Electric Car Notes 06 by Mike Brigham: Early Volt Feedback

By Mike Brigham

EV range: about 55kms under the present weather conditions and the earliest Canadian users are reporting about an 8-15km drop in EV range due to cooler weather now

Fuel consumption on continuous generator: 5.4l/100kms (at lower speeds, however, it resumes EV mode, but I haven’t got a feel for what the limits are here)

Prius fuel economy mileage breakeven point (using my 2010 Prius average of 4.8l/100kms): 185 kms

Average fuel economy to date: 3.8l/100kms (that’s with 3 drives well beyond electric range in one week)

Driveability: way better then Prius in comfort, handling, braking and acceleration (particularly braking… this thing seems to crave corners where the Prius just tolerated them), plus it has much less road noise and a nicer ride

Fun value: much more than Prius

Weak points:

  • lacks Prius voice dictation capabilities for “dial by name” and GPS destination address inputs. The Volt requires either manual inputting on screen or the assistance of an OnStar rep…easy but involves expensive cell time (the car has its own cell number and plan at $39 for 100 minutes, with unlimited monthly carryover if memory serves) and annual OnStar membership (about $400/year, but 3 years come free with the car).
  • For passing on a 2 lane highway, it seems to take about 2 seconds to develop full power. There is lots of power there eventually, but the delay in getting to full output is really noticeable… it’s a slow wind-up.
  • much less glove box & console storage space
  • “MyVolt.ca” is not yet active in Canada, so features relating to phone app and web based options (cabin pre-heat or pre-cool, charge status and tire pressure, for instance) are not yet available in Canada.

More to follow.

Mike Brigham is an Ontario entrepreneur and leader in the community power movement. He is a “driving” force behind SolarShare, an Ontario cooperative building solar projects.