|Real person charges her Volt.|
|Door for electric charger. Door for putting gas in the car is on the passenger side.|
|Door open and charger plugged into the Volt.|
|Ordinary household outlet taking the Volt charger. Photo is sideways because blogger is inept.|
|Great looking car proving that new environmentally conscious cars don't have to look weird.|
Even though intellectually I knew the range of the car was in the 600 mile area, I saw those bars depleting on the battery on a dark, not-well-traveled road at night and I thought--hmmm, has AAA ever seen a Volt before? Yes, GirlDriver had a brush with range anxiety, which is good because consumers who think about buying these new technologies have it lurking in their subconscious. And to that point, most consumers are not buying either the Volt or the Nissan Leaf. GM has sold about 16,000 Volts since its debut last year. GM just idled the plant because it has too much inventory. The major difference between the Leaf and the Volt is that the Leaf is all electric--there ain't no backup folks. Range anxiety city.
I found driving the Volt a genuine pleasure. I love its get up and go and had it running at 80 with no hiccups at all. It's a real car. It has a full complement of safety equipment and is gets five stars from government testing. It does not have blind spot detection or some of the newer safety measures like pedestrian detection. I didn't like the placement of the cup holders--high and too far back because of the battery storage in the center panel. I had a hard time putting my drink in the holders and had to look down. I really didn't like the very limited range of the AM and FM radio.
Other than that I thought the car was great. There's one other problem and this is the biggest problem facing GM. This 4-seater compact sedan cost $46,000. There were $5,670 worth of options on my car with a base price of $40,000. With compact sedans on the market that get 40 mpg and don't take premium fuel and additional expense for electric, it will be the rare consumer who buys this car--even with generous givebacks from the government. In addition, fuel economy on cars with only an internal combustion engine keeps improving year. The monroney (sales sheet) says the consumer saves $7,600 in fuel costs over the average new vehicle. I don't know what that means or what new vehicle they calculated against but, again, it does not include the cost of kilowatt hours you use to charge the battery. In New York State the average rate currently is 6.668 cents per kilowatt hour.