Happy Volt Owners

By Frank Jamerson

Retired senior research engineer at General Motors shares some of the comments he's hearing from happy Chevy Volt owners.

Consumer Reports has given the Chevy Volt number one rating in customer satisfaction with 95% of Volt owners saying they “love their Volt”. Here are a few observations from Volt owners and test riders.

Frank Jamerson, publisher of Electric Bikes Worldwide Reports, test drove a Volt in Petoskey, MI in both pure EV mode and gasoline powered mode, where the engine drives a generator that feeds electricity to the motor that drives the wheels. He tromped on the accelerator on a back road and it roared off, but silently, just like the original quiet EV1 that he worked on back in 1993 at the GM Tech Center. Acceleration was smooth, handling was crisp and bumps were easy to take. Performance under both modes was identical and transition to gas engine on was really quiet and smooth. The electric drive was virtually silent and backing up activated a warning beeper.

Display of the battery/engine condition is easy to read and informative of battery state of charge and expected miles remaining on battery charge. An “efficiency” gauge allows you to drive the Volt under optimum condition to achieve maximum range to maintain battery charge and allow driving longer on plug-in electricity.

There are three Apps for the iPhone: Volt Driver Challenge for tracking Volt efficiency, OnStar RemoteLink™ to receive charging alerts or remotely start the Volt, and myChevrolet to locate your Volt and roadside assistance. Did not test these but this shows the Volt is really in the digital age.

Jamerson has talked to around ten Volt owners in shopping mall parking lots and all were ecstatic about their Volts. They were proud to say they obtain over 100 mpg for short commutes. All said outstanding ride and handling were a real surprise that they particularly were pleased with.

Lewis Pinch, a friend of Bill Moore, sent him the following comments after he bought a Volt after asking Bill if “he thought I was crazy for thinking about buying a Volt” and Bill said no. Pinch averaged 250mpg for the first 709 miles around Omaha. He used the Volt on a 1300 mile trip to Lansing, MI with these observations.

“We charged overnight one time and for three hours over lunch in Des Moines at a fantastic HyVee store in Urbandale. Everything else was petrol charging. As you recall the temp then was in the 20's& 30's before the big snowfall on the 18th or 19th. After the trip the mpg was down to 60. On the way east we averaged 44.6 mpg and on the way back against the wind and colder I think it was 42.4 mpg. Now we are just using it around town and our mpg history is up to 69.”

Pinch final summary: “So over all I think that I give it an A grade and I think it is worth the money. I don't think the PR has been good enough in the news. I think most owners do not realize they can drive to Chicago and get as good mileage as a Prius and it is not a local car only. The other thing that convinced me was the battery 100,000 mile warranty.”

Jon Bereisa, longtime engineer in charge of the electrical drive system for General Motors EV1 and the originator of the Volt Extended Range EV architecture, owns one of course. He has had great, no issues, experience driving the Volt around the Detroit area. He simply plugs the Volt in to charge the battery pack at companies he does business with. After 6,000 miles he has only used six gallons of gasoline. That comes out to 1,000 miles per gallon fuel economy, not bad. Charging the Volt costs about 3 cents a mile versus 20 cents a mile for the gasoline (gas $4/gal and 20mpg) to run internal combustion engine only cars.

Looks like the Chevy Volt has customers who really like it and are enthusiastic about in--like Corvette owners who really love their Corvettes. Sales for 2012 in the USA were 23,461 up from 7,670 in 2011 and 326 at the start of sales in December 2010. Canada 2012 sales were 1225 and 2011 at 275. Total 2012 global Volt sales were 24,797 and total global Ampera sales were 5,293 making 2012 total global sales 30,090. Adding the 2011 and 2010 sales, the number of Volts sold since introduction are 38,361. All were built in the General Motors Hamtramck, MI plant. GO VOLT! GO USA!

Times Article Viewed: 4669
Originally published: 10 Feb 2013


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