Living with a Holden Volt – part one and two

March 20th, 2014 by Richard Edwards

volt1

Car and SUV recently handed back Holden’s Volt plug-in electric/hybrid vehicle after a two-month extended test drive.

Why did we do this? Because we already knew we liked the vehicle. We drove it on arrival over a year ago and enjoyed it, but questioned the $85,000 price tag. Continue reading “Living with a Holden Volt – part one and two” »

Holden Volt 2012 Review

January 29th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

Here is the bridge to the full EV (electric vehicle). It’s a sensible option that gives you up to 80km of highway cruising using fully electric motoring, but with a petrol engine that will back you up another 450-500km if you need the extended range.

200kg of batteries provides the motive urge: 114kW comes from two electric motors, one of which charges the batteries when you’re decelerating.

At the best part of 1800kg I expected the Volt to handle Continue reading “Holden Volt 2012 Review” »

Cadillac confirms production for electric ELR Coupe (+video)

August 19th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Cadillac’s smooth styled ELR Coupe has been given the green light for production. With its sharp looks and range-extending hybrid drivetrain, General Motors has high hopes for the luxury two-door.

The model was originally shown as the Cadillac Converj concept at the 2009 Detroit Motor Show, rumours have been around ever since that it would enter production. Now, development has been officially confirmed with the new model, named the ELR Coupe, heavily borrowing technology from the Chevrolet Volt.

“The concept generated instant enthusiasm,” said Don Butler, vice president-Cadillac Marketing. “Like other milestone Cadillac models of the past, the ELR will offer something not otherwise present – the combination of electric propulsion with striking design and the fun of luxury coupe driving.”

No official specs have been released but Cadillac has confirmed its ELR will use a version of the same Voltec drivetrain as the Volt, but possibly a more advanced set up. This will feature a T-shaped lithium ion battery, an electric drive unit, and a four-cylinder engine-generator. Continue reading “Cadillac confirms production for electric ELR Coupe (+video)” »

New Nissan Leaf TV ad mocks petrol power (+video)

May 31st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Electric cars are becoming impossible to avoid in the media and its only a matter of time before they reach NZ shores. The Nissan Leaf is a pioneer among this new breed of automobiles and is promoting its environmentally friendly nature in a new advertising campaign that pokes fun at petrol power.

In the TV commercial entitled “Gas Powered Everything”, Nissan mocks the internal combustion engine by showing an electricity free world where all appliances run on gas.

It’s clever stuff and shows regular people using petrol-powered alarm-clocks, microwave ovens, computers and other appliances. Towards the end, Chevrolet’s Volt car gets a serve too for being a gas-electric hybrid. Nissan can go getting all high-and-mighty about its Leaf EV, but what about Nissan’s performance cars like the GT-R which go through petrol like its all going to run out?

Pays not to think too much, just enjoy the ad clip below. Continue reading “New Nissan Leaf TV ad mocks petrol power (+video)” »

Watch the Chevrolet Volt be built in two minutes (+video)

December 3rd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

What would we do without time lapse video footage? Watch long and arduous tasks in real time – definitely not. The lastest door opened by this new technology allows us to watch the construction of the new 2011 Chevrolet Volt, from beginning to end. It takes less than two minutes to see the entire production process from when the first pieces of metal are welded on to the chassis to when the car is first started and driven off the production line.

The Volt is an interesting model and represents the first range-extended hybrid vehicle to enter production. It’s being built at GM’s Hamtramck assembly plant in Detroit, USA where production is now up to full speed. The first deliveries of the car are heading out to American customers later this month.

Holden are working on rebadging the Volt and bringing it here to NZ in 2012, click here to find out more.

Check out the time lapse video below. Continue reading “Watch the Chevrolet Volt be built in two minutes (+video)” »

Production Chevy Volt launched

September 18th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Chevy Volt 2011 fq

General Motors launched its next 100 years this week by unveiling the much-anticipated production version of the Chevrolet Volt — a vehicle that delivers up to 65km of emissions-free electric driving, with the extended-range capability of hundreds of additional kilometres using petrol.

“Revealing the production version of the Chevy Volt is a great way to open our second century,” said Rick Wagoner, GM Chairman and CEO. “The Volt is symbolic of GM’s strong commitment to the future … just the kind of technology innovation that our industry needs to respond to today’s and tomorrow’s energy and environmental challenges.”

The design of the Chevrolet Volt production car has evolved from the original concept that was unveiled at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Because aerodynamics plays a key role in maximising driving range, GM designers created an aerodynamically efficient design for the production vehicle. Many of the design cues from the concept vehicle endure in the production Volt, including the closed front grille, athletic stance, rear design graphics, outside rearview mirrors and more. The Volt’s rounded and flush front fascia, tapered corners and grille are functional, enabling air to move easily around the car. In the rear, sharp edges and a carefully designed spoiler allow the air to flow off and away quickly. An aggressive rake on the windshield and back glass help reduce turbulence and drag.

Working closely with GM aerodynamicists to shape the Volt, design and engineering teams developed one of the most aerodynamic vehicles in GM’s history. They spent hundreds of hours with the Volt in GM’s wind tunnel, testing and re-testing parts such as the front and rear quarter panels, rear spoiler, rockers and side mirrors. Aerodynamic improvements enabled GM to reach the Volt’s target of driving up to 65km (based on EPA city cycle) without using petrol or producing emissions.

Inside, the Volt offers the space, comfort, convenience and safety features that customers expect in a four-passenger sedan, and it delivers them in a variety of interior color, lighting and trim options unlike any offered before on a Chevrolet sedan. Modern controls and attractive materials, two informational displays, and a touch-sensitive infotainment center with integrated shifter distinguish the Volt’s interior from other vehicles in the market.

Some of Volt’s interior technological features include:

* Driver-configurable, liquid crystal instrument display
* Standard seven-inch touch screen vehicle information display
* Touch screen-style climate and infotainment controls
* Optional navigation system with onboard hard drive for maps and music storage
* Standard Bluetooth for cellular phone and USB/Bluetooth for music streaming

The Chevrolet Volt is leading a new era of electrification of the automobile by creating a new class of vehicle known as the Extended-Range Electric Vehicle, or E-REV.

The Volt uses electricity to move the wheels at all times and speeds. For trips up to 65km, the Volt is powered only by electricity stored in its 16kWh, lithium-ion battery. When the battery’s energy is depleted, a petrol/E85-powered engine generator seamlessly provides electricity to power the Volt’s electric drive unit while simultaneously sustaining the charge of the battery. This mode of operation extends the range of the Volt for several hundred additional kilometres, until the vehicle’s battery can be charged. Unlike a conventional battery-electric vehicle, the Volt eliminates “range anxiety,” giving the confidence and peace of mind that the driver will not be stranded by a depleted battery.

The Chevrolet Volt can be plugged either into a standard household 120v outlet in the USA or use 240v for charging. The vehicle’s intelligent charging technology enables the Volt’s battery to be charged in less than three hours on a 240v outlet or about eight hours on a 120v outlet. Charge times are reduced if the battery has not been fully depleted. At a cost of about US$0.80 per day (10 cents per kWh) for a full charge that will deliver up to 65km of electric driving, GM estimates that the Volt will be less expensive to recharge than purchasing a cup of coffee. Charging the Volt about once daily will consume less electric energy annually than the average home’s refrigerator and freezer units.

More than 220 lithium-ion cells contained within the Volt’s battery pack provide ample power. The Volt’s electric drive unit delivers the equivalent of 150 horsepower (112kW), 273 lb-ft. (370 Nm) of instant torque, and a top speed of 160kph. The lack of engine noise, combined with special sound-deadening materials, make the Chevrolet Volt an extremely quiet vehicle inside.

GM estimates cost savings of US$1,500 on fuel annually for an average driver. Using peak electric rates, GM estimates that an electrically driven mile in a Chevy Volt will be about one-sixth of the cost of a conventional gasoline-powered vehicle. The cost savings are even greater when charging during off-peak hours, when electric rates are cheaper.

The Chevrolet Volt is expected to be built at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck manufacturing facility, subject to GM successfully negotiating satisfactory government incentives. Production is scheduled to begin late 2010 for models in the United States. Pricing has not been announced. It will undoubtedly be converted for right-hand drive markets such as New Zealand, but we may have to wait until 2012 or later.