How can I properly talk about the use of electric vehicles (EV) if I’ve never tried one? Well, I have and it was quite enjoyable. The Chevy Volt gets about 36 miles on straight electricity and 44 mpg when switching to the backup gas tank. Unlike some might imagine, this EV car actually looks pretty nice. Even Munchkin was impressed, and she’s pretty much a sports car-only girl.
One-week vehicle loan was provided for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
EV Review of 2014 Chevy Volt
On electricity, the 2014 Chevrolet Volt is SUPER quiet (you only know it’s on because the light on the dashboard tells you it is). The acceleration is instant and the car had no problem performing on slight inclines. The power was pretty much the same as when it went to using gas. Handling was good and control layout was clean. The view took a little getting used to as the curved shape made the windshield area a bit narrower.
The model we had only sat four with an opening into the cargo area between the two rear seats. Sometimes the ride was a little noisy because of this. Also, it was hard to ‘hide’ anything in the back, even with the stretchy cover attachment. The removable console in the second row was, well, interesting. Leg room was okay but pretty tight if a tall person is driving.
Charging Station Vs Portable Plug
With 36 miles of electricity, we pretty much needed to charge it every day we used it. Our building has its own charging station but it only has one plug for some 300 apartment homes. Apparently, the few that have EVs in the complex traded numbers and text each other when they’re done charging (using the 220v plug, a full charge only takes 2-3 hours). That was way too cumbersome for us.
Since we have a grounded outlet near our assigned space in the underground parking, we just used the portable 120v cord included with the Volt and charged it overnight. The Volt lets you charge using 8 amps or 12 amps in case you want to use less electricity. The 8 amps takes forever though so we set it at 12 amps and a full charge took about nine hours. Make sure you have the key nearby when you take the plug out or tap the ‘plug’ button. Otherwise the anti-theft alarm will sound.
Using the electric vehicle charging stations at work or around town is really easy. You just have to know what you’re doing and this “How to use a Charging Station” tutorial can help.
2014 Chevy Volt – A Good Buy?
The 2014 Chevy Volt is reasonably-priced and is a nice ride. It’s best for short city trips or if you have a max of a 20-mile commute with a charging station at work. The gas mileage is still about 37 mpg so you’ll still be saving even on longer trip. The only thing is I’d rather have a fifth seat that closes off the noise from the cargo area than a removable rear console, which seemed more weird than innovative to me.