Home » I Drove A Traded-In First-Generation Chevy Volt, One Of America’s Most Unfairly Hated Cars

I Drove A Traded-In First-Generation Chevy Volt, One Of America’s Most Unfairly Hated Cars

Chevy Volt Tint Yt Dims
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Government Motors. It’s what lots of folks called GM after the bailout, and it’s a term that many used when casting insults at the Chevrolet Volt, the company’s “Car of the Future.” Some even joked that Barack Obama himself had designed the plug-in hybrid hatchback, and that it was an absolute waste of taxpayer dollars. And yet, on the other side of the aisle, folks who actually bought the Volt adored it. “I haven’t used a drop of gas in three months. I actually have to fire up my engine just to keep the gas from going bad!” is something you’ll hear from a typical flannel-wearing, granola-eating Volt owner. So what’s the deal with this highly contentious Financial Crisis-Era electrified car? Was it as bad as the haters say, as good as the owners say, and why the hell did it die out? I had a chance to drive a Volt that someone traded in to Galpin Ford; here’s what it was like.

The Chevy Volt is dead, and it’s not hard to make the argument that it really never lived up to its potential. It was a great idea — a vehicle that offered 35 miles of fully-electric range when the 16 kWh battery was fully charged, and another 300+miles when the 9.3-gallon fuel tank was full. That tank fed a 1.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine mounted transversely under the hood of the Volt, and though its primary purpose was to act as a generator to keep the battery charged enough to propel the car using the electric motor, under certain high-speed conditions, it could actually couple to the driveline to help propel the car directly.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

This latter function was controversial when the media found out about it. “Wait, hold on. Isn’t this a series hybrid?” people wondered. “Why is the gas engine actually powering the car?” Stories like Autoblog’s “GM: Yes, the Volt’s gas engine can power the wheels” started spreading across the internet. Here’s a quote from it:

 General Motors kept saying its “extended range electric vehicle (ER-EV)” was just that: an electric car with a gasoline-powered generator on board. Guess what?

GM has now confirmed, late in the game, that the Volt can, in some situations, use the ICE to power the wheels. This came to light after Motor Trend was allowed to test the car for three long drives and discovered:

However of particular interest, when going above 70 mph in charge sustaining mode, and the generator gets coupled to the drivetrain, the gas engine participates in the motive force. GM says the engine never drives the wheels all by itself, but will participate in this particular situation in the name of efficiency, which is improved by 10 to 15 percent.

This is exactly the opposite of what GM has been saying for years

This was just one of the Volt’s many controversies after it debuted for the 2011 model year, championed by an Obama administration that used it as proof for the incredibly forward-thinking innovations that General Motors was delivering thanks to a taxpayer-funded bailout.

Another controversy occurred when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ran a side-pole crash test. Here, let me show you what happened next:

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Yikes! Here’s a small snippet from NHTSA’s report on the incident:

On Monday June 6, 2011, NHTSA was notified by personnel at MGA Research, Inc. (MGA) that a fire event had occurred over the previous weekend and had been discovered by laboratory personnel on that Monday morning. The laboratory provided details of the vehicles involved in the event which included the Chevrolet Volt subjected to an NCAP pole test three weeks earlier on May 12th.

[…]

NHTSA contracted with a battery and fire expert, Hughes Associates, to investigate the origin and cause of the fire. The initial forensic inspection was conducted on June 13-14, 2011 at the MGA facility. In July 2011, Hughes Associates preliminary findings indicated that the fire incident at MGA most likely originated in the Chevrolet Volt.

[…]

The inspection of the crash damage to the Volt revealed that the transverse stiffener located under the driver’s seat had penetrated the tunnel section of the battery compartment, damaged the lithium-ion battery, and ruptured the battery’s liquid cooling system. Review of the crash test photographs and video confirmed that battery coolant leaked from the battery compartment. Hughes Associates concluded ultimately that the damage to some of the Volt’s battery pack cells and electric shorting precipitated the fire.

Note that the report goes on to mention that NHTSA crashed six Volts and assessed battery condition. Two batteries ended up catching fire:

Screen Shot 2024 03 19 At 12.20.12 Pm

From NHTSA:

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In summary, six tests were performed on Volt battery packs to isolate potential factors involved in the MGA vehicle fire. Of the six tests, two batteries caught fire (Tests 2 and 5), one battery experienced a short arcing event with sparks and flames (Test 3), one battery showed signs of heating at the connector (Test 4), one battery had no test activity other than a slow discharge of one cell group

Naturally, NHTSA contacted GM and let them know that this was not okay, and GM came up with a solution:

In November 2011, because of the vehicle fire and subsequent testing, NHTSA opened a defect investigation (PE 11-037) on the Chevrolet Volt. The agency rarely opens a defect investigation without any data from real-world incidents. By taking this uncommon step, NHTSA sought to ensure the safety of the driving public with emerging EV technology. As a result, GM proposed a potential change (field fix) to mitigate intrusion of the transverse stiffener into the battery. NHTSA observed the installation of the proposed reinforcement into a 2012 production Chevrolet Volt and the vehicle was then shipped to MGA in Wisconsin where an NCAP type side-pole test was performed on December 22, 2011. The vehicle was monitored for three weeks. There was no intrusion into the battery compartment, no leakage of coolant, and no post impact fire observed.

It was a PR nightmare that GM and the Obama administration didn’t need, especially given how unpopular the Volt already was among many Americans.

But the Volt was actually a good car, adored by those who drove it, including people who once piloted General Motors’ biggest PR flub, the vehicle that spawned the Movie Who Killed The Electric Car, the GM EV1:

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In fact, GM executive Bob Lutz, who really started the development of the Volt well before Obama made it to office, referred to the Volt as a “reputational adjustment exercise” meant to improve how the world saw The General, which is why it’s so ironic that, to many, it did exactly the opposite.

But again, it was a good car, and it was well engineered. A T-shaped battery pack sitting under the rear bench and along the spine of the car was filled with liquid-cooled prismatic lithium-ion battery cells. A charge-port located on the driver’s side fender filled up those cells:

Screen Shot 2024 03 19 At 12.39.43 Pm2011 Chevrolet Volt 16 Kwh Lithium Ion Battery Cutaway Rendering

The battery then sends juice to an inverter to convert electricity from DC to AC to power the 111kw (~150 hp) electric motor, which feeds a planetary gear set that’s part of the “Voltec electric drive system.”

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2011 Chevrolet Volt Voltec Drive Unit 4et50 Mka Cutaway Renderin

This drive unit is exceptionally complex, and actually features a 74 horsepower (55 kW) generator that acts as a secondary electric motor to propel the vehicle.

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Here’s a slightly more translucent one version of the above shot:

Screen Shot 2024 03 19 At 12.58.39 Pm

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The short of it is that, during normal EV-only operation, a clutch locks the electric motor to the ring gear, creating a 7:1 gear ratio between that primary motor and the differential output. In other circumstances, like at high speeds, the generator will assist the traction motor. If the car runs out of charge, the gas motor will run the generator to power the main traction motor, and, in rare cases (as mentioned before), the gas motor will run the generator while that generator is coupled with the traction motor, and thus the gas engine will be mechanically connected to the wheels.

Here’s a breakdown of how it all works:

Anyway, enough about how the Volt works. Let’s get into the 2014 trade-in that I got to test-drive.

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The thing was in borderline mint condition, and had clearly been beautifully maintained. Well, aside from the broken makeup mirror-cover, which meant that every time I blocked the sun with the visor, I got a direct view of my own crotch. Not ideal.

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Anyway, as I got going in the Volt, I noticed that it lacked a backup camera; these didn’t become standard until 2018, though the Volt has an awesome porthole window in its rear hatch that — combined with the lack of a middle rear seat (due to the T-shaped battery that would eat up the legroom) — made this a non-issue.

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I also noticed that the car hadn’t been charged, so it was running on the gas engine. This annoyed me, largely because the 1.4-liter four-cylinder just felt unrefined and loud. I had to get the thing to a charger asap. In my search for a charger, I visited LA’s most dangerous EV charger — one located literally in an active lane of traffic, and about eight feet up on a telephone pole. Trying to release that charging cable was a fruitless affair:

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I eventually got the Volt charged, and found the driving experience to have been dramatically improved. There’s just something about silence that makes the car feel just right.

Watch the video towards the top of this article to get my full impressions on the first-gen Volt. My main takeaway is that, though I appreciate its engineering, it really doesn’t feel all that special. It’s a Chevy Cruze with an electrified powertrain. The interior is OK, the ride is OK, the styling is OK. It doesn’t feel like the “Car of the Future,” certainly not in comparison to my BMW i3 of the same model-year. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a great, practical machine. I’m a big fan.

I’ll conclude by quoting Bloomberg’s story “Chevy’s Volt and Obama’s Green Legacy”:

When the history books are written about Barack Obama’s tenure as commander in chief, the Chevrolet Volt will doubtless be remembered as the most important car of his presidency. Like selfies, secular stagnation and the Tea Party, General Motors’s plug-in hybrid is inextricably linked with the America of the last seven years.

Like Obama himself, the Volt was cast as a reinvention, a new kind of player that could bridge the gap between zero-emissions electric-car enthusiasts and traditional car buyers. But like candidate Obama’s promise of a post-partisan political order, the Volt’s bold compromise between “green car” innovation and everyday practicality unraveled nearly from its debut in 2010 and only deepened the divides it sought to heal.

[…]

Worst of all, by publicly setting totally unrealistic sales goals in order to lend credibility to a political goal, GM set up the Volt to fail at its most fundamental task: burnishing GM’s credibility as a player in the green-car space.

The Volt deserved better.

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Jatkat
Jatkat
23 days ago

I just bought a second gen volt (2017) a few days ago. I think they might be one of the best deals in used cars at the moment. Up to $4000 dollar tax credit at time of sale, 0 sales tax in my state (Washington), approximately 53 miles of EV range, and 40ish MPG on gas. I did the math, and compared to my current car it’ll only take 4ish years to completely pay itself off in fuel costs alone. A regular hybrid of the same year and mileage costs more, even before the rebate. Added bonus, my car was built with CARB compliance in mind, so emissions components (and the battery back) have a greatly extended warranty.

Marco
Marco
23 days ago

“Hated”? Is that just for clicks?

Defenestrator
Defenestrator
20 days ago
Reply to  Marco

No, it definitely caught some hate when it came out. Obama liked it, so Gingrich called its existence “cultural warfare”.

Steve Jones
Steve Jones
23 days ago

??Dave is disappointed with the accoutrements in a 10 year old car? Hated vehicle? I have not heard Volt hate, where does that come from? GM completely blew the marketing on the Volt. Electric first with a range extender would helped as an explanation. The salesman I picked the car up from after buying it via the interwebs and email told me that “Mountain” mode meant 4 wheel drive which was so ridiculous I had a hard time ignoring it.
We have the last year, 2019 Volt and it is absolutely the perfect drive train for us. We can go weeks or longer without using gas, but if we have to drive 600 miles at minus 30 degrees, we can do so without fear of battery range or recharging availability. It has decent power, can cruise at interstate speed, pass when needed on 2 lane highways, had no issues in the mountains. Great car.

Steve Balistreri
Steve Balistreri
23 days ago

I had a volt for about a year (lease takeover). It was a fine car. I couldn’t charge at work so about 80% of my commute was battery only. Interior was nice by GM standards. My main complaint was it wasn’t exciting to drive but I knew that going into it. I ended up going over the allotted lease miles by quite a bit, but the dealership burned down shortly after I turned it in (a bucket of oily rags started on fire, not the cars fault) and I never heard back from them about the mileage lol. If you just want a nice commuter to save on gas it excels in that respect.

Hans Hauschild
Hans Hauschild
24 days ago

GM had the Hybrid Tahoe in 2008, a battery along with the 6.0. Best of both worlds, electric motor torque and the big 6.0.

Attila the Hatchback
Attila the Hatchback
25 days ago

I didn’t realize the Volt was so unpopular. Everyone I know who owned one liked it, and they seemed pretty sought after here in the Bay Area. (I guess this area might just be *slightly* EV biased though!)

I also don’t think it’s fair to compare the model year 2012 Volt with the BMW i3. The Volt MSRP’ed at like $39K, but usually sold with a stack of rebates and credits that brought it down to ~$30K before any applicable tax credits. The i3 REX had a base price of like $46K, had much less effective range due to BMW gaming the CARB vehicle classification, and came with much less discounts (as I recall).

It’s a sign of how far technology has come in 10 years that the Prius Prime now replicates the Volt’s EV range for $1000’s less.

Defenestrator
Defenestrator
20 days ago

I think it’s very popular among people who drove it, unknown overall, and very hated by a few who considered it “cultural warfare” because it had a battery in it.

Ben
Ben
25 days ago

This latter function was controversial when the media found out about it. “Wait, hold on. Isn’t this a series hybrid?” people wondered. “Why is the gas engine actually powering the car?” Stories like Autoblog’s “GM: Yes, the Volt’s gas engine can power the wheels” started spreading across the internet.

The “discourse”, if you want to call it that, about this is why we can’t have nice things. GM did a smart thing by allowing the drivetrain to be directly coupled when it was more efficient, but all anyone could do was point and say “see, it’s not really a series hybrid” when obviously it was a new and innovative drivetrain that we should have been celebrating. GM should have gotten praise for not making a stupid engineering decision for purely marketing reasons, but instead they got ripped a new one.

Volt: The car we needed, even if we didn’t deserve it.

Vad A
Vad A
25 days ago
Reply to  Ben

This. It was an amazing achievement and should have been praised, not derided.

Six
Six
25 days ago
Reply to  Ben

I remember the debate about this exact function at the time on Jalopnik. It was as if it was revealing some great secret about the car that pointed to some conspiracy in its design. In reality, battery tech wasn’t very good yet and it took a while for the Bolt to give GM a full battery electric. Early Leafs do not exactly impress with their battery tech.

But they were really an early leader, PHEVs are very popular now, more popular than ever, and the EV tech GM figured out in building the Volt has gone on to feature in lots of Bolts, Bolt EUVs, and hopefully soon the next gen Bolt.

Uberscrub
Uberscrub
25 days ago

My mom has a Volt, I like the powertrain, hate the rest of the car. Al the packaging issues DT found are the same things I dislike. the whole touch sensitive “button” console, the awkwardly large area for the PRNDL, no room for backseats yet the trunk is pretty long.

I occasionally consider purchasing one, because they can be so cheap, there is a reason they are cheap – they suck at being a good car.

Stryker_T
Stryker_T
25 days ago

I need a post on what the deal is with that charger 10ft up the pole.

Last edited 25 days ago by Stryker_T
Vad A
Vad A
25 days ago
Reply to  Stryker_T

There is zero need to climb that pole. The charger is activated by a panel down below and drops down once the user is authenticated.

https://www.eenews.net/articles/the-ev-charger-that-drops-from-the-sky/

Stryker_T
Stryker_T
25 days ago
Reply to  Vad A

interesting, however still doesn’t fully explain why it looks to be in an active lane of traffic, and not some parking spaces?

Vad A
Vad A
25 days ago
Reply to  Stryker_T

It looks to be curbside, which is where these are installed. My guess is this is some sort of “No Stopping” zone during rush hour (7-9am/4-7pm here in LA) but is otherwise open and free to park in, much like the author of this article is doing in the pic.

Gubbin
Gubbin
25 days ago

I had read somewhere that the Volt had become an Old Money car like Volvos used to be. More comfortable than average to drive, looks ordinary but costs a little more.

Thxcolm
Thxcolm
25 days ago

Our ’17 Volt has been nothing but outstanding. 1-2 small things that were under warranty popped up (very minor) but were fixed.

GM convinced me after after only buying Japanese for a number of years to try it out, now I can’t imagine going back to any ICE or BEV, I would want to have both. We have 90k miles onit, probably 50/50 ICE/BEV usage.

I’m still super perplexed why Voltec was scuttled in the first place, I guess GM just wanted that sweet sweet BEV early adopter money before Tesla absconded with all of it.

My favorite thing about this car is the unlimited amount of power you feel when going up the grade of a hill and the Apple CarPlay (which idk why GM decided to ditch).

I see these all over Carmax for 13-17k which seems like an absolute steal.

Last edited 25 days ago by Thxcolm
Dingus
Dingus
25 days ago

I test drove one two weeks ago, wifey needs a commuter.

I thought it was very charming, overall. The acceleration is what I would call sufficient; you won’t impress anyone, but you won’t feel underpowered in most circumstances. The overall experience is pleasant and easy. The steering was wildly light, but it honestly didn’t matter at all. It’s not a race car, why weight the steering as such?

It’s still on the short list for a cost-effective commuter. I suppose I can see why it would be a hard sell at the original price, but currently, they are a wonderful value.

Vad A
Vad A
25 days ago
Reply to  Dingus

As an FYI, in the event this sways your decision, if you’re in a CARB state, the car’s emissions-related components (basically everything powertrain) is covered for 15 years or 150,000 miles. The battery warranty (the unit itself) is 10 years or 150,000 miles.

Matt Huber
Matt Huber
25 days ago

I like the Volt. It feels like an airplane cockpit from the driver’s seat. It handles well, the acceleration and ride are decent, and it’s very quiet for a car it’s size. The only thing I didn’t like, and I got over it by the time I was done driving it, was the disconnect between engine speed and vehicle speed.

Aaron
Aaron
25 days ago

Hey, GM! Voltec All The Things!!!!

Lew Schiller
Lew Schiller
25 days ago

David..why do you wear the goofy hat inside the car?

Timbales
Timbales
25 days ago

I’m 5’9″ tall. I had to sit in the back seat of this 4 door sedan for a two hour trip. I slump so far down my knees were against the seatback in front of me or tilt my head to the side to it from hitting the roof the entire time.

It’s fairly hated. Any 4 door vehicle that can’t fit a shorter than average adult in the back seat without them hitting their head on the ceiling is a failure.

First Last
First Last
25 days ago
Reply to  Timbales

This right here. I looked at these when they were new but for me the back seat space was a deal killer.

Where this is relevant to the current PHEV discussion is that this packaging tradeoff still exists. DT has been arguing for longer-range REX vehicles, and I get it, but every regular hybrid based on an existing platform has some kind of interior packaging compromise to accommodate the battery, and a large-pack PHEV just magnifies that problem. You get a regular car that costs a lot more and has less passenger and cargo space.

The battery in the Volt feels like it takes up about half of the interior volume of the car, just for 30ish miles of range. Where do you put a 50-75 mile battery?

Framed
Framed
12 days ago
Reply to  First Last

I just bought a 2018 Volt and get 50 miles electric range. It has the same setup as the Gen 1, but they improved battery capacity without taking up more space. I love it. I only need gas on long trips. Daily driving 50 miles is plenty.

Starhawk
Starhawk
25 days ago

I honestly don’t understand GM’s marketing department of that era. The Saturn was brilliant — an American Volvo, essentially. The Volt was another, a hybrid that was an EV first, not second. GM couldn’t effectively market either one.

You’re not sending people to the Moon. You sure as heck aren’t sending them to Mars. This isn’t even Kerbal Space Program. You’re just getting them down the road to Tim Whomever Chrysler Jeep GMC Olds.

It is genuinely beyond my comprehension how an automotive company this old, with this many well-established, trusted, household-name brands under its collective umbrella, could be this bad at the simple task of selling cars to people.

Jj
Jj
25 days ago
Reply to  Starhawk

Saturn at this time was just badge engineering. I actually looked at the hatchback they offered at the time (Astra?). It was very plastic inside (not in a good way) and had a ridiculous radio that could not be swapped out and didn’t even offer an audio in port.

http://photonshouse.com/photo/b4/b48b715a30eeeb1257dd1652716af9f7.jpg

It made the Dodge Caliber seem luxurious.

Starhawk
Starhawk
25 days ago
Reply to  Jj

My mother’s last car was a 98 SW2. She still has it, she’s too crippled to drive. It’s been an Appalachian Lawn Anchor since 2014.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
25 days ago
Reply to  Jj

While Saturn was much more badge engineered at that point, the Astra was a bit of an outlier, as a very unchanged import of the European Astra and meant as a stopgap, kind of like the revived Pontiac GTO that led to the G8. But all those models fell victim to the bigger problems GM had at the time.

The Caliber comparison is a reach though, the Astra drove better than any other small car from the domestics at the time, the seats were firm in the German way (not the spongy chairs they typically offered), and the dash did have soft touch plastics on top – it was just an ergonomic mess too and the radio display was busy & dated, even if they had managed to offer an aux in. But above all it wasn’t that efficient for a small car and it was expensive, basically the same price as the midsize Aura if one even managed to make it to a Saturn showroom. A Civic was the same price or even less.

Jj
Jj
25 days ago

The Caliber comparison was a little much.

I just remember being a little excited about that model and then being very disappointed in the showroom.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
25 days ago
Reply to  Jj

No disagreement there. The Astra was without even a proper cupholder in front which VW had in the Golf for years. Plus it had a timing belt, when a selling point in the original S-Series was it had a chain vs. imports with belts.

For the positives it did have, there were definitely some compromises, and it wasn’t hard to find a competitor without those same compromises. Mazda 3 hatch was close in price too IIRC and had a lot more power.

Jj
Jj
25 days ago

It was hated because it was vaporware.

GM / Chevy promised a lot of things that the final production Volt did not deliver. What it did deliver, it delivered years late, overpriced and under-spec’d.

Anyone following automotive news read constant updates about the development of this f’ing thing. It was going to save the world – according to every mention of this thing from GM. It was going to be an EV with usable range for $25k. By the time it came out it was a $40k hybrid – which sounds a lot like you’re paying an extra $15k for a Prius.

This was automotive catfishing. GM sent us pictures and specs of their hot successful cousin and showed up at our door balding and thirty pounds overweight.

Dumb Shadetree
Dumb Shadetree
25 days ago
Reply to  Jj

Additionally, we did not trust GM to make something good. By now we know the Volt has a well-engineered drivetrain that stands the test of time. But in 2012 all we knew was the Prius and the Civic Hybrid were cheaper and proven. If you wanted to tell the world you cared about the environment, you bought a Prius. If you didn’t care about fuel usage you bought whatever. GM’s reputation kept us from trusting their new drivetrain.

Jj
Jj
25 days ago
Reply to  Dumb Shadetree

Don’t forget the price. Seriously, $40k in 2014 was BMW 3-series money. F150 started at $25k for that year.

If you shopped well, you could potentially buy TWO Priuses (Prii?) for the price of the Volt. If you shopped poorly, you could buy one Prius and pay all ownership costs for the next five years with cash to spare.

Jj
Jj
25 days ago
Reply to  Dumb Shadetree

Too late to edit, but here’s a 993 Porsche 911 6-speed with 27k miles that sold for under $40k in 2014. https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1995-porsche-911-carrera-sub-model-993-cabriolet/

Vad A
Vad A
25 days ago
Reply to  Dumb Shadetree

The irony here was that it was the Civic Hybrid that turned out to be a POS, with terrible batteries/IMA failures and a horrible CVT transmission.

Ben
Ben
25 days ago
Reply to  Jj

I can’t believe people are still trotting out the tired “Volt is vaporware” thing in 2024. Good grief.

Vad A
Vad A
25 days ago
Reply to  Jj

I’m sorry, this is just such a dumb take that it hurts the brain. No one promised a $25k Volt. Once the 1st gen came out, Lutz said as follows in 2011: “Lutz stresses that he sees the Volt falling to $25,000 or $30,000 in future generations as technological advances and economies of scale cut the cost of batteries.”

Even in 2008, 3 years before the Volt was out, the rumor was that the target price was $30,000 to $35,000.

Also, the Volt was one of precisely 6 cars in the US eligible for a $7,500 tax credit as of December 2010 (when deliveries began). The others?

1. Coda – Complete and utter piece of crap when new, and a total failure, with maybe 5 running examples left in the US? The rest are paperweights. Coda’s starting price? $44,900.

2. Nissan Leaf – How many Leafs from this era are on their original batteries? How many are getting more than 20-30 miles of range out of those crappy original batteries? Leaf MSRP (base model)? $33,600.

3. Smart ForTwo EV – 60 mile range, no generator or range extender, non-existent today. MSRP? $44,837 or you could lease it for $599/month if you commit to a four-year/40,000-mile lease.

4. Tesla Roadster – MSRP? $109,000.

5. Wheego Life – Basically a plastic Chinese Smart clone. Again, total crap and non-existent today (except on the Aging Wheels Youtube channel, as with Coda) – MSRP? $32,995.

So, 3 cars on the list are essentially extinct. One no longer exists on its original battery. The only one left had a six-figure MSRP. And meanwhile, the Volt sat four, could travel 300 miles, had 40 miles of EV range (more than enough for a huge chunk of the population’s daily commute) and there are tons of them around today with 200k miles or more (the record is 500k miles for Sparkie the Volt). A testament to GM’s amazing engineering, as compared to the 2010 Prius Plug-In Hybrid, with a basically useless 6 mile range.

Jj
Jj
25 days ago
Reply to  Vad A

Early stories, well before a Volt was ever sold had the expected price of $30k. I swear I remember reading $25k, but couldn’t find any stories with that price in it and Volt stories bored that pants off me when they were written 16 years ago.

The coverage of the Volt was constant. Between press releases, spy photos or sightings on movie sets there was hardly a week from 2008 to the launch of the thing that didn’t include coverage of this. I’d like to say it wasn’t GM’s fault that the press covered it but most of the stories seemed to come directly from GM either in Lutz interviews or press releases.

I’m not saying it was a bad car. I’m saying it was priced like a luxury car at the time and not up to that level of refinement. It was priced well out of the reach of the people who could have most benefited from the fuel savings. Even after the tax credit, it was $10k over a Corolla and ~$5k over a Camry.

The project was constantly delayed, which wouldn’t matter at all without the constant coverage of the delays. And then when it finally launched, the Model S was just about to start selling. I understand that the Tesla was a huge price jump, but it had a much larger impact on the EV market than anything from GM has. It turns out they would have been better off starting with an electric Cadillac, but that would have been a tough project to sell in that financial climate.

I’m glad these things are durable. For the amount of development time spent on them, they should be.

Scott Ross
Scott Ross
25 days ago

I want a 1st gen volt so I can switch out the bumpers with Opel Ampera Bumpers

Mrbrown89
Mrbrown89
25 days ago

The facebook community for these cars is amazing, if you have an issue, you will find the solution there. Also there are apps developed to monitor the battery, activate functions like Hold mode for older models and other things.

People started to trade those in, the batteries are getting old and under certain conditions, the car will develop Reduced Propulsion errors and dealerships start quoting expensive battery replacement when sometimes you just need to do a reset and keep the battery at least at 20%.

Andrew Bugenis
Andrew Bugenis
25 days ago
Reply to  Mrbrown89

Ditto the Reddit community.

Car Guy
Car Guy
25 days ago

You top image says, “IT’S GOOD!” in all caps, but the summary is “The interior is OK, the ride is OK, the styling is OK. It doesn’t feel like the “Car of the Future,”” so apparently “meh” is the bar for success at GM.

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