This post is in collaboration with Chevrolet. All opinions are my own.
Have you ever thought about getting an electric car? This past week I got the chance to try out the 2017 Chevrolet Volt and see how it could stand up to my 40 mile one-way commute.
Last year, I tried out the 2015 model; Chevrolet made a lot of improvements in the 2016 model which were then carried into the 2017 as well.
The center screen of the 2017 Chevrolet Volt offers all sorts of information. Check the weather, see how the energy is flowing throughout the car, and use navigation to reach your destination (with OnStar you can also have them send the directions directly to the car).
The back side of the steering wheel offers the Regen on Demand feature which is essentially a hand brake which sends energy back into the batteries. This definitely took some finesse, but by the end of the week I was starting to get the hang of using it.
The rear seats fold down which gives the 2017 Chevrolet Volt a good amount of cargo space. I brought a few boxes to work for coworkers and they fit in there no problem. The portable 120V charging cable also has it’s own little housing compartment in the trunk.
I don’t have a 240V charger installed in my home; however, I was able to charge off of the standard 120V outlet. On a 240V charger, the battery can fill in 4.5 hours; it takes roughly 13 hours on a 120V (and around 19 hours when set to 8 Amps as opposed to 12 Amps).
Now for a little Electrical Engineering lesson on what all these numbers mean. Imagine you have a bucket that you need to fill with 10 pounds of material (doesn’t matter what it is, just imagine it needs to weigh 10 pounds).
For 120V we will use water as our material. At 8 Amps, we’re filling it through a standard water hose and it takes a while to fill the bucket. When we change to 12 Amps, we switch from a water hose to a fire hose where the water is able to flow a lot faster.
For 240V we will use cement as our material. That bucket will fill even faster than water as we wait for it to approach 10 pounds because cement is heavier than water.
Hope this all makes sense in understanding the differences in the charge times.
The default is to charge at 8 Amps; I switched it to 12 Amps the first day; however, it popped the breaker a few times because it was sharing a circuit with the freezer and garage door opener. If it had been plugged into a 20 Amp circuit, or been the only thing on the 15 Amp circuit it would have worked great.
The 53 mile EV range is great for commuters who have short commutes or can charge at work. I definitely needed the gas engine range extender to put up with my commute. I was impressed that they were able to increase the EV range from the previous model.
I also enjoyed having WiFi built into the car. Up to 7 tablets/laptops/phones/etc can be connected at one time. I generally have to watch my data usage throughout the month so having my phone automatically connect in the car was great.
Overall, I was impressed with the updates to the 2017 Chevrolet Volt. Have you ever considered getting an electric vehicle?