• Dec 21, 2010
Jay Leno picks up a Chevrolet Volt – Click above to watch video after the jump

Jay Leno is adding a new car to his extensive stable and the newest member of the Big Dog Garage is the 2011 Chevrolet Volt. Leno stopped by his local dealer to pick one up and meeting him there was Shad Balch, General Motors Environment and Energy Communications Specialist, along with a salesman who clearly finds Leno very funny.

Hop the jump to view the clip and listen to Leno explain why he is adding the 2011 Volt to his collection.

[Source: YouTube]


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  • 33 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Jay, don't leave this way drop in a new 5.0 crate motor and trash the electric bits.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm not a huge fan of the volt, nor would I buy a Chevy, BUT this is a pretty cool car. Leno is right, this is the future and it's american technology, I like both of those aspects. It's not perfect, I sure we can all agree it should get better MPG on gas only, however, I don't think most people will use that, and these early adopters are paying the way for the next volt, which I'm sure will be much better. I'll never criticize anyone for buying an american car, made in america, putting their money back in to our economy, it's good for everyone.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Dumb... The only car that made sense to me explained was the Honda Insight when James May from Top Gear reviewed it... Even Jay agreed... Car companies need to work on hydrogen power... Domestic cars are going to be WAY out of the game ppl figure out how Hydrogen can be stored. BMW and Honda will dominate
        • 4 Years Ago
        uhhhh... no. Just about every automaker has H2 fuel cell prototype vehicles running around. If/when that technology becomes viable, they'll be just as ready as Honda/BMW. Meanwhile, Honda is playing big time catch-up after having denounced the potential for EVs for so long. That segment on Top Gear about Honda's fuel cell car (you mean the FCX Clarity, the Insight's a gas-electric hybrid, hasn't been on Top Gear yet) was blatantly one sided. They rag on the Tesla for being expensive, but not once do they mention the cost of the FCX. Nor do they mention the cost of hydrogen, nor do they mention how much electricity it takes to make hydrogen, nor do they mention the complete lack of infrastructure for refuelling an H2 vehicle. Meanwhile, EVs are hitting the market, they're relatively affordable (under $100K anyways, unlike the FCX), you can recharge them from your house, or anywhere, the infrastructure to recharge them more quickly is already rolling out, and they're much cheaper to fuel than conventional vehicles.

        As entertaining as Top Gear is, if you use it for a reliable source of untainted information, you haven't been paying enough attention! How many times have they twisted/omitted facts for the sake of a more entertaining segment?
      • 4 Years Ago
      So how many bazillion cars does Jay have now, anyway?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Damn commenting system.

      /"You did it!" my a$$
      • 4 Years Ago
      At least he got the Black one...
      • 4 Years Ago
      So how many bazillion cars does Jay have now, anyway?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm at a Chevy dealer right now, my friend is picking up his Chevy Volt (by all accounts, you never can be sure until the deal closes).

      The driving experience was pretty sweet, it's much more performing than a Prius. Then again, on gas the Prius gets better mpg.

      After this, we'll drive back to his house, about 30 miles from here, on electricity only.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thanks for sharing your opinions after having a real world experience with the car.

        Unlike so many who can tell us all exactly what this car will be like, despite their only experience with the car having been reading about it on Autoblog!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well, he bought it and we drove back, 32 miles, over 95% of it on the highway at highway speeds, including going over the Sunol grade (a steep grade about 1000 feet climb). The entire journey was with headlights on. We got to his place with 1.5 miles of EV range remaining.

        He didn't seem to care whether the car went into gas mode or not, but I was, so I was fiddling with all the buttons, and even switched the climate control to fan-only for a while Most of the trip it was in full auto including auto seat heaters although it wasn't hot outside so the A/C was only running to dehumidify. He was goosing it from time to time to see what it could do, even accelerating to 80 on the steep climb up the Sunol grade.

        His deal with the dealer was for MSRP, I didn't ask him if that's what he paid in the end (that's between him and the dealer I'd say) but he didn't seem unhappy so I figure he paid MSRP. He did buy the car, not lease it, I asked him that.

        I can report a couple things.
        1. The thing does have a damn lead-acid battery. It's in the trunk where the spare might be on some cars.
        2. The thing drives well, stops well and accelerates well. It's not a Prius when it comes to performance (well, or mpg when on gas).
        3. The center stack not only has touch buttons, but it has too many of them. It is possible to understand it, but it could have been done better. The graphics on the NAV system and the dash are pretty darn good.
        4. The vehicles are numbered, at least for the first 10,000. When the car starts up it displays the last 4 digits of the VIN on the center screen. So there might be some bragging rights to having a low number, I dunno. This particular one was below 100.
        5. The locking system isn't as sophisticated as I might hope. It cannot auto lock or unlock when you get out of the car. It knows the key is in the car, it will tell you if you leave the key in the car when you get out and it doesn't require you put the key in the ignition to drive it. But it still will require you press lock and unlock on the fob like other cars.

        I wish I could report whether vehicle has stop-start when in range extending mode. I expect yes, but I can't be sure as we never had the ICE kick on.

        All in all I'm entranced. I'd love to have a car like that. It's too bad I really don't like the rear seat situation (no way to block the area between the back seats) nor the center stack on the car. Nor of course the price. I might overlook a few small things, but since I also bought a new car last year I'm inclined to wait and see what other vehicles will be forthcoming from GM and other makers.

        It was weird to follow a Prius and think that guy has worse performance and is using more gas.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Jay is exactly right. How many Prius owners wouldn't use an ounce of gasoline on their daily commute with a system like the Volt's? Most. The Volt is a great idea. Here's to much success for the Volt in 2011.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I wish they would have filmed Jay being given a walk-through for new Volt owners - covering the technology, the Volt's strengths and weaknesses, any necessary changes in driving habits, maintenance, etc. Now that would have been interesting and informative - come on Chevy, this little puff piece doesn't run deep, or long.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ VP

        Yeah, you're probably right... I hope the Big Dog guys crank that episode out soon, I'm really interested in what the Volt is like in the real world.
      • 4 Years Ago
      How many cars are in Mr. Leno's garage? I wish someone would ask him; if he could own only one vehicle to use everyday for three years, which one would he chose and why?

        • 4 Years Ago
        I think he has around 40
      • 4 Years Ago
      Pretty much all support and funding for fuel cell vehicles is coming from oil companies looking for a way to make natural gas more expensive. Almost all current hydrogen (95% or so) is made from natural gas. Hydrogen can be made with electricity + water, but that is quite pricey, and less efficient than using that electricity to charge up batteries. Also, hydrogen requires a vast amount of new infrastructure, while the electrical infrastructure is well developed.

      Cost-wise, it makes more sense to build natural gas ICE vehicles than it does to take natural gas, turn it into hydrogen, and then use the hydrogen in a fuel cell vehicle. You would also probably end up with better range, and the infrastructure for natural gas actually exists, unlike hydrogen.

      It also makes more sense to burn natural gas to make electricity, and use that to charge batteries, than it does to take natural gas, turn it into hydrogen, and use that to run fuel cells.
      • 4 Years Ago
      rich people love to waste money XD
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