""Hybrid" done right!"5.0 starson by AySz88
Pros: Cutting-edge tech. True "hybrid" of electric and gas.
Smooth, quiet engine; peppy (almost "sporty") to drive.
Eliminates huge fraction of gas use (~1 gallon worth of gas per charge).
Much more environmentally-friendly.
Can take regular wall power.
Cons: Relatively costly up-front.
Still a bit rough - harder-than-usual learning curve; more for early adopters.
High pitched engine sound annoying for young sensitive ears.
Only latter-half-of-model-year cars got HOV stickers.
Summary: When I was in my early teens, when I first heard the word "hybrid", I thought "hybrid" should refer to a car that could use electric and gas interchangeably. That didn't exist yet - but it does now, I'm glad to be able to drive such a car, the Volt. This car truly hybridizes its energy sources - it can use electric, or gas, or both simultaneously. As the laws of physics dictate that we will have to transition away from fossil fuels toward more sustainable alternatives, this is the path of technology that I imagine cars are most likely to follow.
If you have any qualms about power or speed or size, take the car for a test drive. It really drives well - it is often described as "sporty", especially typical driving from a stoplight. It busts through all those negative stereotypes of electric vehicles.
As the first of its kind, the car is engineered for "typical" use - daily commutes of about 30-45 miles per day. My family stretches past that a bit, to around 50 miles total, usually about 44 on electric and 6 on gas (75% highway, 25% city).
With daily commutes of under 60ish miles, it's fine to charge this car just overnight with the regular cord. Don't take it for granted that you have to install a new 240V station - few people really need to charge at home during the day. It's unnecessary to obsess over charging times or charging stations - if you run out, the gas generator handles those situations fine. (Though it can be entertaining to do so, anyway!)
For overnight charging, definitely look into time-of-use (peak/off-peak) rates - and with a little fiddling, you can even offset or shift around your electric use enough to keep your power bill the same.
If you do have a longer (60+ mile/day) commute, consider setting up something to charge at work as well - either a dedicated charging station or just an outdoor 120V plug. (Even if you have to reimburse, the cost of the electricity itself is very low, usually less than $1-2 a charge.)
The car is still rough around the edges a bit - there are still minor things that seem like they could be easily fixed, such as the oft-mentioned console button placement. But given the amount of new technology in the car, that there are only a few, relatively minor, usability problems is far beyond par.
GM does seem to care about the image of this car a lot - they know that it is a "halo" car for them, and important for their image. They will pamper you as a customer in the hopes that your satisfaction will help them succeed. This strategy definitely is part of the reason why they got that top spot for most-satisfied drivers.
Closing things out... When this car was released, I naively thought that this would be a car that really could satisfy those of any political stripe: green credentials on the left and for patriotic anti-foreign-oil types on the right. But to my horror, it's become a target of certain partisan bullies. This is disappointing to me, but not a fault of the car itself - I still think you should love this car regardless of the politics of the day.
And given the menu of technology available right now, I hope this technology succeeds, improves, and proliferates to other forms and styles of vehicles.
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