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10 Things You Need To Know About The 2012 Chevrolet Volt

Benjamin Hunting
by Benjamin Hunting
February 18, 2012
5 min. Reading Time

The 2012 Chevrolet Volt is the first 'extended range' electric car to be offered in the United States. The compact hatchback features a battery-powered drivetrain that provides a pure electric driving experience, backed by a gasoline generator that allows the Volt to stay on the road even after it has been drained of its charge. The Chevrolet Volt's futuristic technology is largely masked by the fact that it drives almost exactly like a real car - minus the engine noise, of course.

Let’s take a closer look at 10 things you need to know about the 2012 Chevrolet Volt.

01. The 2012 Chevrolet Volt Is A Hybrid With A Plug

The 2012 Chevrolet Volt offers a hybrid drivetrain unlike that of any other car currently on the road. The Chevrolet Volt's 149 horsepower, battery-powered electric motor doesn't assist a traditional gasoline engine - instead, it works on its own to deliver motivation to the hatchback's front wheels. The vehicle's planetary gear system manages the Volt's output, and while a gasoline engine is present under the hood it does not contribute to moving the automobile forward. A T-shaped battery runs along the center of the Volt's floor, expanding behind each of the rear seats, and this unit can be recharged via either regenerative braking or by being plugged into an electrical source.


02 The 2012 Chevrolet Volt Offers 40 Miles Of All-Electric Driving

Fully-charged, the 2012 Chevrolet Volt offers roughly 40 miles of worry-free range before its battery needs to be replenished. That being said, the 40 mile advertised figure should be understood as one that can be accomplished during perfect driving conditions, with a number of factors contributing to longer or shorter single-charge trips. Areas with a lot of hilly terrain are undoubtedly going to tax the Volt's battery more heavily than flat prairie roads, and if it's hot outside (and the AC is blasting) or the mercury has dropped below zero (and the climate control system is working overtime), then the range will also shrink.


03. The 2012 Chevrolet Volt Also Provides 300 Miles Of 'Extended' Range

40 miles per charge is more than enough range to cover the daily commutes of the vast number of American drivers, but what if you want to take the 2012 Chevrolet Volt on a longer trip? This is where the vehicle's 1.4-liter range-extending gasoline motor comes into play. Once the Volt's battery has been drained, the automobile powers up its internal combustion engine in order to act as a generator - one that is capable of providing another 300 miles of real world driving distance per tank of fuel. The presence of this 'backup' system adds significant practicality to the Volt, especially when compared against other, more limited pure electric vehicles.


04. The 2012 Chevrolet Volt Features Three Battery Charging Methods

The 2012 Chevrolet Volt comes with a trio of charging options, each of which offers a different level of speed when it comes to topping up the vehicle's battery. The most versatile solution is the 110-volt plug that comes included with the Volt, and which can 'fill up' the automobile's battery over the course of a 10 hour session. If quicker results are required, then Chevrolet Volt owners can install a 240-volt charging station in the garage that will do the deed in only four hours. The 240-volt station is not provided with the Volt as standard equipment but is available for purchase directly from GM at a price point that is much more reasonable than similar charging solutions coupled with competing electric cars.


05. The 2012 Chevrolet Volt Features Redesigned Battery Protection

The 2012 Chevrolet Volt grabbed headlines over the course of the past six months due to an ongoing investigation into the safety of its battery in a crash situation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration did not officially find that the Volt had any flaws in the design of either its energy pack or its related cooling system, but Chevrolet elected to move forward with a voluntary program to reinforce the metal protecting the hybrid's battery pack as well as better monitor the level of coolant surrounding it. The modifications are available to any current Volt owner and have been incorporated into the 2012 models currently coming off of the line.


06. The 2012 Chevrolet Volt Qualifies For A Tax Credit Discount

The 2012 Chevrolet Volt is not an inexpensive automobile, as the research and development costs associated with the exotic technology contained within its drivetrain have pegged its MSRP at $39,995. Fortunately, the Volt qualifies for a federal income tax credit that is designed to encourage buyers to choose ecologically-friendly automotive options despite their higher price tag. This credit is good for $7,500 in savings (depending on the details of your tax situation), and Chevrolet actually advertises the Volt at an MSRP of $31,645 to take this tax break into account. The plug-in hybrid may also be eligible for additional credits at the state level, depending on where it is being sold.


07. The 2012 Chevrolet Volt Takes Care Of 'Old' Gas So You Don't Have To

If you never exceed the 2012 Chevrolet Volt's 40 mile electric range then what exactly happens to the gasoline sitting in the car's tank during the extended period of tine that the internal combustion engine is sitting idle? Chevrolet has designed the Volt to include a feature that automatically starts up the motor should a full year pass by without it having consumed any gasoline. This allows the Volt to burn through a tank of gas and ensure that fresh fuel is always waiting to be used should the engine be required while driving. This maintenance mode can be interrupted by adding new gas to the mix that is currently sitting in the tank.


08. The 2012 Chevrolet Volt Doesn't Skimp On Standard Features

The 2012 Chevrolet Volt is a comfortable place to spend some time due to the healthy list of standard equipment that comes with it. Automatic climate control, Bluetooth capability, a touchscreen navigation system and satellite radio are offered free of charge with the Volt, and upgrading the passenger compartment is simple with the availability of options such as leather seats and rear parking assist features (consisting of parking sonar and a camera) that make it that much easier to back the hybrid out of tight spaces. The four-passenger Chevrolet Volt also comes with StabiliTrak electronic stability control, traction control and a full complement of airbags that keep occupants safe in the event of a collision.


09. The 2012 Chevrolet Volt Is Winter-Ready

Cold temperatures are the enemy of battery life - a fact that the designers of the 2012 Chevrolet Volt were well aware of when they brought the electric car from the drawing board to reality. Battery range for the Volt might drop somewhat during the coldest months of the year, but the automobile has been designed to incorporate several power-saving features to help fight against winter's chill. The Volt's remote start lets owners warm up the car while it is still drawing juice from the wall, and heated seats help drivers feel warm without having to fire up the gasoline engine to keep the climate control at a comfortable temperature.


10. The 2012 Chevrolet Volt Feels Surprisingly Normal On The Road

Aren't sure what a futuristic vehicle like the 2012 Chevrolet Volt should feel like from behind the wheel? Here's some information that might surprise you: it's not really that different from any other compact car. The Volt's ultra-quiet electric engine certainly gives away the fact that you are not piloting a vehicle with a traditional internal combustion drivetrain, but aside from that the electric car's instant-on torque offers good acceleration and effortless passing while its well-sprung chassis absorbs rough pavement and delivers above-average handling when pushed through a corner. The Chevrolet Volt even offers a Sport mode that sharpens its 'virtual' throttle response for an even livelier driving experience.



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