Holden Volt Review

Fuel ConsumptionWell after 7 years of driving the 2001 Generation 1 Toyota Prius, which was by the end of it’s time a well worn vehicle with over 200,000 klms.  I have finally upgraded to the Holden (Chevy) Volt.

With a new price over $60,000 it has taken me a while to wait until a good second-hand Volt was available at the right price.  Luckily there was a repossessed Volt for sale at Pickles Auctions that I was able to negotiate down to under $30k.  With just 24,829 klms showing on the odometer it still had the smell of a new car.

For those who are unaware of how the Volt works, the Volt is a fully electric vehicle (EV) with a back-up 1.4l petrol engine which enables you to keep the batteries adequetly charged whilst driving the vehicle longer distances.   Basically the drive train is fully Electric with the Petrol engine solely working as a generator for when you want to ‘Hold’ your battery power reserves or when you have run out of battery power.

The T-Shaped battery pack stored in the floor of the vehicle has a maximum range of approximately 65klms and depending on your driving style and the accessories (e.g. air-conditioning, electric heated seats) you are using can often be lower than this.

My Experience with the Range of the Battery Pack

Typically in a normal weekday I will drive to work which is 21klmIMG_5049 from home and then once I am in the city I park at the King George Square carpark, this is the only parking in Brisbane city that offers a Free Charge and half-price parking for Electric / Hybrid vehicles.  By having this option available to me, within a few hours of parking the Volt is fully charged and ready to go again.  A full charge will then typically give me enough distance to drive to client appointments and return home without having to use any Petrol.  Depending on the range then left in the battery pack I can then decide if I need to plug the car in again that night to get my 21klm range I need to return to the city the following day.

When you start thinking in terms of location based charging you then have the ability to become a bit more savvy about how and when you use your electricity at home.  If you are able to plug the vehicle into a charging station whilst parked in a carpark or at work you may find that have very little need to actually use any of your home electricity to keep your vehicle on the road.  So when you think about it you are not paying for petrol and not paying for electricity, your driving is completely FREE!!!

My Experience with the Power of the Vehicle

In terms of on road performance, GM have conveniently provide you with a ‘Sport’ mode, and when you decide to use this little bit of extra electricity you can immediately feel it in the response of the vehicle.  If you simply keep your foot depressed at the same location and hit the Sport mode you automatically feel the difference and yes this will give you the power you need to give most other vehicles a run for their money.  Electric Vehicles have the benefit of ‘instant’ torque when compared to a petrol engines and this enables the Volt to have enough play power to provide a bit of fun, whilst also enjoying the benefit of pollution free driving.

My Overall Experience Driving the Vehicle

So how does the Volt compare to other vehicles I have owned / driven?  Well owning the Volt brings my total vehicles owned count to nearly 30, and I have to admit it tops the list, it provides adequate fun and power, cost savings, style and elegance and even the occasional head turn from onlookers.  Unfortunately Holden have decided not to import any more Volt’s, which is a shame because these vehicles are an amazing and affordable (when second-hand) option for the everyday driver and when you throw into the mix that you can nearly drive for Free all day everyday, provides a new way of thinking when it comes to everyday driving.

Whats Next?

Phev ASpireWell both our vehicles needed upgrading so we also purchased an Mitsubishi Outlander Aspire PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle).  You can read my review of the Outlander PHEV here – http://jasonpenna.com/hybrid-suv-4wd-outlander-review/