Monday, November 14, 2011

Car Of The Day: November 14, 2011

Today's car of the day is Maisto's 2011 Chevrolet Volt.

The Chevrolet Volt is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle manufactured by General Motors. The Volt has been on sale in the U.S. market since mid-December 2010, and is the most fuel-efficient compact car sold in the United States, as rated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

According to General Motors the Volt can travel 25 to 50 miles (40 to 80 km) on its lithium-ion battery alone. The EPA official all-electric range is 35 miles (56 km), and the total range is 379 miles (610 km). The EPA rated 2011 model year Volt's combined city/highway fuel economy at 93 mpg-US (2.5 L/100 km; 112 mpg-imp) equivalent (MPG-e) in all-electric mode, and at 37 mpg-US (6.4 L/100 km; 44 mpg-imp) in gasoline-only mode, for an overall combined gasoline-electric fuel economy rating of 60 mpg-US (3.9 L/100 km; 72 mpg-imp) equivalent. The 2012 model year Volt received a revised EPA rating, increasing the combined city/highway fuel economy in all-electric mode to 94 MPG-e. The Volt operates as a pure battery electric vehicle until its plug-in battery capacity is depleted; at which point its gasoline engine powers an electric generator to extend the vehicle's range. The Volt's regenerative braking also contributes to the on-board electricity generation. In order to improve performance, the internal combustion engine may at times be engaged mechanically to assist both electric motors to propel the Volt.

The suggested retail price for the 2011 Chevrolet Volt in the U.S. starts at US$40,280 before the US$7,500 U.S. federal tax credit and additional incentives are available in some locations. The 2012 Volt base price will be US$1,005 less than the 2011 model, as the base configuration has been defeatured. The 2011 Volt is being sold only in selected U.S. markets and nationwide availability of the 2012 model year is expected by November 2011. Deliveries of the 2012 Volt began in Canada in September 2011, and the suggested retail price starts at CAD 41,545 (US$43,568) before any available rebates. The initial Canadian launch is also limited to selected markets and availability in the rest of Canada is expected before the end of 2012. In the Eurozone the Volt platform will be sold as the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera, and is expected to be sold for about €42,900 (US$58,000) including VAT before any government incentives. In the United Kingdom the Vauxhall Ampera is expected to be priced at GB£33,995. Exports to Europe and China are scheduled for late 2011.

Among other awards and recognition, the Chevrolet Volt won the 2009 Green Car Vision Award, 2011 Motor Trend Car of the Year, 2011 Green Car of the Year, 2011 North American Car of the Year, and 2011 World Green Car. Despite the awards earned and the positive reception from many automotive critics, there has been some controversy and concerns in the media. These include the extent of the federal government participation in the Volt development during General Motors' 2009 government-led bankruptcy; concerns about the Volt's relatively high sales price; and complaints about price markups due to the Volt's initial limited supply.

For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Chevrolet Volt

The Volt is a polarizing car in automotive circles.  Love it or hate it, this is the car GM has banked their image on for the near future.

The production design model officially unveiled on September 16, 2008, as part of General Motors centennial celebration at the Wintergarden headquarters in Detroit. The production model differed greatly in design from the original concept car. The carmaker cited necessary aerodynamic changes needed to extend the Volt's initial full-charge range by reducing the concept cars's drag coefficient (Cd). Another reason was to use of General Motors' new Delta II platform to keep costs reasonable. The global compact vehicle architecture chosen is shared by the planned 2010 Chevrolet Cruze and the 2012 Saab 9-3. Another significant difference with the concept car is the seating, as the production Volt seats four rather than five passengers. This change was due the higher-than-usual central tunnel that runs from the front console to the rear seat. This tunnel houses the car's T-shaped battery pack.

General Motors found that due to its angular shape, the Volt's concept car had a high drag coefficient of 0.43, "roughly the same aerodynamic efficiency as a Chevrolet Silverado pickup", which would put a burden on the electric range, and as a result General Motors' designers and engineers spent more than 1,000 hours in the wind tunnel reworking the exterior shape of the Volt. According to General Motors engineers, the Volt's drag coefficient is the carmaker's second best only to the GM EV1 (Cd=0.19 ). General Motors initially claimed that the production model's drag coefficient would be lower than the Toyota Prius (Cd=0.25), but the production vehicle has a drag coefficient of 0.29.

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