• Feb 22, 2011
2011 Chevrolet Volt – Click above for high-res image gallery

Back in September of 2010, General Motors announced that Lyle Dennis, Bill Nye, Jim Woolsey, Brian Wynne and 11 others had been selected to become members of the Chevrolet Volt Customer Advisory Board. The 15 board members would get to "experience the Volt every day under real-world conditions during a three-month vehicle and charging evaluation program."

Lyle Dennis, the proprietor of GM-Volt.com, received his Volt on November 11th. Between then and February 9th, Dennis' Volt racked up 5,100 miles while burning a mere 46 gallons of gas. Despite the fact that his average daily commute of 60 miles round trip is beyond the plug-in hybrid's electric-only range of 25 to 50 miles, Dennis discovered that the Volt was still a fuel-sipping vehicle, returning nearly 111 miles per gallon in the car's early lifetime. It's worth pointing out that Dennis, a resident of New York, drove his Volt through the harsh, range-depleting weather that struck the Northeast on numerous occasions this winter.

Dennis handed back the keys to his test Volt after completing his 90-day assessment and is now a proud owner of a production 2011 Chevy Volt. For some people, once you get plugged in, you never go back.

[Source: GM-Volt]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      If you want to go green then this car might be fueled by solar panels as it have already electrical apperatus. The surplus electricity when the battery is fully charged might split water to do hydrogen gas to burn later on into the ice. It's easier to tune the ice engine for hydrogen fuel when it's plugged to a generator instead of a hard to operate multi speed transmission pusching directly a car on a road with constant torque change caracteristics.

      No car engineers will tell you that, as they need their jobs of saying that they need constant studies, prototypes, testings and years and years of furthers develloppements
      before saying that it's too late for building a real green car.

      This car need only 2000$ to 5000$ invetsments to be fully green. a solar panel with a water electrolyzer and some plumbing.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I hate claims like 111 MPG that mix electrical use and gas use. It's a misleading apples and oranges comparison to non-plugin gas only cars, as many here have said.

      Other claims that there is some legitimate MPGe calculation, only further muddy the waters. I think the truth comes down to this 1) Plugin hybrids are going to be great for day to day people with relatively small commutes. 2) If they have deluded themselves into thinking they get 111 MPG, they are going to be sorely disappointed when they go on a long road trip, have only gas as a source of energy after only 40 miles, and then get worse mileage on the highway than a regular gas Civic.

      The Volt should really be thougt of as a plugin-ified version of something like the hybrid Fusion. It's a mid-size sedan hybrid not designed for maximum fuel efficiency, but with the plugin feature added. Obviously this was done so the Volt could have more power and be a little (very little) zippier than the Prius. But the Volt is not a direct competitor for the Prius, insofar as the Prius' hybrid system is significantly more efficient and the Prius is a cheaper less luxurious car. Once the Prius plugin-hybrid comes out, the Volt will be put to shame on both gas-only and plugin efficiency fronts and all Volt owners will awaken from their GM deluded comas.

      I'm not saying the Volt isn't great for what it is. But people need to not be so gullible with GM's efficiency spin claims.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Congratulations to all the engineers and those at GM who made this happen.

      Those gallons of gas they -didn't- burn may seem like a few raindrops in the ocean, but we've got to start somewhere.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Great result. The long awaited 100 MPG carburetor has finally been invented.
        • 3 Years Ago
        It didn't run on electricity but the Volt does. Measuring "EREV" consumption with gallon of gasoline is a hoax.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The calculations are simple. Paul you have the numbers right just the assumptions you make are wrong.

      The volt traveled 3825 miles under electric power is a goos assumption based on using 75% of its daily range. It cannot be added to the MPG rating as it is not using gas at this time. What must be calculated is> What is the cost in electrical to recharge every night.
      If the cost was 5.00 an evening based on recharging fully then the additional cost would be 35.00 a week and that adds up to 455 dollars in anditional house hould expense every 3 months and adds 1700 a year to your electric bill.

      The gas used to drive 1700 miles was 46 gallons and that works out to 36.9MPG. I hate to say this but that is below average for any fuel efficient gas powered engine intodays maketplace.

      In my conclusion i think i will stay with a decent gas powered automobile. The cost of electricity to recharge is just to mush for one to absorb at this time.

      • 3 Years Ago
      good to the electric range cover the bulk of the driving. in his case about 35% more range would make all the difference.
      I suppose that's a pretty good target; 100km battery range and tiny ICE range extender for any more.
      lighten the clumsy volt and smarten the aero and that's a breeze..
        • 3 Years Ago
        the Cdo could be .15 or lower and the cross section could be smaller by elevating the feet a bit. etc
        the heavy battery keel might make it stable on the road but so would a couple of container ship anchors. neither is good for the efficiency.

        I agree that 40km battery range can be quite useful in an REEV and possibly a good compromise cost wise, but I'm hunching that in a lean car where you can do more with less battery that 100km range might be better because the ICE use becomes rarer and the cycles are not as deep meaning it might sort of pay for itself in longevity. the better coverage that 100km range provides means the ICE can be that much fainter meaning lighter, cheaper, allowing for a bit more battery for the same system cost.
        I think what will quickly happen is that people start to dread when the ICE comes on, it's so ugly so I think people will want the battery to cover almost all driving so the ICE only starts on long sustained trips.
        like an emergency generator. you only want it to come on in an emergency, not 4 hours every day.
        you might even see people who go out of their way to recharge the car on a long trip to avoid the ICE starting and that's what it should be. the ICE should only be a safety net.
        it shall sit in the corner in shame and think about what it has done : )
        • 3 Years Ago
        It was related that the problem with the tiny Volt engine was when it kicked on it was terribly loud and it ruined the driving experience that people expected from a car that runs on electricity a lot of the time. So GM switched to a larger motor they could run at lower rpms with less shake and noise.

        As you can see from the Fisker review, there is something to this idea.
        • 3 Years Ago
        First, I said force vector, meaning cross winds. The weighted value of the cross wind is about 6 mph.

        Second, with how rare hurricanes are, both geographically and annually, they don't measurably affect the average measured wind speed in the US.

        Given that we're talking highways, which generally span the open spaces *between* cities, the average wind speed would be higher.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Dan: You aren't trained in fluid dynamics, are you?

        The lateral forces from side winds *dramatically* affect airflow, even at highway speeds.

        A 20 mph crosswind against a car traveling 60 mph redirects the streamline from the grille logo to the rear door, instead of crossing the trunk.

        For that same 20 mph crosswind to keep most of the front air passing over the trunk would require the car to be traveling over 100 mph.

        That may be possible on the Autobahn, but it's not typical for America.

        And 20 mph isn't much wind. Gusts on a windy day can easily hit 40 mph or more, in which case typical American highway speeds have most of the air flowing side-to-side, rather than front-to-rear.
        • 3 Years Ago

        Even GM agrees with you about the engine size. They originally planned to use a much smaller inline 3 cylinder engine in the Volt. GM acknowledges that the smaller engine was the superior technical design.

        Then reality smacked them upside the head and GM realized that GM didn't build a US emissions compliant inline 3 cylinder engine. And that they didn't have time or money to develop and/or federalize the engine they wanted.

        For the first generation Volt, they were forced to use an existing engine in order to meet budget and time constraints. This is all part of the first generation realities. It is just like how Nissan says the 2nd gen Leaf will have a ~200 mile battery, but the current Leaf is just ~100 miles.

        It isn't that you are smarter than GM or Nissan. It's just that they are bounded by reality, and you suffer no such restrictions.
        • 3 Years Ago
        As for Lyle:

        "I opportunity-charged at my office during the day for a few hours here and there using the 120-v portable charger which also worked flawlessly."

        Based on his ability to charge at the office, if he can get there on battery, recharge for 4+ hours on 120v, and then drive the remainder on battery, he'd have an all-battery commute.

        Based on his driving profile: 30 miles each way, highway driving, heater on, winter weather, it appears that the Volt was a good match for him. With at-work charging, he could have gotten away with less battery and less engine.

        The constant push for larger-than-needed battery does not match reality.
        • 3 Years Ago
        As I have noted before, taking any manufacturer's Cd and CdA measurements at face value is problematic, because there are a lot of ways to "game" the measurement. Especially as it is very difficult for people to measure Cd directly.

        I sorely doubt that the Prius is anywhere near as slick as Toyota claims. At least, not outside their wind tunnel, in the particular configuration as tested. I suspect that "real world" configurations would show the Prius, etc. to be good, but not incredible.

        I would very much like to see third party testing of Cd claims, in the same way that we test and validate 0-60 times and mpg claims.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Nick, I think the Volt has a better CdA than the Leaf (mainly because the Leaf is so tall) but there are a ton of claims that the 2011 Prius is slicker than both, by a fairly large margin.
        Cd for the Volt, Leaf and Prius respectively are said to .28 (though wiki says .26), .29 (though ecomodder says .28) and .25 for the new Prius.
        I just don't see it, and the Volt has a smaller frontal area than both the Leaf and the Prius, but the slick .25 Cd for the 2011 Prius blows the other two away. Toyota seems to have tuned the heck out of the aero on the new Prius. Hopefully both Chevy and Nissan will be doing the same over the next few years.
        Ecomodder has a great list of CdA, too.

        • 3 Years Ago
        John, of course you didn't forget that I said cross wind..
        and I'd exclude storms and hurricanes where cars tend not to drive anyway.
        • 3 Years Ago
        hehe Nixon, I would also have crushed the EV1s in the desert? of course I'm smarter than they are. of course it costs money to develop something new, that's no excuse to make something old. and making it aerodynamic is free, and they failed there too.
        you just want to keep your world view simple so you don't have to think about the significant things I say. you need them to be competent, the alternative is too bothersome so you close your eyes and make up lies to protect you from reality.
        if they were half as smart as I am they would see where things are going and do it right instead of 10 years of crap first. there is no need for nor value in interim states.
        And I guarantee you they won't get it right the second time around either. nor third.
        unless things change dramatically at GM. the second Volt will still have mediocre aero and still weigh way too much. I'm guessing 1.57ton and Cd of 0.26.
        if done right it would be 450kg, Cd of say 0.175 and a CdA of maybe 40% of the Volt.
        and it would be very quick. and there is some possibility that the Cd could be brought down to 0.1 for a practical design but I can't be sure of that yet.
        same as people in the south couldn't imagine not having slaves so you can't imagine what I talk about. but both can easily be real. if only you stop fighting it.
        • 3 Years Ago
        LS2LS7, (worst name ever btw :) yes there is some genuine considerations there. I haven't thought that out in detail but I hunch that it can coincide with efficiency points in that a relatively large volume slow hard stroking engine is the more efficient which is probably compatible with quiet operation. for a lean vehicle I'm thinking something like a 2 cylinder 600cc on some kind of atkinson cycle. making the cylinder walls very thin and everything very light and small instead of the conventional careless designs. it might also be compatible with simplicity, not only the cylinder count but also few valves and no turbo. light, simple, cheap is a good combo and I think that opportunity is there.
        to GM's credit the ICE seems to be very quiet in the volt but a great design is not getting one parameter right, it's holistic perfection and the volt whopper failed on the mass.
        for a more conventional steel car construction I might aim for 1000kg and use a 1.1L 2 cylinder atkinson. but even a ton is way too much.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I haven't searched for it, but I'd bet similar info is on ecomodder ....

        In the real world, all the wind doesn't always come from the front. So a "boxfish" type car might do well in a wind tunnel, but put it on a highway headed north when there's a 25 mph wind straight out of the west and you might see significantly highfer percentage reductions in mpg vs. a low slung car.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Carcus, you misunderstood. I was talking about the burden from wind from the side. not all wind
        • 3 Years Ago
        I agree that in Lyles case a 62m EV range (100Km) with a range extender would be the perfect car. For the majority of America, 25-50 will be sufficient. I am sure as the tech matures we will see larger ranges and lower weights.

        I dont think the volt is clumsy, in fact its weight makes it a very good handling car - the majority of the weight comes from the batteries and the fact that there are 2 motive drivetrains - again im sure this will improve in future models.

        Not to sure where they can "smarten the aero" a ton, the volt already has the lowest cda of any car on the market, even better than the Prius.

        • 3 Years Ago
        Citation required.
        Are you referring to GMs "We don't sell cars with 15 inch wheels", tests?
        Btw there is a difference between Cd & CdA.
        • 3 Years Ago
        "....and there is reason to believe a side wind doesn't matter. it has to do with the physics concept of 'work'. the car's motor does virtually no work in the side wind direction meaning no energy consumption...."


        This is a common misperception.

        The unfortunate truth is (in cars, not airplanes) that winds hurt you more than they help you. Winds will only help your fuel economy if they are mosly off of the tail (i.e about 45 deg either side of 180). Other than that, they will hurt your fuel economy.

        In a car the engine is doing work by "holding the road" against a cross wind. You can feel this in the steering wheel, especially when hard gusts hit the car.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan: As usual, you're talking a fantasy world divorced from reality. 3mph is basically still air - I *walk* faster than that.

        From NOAA, the actual average US wind speed is 9.3 mph (source data weighted). On net (based on the force vectors), I would estimate that wind imposes a 5% to 10% mileage penalty on highway driving.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Carcus, well it's an interesting point about strong side wind but on average it's really the wind from motion that dominates. and there is reason to believe a side wind doesn't matter. it has to do with the physics concept of 'work'. the car's motor does virtually no work in the side wind direction meaning no energy consumption. it's like how a table can support a heavy rock for free and it doesn't start costing energy until it travels in the force direction (lifting the rock). the car doesn't travel against the side wind.

        but the side wind might somehow disrupt the flow over the car such that it worsens in the forward direction. I hunch that it isn't significant
        • 3 Years Ago
        John, what do you think the average cross wind speed is...
        I'd say the average cross wind is less than 5km/h (3mph)
        and a skewed airflow might not mean significant increase in forward drag which is what matters.
      Steven W. Diffy
      • 3 Years Ago
      tHEN YOU SAVE NOTHING.......
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Steven W. Diffy
        Perhaps you ought to have taken your own advice?
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have setup a site so I can track my stats on my Volt. Other owners are also posting their stats on VoltFanSite. I will be very happy to get 111 mgp. I drove the car home from New York to Lansing bring my average down. I now have it up to 50 mpg by driving the last 300 miles under battery power. http://voltfansite.com/Statistics.aspx
      • 3 Years Ago
      You all are forgetting to calculate the cost of protecting that oil supply. At least $300 billion last year.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @axio: Cordless hybrids were greener (SULEV or AT-PZEV) and they were more fuel efficient. The incentives worked and moved us forward.

        Volt is not greener (ULEV) and it is rated 37 MPG. It also consumes 12.9 kWh for every 35 miles. That can power my home for more than 2 days.

        Consider this:
        - 50 MPG mid-size Prius saves 3,000 gallons over 25 MPG non-hybrid mid-size (150k miles life)
        - 60 MPGe compact Volt saves only 2,500 gallons over 30 MPG non-hybrid compact.

        Why does a Volt buyer get $7,500 when a cordless Prius buyer get $0? Do you honestly believe it is the best policy to reduce our oil independence?
        • 3 Years Ago
        Cordless hybrids did benefit from a subsidy. The subsidies have expired. The purpose of the subsidies is not to just give people money. The purpose is to help usher new technology into the marketplace that could otherwise die on the vine due to consumer anxiety about dropping huge amounts of money on new propulsion technologies. Tax payers can't be expected to underwrite new car purchases forever, so the program was designed as limited time deal. Once a certain number of cars were purchased, the subsidy expired. Likewise, with the Volt and the Leaf, once a certain number of them have been purchased, their subsidies will also expire.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Tax the gas guzzlers for that. Why do all tax payers (or borrow from Chinese) have to pay for $7,500 for Volt that is not really green? Let the guzzlers pay for it.

        How come there are no incentives for cordless hybrids if protecting the oil supply is so important? Million gallons were saved by hybrids and Volt requires downsizing and consumes electricity to save a few additional gallon.

        That's my whole beef about it.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Bottomline is it's an expensive car, way too complex, and in the long run will cost more to own than an equivalent (simpler) gasoline car like a honda civic.

      Let's not forget the bailout. 169 billion in liabilities written off, screwed bondholders who had contracts, shareholders, and the American people.

      I'll push my car before I ever buy a GM anything.

      Anyone with an ounce of morals and values would do the same. It's shocking how many people can just overlook what GM and obama did during their "manufactured crisis."
      • 3 Years Ago
      5100 miles / 90 days = 56.66~ miles per day. So he was a bit generous with the 60 mile figure. Anyways. EV range was upto 30 miles, so half the trip. So gas mileage = 30 miles per day. 30 miles times 90 days is about 2700 miles.

      2700 miles through 46 gallons of gas is 58.7mpg, which is pretty much in line with what people were saying about that engine. No surprise there.

      How does it compare? The upcoming 2012 Ford Focus is expected to gracefully hit 30~mpg highway without issue (I use highway as the Volt user also drove mostly highway). So you're looking at about 1400 miles for the same amount of gas. Or 170 gallons to match the same 5100 miles.

      Just throwing a number of $3/gallon, $138 for the volt, $510 for the focus to cover the same distance of 5100 miles over 3 months. Savings of about $370 over 3 months.

      So you spend about $33k on a Volt, $20k on a Focus. At $125 saved per month, you'd need 8 years to justify spending the extra $13,000 on the Volt in this example.

      Of course everyone's driving experiences will be different, and who knows, some of you may never pay for gas.
        • 3 Years Ago
        You also need to add the cost of electricity. If you do that, it costs the same as a 38 MPG non-hybrid.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Lyle said 70% of the miles were on electricity. So you take 30% of 5,100 miles to get the gasoline miles. It comes out to 33.3 MPG.
      • 3 Years Ago
      As I read all these comments, I feel now that GM is getting closer to conquering the fuel efficiency problem, some want them to conquer the cost of electricity...................GIMME ME A FRICKIN BREAK!!! some are saying consumes twice the energy of his home, I wish i had his monthly bill!!! All these idiotic remarks about this or about that..WHAT a JOKE!!! Now that the VOLT is for real, and will only IMPROVE, and prices start to decline and GM starts using this VOLTEC technology in their other vehicles, cutting our dependance on these raping fuel companies so people can eat and drive to work at the same time, really, many i know have to decide how they are going to drive to work, eat, or buy any medication they may need!!! We as americans should not be subject to this type of lifestyle. I say GO GM and thanks!
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