Chevrolet Volt: A Somewhat Stylish Electric Car

by Ed Lau on September 22, 2007

Chevy Chevrolet Volt, electric car


Late last year, I wrote a little bit about the Tesla Roadster, which I declared the “only cool electric car”. For this most part this was true as basically every vehicle one might refer to as green usually turned my stomach a little. I mean, just about every environmentally friendly vehicle, such as the Toyota Prius, was barf-inducingly ugly. I really didn’t get why they didn’t just make them look like regular cars. Wouldn’t that help sell a few more? Or maybe that was the point…the oil companies pressure car makers to create vehicles so hideously fugly that only the hippiest of tree huggers would purchase them and thus, fuel remains a multi-billion dollar industry.

However, recently, green cars have been getting better looking. In addition to hybrids that look more like their gas guzzling counterparts, there’s the Chevrolet Volt, which we talked about today at Dot Com Pho. Apparently it’s an electric car that has also has a combustion engine, not for powering the car but for charging the battery when it’s low. Plugging it into a regular wall socket will charge the car enough to get it about 40 miles, which is a fairly regular commute distance. If, however, you run out of power, the car’s engine kicks in and you can get up to 650 miles on a single tank of gas. If you never go over 40 miles, though, you’ll never use a drop of fuel. A full charge takes 6.5 hours, so you can charge it overnight to get to work and then charge it at work during your eight hour workday and drive home easily.

Chevy Chevrolet Volt, electric car

That’s a pretty good idea, especially with gas prices being as high as they are right now. But how’s the performance? One drawback to most “green” cars is that they’re as slow as they are ugly. The Volt has a top speed of 120MPH and a 0-60MPH time of about 8.5 seconds. That’s not bad at all…only a tiny bit slower than my Mazda 3. In comparison, the Prius (which, although it’s a hybrid, still uses fuel), has a top speed of 105MPH and 0-60MPH at 10 seconds. I’ve driven the Prius and those numbers are generous…and getting closer to 100MPH takes forever.

Chevy Chevrolet Volt, electric car

Price? Well, it’s not cheap at an estimated $30,000 when it comes in out 2010 but considering the savings on fuel, it could save quite a bit of money in the long run. However, I’d expect a rather long wait list if you’re considering it.

The best of all, the Volt’s looks won’t make you want to gouge your eyes out. It’s actually a rather sharp looking car. It’s not the best looking thing on four wheels but at that price and considering the technology, it’s something I could live with everyday. I’ve always said that I don’t care if the car somehow un-endangers tree moss or if kittens come out of the muffler rather than smoke, if I can’t even bear to look at it after spending 30 grand, I wouldn’t consider buying one. Although this is simply a concept (I’m sure the production model won’t have 20-inch wheels), it does look pretty good.

in Cars

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

John Chow September 22, 2007 at 6:35 pm

I’m going to buy one and add it next to the Hummer. :)

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Leo September 23, 2007 at 11:08 am

Can’t wait for these cars to come out so I can do donuts around them in my gas-guzzling V8 and throw Styrofoam cups at them.

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krillz September 23, 2007 at 1:05 pm

balancing between environmental killer and saint, those two should take each other out and you’ll be at a zero, not affecting the environment.

Best thing is to buy those hybrids, here you get a tax relief if you buy one, but the good thing is you still can drive on gasoline and benefit from the extra cash :D

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Leo September 23, 2007 at 11:07 am

Sure looks better than a Mazda 3 ;)

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krillz September 23, 2007 at 1:02 pm

hah so the car companies decided to relaunch the electrical concept, I wonder if they too will vanish suddenly like their predecessors.

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derek September 25, 2007 at 9:54 am

This is one of the better looking green cars and would tempt me into making a purchase. While I wait for this to come out, I’ll be doing my best to arrange telecommuting to eliminate the cost and pollution of driving to work. :)

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dan williams January 10, 2008 at 7:02 pm

I for one am very happy to see the age of electric finally arrive. I think this is long over due, and will purchase one as soon as they are available. I for one give a care about the environment and hate having to purchase gasoline every week when it is completey unnecessary.

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thrifty April 15, 2008 at 2:02 pm

Yeah. After the last time the electric cars launched, they were around for a while and then they disappeared. Are these cars here to stay. They would be great for the cost cost of petrol.

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steve May 7, 2008 at 8:36 am

If we all get one of these, what will happen to the price of electricity?

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gabriel September 18, 2008 at 9:20 am

@derek:
good for you

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