Buying a new car is always a big decision, especially when making the switch to electric. You may have even owned an electric car before, but you've never owned one that can also run on gas.
You probably have questions so we tried to anticipate what some of those might be. We've compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions to help you get all the information you need.
If you don't see a question you may have below or don't feel satisfied with any answers, please call us at 877-4-VOLT-INFO
A. Volt is the everyday electric car, with gas for longer trips. In its simplest form, Volt operates two ways – in EV mode (battery powered) and extended-range (gasoline powered) mode. With a fully charged battery, in moderate conditions and depending on the temperature, terrain, battery age and how you drive, Volt offers an initial electric range of 38 miles† – totally gas-free and tailpipe-emissions-free. You can also drive a total range of up to 380 miles† on a full charge and a full tank of gas.
A. Energy is stored onboard in a 16.5-kWh, T-shaped lithium-ion battery. The battery powers the electric drive unit while driving the car electrically for an initial range without using a drop of gas. When the electric range of Volt has been used up, a gas-powered electric generator works with the electric motors to keep you going. So whether you want to go crosstown or cross-country, you’re free to drive wherever you want, efficiently. And even though Volt can plug into a 120V† outlet, if you don’t have a chance to charge it, all you have to do is fill it up just like you do with a conventional car.
A. While Volt has been designed to be the most efficient when it's plugged in daily, it will run efficiently without being plugged in for days, weeks or even months. With Volt, you don't have to plug in every day if it doesn't accommodate your schedule.
A. Those who've had an opportunity to test drive Volt have noticed how easy it is to use. Steve Parker, blogging on Huffington Post, commented on what it's like to drive Volt: “Push the ‘Start’ button and Volt springs into life. The car is quiet, smooth and fast off the line (electric motors have all their torque at start-up, unlike gas engines which need time to build power). On top of that, Volt can also accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about nine seconds.”
A. Volt is an electric vehicle with gasoline powered range-extending capability.
A. Hybrids are not designed to travel extended distances in electric-only mode. Hybrids generally use battery power while stopped or at low speeds, and also cannot typically operate at high speeds while being powered by electricity alone. Volt is designed to travel longer distances and at all speeds (up to 100 mph on a test track) in EV mode. Once the battery is depleted, Volt uses the gas-powered, range-extending generator to drive hundreds of miles more.
A. Volt is an electric car with the flexibility that most American drivers need. We heard from American drivers that the current cars on the market are not giving them what they want. They want freedom from the gas pump and freedom from the charging station. And that’s why we built Volt as a better electric car. With the range-extending capability of the gasoline engine, Volt gives you freedom to keep going for even longer distances.
A. Part of the allure of Volt is the ability to drive gas-free and tailpipe-emissions-free. However, that means the gasoline in the tank might sit there for an extended period of time but with a couple of automatic processes that help make this worry-free.
First, the gasoline tank is pressured – this allows the gasoline to stay fresh longer.
Second, Volt actually monitors itself and automatically notifies you if it senses two conditions:
Automatic Engine Maintenance: Volt will alert you, as required, about every 6 weeks, to run the engine to keep it properly maintained and lubricated. Note: This occurs only if the engine has not been used for the last 6 weeks.
Automatic Fuel Maintenance: Volt will alert you that the engine will run to use up some of the older gasoline in the tank (over one year old). If the fuel in the tank is over 365 days old, Volt will also remind you to add some fresh gas (gas will stay good in Volt's unique pressurized tank for approximately 365 days). I guess if you’ve got that problem, it means you’ve managed to stay gas-free and tailpipe-emissions-free for a significantly long time. Good job!
A. With a fully charged battery you can go 38 miles† on the electricity stored in the battery – totally gas-free and tailpipe-emissions-free.
A. On a full electric charge, most people can commute gas-free and tailpipe-emissions-free for about $1.60 of electricity per day†. The battery combines the power of 288 lithium-ion battery cells. Each cell is about the size of a 5x7-inch photo frame, less than a quarter-inch thick, and weighs about a pound. The battery monitors the voltage and current of groups of cells.
A. Kinetic energy is the energy of an object in motion. When a vehicle slows or stops, this energy must be dissipated, which is usually accomplished through a conventional braking system, which converts the kinetic energy to heat. But this energy, which is typically lost, can be recaptured in Volt, which instead converts it into electricity, helping make Volt even more efficient to drive.
Here's how it works: Volt accelerates using its electric motor by converting electrical energy from the battery into mechanical energy. When you step on the brakes, even slightly, the electric motor reverses this process, converting mechanical energy from the motion of the vehicle back to electric energy into the battery to be reused later.
A. While the published EPA EV range for Volt is an estimated 38 miles, the electric range that customers actually experience may be higher or lower than 38 due to the driver's technique, the terrain, battery age and the outdoor temperature. On a full charge, most customers under moderate conditions will experience an estimated 25 to 55† miles of EV range. A high range of 55 miles is based on ideal circumstances – conservative driving using no air conditioning in mild outdoor temperatures. The 25-mile range represents a slightly more aggressive driving style using the heater in ECO setting in cold outdoor temperatures of 25°F/-4ºC.
A. There are a few ways to help with the extended range.
A. The electric range of Volt may be higher or lower than expected due to the driver's technique, the terrain, and/or the outdoor temperature. In other words, driving and braking aggressively, driving in areas with large elevation changes, or driving in extreme outdoor temperatures will impact the electric range capability. While electric-only range may vary based on these factors, the range extender feature is always available for hundreds of miles of additional driving.
A. The EV Range displayed in the vehicle is a projection based on recent driving conditions. It is normal for the displayed value to adjust while the vehicle is driven, as this estimate is constantly being recalculated. Adjustments are based on recent driving history for the vehicle. The displayed EV Range can vary from season to season, week to week, day to day and even drive to drive.
High cabin heat used on a cool day
Eco cabin climate control
Cabin A/C on a hot day
Rear window defog
Defrost (front window)
Cold outdoor temperatures
Accessories (power outlet)
High Speeds (70+ mph)
A. Yes, when vehicle power is ON, the engine may start to provide energy for heating and cooling, independent of the vehicle being plugged in or completely charged. Some other conditions that may also cause the engine to start include:
A. In cold temperatures (around 35°F/2°C and lower, depending on vehicle settings) the engine may start to help warm the interior cabin, propulsion battery and the electric drive unit. This will occur even if the vehicle was plugged in prior to driving and if the driver has the heater turned off. This is a factory default that adjusts to 15°F/-10°C in the 2014 Volt.
The vehicle will turn the engine on and off as needed to assist in maintaining temperature. The driver will be alerted of these changes based on a message alert in the Driver Information Cluster. The Volt will stay in EV mode with the engine running purely for heating purposes.
A. "L" position provides more coast-down regenerative braking. When in "L," you can feel the vehicle decelerate more aggressively when you lift your foot off the accelerator pedal. "L" can be useful for maintaining speeds on hilly roads.
A. On a full charge, Volt's initial electric range is an estimated 38 miles†. After Volt's electric range has been used up, a gas-powered electric generator works with the electric motor to keep you going for up to 380 miles† of total range. So whether you want to go crosstown or cross-country, you're free to drive wherever you want, efficiently. And even though Volt plugs into any standard 120V† household outlet, if you don't have a chance to charge it, all you have to do is fill it up with gas just like you do now with your car.
A. In-vehicle, Volt displays MPG calculated from the total miles driven divided by the total gallons of gas used. This is how most consumers think about fuel economy today, but it does not match the MPGe figures. The fuel economy on the label provides the efficiency of Volt using each fuel source, electric and gasoline. It shows that Volt achieves 98 MPGe for electric only operation, and 37 MPG for gasoline-only operation†. To understand how much electricity and gasoline was used per fully charged battery, please refer to Volt’s Energy Efficiency screen on the center stack.
A. Current electric vehicles show EPA-estimated city and highway efficiency in units of kWh/100 miles. This makes it difficult for consumers to compare energy efficiency with more traditional cars and hybrids that are rated in miles per gallon.
The 2014 Volt label shows that cars will be rated on a miles-per-gallon-equivalent (MPGe) scale, which converts alternative means of propulsion – such as electricity –based on its energy content relative to that of gasoline (for example, 33.7 kWh = 1 gallon of gas). Vehicles that use electricity more efficiently (lower kWh/100 miles) will have a higher MPGe value.
A. On the official vehicle label, fuel economy for Volt is calculated several ways.
1. MPGe (all-electric)
2. MPG (gas only) assumes you never charge Volt
3. Not shown on the label is the combined composite, which is a blend between all-electric driving and gasoline power driving. Based on EPA estimates, which is 62MPGe.
A. To use the power grid more efficiently, we recommend recharging Volt when overall energy demand is at its lowest each day. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, this is usually from around 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. If you'd like to know whether reduced off-peak electricity rates are offered in your area, contact your local electric company†.
A. You'll probably spend more money on gas than you need to, but Volt will run just fine.
A. Every Volt comes standard with a 120V† portable charge cord that can plug into 120V outlets and will fully charge a Volt in about 10 to 16 hours, depending on selected charging level and outdoor temperature. You can also have a 240V charging station (additional cost plus installation) professionally installed in your home that will reduce the charging time to about four hours.
Upon ordering a new Chevrolet Volt, discuss with your Volt Customer Advisor the benefits of installing a dedicated 240V home charging station. 240V Charging stations provide faster and more consistent charge times.
Chevrolet home charging service provider offers charging stations, installations, permits, inspections, as well as information on special programs and incentives. Visit www.pluginnow.com/go/volt for more information.
A. No, you can plug it into any standard 120V† household outlet. In the case of a non dedicated circuit, the current rating of the outlet circuit breaker could be exceeded and cause it to trip or open. It is recommended that you have your preferred outlet inspected by a qualified electrician to ensure it is properly installed with a minimum of 15 amp service for charging the Volt.
A. Using a 120V† outlet, in about 10 – 16 hours, depending on selected charging level and outdoor temperature, you'll have a fully charged Volt waiting for you, ready to go. You can also install a 240V charging station, which can charge Volt in as little as four hours. In very hot (95°F/35°C) or cold temperatures (25°F/-4°C), charging times and energy usage will increase when using the 120V† portable cord set. A 240V charging station is strongly recommended for consumers who plan to charge in extreme weather conditions (over 95° F or below 20° F) on a regular basis.
A. You won't have to worry about having enough time to fully charge Volt. A partially charged battery will work until it runs out, then the gas-powered electric generator will seamlessly kick in to provide electricity and extend your range for hundreds of miles.
A. Electricity is an extremely affordable transportation fuel. With a fully charged battery, you can enjoy an EPA-estimated 38 miles of gas-free and tailpipe-emissions-free driving† for about $1.60 per day†. That's about the same annual cost as running a common household appliance. To save even more, some utility companies offer lower electricity rates for vehicles charging during off-peak periods†, such as nighttime.
A. Well before the first Volt was sold, Chevrolet was looking to what will happen to the vehicle's batteries at the end of the EV's life cycle. Used battery cells may help increase the efficiency of the electrical grid in America. GM has signed a memorandum of understanding with ABB Group aimed at developing new projects just for Volt batteries after they've lived out their useful lives in the extended-range EV.
A. The Lithium-ion battery holds its charge efficiently and has no memory effect, which means you don't have to run it down completely before recharging.
A. We highly recommend that you have the available 240V charging station professionally installed in your home by a certified electrician. Visit pluginnow.com/go/volt for information regarding home charging equipment, installation and special programs.
A. You will need access to a minimum requirement of a 120V/15 amp† dedicated outlet that is located no more than 15 to 20 feet from your vehicle. Extension cords or adapters should NOT be used. Check with your property manager to see if they can accommodate your request.
A. If you are using power the battery will deplete — it is just a matter of how much. For example, sitting in traffic without the heat or air conditioning on will cause minimal battery drain. However, using high heat on a cool day or high A/C on a hot day or the defrost function will cause the battery to drain more quickly.
A. Volt uses a unique liquid thermal cooling and heating system that keeps the battery at a comfortable temperature, as it’s being charged and discharged. Each battery cell is encased in a polymer- coated aluminum package to withstand harsh climates. It also uses meticulously developed anode, cathode and electrolyte chemistries to improve the battery life under high temperature conditions and a wide range of charge states.
A. Like all batteries, the amount of energy that the high voltage "propulsion" battery can store will decrease with time and miles driven. Depending on use, the battery may degrade as little as 10% to as much as 30% of capacity over the warranty period.
A.Chevrolet teamed up with LG Chem to design a durable and reliable battery. Each battery cell is encased in a polymer-coated aluminum package to withstand harsh climates. It also uses meticulously developed anode, cathode and electrolyte chemistries to improve the battery life under high temperature conditions and a wide range of charge states. A liquid thermal cooling and heating system keeps the battery at a comfortable temperature, as it's being charged and discharged. The Volt battery is designed for long life and to be reliability. Each battery pack is made up of 288 rectangular cells arranged in a series-parallel configuration. Computer systems monitor the battery cells to make sure everything is working correctly.
A. Here are a few tips to help you maximize the life of your battery:
A. Chevrolet backs it with a 100,000-mile/8-year Battery and Voltec™ Component Warranty†. In addition to the battery, the warranty covers the thermal management system, charging system and electric drive components.
A. Currently the federal government offers up to a $7,500 tax credit when you purchase a qualified plug-in electric vehicle such as Volt†. People who buy a residential charging station may also receive up to a $1,000 tax credit†. Individual states may offer incentives on top of those as well.
Be sure to check Chevrolet Current Offers to learn what is available in your Zip Code.
A. This option will be available at no cost on all 2013 Volt models in California and New York as well as on 2014 Volt models in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maryland.
A. Yes. Volt, with the Low Emissions Package, qualifies for certain state incentives. In California, residents who own or lease a Volt with the Low Emissions Package can apply for HOV lane access and a state rebate. In New York, residents who register a Volt with the Low Emissions Package can apply for HOV lane access and a discount on tolls payment through E-Z Pass. These are government programs and are not administered by General Motors. Government programs are subject to change. For more details on state incentives, see http://www.chevrolet.com/chevy-volt-electric-car-tax-credit.html and follow the provided links to the appropriate websites.
A. Unfortunately, no. The Low Emission Package required extensive engineering with new hardware and additional software modifications to meet emissions standards.
A. The vehicle identification number (VIN) contains markers that state regulators can use to verify the vehicle’s emissions designation. A 2012 – 2014 Volt has the Low Emission Package if the fifth VIN position has an E, F, G or H.
A. The state incentives are government programs and are not administered by General Motors. Government programs are subject to change.
A. At this time, the Low Emissions Package is available for the 2013 Volt only at Chevrolet participating Volt dealers in California and New York, and for the 2014 Volt, only at Chevrolet participating Volt dealers in California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maryland.
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