The Nissan Leaf is on a nationwide tour to spread the electric gospel, and it turns out the Chevrolet Volt is also making a national round to pitch its "More Car than Electric" mantra. We swung by its L.A. stop more interested in the L.A. Fashion Weekend show that was going on behind the test drives. This particular blogger had never been in the Volt and hadn't thought much of it beyond the three years of headlines it's been making – especially because our tastes tend more toward words like Gumpert Apollo and Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport and Aston Martin DBS Carbon Black and Lamborghini Murciélago.. and Fisker Karma.
But then we drove it. Twice. Once with the engine juicing the battery, once on battery power alone. They were short drives, just around a few blocks. And, um, we hate to go all Volt homer with this, but we have no choice: it was fantastic. As coincidence would have it, we rocked up to the event in a Honda Insight and discovered that the Volt is at the opposite, highly enjoyable pole of hybrid driving. We characterized it as "the best hybrid experience we've ever had."
Of course, we can't pass judgment on the car as a complete proposition because we had just a moment of seat time. Yet it was long enough to know that we're going to get in one again as soon as we get the chance. And it was long enough for us to recommend that if the Volt tour comes your way and you're into cars at all, then take our advice: drive it. For dates and cities, have a look at the info after the jump.
[Source: General Motors]
Cross-country drive brings the Chevrolet Volt directly to consumers
2010-09-29 - DETROIT -- A caravan of Chevrolet Volts will embark on a 3,400-mile, cross-country drive showcasing how easy it will be to live with the world's first electric vehicle with extended-range capability.
The tour, dubbed "Volt Unplugged," will give consumers an opportunity to test-drive the Volt, meet the people behind the development of the vehicles – Chevrolet engineers, designers and others – and participate in activities at each stop.
"The Volt Unplugged tour will give people a chance to get behind the wheel of the Volt and find out for themselves what makes this vehicle so special," said Tony DiSalle, Chevrolet Volt product and marketing director. "This drive will demonstrate the one-of-a-kind capabilities of the Volt, the only electric vehicle able to drive such long distances under a variety of driving conditions and climates without having to stop to recharge."
The tour is similar to July's "Freedom Drive," where the Volt completed a three-day 1,776-mile drive from Austin, Texas to New York City to demonstrate the Volt's extended-range capability. Stops on the Volt Unplugged tour include:
* Oct. 9 and 10 – Seattle
* Oct. 13 and 14 – San Francisco
* Oct. 16 - 18 – Los Angeles
* Oct. 20 – San Diego
* Oct. 22 and 23 – San Antonio
* Oct. 24 and 25 – Houston
* Oct. 28 and 29 – Miami
* Oct. 30 – Orlando
* Oct. 29 and 30 – Washington, D.C.
* Nov. 1 – Raleigh, N.C.
* Nov. 5 - 7 – New York City
* Nov. 18 - 20 – Chicago
Along the drive, Chevrolet representatives will reach out to local community leaders, schools and consumers to educate each group about the one-of-a-kind characteristics of the Volt and discuss the progress of the nation's electrical infrastructure. There will also be many opportunities to sit in and/or drive one of six Volts that will be on tour.
Marriott International and its Courtyard, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Residence Inn, SpringHill Suites and TownePlaces Suites hotels will serve as the hotel supplier of the Volt Unplugged Tour. Marriott has a long-standing commitment to protecting the environment, building greener hotels, minimizing energy and water use, reducing impacts along its supply chain and investing in conservation projects worldwide. For customers looking to travel in style with a lighter footprint, the Volt and Marriott offer a great solution.
Fans can follow the Volt's journey and register for test-drive opportunities on the "Unplugged" tab located at ChevroletVoltAge.com, the Volt's official social network or on the Chevrolet Volt Facebook page. Participants in the tour will share updates using the Volt's many online platforms including the @ChevyVolt Twitter account, the Chevrolet Posterous page and the Chevrolet Volt Foursquare account. These platforms will feature photos, videos and text updates to keep consumers updated on the tour.
On a fully charged battery and tank of gas, the Volt has a driving range of hundreds of miles. Because the Volt can use gasoline to create its own electricity in extended-range mode, long trips are possible. The Volt is powered only from electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery for a typical range of 25 to 50 miles depending on terrain, driving technique, temperature and battery age. When the Volt's battery runs low, a gas engine-generator seamlessly engages to extend the driving range
The Chevrolet Volt starts production at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck facility this fall and will be sold in California, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Michigan and Washington D.C. Quantities will be limited. The Volt will be sold nationwide about 12-18 months after start of production.
The Volt's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price is $41,000 ($33,500 net of the full federal tax credit, which ranges from $0-$7,500) including a destination freight charge of $720. GM expects to offer qualified lessees a price as low as $350/month with $2,500 down at lease signing, including security deposit based on current conditions, which could vary at time of delivery. The benefit of the $7,500 tax credit is included in the reduced lease payment, with the tax credit going to the lessor. The lease term is 36 months with 12,000 miles per year.
About Chevrolet: Chevrolet is a global automotive brand, with annual sales of about 3.5 million vehicles in more than 130 countries. Chevrolet provides consumers with fuel-efficient, safe and reliable vehicles that deliver high quality, expressive design, spirited performance and value. In the U.S., the Chevrolet portfolio includes: iconic performance cars, such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long lasting pickups and SUVs, such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers, such as Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers "gas-friendly to gas-free" solutions including the Cruze Eco and Volt, both arriving in late 2010. Cruze Eco will offer up to 40 mpg highway while the Chevrolet Volt will offer 25-50 miles of electric, gas-free driving and up to 350 miles total driving range (based on GM testing; official EPA estimates not yet available). Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security, and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response, and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. More information regarding Chevrolet models, fuel solutions, and OnStar availability can be found at www.chevrolet.com or join the conversation at www.chevroletvoltage.com.