The Chevrolet Volt And The Perks Of Going Electric

Do you have an electric or hybrid car? Have you ever thought about owning an electric car? My family doesn’t own one, but after recently test driving the Chevrolet Volt, I’m wondering why it’s taken me so long to seriously think about the perks of owning an electric car.

We’re in a car industry revolution now, like it or not. The rules of the game in vehicle technology and how we think about transportation in general have changed significantly over the last few years.

Not only do we have connected cars, but automated or self-driving cars are here, with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers forecasting 75% of cars on the road will be automated by 2040. And, electric cars are becoming easier and more economical to own, in part due to advances in clean energy, increased battery life, and wider availability of charging stations in buildings and malls.

Given all of these exciting advancements, my husband and I were definitely interested in test-driving the latest Chevrolet Volt at Hogan Chevrolet, in Scarborough, Ontario.

Hogan Chevrolet, Scarborough, Ontario. Photo by SweetLifeStyle.ca
Hogan Chevrolet, Scarborough, Ontario
Photo by SweetLifeStyle.ca

About The Chevrolet Volt

The award-winning Volt, although technically a hybrid, runs on an electric motor and gets additional energy it needs from the gas-powered generator (detailed specs here).

We test drove the Volt Premier which operates with elements of automated technology such as Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Lane Keep Assist. These are fancy ways of saying that the car’s technology is scanning the area for potential accidents, which made us feel safer. We actually liked the red lights in the side mirrors checking our blind spot and helping us switch lanes safely.

Driving and Pricing the Chevrolet Volt

Although our drive was on a typical snowy Canadian day, we felt it was ideal for testing the Volt’s performance.

The first thing we noticed is that the Volt’s beautiful blue color added to its compact, sleek look. When we got in, we felt like we were in a sports car because the car was somewhat low to the ground. With the engine on, the Volt is very quiet and you wonder if it’s running. The dashboard is actually a screen with very cool graphics, like a top-down view of the electric motor, and information about which energy source is being used to run the car. I could see myself wanting to keep the energy source electric at all times!

Photo by SweetLifeStyle.ca
Photo by SweetLifeStyle.ca

In terms of acceleration, the Chevy Volt was responsive, fast, and performed like a gas-powered car. You could’t tell it was an electric car, even at over 100 kms/hr on the highway!

The Volt took corners comfortably and we were impressed with how quickly and smoothly the brakes reacted on the snowy road surfaces. The car handled well and we felt in control, especially given the wet weather. Our very patient and knowledgeable salesman, Paul, explained that part of the appeal of the Volt is the regenerative braking which recharges the battery as you brake.

The interior of the car felt roomy, especially in front. The back seats are okay but only seat two people comfortably because the middle seat requires the third person to straddle the battery cover. I was very impressed with how spacious the trunk is and the two back seats fold down for more room.

The Volt Premier has an MSRP of C$42,490. With government incentives, the price is closer to $34,000 – higher than the average compact car. Our salesman told us that the cost to run the Volt on electric charge is about $30 a month. So, there are big savings. We currently spend about $3500 a year on gas, 10 times more than the electric running cost. You must factor this in when making a decision to purchase an electric car!

The Chevrolet Volt Customer

The Volt is a bought car. Buyers have done their homework and thought about their driving and charging needs carefully.  You need an outlet to charge the battery, so you need to live in a house or an equipped building. You also need to consider your daily driving needs. If you want to keep your drive electric, your daily round trip should be kept to 85 kms unless you’re headed to a place with a charging station.

What about a long trip or getting your Volt from one local electric driving area to another? With a total range of 672 kms, you could, under ideal driving conditions, take the Volt between Toronto and Montreal, without recharging, thanks to the gas-powered generator. That’s amazing. Purely electric cars just don’t have that range yet.

The best part of our test drive came at the end of our visit when a customer who already owned two Volts came over to tell us how much he and his daughter loved them. By the way, I just want to say here that we got the impression that customers were like family at Hogan because everyone seemed so friendly and wanted to talk! Anyway, this gentleman especially liked the low charging costs as well as the fewer gas station visits. He also drove his car regularly to the cottage, explaining that, even if the gas powered generator kicked in on the way to the cottage, once he reached his destination and charger, local trips would be back to electric power.

Owning a Chevy Volt gave this customer pride of being part of an  environmentally conscious community. There’s a non-profit organization called Plug ‘N Drive that helps customers set up their charging station at home and educates the public about the electric car industry. And, resources like the PlugShare app locate nearby charging stations.

The Bottom Line on the Chevrolet Volt

After this test drive, would I buy an electric car? Absolutely. The no-compromise handling, advanced features, and quiet operation of the Volt make it very attractive. An electric car would suit our needs as we are city drivers, 99% of the time.

The best part about owning an electric car, other than the $3200 I would save on gas, is being part of an environmentally savvy group of like-minded people who are proud to add new meaning to the concept of driving responsibly.

Our Chevrolet Volt test drive opened our eyes and mind to a new way of looking at transportation in general, and electric cars in particular. These are exciting times for the car industry, and I think we’ve only scratched the surface in terms of options, savings, and social responsibility!

This post was created in partnership with the friendly staff and customers at Hogan Chevrolet, but, as always, all opinions are my own. (Photos are taken from chevrolet.ca unless otherwise indicated.)

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12 thoughts on “The Chevrolet Volt And The Perks Of Going Electric

  1. Dear sweet life; The Chevy volt is the car I have been thinking about. Spotlighting this car in your column has definitely upped my interest.
    I trust all your recommendations
    – you are spot on when it comes to trends! I will touch base again after i do my test drive!

    1. Thanks, Pat! I’m sure you’re going to enjoy how well the car handles and responds plus all of the other fun features. I’d love to hear what you think after your test drive!
      Mary

  2. Great review and insight on the Chevy Volt. Electric cars are here, and they are not going away, which will benefit all of us. If it handles that well as n bad weather, I can only imagine how nicely it handles in good weather! And blue is my favorite color.

    1. Thank you so much, Rob! The handling on that wet and snowy day was indeed impressive. I hope you get a chance to test drive the Volt one day…I’m sure our kids will only consider electric cars given all the accolades and advancements! Mary

  3. That’s really interesting and I can’t wait to test drive an electric car ! I guess one has to the calculations to work out the overall savings and also lose the benefits of an SUV?

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post! Good question about the SUV sizing on an electric car. There aren’t any yet, but some are being developed. An option for you might be to consider the Volt as a second car until then!

    1. The Chevy Volt is a really cool car! What we loved the most was the customer interaction at the end. People feel proud and love their electric cars. In terms of acceleration, speed, handling, there is no compromise. It’s just quieter and cheaper!!
      Mary

    1. So glad you enjoyed the review! We loved it and were amazed by the feel, drive, speed, and performance. It’s quieter and perfect in terms of savings!
      Mary

  4. This is a really interesting post. We’ve been researching electric/hybrids ourselves…you’ve really summed up our thought processes here!

    1. Thanks so much for your comments and I’m glad you enjoyed the post. It’s a bit of a paradigm shift, but if you review your driving needs, you might find that the Volt is a perfect option. It drives like a regular car!
      Mary

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