With climate change escalating into a top global issue, electric vehicles are growing in popularity. Not only do these save us money on gas, but they also save us from the gas extinction that’s coming in the next 50 years. And one of the cars at the forefront of the electric vehicle movement has been the Chevrolet Volt.
The Volt is a hybrid electric car that runs on both gas and electricity. But how that works and what the range is can be confusing. Read on to learn about the Chevy Volt and how this car has revolutionized the electric vehicle industry.
How the Volt Runs
The Chevy Volt is a unique hybrid electric car that runs off of both gas and electric power. It has a battery that is capable of running the entire car. The Volt will automatically use up any battery reserves it has when you first begin driving it. Only after it runs out of battery power will it switch to using the gas reserves.
This sort of non-parallel power approach has been revolutionary in the electric car industry. Most cars can’t store enough power to run on electricity alone, and those that can are outside of most people’s price range. The Volt and cars like it act as a bridge for the everyday consumer who wants to save money and the environment at once.
How Other Hybrids Run
So if the Chevy Volt running model is so revolutionary, how do other hybrid cars operate? Most hybrid electric vehicles use what’s called a parallel running model. This means that they run both gas and electric power at the same time during your drives as a way to increase your gas efficiency.
Most hybrids will use gas power when you first start the car and during acceleration and stops. When you’re cruising along at a steady speed, it will use the battery reserves. While this can work out okay if you’re doing a lot of highway driving, for those driving in cities, gas will get used far more often than battery power.
Electric Chevy Volt Range
Because the Volt uses all battery power until it runs out, it’s theoretically possible to drive a trip and never touch the gas reserves. But although the Volt does offer fantastic innovation in its running model, its battery capacity is still on the small side for electric vehicles. The Volt’s battery can run your car for somewhere between 30 to 50 miles, depending on the weather and other factors.
This number may sound pitiful, but let’s look at this in terms of your daily commute. The average American drives about 37 miles a day, so for most people, you’ll be able to make your commute without ever switching to the gas engine. If you have an electric charging station at your job, you’ll be able to make the whole commute on electric and save a ton on gas.
Let’s say your commute is longer than 37 miles a day; about 3 million Americans drive 50 miles or more to work every day. In that case, the Volt still has you covered. In addition to the electric battery, the car also comes with a full gasoline engine. That engine offers a range of more than 300 miles.
But that engine isn’t a regular gas engine either. Instead of running on gasoline to power the car, it powers a smaller electric generator which in turn powers the car. This means that the gas engine can run on one constant speed, improving gas efficiency.
Mileage and Environmental Impact
The fuel efficiency of the Volt is hard to calculate since it uses both gas and electricity. The electric engine gets 106 miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent; in other words, the same amount of energy as a gallon of gasoline would produce will get you 106 miles on electric in the Volt. And because of the increased fuel efficiency, the gas engine gets 42 miles to the gallon.
There are some hard numbers that support the idea that the Volt is better for the environment. The EPA estimates that the Volt puts off just 200 grams of CO2 and other pollutants per mile, compared to 411 for an average vehicle. Even the Toyota Prius, another hybrid electric vehicle, puts off 209 grams per mile.
New Chevy Electric Car Developments
Chevy hasn’t stopped their electric car development with the Volt, though. In 2017, they introduced the Bolt EV, a fully electric vehicle that can run 238 miles on pure electric power. And with a price tag that most people can afford, the Bolt makes electric vehicles far more accessible.
The Bolt gets 25 miles per hour of charge, so if you charge your car overnight and every night, you could go 200 miles. If you charge it at the office, you have a daily range of 400 miles. And because the Bolt is all electric, there are no emissions to deal with, making it much better for the environment.
Unfortunately, the Chevy Volt won’t be around as a new offering for much longer. GM announced in early 2019 that they will discontinue the Volt, as well as shut down several of their factories. The Volt sold fewer than 20,000 models a year, which meant they weren’t feasible to continue making.
But we shouldn’t discount what the Volt did for the electric car industry. It was the first hybrid car to effectively manage the fear drivers had of running out of power halfway through their drive. And it paved the way for the Bolt and other vehicles like it that will see us into the next era of electric cars.
Find Your Next Ride
If you’re considering a Chevy Volt, you had better act fast because the new ones will be gone soon. But with a total Chevy Volt range of over 400 miles and an electric range that can get you through your daily commute, they’re well worth the cost. Just remember to plug your car in before you go to bed, and you’ll be off to the races.
If you’d like to get your Chevy Volt before they disappear, come see us at Huber Chevy. Our team works together to make sure you get the best Chevrolet shopping experience in the Omaha area. Call us at (402)-206-2117 today to find your next vehicle.