During a short drive in the all-new Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle, I began to wonder if its creators had discovered the secret to perpetual motion.
When I pulled off the lot, the screen readout indicated the maximum range that day, before a plug-in recharge was needed, would be a maximum of 244 kilometres. A full battery might have pushed the upper limit to 383 kilometres but what the range promised would be more than enough for my jaunt.
If I were heavy footed then I might be lucky to reach 169 kilometres; that would be embarrassing. The number 207 shone brightly through the spokes of the steering wheel. It was the more realistic range based on normal driving style and conditions.
And it offered an irresistible challenge to this competitive son of a gun! – Within a couple of minutes, it fell to 205; mind you the car had motored three clicks. When you lift your foot off the accelerator the car slows smoothly and regenerates electricity to top up the battery. Get the timing right and no more than a touch on the brake is necessary until you close in on the car ahead at the light. One pedal driving – almost!
This was going to be fun. By the time I’d clocked 10 kilometres, the readout had jumped to 209 – more range than when I set out. Cool. Maybe that 244 mark was not so optimistic. Stop and go traffic across town brought me down to earth, so to speak. My 25-kilometre drive came to an end at the recharging station opposite Granville Island Market in Vancouver. Didn’t need to plug it in but f
ree juice is free juice.
No sooner was I out of the car when a guy leapt from the other side of the road, narrowly missing a meet with one of those gas guzzling gas-electric hybrid powered taxi cabs. Just kidding. About it being a gas guzzler that is.
He wanted to know whether I would recommend the crossover-like vehicle. I proudly told him the display should really show a remaining range of 182, not the 190 he saw. Told him that if he couldn’t afford the $42,895 (plus taxes) sticker price (less a $5,000 point of purchase rebate from the Clean Energy Vehicles program) he could enter to win one at the Vancouver International Auto Show (March 28-April 2). Check it out on vancouverinternationalautoshow.com/bolt.
For the record, the gas economy equivalency is 1.8/2.1 L.100km (city/hwy). Green credentials intact, yours truly shopped and returned to drop a bag or two in the surprisingly generous space that lies beneath the rear hatch. Now for a stretch on the freeway, that would surely deplete the battery.
Well, it did and at a faster rate as I sped by some surprised faces at 100 klicks. The Bolt is similar in appearance to many cute utes on the road today but it’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The electric power launches the small five door family car at a rate rarely seen off track. In less than seven seconds the needle is closing in on 100 km/h.
The Bolt is loaded with what every family wants in terms of safety equipment and entertainment systems. Available active safety features including Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Forward Collision Alert and Forward Pedestrian Alert.
“The all-new Volt delivers a total driving range of up to 675 kilometres.”
LOS ANGELES, California.
This is the second time the Volt has won the award, the first time being when it debuted in 2010 as a 2011 model. Green Car Journal praised the Volt’s increased range, all-new propulsion system and bold design.
“Chevrolet’s all-new Volt is a milestone, building on an already-technologically advanced ‘green’ car and delivering what buyers have longed for, including an impressive 53-mile (85 kms) driving range on a single charge,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com.
“A visually appealing design, increased five-passenger seating, and an array of on-board electronics combine with the Volt’s inherent efficiencies to make the 2016 Chevrolet Volt a real winner,” Cogan said.
The all-new Volt delivers a total driving range of up to 675 kilometres. Combined with EPA-estimated fuel economy of 5.6 L/100kms highway, Chevrolet expects owners to travel 1,600 kilometres between gasoline fill-ups.
“Chevrolet is all about bringing affordable electrification to our customers, and that is exactly what we did with the Volt” said Steve Majoros, Chevrolet marketing director. “For Volt to stand out in Green Car’s evaluation, it reaffirms Chevrolet’s commitment to being a leader in electrification.”
According to independent surveys, Volt owners are the most satisfied in the industry, and 70 percent of those owners are new to General Motors.
The Green Car of the Year award is determined by an 11-member panel, and is based on fuel efficiency, Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board certifications, performance and affordability. The other finalists were the Audi A3 e-tron, Honda Civic, Hyundai Sonata and Toyota Prius.
“Heck, even funnyman Jerry Seinfeld couldn’t miss the Acura NSX reveal as he sat in the front row awaiting its presence…”
Within moments of pulling out of a parking lot in the 2015 Cadillac CTS 3.6L AWD, its pristine crimson coat was soiled by the elements. And of course, salt, dirt, grime and all that isn’t amazing about winter in Toronto.
Nevertheless, its smooth and comfortable ride didn’t disappoint along the arduous and incredibly four-plus-hour drive to Detroit, Michigan for the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS.)
I would soon trade in the coziness of heated leather seats – and steering wheel – for a pair of not-so-cozy leather shoes and roam the showfloor to check out what’s hot, cool and what sparkles amidst the industry’s top cars. It would only make sense to start with Cadillac’s latest offering when it comes to their “V” series cars.
At the Los Angeles Auto Show in late 2014, we met the ATS-V – the smaller brother of the mid-sized four-door I drove to Motown. Now, get ready for a performance sedan that will knock your socks off.
Arriving late in the summer of 2015, the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V is ready to take on its German competitors (like the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG) with a whopping 640 horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque.
The all-new third generation sedan is the most power-endowed product the brand has ever created.
But aside from power, you’ll have the luxury of the third generation Magnetic Ride Control to not only blast you through the corners with grace and poise, but with the comfort of being able to drive it around town, or between cities/countries without sacrificing an enjoyable ride. Road or track, I’ll take this one for a spin any day.
Perhaps one of the most anticipated reveals of the last few years from the Japanese automaker, Acura, comes in the form of the NSX. The acronym, which stands for New Sports eXperience, rolled out onto the stage to a frenzy of flashes from the crowd. Heck, even funnyman, Jerry Seinfeld, couldn’t miss the reveal as he sat in the front row awaiting its presence.
While pricing hasn’t been released yet, it’ll likely be north of $150K.
But, for that price, you get a vehicle that not only delivers gargantuan power, but one that is hybridized thanks to an all-new power unit. That unit is a twin-turbocharged, 75-degree DOHC V6 engine with a 9-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) and three-electric motor Sport Hybrid system. Not to mention Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), so it’s a perfect supercar for all seasons.
Speaking of electric motors, Chevrolet gave us a preview of the 2016 Volt. With a longer EV range and a lighter body, not to mention a new design, this plug-in hybrid is sure to win even more hearts over. Highlights include an EV range of up to 80 km, a new two-motor drive unit, which is now up to 12 percent more efficient and 45 kg (100 lb) lighter than the first-generation drive unit, and a new 1.5L range extender, designed to use regular unleaded fuel, offering a GM-estimated combined fuel consumption rating of 5.7L/100km.
Lexus NXB Concept Bike
Completely changing gears, atop one of Lexus’ sparking vehicle at their stand was a concept bike that caught my eye. Not only because it was totally out of place at an auto show, but also because it looks so cool. NXB stands for Neo Xtreme Bike and comes with a Lexus original carbon frame, carbon wheels and a KYB inverted suspension up front. Even if it never is ridden, I still like the idea of a zero-emissions commute on something as interesting as this concept.
Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept
For a zero emissions commute that doesn’t require muscles but rather a motor, the Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept is another step in the brand’s commitment to the electrification of automobiles.
It’s still a concept, but it embodies the philosophy of giving drivers over 300 kilometres of range out of one charge, without charging a premium for it.
The concept’s technological prowess can be linked with an App in which you can control various vehicular functions like starting the car from your smartphone. Additionally, it even incorporates the concept of automatic park-and-retrieval technology, which enables the driver to exit the vehicle and tell the Bolt EV concept to park itself – and when errands are completed, the Bolt EV concept can be summoned to return to the owner’s location. Sounds ideal to me!