Everything as promised… Other than the Fuel Economy disappointment. [fimg=right]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/2011_Chevy_Volt_in_CA.jpg[/fimg]Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - Oct. 10, 2010 2011 Chevrolet Volt in California. On the same day the Prius contingent is celebrating 10-years of success in Malibu, CA with over 2,000,000 vehicle sold to date, a newcomer that we have been watching with interest since the Concept debuted on a cold January day in Detroit back in 2007 was released to the masses this morning. Today is the day that GM released the 2011 Chevrolet Volt. A car that is supposed to change the transportation landscape and do so without compromise. Unfortunately or not, there are compromises, namely a very high price and a severe lack of hybrid like fuel economy compared to its rivals while in Charge Sustaining (CS) mode. Hopefully this oversight will be a small one and the Volt will be driven in Charge Depletion (CD) mode for 90 + % of its life in order to stay away from the humbling 34 mpg rating it is saddled with when running on gasoline. 2011 Chevrolet Volt Details The five-door, four-passenger Volt is designed to provide the benefits of an electric vehicle without the range limitations associated with other electric vehicles in the market. Unfortunately in no way does this mean the Volt has any reason to brag as its own range of just 350 miles on both the electric and gasoline is about as short a range as any automobile on the market in this day and age. Designed, engineered, built and delivered to customers in 29 months, the Volt will go on sale at Chevrolet dealers before the end of 2010. It is offered in one well-equipped standard trim level, along with two option packages: a Premium Trim Package and a Rear Camera and Park Assist Package. While GM claims the Chevrolet Volt is not a hybrid, we will tend to debate this as good old GM Marketing spin (Chevrolet Volt - BEV_“Range Anxiety” Promotion: Hogwash or Concern?) is at work to the best of its abilities. It is however powered by GM’s Voltec propulsion system consisting of a 16-kWh LG Chem sourced Li-Ion battery pack and electric drive unit that provides an all-electric range (AER) of between 25 and 50 miles, depending on terrain, driving techniques and temperature. A 1.4L gasoline-powered minus the turbo right out of the Cruze extends the range up to an additional 310 miles on a 9-galloin tank of fuel by operating the vehicle’s electric drive system until the car can be plugged in and recharged or refueled. This distinguishes the Volt from electric-only vehicles, which cannot be operated when recharging is not immediately available – such as during a power interruption or on a long-distance trip. Unfortunately, refueling comes about a lot more frequent on said long distance trip due to the small tank size and average fuel economy when running on gasoline. Does the Volt redefine the electric drive? The Voltec propulsion system combines pure electric drive and a somewhat efficient engine allowing the Volt to travel up to 350 total miles of range. This is by comparison to the best of the hybrid universe with the following: Hybrid Makes Total Range while driving at their respective EPA combined numbers Column1Column2Column3Column4Column5Column6YearMakeModelEPA Combined Rating (mpgUS)Fuel Tank Size (gallons)Total Range (miles) 2011FordFusion Hybrid3917663 2011ToyotaPrius5012600 2011ToyotaCamry Hybrid3317.2568 2011HondaCivic Hybrid4112.3504 2010HondaInsight Hybrid4110.6434 2010HondaCR-Z Hybrid3710.6392 2011ChevroletVolt34*9350 * Estimated Combined FE in CS mode. Volt Battery Details The Volt incorporates a 5.5-foot long, 435-pound T-shaped, 16-kWh LG Chem Li-Ion battery pack manufactured in Brownstown Township, Mich. It supplies energy to a 149 HP MGSet (Motor-Generator) to propel the vehicle. Using only the energy stored in the battery, the Volt delivers between 25 and 50 miles all-electric driving. The Volt battery is covered by an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty. Since 2007, GM engineers have completed more than one million miles and four million hours of validation testing of Volt battery packs, as well as each pack’s nine modules and 288 prismatic cells. The development, validation and test teams have met thousands of specifications and validated each of the Volt battery’s 161 components, 95 percent of which GM designed and engineered. When the battery energy is depleted, the Volt transitions to extended-range mode. Power is inverted from the 1.4L 84 HP engine to the electric drive unit to provide up to 310 additional miles of driving range. The Volt’s top speed is speced to 101 mph with a 0 to 60 mph in less than 9.0 seconds. Charging the Volt’s battery is simple through 120V conventional household electrical outlets, or through a dedicated 240V charging station. The vehicle is completely rechargeable in about four hours using a 240V outlet and 10 to 12 hours on a 120V outlet. Once the vehicle is plugged in, owners can schedule either immediate or delayed charges, even coordinating charging according to departure time or when electricity rates are lower. Owners also can manage and monitor the Volt remotely via computer on MyVolt.com; or an exclusive smart phone application, Chevrolet Mobile App powered by OnStar MyLink. Dimensions The Chevrolet Volt is a compact sedan with a front and rear track of 61.2 / 62.1 inches respectively and a 105.7-inch wheelbase. Interior Inside, the Volt includes a multitude of storage compartments and 40/40 split-folding rear seats in a variety of interior color, lighting and trim options. Two, seven-inch, high-resolution full-color screens are featured: One is a reconfigurable graphic cluster display and the other, in the center stack, features a touch screen display, touch-control switches and integrated shifter. The graphics in the instrument panel and door inserts are repeated in the premium cloth or available leather-appointed seats. Bright silver appointments appear around the door switches, center cup holders, door pulls, center stack switches and climate control outlets. Standard infotainment features include: Navigation radio with 60-GB (30 GB for music storage) hard disc drive, AM/FM/DVD-Rom/MP3 playback capability, voice recognition, Radio Data System, Bluetooth and pause-and-play radio functions. XM Satellite Radio with XM NavTraffic/Weather, one of the industry’s most advanced, real-time information systems. Premium, energy-saving Bose audio system with six speakers and subwoofer. Five years of OnStar Directions and Connections service. Ride and Handling according to GM The Volt’s MacPherson strut-type front suspension, compound crank rear axle (whatever that is) and a quick-reacting, rack-mounted electric power steering system with ZF steering gear have been tuned to deliver a smooth, refined ride with responsive handling and solid, on-center feel. A low center of gravity combines with the wider track and long wheelbase for balanced performance, and front and rear hydraulic ride bushings, another premium addition, help eliminate road harshness. Regenerative and Mechanical Braking The electro-hydraulic regenerative brake system captures energy up to 0.2g for transfer back to the battery. The friction braking system features large rotors with a special finishing process that protects against corrosion and promotes longer life. The Volt rides on lightweight aluminum wheels that weigh just 17.8 pounds each, compared to 24.2 pounds for typical 17-inch wheels. They’re wrapped in Goodyear Fuel Max all-season, low-rolling resistance tires optimized for electric vehicle range, noise, feel and performance. Safety Features The Volt protects occupants before, during and after a crash. Crash-avoidance features include standard anti-lock brakes with traction control, StabiliTrak electronic stability control and LED DRL’s. The Volt’s body-frame-integral structure strategically blends high strength steels to help ensure crashworthiness and stiffness. Nearly 80 percent of the Volt’s overall structure consists either of high-strength, advanced high-strength or ultra high-strength steel. Active occupant protection features include eight standard air bags and safety belts with dual pretensioners. Because the Volt operates so quietly in all-electric mode, a driver-activated feature sounds a noise to alert pedestrians, particularly those with visual impairments, in an intersection. The alert was developed in conjunction with the American Federation of the Blind. Telematics – The Volt’s Tour De Force and Connected 24/7 High-resolution displays, connectivity and the ability to monitor and control vehicle functions remotely redefine how owners interface with their vehicles. The featured technologies include the following: Touch-control switch system on the center console. High-resolution, seven-inch, full-color LCD reconfigurable Driver Information Center display. The display shows electric-only range, fuel economy, , extended-range, trip information, tire pressure information and other key vehicle messages. High-resolution, seven-inch, full-color, center stack-mounted touch screen display that serves as the interface for infotainment and cabin climate controls. An Efficiency (Leaf) switch accesses energy usage, power flow and charging screens – all easy to use and understand. Charge modes are customizable according to need and electricity rates for efficient programming and lower costs. A key fob that allows drivers to remotely start the vehicle and precondition the cabin based on outside temperatures. An exclusive mobile app, powered by OnStar MyLink, that enables owners to engage with the Volt functions using a smart phone. 2011 Chevrolet Volt Warranties Volt owners receive a battery and vehicle limited warranty coverage. In addition to the eight-year/100,000-mile limited warranty on the Volt’s 16-kWh lithium-ion battery, Chevrolet will provide: Three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper coverage Five-year/100,000-mile roadside assistance and courtesy transportation Five-year/100,000-mile limited gas engine coverage Six-year/100,000-mile corrosion protection coverage. 2011 Chevrolet Volt Price $41,000 to start. Early Conclusions On the PHEV side of the fence, the 2011 Prius PHEV-12/13 owns the Volt due in part to its 45 + mpg capability in CS mode. If Toyota wants to double the size of its Panasonic EV Li-Ion pack, it’s an extra 100-pounds and an additional $3,000 USD with 30-miles AER almost a given. What we do not know is the Li-Ion pack premium that Toyota plans to charge so the Volt could have a reprieve if Toyota get's greedy with their < $3,000 Li-Ion storage solution. On the BEV side of the fence, the Nissan LEAF owns the Volt due to its more efficient drivetrain, far more useable range and for a much lower cost. As an intermediary between the two, I guess 34 mpg under CS mode is not all that bad as it matches the 2-seater Honda CR-Z while offering most a fuel free trip to work and back each and every morning and afternoon. All said, today is the party and tomorrow is the hangover. GM is going to need the help of every one of its "enthusiasts" to push this one off the lots once the initial euphoria is over due to its ultra expensive price tag and how poorly it performs from both a fuel economy and limited range standpoint when the ICE does have to run. Let us all hope that occurs on a very rare basis indeed.