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USA: 2012 Chevy Volt Review

The 2012 Chevy Volt offers slight improvements to an already great green car, if owners can manage to live with some persistent quirks of the electric lifestyle.

What a difference a year makes. Since reviewing the Chevy Volt almost exactly one year ago, the EV infrastructure in the US has blossomed with charging stations on almost every street corner, shopping mall, and school across this great land. You have to actually look hard to find any normal gas stations these days, where old-school ICE (internal combustion engine) drivers fill up their tanks.

We’re kidding. Actually, they may have added a few more charging stations in California.

The reality is that the 2012 Chevy Volt is still a great in-between car that runs for about 35 miles on an electric charge, and then starts re-charging itself using a normal gas engine. Chevy engineers still claim that the gas engine does not directly propel the car, but to the average commuter, the point is immaterial. There is a gas engine, and you have to buy gas regularly. In fact, after testing the Volt for a two-week loan (a bit unusual for most car tests) where we ran on EV only for a week and then on gas for a week, we discovered some hidden surprises about what it means to drive the Volt every day to work.

One is that you end up being a maintainer of electric charging. After each 35 miles, you have to run an extension cord out to the car at work, or leave the vehicle overnight in your garage, tethered to a wall outlet. Over two weeks, it becomes more annoying than we imagined. Still, there’s an incredible sense of satisfaction when you have driven gas cars your entire life and can get to work and back without every paying for fuel. It means, our fuel economy with the Volt hit a high of 222MPG. Sadly, during the week of using only the gas engine, we only hit about 25MPG.


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