I will be the first to admit that I’ve never been a big fan of electric cars and even my wife was very surprised when I started talking about the new Holden Volt.
When i first heard about the Volt I was very blah blah blah big deal it’s electric who cares, but then I took the time to actually sit down and research it the more I read the more it interested me.
If you take a look at it what’s really not to like, on the outside it has a sleek body designed not only for cutting through the air as efficiently as possible but the designers at GM have actually made it look great. Take a look at most electric and hybrid cars and it seems looks were a distant 2nd or 3rd place when they were being designed it seems to me looks were taken into consideration from the start as well.
But while the outside looks good it’s on the inside and under the bonnet where all the magic is.
The Volt is what Holden calls an extended range electric vehicle while the range of most electric vehicles don’t have much of a range and are banished to pure city driving and that’s it the Holden Volt has a trick up it’s sleeve (well actually under the bonnet) that not only makes the Volt a great car for city but makes it a great car to take away on weekends for that trip to the country. Something that is unheard of from an electric vehicle up until now.
You see the Volt is powered by General Motor’s revolutionary Voltec propulsion system, at it’s heart is a 16.5kWh lithium-ion battery pack and an electric drive unit that gives the Volt a range of up 87km on nothing but electric power of course the range does vary depending on the way you drive it, the terrain and the temperature.
But the thing that really impresses me the most is the Volt’s trump card the 1.4 litre petrol generator, now while all other electric cars would be stuck on the side of the road looking for either a bloody big extension cord or a tow truck once the electricity runs out.
The Volts generator kicks in and keeps powering the Volt’s electric drive system going until it you can be plugged in, which means the range of the Volt is has now been extended up to an amazing 600km. You might ask well what happens when the generator runs out of petrol well you pull into a petrol station fill the generator’s tank up and keep going. Unlike other electric only cars which can’t be operated when recharging is not available the Volt keeps going and going and going.
When you get to your destination the Volt doesn’t require any special recharging requirements or equipment you just plug it into any standard house hold power point with the 6 metre charging cord that comes with the Volt stowed in the cargo area.
The lithium-ion battery can be fully charged in less than six hours from a standard 240-volt 10A power point and charging time from a 240-volt 6A point is less than ten hours.
The charge cord pack comes with LED status indicators that are extremely handy the indicators will either light up green or flash red to identify the status on whether the car can be charged or not. If they are all green then the Volt can be charged, however if any of them are flashing red it stops the car from charging due to either the voltage being out of range or the electrical outlet not having a proper safety ground.
Holden has also partnered with Better Place to develop membership packages for Volt customers and which assists in the installation of higher speed ‘Charge Spots’ at homes and workplaces which drops the charge time down to under 4 hours at 15A.
The Faster charging option is aimed mainly at fleet customers who most of the time prefer to run their Volts on just on the initial battery charge.
Zero-emissions charging is provided through the purchase of renewable energy or 100 per cent Government certified renewable energy certificates.
The battery and propulsion systems are designed to work in such a way that while there is enough power in the battery the generator doesn’t run at all. Now you might think there has got to be a downside to it when it’s running purely on battery but there isn’t. The Volt’s systems are designed to give you full performance on battery power which gives you no reduction in acceleration or top speed and allows hill climbing on just electric power alone.
AS you would expect a new car these days the Volt is packed full of safety features including some things not available on other cars in Holdens range such as Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning add the eight airbags, Electronic Stability Control incorporating, ABS Brakes, Brake Assist, Electronic Brake force Distribution, Traction Control. The Volt even looks after pedestrians with a driver activated pedestrian friendly alert. The front and rear disc brakes are fully regenerative to maximise energy capture.
I could go on and on and on about the features of the Volt but I would be still typing this next week if I did, the easiest and best way for you to find out more info on the Holden Volt is visit the Holden website http://www.holden.com.au/vehicles/volt#/overview which contains every you need to know about the Volt Holden also have several very informative video’s on their youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/HoldenAustralia which really are worth watching.
To me the Volt is a game changing vehicle in Australia and has to be at least a little bit special if it can change of this stubborn writer’s views of electric cars.
Thank you to GM Holden for the pics