day city running, you could potentially get through with just a single charge of electricity.
The Holden Volt has a standard 240v charging kit meaning that you can leave it charging overnight plugged into a regular socket and in six to eight hours you should have a full charge. Holden states it depends on conditions and climate as well. Thanks to regenerative brakes, you’ll also get a small charge every time you hit the left pedal to avoid another damn introduced Indian Minor bird.
Information while driving the Holden Volt is given through two interactive LCD screens. According to Holden:
“Two interactive, high resolution LCD screens constantly provide feedback; like real-time info on energy usage and power flow. The screen in front of the steering wheel is configurable and displays much of what a traditional instrument cluster would. Shift your gaze to the left and you’ll see even more advanced thinking, where a seven-inch colour touch-screen can display efficiency feedback based on your driving style.”
Finally, with an all electric drive, you get the benefits of virtually instant torque with smooth acceleration that is whisper quiet. Remember what the Tesla did to its petrol cousin the Lotus Exige on Top Gear all those years ago? It smashed it in a straight line acceleration test, if you need a reminder. While that will deplete your battery pretty quickly, it’s nice to know it can be done!
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