The GM – Volt is still in the experimental stages, but development continues at GM, even though they are experiencing financial problems. The web master at GM -Volt was invited to test drive the new electric car at the GM proving grounds. Having written about the test driving of other electric cars such as the Tesla, I found the story about the Volt should be interesting. If GM fails as this, they might as well hang it up.
So here is some of the basics of what the review contained:
The car is started by a push button that lights green, no key is needed, and the turn-on process is utterly silent.
The interior was sufficiently roomy and comfortable, and nicely ergonomically designed. It was lacking the elegant high-tech and sophisticated double LCD display the production Volt has, and all the sure to be wonderful bells and whistles the production Volt will have. There was no engine/battery feedback for the driver. Technicians normally would connect a laptop to the mule to monitor, manage, and tweak the cars behavior. This interface had been removed for my drive. My only feedback was Km/h on the speedometer and number of miles driven.
The mule was like the Volt, functionally a four-seater, the T-shaped battery pack running down the middle was low enough that the rear seat bench had no bulge, but legroom in the center of the bench was replaced by the battery.
Once started there was only a very slightly scarcely audible and occasional whir within the engine compartment but was overall strikingly and serenely silent.
And then with one small step for man and one large step for mankind and with the collective goodwill of the thousands of you GM-Volt readers on this journey with me, I depressed the accelerator.
Instant silent and sustained torque ensued.
The car had considerable brisk acceleration and power. It was smooth as silk and utterly quiet. It was truly a marvelous thing of beauty. I sailed up hills and muscled around the curves of the sterile and peculiarly industrial landscape of the proving grounds. The car handled marvelously. Greg told me that this car wasn’t near final refinement yet and that the production Volt would handle even better. Hard to believe.
But there is more:
There was of course no transmission so whether driving 5 or 75 mph the same gear was maintained. This was pleasant and comfortable and provided appropriate dynamic power at all velocities, there was no perceived “need” to shift.
I found the car to be light, nimble, agile and very fun to drive. Acceleration was terrific and spirited.
I had the chance to take the car straight up a very treacherous-appearing pure 16-1/2% grade. It was a hill that I cannot recall seeing a similar version of in real life. The car had no trouble making it to the top, and with it floored could hit about 50 mph.
16 1/2% grade? Obviously this person has never had the pleasure of driving in San Francisco. LOL Over all the test results sound good. It will be more interesting to see how the vehicle performs once the batteries drain and the car runs on its rather smallish gas engine.