2013 Chevrolet Volt
The 2013 Chevrolet Volt was one of the biggest noisemakers of 2012, prior to its debut. Some have gone as far as to call it the biggest breakthrough in the automotive industry since the Toyota Prius was released a decade ago.
By and large, the 2013 Chevy Volt deserved the hype leading to its release, as it is easily the best-selling plug-in extended-range EV car in the US.
The 2013 Chevy Volt combines hybrid and EV to a tee, thus giving this compact sedan a new term: extended-range EV. Simply put, the Volt initially uses an electric motor and a lithium-ion rechargeable battery for the first 35 miles, until the 1.4-liter gas motor engine kicks in as a generator that can be refueled with premium unleaded and can extend up to 300 miles. This potent combination should put to rest drivers with “range anxiety”—fearful that they might get stranded in the middle of a trip. While the lithium-ion battery pack produces 149 horsepower and 273 lb-feet of torque, the gas motor produces 84 horsepower to generate the electric motor. Unlike other hybrids such as the Ford C-Max and the Prius, the Volt runs solely on electricity. When the gas motor engine switches on, it merely works as a generator and provides power to the electric motor.
All units come with a standard charging cord that can be plugged into 120-Volt wall outlets. Charging time for an entirely depleted pack takes 7 to 10 hours. The lithium-ion battery pack has an energy capacity of up to 16.5 kilowatt-hours.
As a result of its unique powertrain dynamics, the Chevy Volt runs smoothly and tightly—unlike most conventional hybrids that suffer from transmission shifting noises. Its body shape is designed with aerodynamics in mind, all the while staying loyal to the Chevy brand. The front is designed with a closed grille opening, a steep windshield, and rounded nose. Along the rear fenders are sharp edges that cut through the window, aided by a functional rear hatch spoiler that serves the same function.
The 2013 Chevy Volt’s interior is brightly inspired by the Apple computer school of design. With dark and bright white accents, touch-sensitive controls, and climate control functions, the 2013 Chevy Volt is inspired by the latest electronic trends and looks refined. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as it is made of quality materials. There is sufficient legroom at the front and the back, enough for up to four people.
The list of standard safety features is more than what most rivals currently offer; it is equipped with antilock brakes, side curtain airbags, front knee airbags, front-seat side-impack airbags, and the OnStar emergency system.
Unsurprisingly, the Volt has consistently been a top rater in federal crash tests and in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests.
The Volt comes with an OnStar MyLink app—a smartphone app that regularly checks the Volt’s battery level, available electric range, and tire pressure. This is the same app that locks/unlocks the door, and starts the A/C system. Even the charging rate can be controlled, and an e-mail or text alert system can be activated to send messages whenever the battery is “full”. You can manage all these with the Volt smartphone app in your mobile device.
The price tag for the 2013 Volt starts at $40,000 and can lead up to $45,000 if loaded with leather, Bose audio, rearview camera, navigation, and park-assist package. This is still subject to federal tax credit depending on the country.