A full charge (for about 40 miles of EV-only driving) takes about 10 hours using the 110V charger that comes with the car. That gets cut in half if you get the 220V charging station for a garage. So it wouldn't be difficult to integrate the car into a commuting routine.
As for acceleration, the low torque characteristics of electric motors gives the Volt plenty of "pop" to merge with traffic--as some surprised drivers found out when I jumped onto the traffic stream on the New York Thruway.
The battery is warranted for eight years/100,000 miles. No word on what replacement would be then, but the battery will degrade as to performance but still be usefill in operating the car. There is talk of using "old" Volt batteries in banks to serve as electric-grid backup stations.
Check back next week after a full week in the Volt for any "surprises," etc.
So far, for a trip to the mountains from Boston, driving in the hills (with an interesting interplay of potential and kinetic energy), and returning again (and being able to put three and a half "charges" into the car), the computer says 53.3 mpg over 485.1 miles.
In the heart of the East Coast heat wave last week, I set out from Boston to upstate New York. The temperature was in the low 100s with high humidity. With a full charge, the computer said about 40 miles range in the EV mode. I realized about 36 miles in EV-only before the gas generator came on to augment the battery. This was on the Mass Pike in heavy traffic that ranged from stop-and-go to occasionally highway speed (65 mph) over some hills, with the cabin temp set to 73F.
As for cold weather performance, we'll have to get the car then!
How hard is it to charge and run your normal drives/commutes? What is the expected life of the batteries and the cost to replace them? Is there any surprises (good or bad)that you encounter during the week long test? Does it have good acceleration or are you concerned with getting onto a high-speed road from a standstill? Just curious if your testing will include: highway, city, mountainous roads.
What's the effect on battery range when you run the AC when it is 100degF outside? And what about in winter when you run the heater?
Even without running the heater, how do the batteries hold up when the ambient is cold?
NASA's Orion Flight Software Production Systems Manager Darrel G. Raines joins Planet Analog Editor Steve Taranovich and Embedded.com Editor Max Maxfield to talk about embedded flight software used in Orion Spacecraft, part of NASA's Mars mission. Live radio show and live chat. Get your questions ready.
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