Modern vehicles’ emissions are quite low and vehicles are designed today to be quite ‘clean,’ environmentally-speaking. In fact, the main reason why vehicles become a concern for the environment is due to lack of maintenance by owners! Not only that, the footprint to build a new vehicle is quite large – so for those of you switching into new cars every few years, you’re not exactly helping the environment. The best solution is always to maintain a vehicle well for many years – both in terms of financial cost and being environmentally-friendly.
My husband drives a 2004 Toyota Corolla with over 450,000 kms on it! It still runs great, but we’re always talking about what car could replace it, when the time comes. My husband loves tech stuff, so he’s all for an electric car.
Here are my general peeves about electric cars:
You know what though? I’ve found a happy solution for my marriage – the 2016 Chevrolet Volt. Why? It’s not a hybrid. It’s an electric car with a backup fuel tank. The advantage? I can drive on the electric motor and never worry about the range because the engine (also called ‘range extender’) will kick in once the battery runs low. A hybrid uses both an electric motor and engine in sync. With the Chevrolet Volt, I don’t have to get fuel very often since I’ll be charging the vehicle’s battery and using that mostly. The Volt is the only electric car I’d buy.
The Volt drives like a car – it handles, responds, and accelerates like a normal vehicle. I’m thankful that they changed up the styling for the 2016 model. Truthfully, the whole vehicle has undergone a new design – including a new battery and powertrain. The exterior of the Volt looks like a regular car, nothing space-agey like some electric vehicles try to be.
You can expect almost 85kms on a full charge, but combine that with the backup fuel tank and the total range is closer to 672kms.
The Volt comes with a 120V portable cord so you can pretty much plug in anywhere. There is a departure time feature so that you can set when you’ll leave next (for example, leaving the house at 7am) and the vehicle estimates the charging start time. Of course, provided that you plugged it in with enough time, the vehicle will delay the start time for charging and it will be complete by the departure time.
One more thing about the battery – because of its design and how it’s placed in the vehicle, there’s ample trunk space in the Volt. If you’ve shopped for hybrids or electric cars, you’ll know that trunk space is typically very limited!
Yep, you read that correctly. The 2016 Volt takes regular unleaded fuel! ‘Nuff said.
I love that the driver can choose between using the electric motor or the engine. Why? Because there are times when it’s more efficient to use the engine (a.k.a. gas-powered electric generator). For example, if you’re on a road trip you would likely choose to use the engine on the highway and use the electric motor once you get into town.
My husband was all over the OnStar RemoteLink app. You can remote start the vehicle, lock or unlock the doors, as well as check the Volt battery range, vehicle maintenance, and its tire pressure readings. All without being physically in the car – technology these days, what will they think of next?!
The old Volt was only a 4 seater, this year they’ve added a middle seat to the rear bench. Now, before you get too excited, know that the middle seat is not a full size seat. It’s raised and the battery runs along the floor in front of it so leg space isn’t really there. However, for my family we mostly travel with the 4 of us and occasionally have 5 people in the car so this works well for us. It is nice though, compared to the previous version of the Volt, that we’re not stuck with only being able to carry 4 people in the car.
In terms of installing a child car seat, the rear seat bench has a bucket shape which may mean that you’ll require pool noodles during a rear-facing child car seat installation in order to get the correct recline angle. The headrests are removable as well so when you’re installing a child car seat forward-facing, the headrest won’t interfere with the child car seat.
One thing I do like is that the seat belt buckles come out of the bottom of the seat nicely so that your kids can buckle themselves up! This design seems to be common for GM. Contrast that with other manufacturers who make their buckles rigid and flush with the seat… kids have a hard time clicking in at the right angle, especially when the child car seat base overlaps slightly!
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt is the second generation and Chevy anticipates that owners will use nearly 90% of their trips will be purely EV (electric vehicle). Not only that, you could expect to go over 1,600 kms between fill-ups. Starting price for the Volt is $39,590 CAD (government incentives for an eco-friendly car are on top of that!).
Okay, one last very cool thing about the Volt (I know, you can tell I really like this car – and I road test a lot of different ones!)… Once the battery is at the end of its useful life in the Chevrolet Volt, it has secondary uses. The batteries have a lot of life left for stationary use and currently, Chevrolet is looking at using them to power buildings (for example) or provide backup power, and any excess energy can be sent back to the power grid. Awesome!