If you’re in the market for a fuel-sipping electric vehicle or hybrid, the Chevy Volt may have gotten a little more appealing; like seven or eight percent more appealing. Chevrolet announced today that the 2013 Volt will have an increased electric range, from 35 miles to 38 miles. Thanks to some tweaking of the Volt battery, engineers were able to increase the charge capacity. While the range increase isn’t dramatic, a few more miles could make a difference for some, and it’s a step in the right direction.
Our staff got to drive the Volt a few months back, and we generally liked it. We only used a few gallons of gas the whole week, and some of the editors were able to drive their daily commutes on electric power only. The new 38 mile range will vary; we fell short of the 35 mile range, as we used the heated seats and/or air conditioning depending on the weather during the day or night. Our different driving styles (and subsequently different mpg achieved) also varied. The Volt features a modern, almost futuristic cabin that has some hard plastics, but is attractive and functional. On the road, the Volt turns some heads. And for a car that is largely about efficiency, driving was still fun, and practical. The one hassle was the extra time it took to uncoil and plug-in, and then recoil and store the charger. But we prefer that to wireless charging technology, which still makes us uneasy. Volt owners in California will have the added benefit of being able to use the carpool lane, which makes the $40,000 starting price (before state and federal incentives) a little easier to swallow.