Marketing Director

The Chevrolet Volt with Jason Baker

After testing driving the Chevy Volt we made this short 60 second video to highlight the most important features:
  • Full electric up to 64km
  • Gasoline engine kicks in after 64km
  • Chargeable on a standard outlet
  • A full charge takes 3-8 hours
  • Sport mode

The journey of the Chevrolet Volt has been long and arduous. I remember hearing whispers of its development about 5 years ago. It was a near mythical vehicle (left). Now the real deal (right) is en route and this November you can have one. You can own a piece of the future. I am not kidding. The fact that it can go 64km, the average daily commute of 75% Americans, on a single charge using absolutely no gasoline says more than anything else. To see all the rest of the amazing stats you can skip to the end where the wikipedia reference does the job. Driving it was pretty similar to driving a very nice new virtually noise free electric vehicle. So, like nothing any consumer has had the luxury to enjoy yet. Please enjoy this guest post from Jason Baker on the Volt.

With having been given the chance to drive the amazingly quiet Chevrolet Volt yesterday, I look forward to the future of electric cars and hydrogen fuel cell technology. I don’t consider myself to be a car enthusiast by any means, but as a citizen of Surrey where we heavily rely on cars to get around, I look forward to the anticipation of one day owning a Chevrolet Volt or at least an electric car. For a vehicle that has been the buzz of the automobile industry as the ‘car of the future’, it truly does deliver as a point A to point B car. At least for me it beats the low riding vibration 20-year-old Mazda stick-shift truck that I drive around with a large turning radius.

As much as I enjoyed the unbelievably smooth and quiet ride that the Chevrolet Volt comes with, I can’t help but think about our future as a society with electric cars. Although GM has spent years on sustainable technology that many residents of Vancouver would endorse, our public infrastructure is years away from supporting such a paradigm shift in the automobile. The Chevrolet Volt is a garage only vehicle with the need to continually plug in to either a 240V or 120V battery. I say continually because most people like myself, continually plug-in laptops instead of draining them out.

In general, society has focused more on the economical and sustainable benefits that vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt bring, but what about the things we haven’t thought about. For instance how do we take long road trips with the use of the electric battery? Have we thought about where we can plug-in at a hotel? How do we ensure that thief’s don’t walk off with a charging unit that costs $200-$500? Below is a short list of community infrastructure problems related to the innovation of electric cars:
  • A shortage of public charging stations
  • Building public charging stations into existing infrastructure
  • The debate of who is financially responsible for charging stations on private property
  • The security of your charging unit when left in an underground or outdoor parking lot
  • Street parking and secure in ground charging units
  • Developing rural areas at the same pace as urban areas to support the electric car
The majority of these issues are currently in debate amongst experts, companies, and governments around the world. However, they are not a major topic of discussion because the electric car is not here yet. It’s our nature that we react to what is needed. In BC, our infrastructure has never been “plan for what we will need.”

The Chevrolet Volt is an innovative vehicle and the new standard for electric cars. But its benefits develop the problems for infrastructure and safety. In addition to the charging stations, the vehicle is so quiet that pedestrians can’t tell a car is coming. In fact, when we pressed the ignition button, no one knew that the vehicle’s engine had started up. It was that quiet!

As a marketing professional, the current theme of “reset” with regards to changing our industry standards and habits also applies to society as a whole. We are in a complete reset, and this includes changing our infrastructure from catching up with old technology to planning with new technology for new sustainable infrastructure. This is why the automobile industry needs to put more pressure on governments because this is going to be the future, and we need to plan for it.

So as we listen to the build up hype of the Chevrolet Volt and future electric cars, just be cognoscente of the infrastructure issues that make this car feasible for the average consumer. This car should be more than a Point A to Point B vehicle, but it won’t be unless the infrastructure is built at hotels or other public parking spaces. But I am all for sustainable cars, just plan for it and don’t wait until the market is already here.

And we'll finish off with some information from wikipedia and the standard test drive & car show videos.

The Chevrolet Volt is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle to be produced by the ChevroletGeneral Motors and expected to be launched in November 2010 as a 2011 model. Its retail price has yet to be announced by General Motors, but is estimated to be near $40,000 USD.[4] which would give a net price of about $32,500 after the $7,500 US Federal tax credit. The automaker has kept the Volt on or ahead of schedule, despite GM's Chapter 11 reorganization.[5] The Volt's propulsion system will be based on GM's new Voltec (formerly known as E-Flex) electric automobile platform, which differs significantly from GM's earlier BAS Hybrid and Two-Mode Hybrid systems. The first pre-production test car based on the full Volt design was built in June 2009 in Warren, Michigan[6] and by October 2009, 80 Volts had been built and are being tested under various conditions.[7]
For up to the first 40 miles (64 km), the Volt is powered by electrical energy stored in its on-boardlithium-ion batteries which are charged by connection to an electrical power outlet. The Volt's 16 kWh (8.0 kWh usable) lithium-ion battery pack can be fully chargedSAE J1772[8] compliant charging cord. Charge by plugging the car into a 120-240VAC residential electrical outlet using the provided harging station will be required.[9] Unlike most current commercially available hybrid electric vehicles, the actual propulsion of the Volt is accomplished exclusively by the electric motor.
Right side: the gasoline-powered engine used as generator to recharge the batteries. Left side: the electric-powered engine used for traction.
-Thanks Wikipedia.

A typical test drive video

The classic car television show talks about the volt.


  1. Jason,

    My name is Rob Peterson and I work for Chevrolet.

    There seems to be one important omission in your report - the range-extending capability of the Chevy Volt. Once the Volt's battery is depleted, a 1.4 l gas-powered engine-generator seamlessly kicks in to create electricity on-board and power the vehicle for several hundred additional miles. Extending the trip further simply requires a trip to the gas station.

    Infrastructure is a "nice to have" for vehicles like the Volt - charging both at home and work could possibly double a drivers all electric range, but the Volt's range-extender in essence is a built in "infrastructure" that if necessary can leverage the exisitng network of gasoline stations.

    However, to your point, infrastructure is a MUST for the adoption of pure battery electric vehicles - those completely dependent on grid energy.

    As for the silent operation, Chevrolet is working with groups such as the National Federation of the Blind to address low-speed pedestrian safety issues. However, for most people, the quiet operations of an electric vehicle is something to be admired (especially compared to your 20-year old Mazda).


  2. Hi Rob,

    After reading your comment, you make a great point that I forgot to mention.

    The Chevrolet Volt is indeed built to exist on the current infrastructure with gasoline stations. As a BC resident, I was looking at the senseability of driving an all electric car with the current infrastructure that is already in our communities.

    From my perspective, BC has always been known for building infrastructure when its needed rather than planning for it. For example, the expansion of the Port Mann Bridge has been needed for years with the urban sprawl into the Fraser Valley. Although the major metropolitan cities in the United States have significant traffic congestion, they are often seen to have much better infrastructure. States like California and Arizona plan for urban sprawl years in advance, and are now focusing their energy on sustainable infrastructure. As was mentioned, California has introduced a law for 10 year warranties. I believe this is on all hybrid and electric cars.

    As a company, Chevrolet and GM are doing great things in the development of sustainable infrastructure along working with the various groups you mentioned. Your proactive approach to the infrastructure problems I outlined should be commended on. I was not aware of the work you are doing with the National Federation of the Blind, but I am glad to see Chevy working hard at addressing this issue.

    As a driver, the silent operation is something I admire indeed. If I am still driving my Mazda in a few years, you can be sure I will be making a significant consideration of purchasing the Chevrolet Volt. With the silent operation and the weight distribution factors, my drive to work would become a lot more comfortable.

    In general, the recession that we have been going through is really a reaction to our habits over the past 5 to 10 years. As a society, we need to reset and rethink the way we live to become more sustainable. This includes bringing attention to infrastructure problems that people might not think of. Having said that, the strides that Chevrolet has made in the innovative processes of the electric car and fuel cell technology are something that should be commended on. What we are about to witness on the road in the coming years is an amazing car developed through years of hard work by Chevrolet.