In early November 2010 the Chevy volt was picked as the Green Car for 2011 by the Green Car Journal. General Motors showcased the Chevrolet Volt with major fanfare at the Detroit Auto show of 2007 as a concept car, and as promised kept the launch date of end of 2010. When the Chevy Volt debuted in the Los Angeles Auto show it also won the “Car of the Year” – a first for a plug in Hybrid! This year the nominees including two hybrids, a high efficiency gasoline hatchback, and for the first time two electric cars.
The automotive press loves handing out awards, but this one is somewhat relevant because all the cars considered are practical, eco-friendly vehicles you might actually want to drive. Judges include gearheads Jay Leno and Carroll Shelby along with greenies like Frances Beinecke of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Motor Trend and Automobile magazines named the Chevrolet Volt “car of the year” earlier this week.
It is already on the roads in many parts of the country. The Volt looks pretty average from the outside except for the grille, but the interiors and its technology are revolutionary. The Volt charges up for a range of about 40 miles on battery power only; then the gasoline engine allows another 300 miles or so on top of that. It can be plugged in to a wall socket or a special garage recharger to “refuel”. To me it seems a tad too pricey at $40k plus.
I remember a line I read about the Volt when it first made its debut as the future of GM- the author of that article said “For GM, the Volt is meant to help change its image as a vendor or SUVs and other trucks, while giving it important technical know-how in fuel-efficient cars.” You can read the entire article here In many ways it is kind of a resurrection for the American Auto makers who were caught napping by the Japanese and other auto manufacturers in the race for a fuel efficient hybrid.
After all these good things today morning I read a rating from the ACEEE on the Green Car Book website – they have rated the Chevy Volt the lowest amongst Green cars at 48! They judge the new models on a point scale that includes not only fuel economy and tailpipe emissions, but also such relatively arcane measures as factory pollution and ease of recycling. At first glance I wondered what changed? then realized it was just how they were looking at it skewed. The volt’s gas engine gives a mileage of 35 mpg city/40 highway, which is nothing to write home about really. But what they have not taken into account is the fact that many a volt owner might never use the gas engine! and the Volt was given a 10/10 for being green by th car connection folks too!
Motor Trend magazine said“The genius of the Volt’s powertrain is that it is actually capable of operating as a pure EV, a series hybrid, or as a parallel hybrid to deliver the best possible efficiency, depending on the user’s duty cycle. For want of a better technical descriptor, this is world’s first intelligent hybrid. And the investment in the technology that drives this car is also an investment in the long-term future of automaking in America.”
I for one am very intrigued and would definitely take a look at the Volt before I decide as to which new car to buy, will just have to wait for the price to reach a little lower 🙂
Car connection for a Review of the Chevrolet Volt
Forbes article on the Green Car Books low rating