I personally have always been against hybrid cars because I felt like they were the economical solutions for the feeble-minded. In other words, they were nothing more than a collaborative marketing ploy involving the failing Big Three, oil companies, and the US government that was created to boost the economy in wake of the discredited Al Gore and his Inconvenient Truth”¦or lie.
In my experience, I thought hybrids were so woeful, I”d rather travel by pogo stick. And the sacrifices of shoddy build quality in desperate bids to keep weight down, numbed driving experience, and marked up prices didn”t appeal to me because I felt those sacrifices weren”t worth the benefits. Additionally, for me to look forward to any hybrid powertrained or EV automobile was as likely as hell freezing over.
As an enthusiast, I would say buy a diesel because it would actually pay for itself after factoring in the dealer markups for hybrids and would return almost equal, if not better fuel economy figures on highway travelling, which is where majority of Americans spend most of their time driving. Of course, hybrids are sensible if you live in the city, but majority of the people who do live in the city pretty much rely on public transportation. So thus, the point of a hybrid was rather pointless.
That said, the Chevy Volt to me was another hyped up automobile that was going to once again prove that the General was way over its head, making promises it couldn”t keep because the corporate bean counters were too focused on bulking up their 401ks so they could take the money and run if the company went bust (which it did). I say that because for the last 30 years, we were the only country in the developed world that didn”t indulge in consuming on average, 30% less fuel by using diesel as our primary source. We can thank the General for their oppression of diesel by trying to reestablish their reputation after failing horribly to compete with the far more fuel efficient foreign offerings after the 1970s Fuel Crisis.
But a recent story in Motor Trend Magazine has me ordering my defenses to stand down. Last week, the mag”s senior editor, Jonny Lieberman reported on his most recent experience with the Volt.
They embarked on a trip from MT”s offices in El Segundo, CA to the desert city of Mojave. This involved a test to see how far the Volt would go on a full battery charge on EV mode in city driving, and the remainder of the trip was a dash through the desert mountains and a sprint on the highway.
The end test results: 126.7 mpg in the framework of everyday driving. In their other findings, the final amount of gasoline burned on their trip of 299 miles, was 2.36 gallons. And that included a dash to the Volt”s top speed of 102 MPH, with the air con on to battle the 100 degree heat. When compared to the incoming Nissan LEAF, if driven as aggressively as the Volt in Lieberman”s test, the LEAF would”ve been dead before the Volt even consumed its first gallon of gasoline. By all means, impressive test results.
There is still only one problem however, and it”s the projected selling price of the Volt. At an estimated $40k MSRP, it”s a lot of money for car of its nature, especially since it”s aimed towards the crowd who are doing all they can to save money on their automobile. So that initial purchase price could be hard to swallow for some and it may be hard to sway buyers from the epically popular Prius, which costs nearly half as much.
Though I do admit that I am slightly biased. However, I try my best to keep an open mind because it is inevitable that new CAFE requirements and the underlying fear of running out of oil, and astronomically high gas prices will have manufacturers coming out with cars of equal nature. And while the fact of the matter is that hybrids and EVs use less gasoline than a standard car, the Volt isn”t the solution to our oil and environmental problems. I am a firm believer that hydrogen fuel cells are our future. But we”re still a couple years away from that being economically feasible and practical. So until then, the Volt maybe our temporary solution for now. And at least it will keep the environmentalists happy, so they can stop buggering us enthusiasts.
2011 Chevrolet Volt:
– By: Chris Chin
Source: Motor Trend