The Volt sees a few changes for 2013. Most notably, it features larger batteries, which Chevy claims will up the all-electric range from 35 to 38 miles. The effective miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) has increased as well, up from 94 to 98. Also a new optional rear seat armrest, as well as two new exterior colors are available–Pebble Beige and Silver Topaz Metallic. A new “EV Hold Mode” allows the Volt to store energy from the gasoline engine for later battery use at the driver’s discretion, when battery usage is best optimized, such as city driving.
The Chevy Volt is the first mass-produced, purpose-built, plug-in hybrid from a major manufacturer. The Volt is an electric car, so its batteries can be charged when it is plugged into an outlet, but the Volt also carries a small gasoline-powered engine on board to charge the batteries, should a longer range be required. The Volt was intended to include all the modern safety and convenience features expected from a 4-seat hatchback, and as a result, the MSRP of the Volt seems steep at $39,995. However, some estimates have placed the cost-per-mile at only two cents. Volt buyers may be able to take advantage of federal and state tax credits as well, making this revolutionary car more affordable than its base price suggests.
The Chevy Volt is GM’s first plug-in hybrid vehicle. It carries a bank of lithium-ion batteries underneath as its primary fuel source. The batteries can be charged by plugging them in overnight, and can provide a range of 38 miles. Should the driver require a longer range, an on-board 1.4L 4-cylinder gasoline-powered engine automatically starts up to generate additional energy. A regenerative braking system provides additional charging whenever the vehicle slows. Overall, the Volt’s miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) is rated at 98. New for 2013 is “EV Hold Mode.” The system allows the driver to control when the electric motor is active. In doing so, the driver is able to utilize battery power when it is most effective, while driving in the city, for example. The Volt is capable of a top speed of 100 mph, making it suitable for highway driving. Like all electric cars, the Volt has lots of torque right from the get-go, making for quick starts and fun driving. Steep hills, driving at faster speeds, and flooring it at every red light will all reduce that 38-mile electric-only range. Chevrolet understands that an electric car will only be successful if drivers and passengers don’t feel compromised by the experience. The Volt comes with eight standard air bags, which includes a knee bag for the driver as well as side curtains for all passengers. Navigation, satellite radio, Bluetooth and remote keyless entry are all standard equipment. A standard cargo cover keeps the contents of the 10.6-cubic-foot trunk hidden. GM’s OnStar system is included for five years. A Bose sound system is also included and includes a 30GB hard drive and USB port. This system uses less energy than other stereo systems, allowing more power to be utilized at the wheels. Leather seats are even available for a little touch of luxury. A rear camera and park-assist system are also available, as are heated front seats.