Volt offers electric efficiency and performance with hybrid ease

The 2014 Chevy Volt with some cool alloy wheels.



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The 2014 Chevy Volt with some cool alloy wheels.

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There’s a glowing blue ‘on’ switch on the literally shiny center console. A touch screen center is augmented by large button controls and dials. You can get to know a lot about the Volt (and the world around) through it.



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There’s a glowing blue ‘on’ switch on the literally shiny center console. A touch screen center is augmented by large button controls and dials. You can get to know a lot about the Volt (and the world around) through it.

Inside, the Volt is only a four-seater, but offers a large rear cargo space.



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Inside, the Volt is only a four-seater, but offers a large rear cargo space.

QUICKREAD

2014 Chevrolet Volt
• Four-Door Hatchback, FWD
• VOLTEC Electric Drive Unit with 1.4 L Gasoline Range Extender
• Lithium Ion Battery
• 2013 Top Safety Pick from IIHS
• Leather Seat Trim
• Rear Vision Camera & Park Assist
• 17” Sport Alloy Wheels with Black Inserts
• 8 Year/100k BAttery and Voltec Component Limited Warranty, 5 Year/100k Powertrain Limited Warranty & Roadside Assistance.
• mpg: Tricky: if running gasoline, 37, rated at 98 on electricity alone (approx 38 mile range).
MSRP: Around $40k, pictured, with dealer installed options
As always, check with dealer for details



Ever since I drove my first hybrid in 2003, I’ve been intrigued by the possibilities of electric vehicles and hybrids, the chief adantages of which are the ability to utilize energy from a cheaper, cleaner source, as well as to convert a surprising amount of energy that’s used in operating the vehicle back into fueling the vehicle.

With an electric motor, the Volt can run up to 38 miles on a single full charge.  Then, an internal combustion (gasoline) generator comes on and charges the electric motor, providing power for another 300 miles or more.

So, it runs on pure electricity for trips around town, but offers a gasoline-powered alternative for longer trips or for simple peace of mind.

I was lucky enough to be introduced to the Volt by Greg Lewis, a sales and leasing consultant at Ed Bozarth Chevrolet Buick.  Lewis actually owns one of these vehicles, so he was able to answer many of my questions so that I knew what I’d be getting into.

Outside, the Volt is a sharp looking vehicle. The model I drove featured some premium packages that included alloy wheels and leather seating, so while there aren’t trim levels per se on a Volt, it did have a nice premium feel inside.

As you’d expect for a modern electric car, the tech inside was impressive, featuring not only a touch-screen display, but large, more manual buttons and dials that (as a bonus for us Colorado folk) could be easily manipulated using gloved hands.

There was about 15 miles left on the charge after Lewis walked me through all the fun on the inside.  I was able to drive it, quite silently, enjoying the surprising performance (or not-so-surprising, if you know how outrageous the torque is on an electric motor).  I paired my phone through the Bluetooth to enjoy the Bose stereo system, and played with it, seeing if I could burn through miles faster or slower, or if I could get an idea if the AC drained the battery faster (there are options you can choose through the touchscreen, such as an ECO mode that can squeeze out even more efficiency).

Powerful acceleration aside, the Volt is a comfortable car to drive.  No transmission equals no gear changes, so the acceleration is as powerful or as gentle as you’d like.

When the battery ran dry, the gas generator kicked in and it was nearly as quiet. Even without the ‘mountain’ mode (which saves battery for climbing), the Volt handled the climb into Unaweep Canyon with aplomb.

Lewis emphasized that one of the great features of the Volt is that it’s “Low maintenance.” Since there are far fewer moving parts, there’s less that needs repairing.

Check out the Volt at Ed Bozarth Chevrolet Buick, 2595 Highway 6&50, to see these cool cars for yourself.  If you show up on Saturday, you can catch their 4th Annual Summer Car Show,  a charity car show with all proceeds benefiting St. Mary’s Regional Cancer Center. According to general sales manager Seth Rosa, they’re expecting considerably more than last year’s 96 cars.

There’ll be a Main Street Cruise at 8 p.m.  You can register your car at 10 a.m. at the event for a $15 entry fee. The show itself is free to see. With hot rods, classics, motorcycles and more, you can enjoy some cool vehicles for a good cause.

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