Monday, October 17, 2011

3 days driving a chevy volt

Since I have been blogging almost exclusively about Tesla for the past month I thought i would give GM and the Volt a run for its money. I had the opportunity to test lease a Chevy Volt complementary for 3 days as part of their promotional campaign. I jumped on the opportunity and just finished the trial period last week. If I were to "blink" and make a quick overall judgement I would classify this car as virtually equivalent to a modern toyota prius. Although it is very peppy because of the electric engine, the car has to still use lots of gas to generate electricity past the 30 or so charged miles you put on when plugged in over night. Driving electric for the first 30 miles was amazing, but once the engine kicks in for extra range the car pretty much sounds and feels much like a prius. 
After test driving car it really excites me to get out and test drive a nissan leaf thats all electric, or go balls out and test drive a tesla roadster.

One thing that really bothered me was the touch screen. I guess i have been spoiled with my iPhone 4, but the touch interface and center console just pales in comparison to a modern touch screen. And the driving screen shown below was honestly the most confusing cluttered dash board I have ever seen. It really stressed me out just looking at it and trying to search for any useful information on it. 

All those buttons are touch sensitive but permanent on the volt interface, and cannot be changed with a software update. GM does not seem to be thinking of the future of the Volt very thoroughly with an interface like that. Even Ford has done better with its Sync system.

As cars get more savvy with touch interfaces GM really needs to move itself out of Detroit and into silicone valley. Just look at this amazing interface Tesla is developing for their 17" touch display:

Anyways it was great experience test driving a car with an electric motor for 3 days. However when my friends whom i drove around in it ask me if id buy one I would simply answer. Yes I want an electric car, but probably not a Volt.

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section!


  1. GM: lastest with the leastest. Sad, really.

    And it's "pales", not "pails". The latter is not a verb.

  2. Thanks for the edits its much appreciated! Do you have a blog?

  3. Do you really drive more than 35-40 miles everyday? I guess I'm lucky my office commute is only 10 miles. I have driven 6700 miles on 11 gallons of gas since I bought my Volt in February. Living in LA, it would be very difficult for me to own a pure electric vehicle as I have no room to store or park a second car. I would have to rely on others for any trips out of town. I agree the GM touch screen interface is short-sighted. Hopefully they will upgrade to something that can be reprogrammed/modified as better gui ideas are realized.