A Brand New Car

So back years ago, I had an Honda Insight (2 actually) which I got used. They subsequently were damaged in accidents and lost to us. One was automatic one manual. To the manual tranmission one (2000 model year) I added a 3rd party home built control card to give me “joystick” control either direct or programmed in “modes” to control the IMA electric engine. Anyhow I’d promised myself when a car that “exceeds” the capabilities (mpg wise) and only then, I’d get that. Finally I think I might have found one.

Last December, I (by “I” I mean my wife and I) purchased a Chevrolet Volt (new, … 2nd generation). Some neat things about the Volt can be found here (a description of the transmission and modes) and here (the battery cooling system  and compared to the Telsa). Here is what it looked like when I brought it home.

Volt

2017 Volt

So far I’m liking it a lot. If I had gone full EV, it might not have worked so well as a “work” car because charging can be iffy. With the Volt, absent charging you just have a standard hybrid running on gas with regeneration. With charging in evenings if you manage to keep up with the charging, then basically you get a half price gallon (plus a little)  gas (filled at home). And if you burn less than that gallon, no actual gasoline gets burned. Now that the weather is warming up, my range is extending to a little over 60 miles per charge. When the temps are down that 60 is more like 40. Today for example, driving around on Saturday I was reportedly getting “120 MPGe”. The MPGe is a value I don’t quite trust. Basically the EPA defined the MPGe, for electrics, so that 36 kw-hour is equal to a gallon of gas. The Volt has an approx 18 kw-hr battery, which would be a half gallon. But at the same time they (GM)  claim the range on that to be 53 miles … which would be about 110 MPGe).

An example, a few weeks ago my daughter and I went downtown to the opera. I hadn’t gotten a full charge the night before, but the 25 miles to, the opera, we were “on gas” (or the ICE -> Internal Combustion Engine) for the last mile. We parked in a garage with a charging station, and during the show got about a 90% charge and subsequently drove all the way home with about 30% battery to spare.

When on EV, the car is very responsive (more so than ICE cars I’ve driven with automatic transmission) and fun. It has more pickup than I’ve ever tried to use so far.

Anyhow, if you’re looking, I’d recommend looking at a Volt.

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