The Chevy Volt has been out for awhile now and unfortunately Chevy is losing the sales battle against the Nissan LEAF. Sales are a bit slow for the Volt and some of that may come from the difficult positioning challenge the marketing team has had marketing an electric vehicle that still can take gas, but isn't a hybrid.
In their latest campaign, part of the Chevy Runs Deep brand campaign, the Volt team has some fun with the confusion the car's power sources cause. "Whoa, what are you doing? Thought these were electric," exclaims a gas station customer confused by the Volt owner going to pump gas into an "electric" car.
I had a Volt for eight days in early July. There is nothing confusing about it, but there are some things a lot of people didn't understand about the car I was driving. The Volt's electric engine gets about 38-43 miles on a full charge. This pales in comparison to the 100 mile (most say it's an 80 mile) range the Nissan gets. Fortunately, I have a short commute of only 11 miles each way to work so the 40 mile range was perfect.
Also a bit confusing is the sophisticated display that informs you what your fuel economy is. It bounced from 250+ mpg to 52 mpg during my eight days of driving. The vehicle's "lifetime" fuel economy was 56 mpg. Of course this was a media car so it really wasn't my lifetime mileage.
My longest day of driving came on a Saturday when we drove from one part of town (Mesquite, TX) to the opposite part of town (Grapevine, TX) racking up 78 miles that day. In a LEAF we might of decided to skip a trip to Grapevine and save it for another day in case we pushed the car too much to its battery limits. The Volt however just cleanly transitioned from electric to gas mode with only the display sharing what was going on.
It's a difficult message for Chevy's marketing team to get across and being in the car is the real test of what driving a Volt feels like. I have to confess I really did love it and do get a bit jealous now when I see one on the road.
Power modes aside, the car had an impressive interior and I was really in love with the seats and our twin 5 year old boys loved the room in the back.
The Volt really impresses. It's not a cheap car, but cutting edge first generation technology is rarely affordable. Hopefully, simplifying the complexity of the Volt to the masses will attract more buyers.
Disclosure: I did receive the Chevy Volt for review purposes. I was given the car for eight days at no cost to me, though I did pay for gas and electricity during the time I tested it. Opinions here are my own.