For me, the most interesting factoid is some research from Chevrolet profiling Volt buyers so far:
Volt buyer profileSex: Male, 90%; female, 10%
College degree: 80%; advanced degree, 45%
Driving mode: Electric, two-thirds of the time; gasoline mode, one-third of the time
Traded in: GM vehicle, 14%; non-GM vehicle, 86%
Had never been in a Chevrolet showroom before: 33%
Installed a 240-volt charger: 50%
“Completely” or “very” satisfied: 93%
Those are pretty interesting statistics and it’s a testament to the importance of the Volt to Chevy’s brand image and GM’s future. I wonder when the last time (if ever) a Chevy product had a 93% satisfaction rate?
GM says that Volt owners are averaging 900 miles between fill-ups for the 9.3 gallon gas tank. Granted, the early adopters are probably hyper aware of their driving habits and do everything possible to maximize the EV-only range; however, if all you do is remember to plug it in at the end of the day or where you park at work, the “average” owner would probably be able to pile on substantial commuter miles before having to fill the gas tank.
When I tested the Volt, I was very impressed with how simple and intuitive it was to drive this very complex piece of engineering. The transition between EV-only mode and the gas-powered range-extending engine driving a generator, is seamless and nearly unnoticeable. If you can drive a car with an automatic transmission, you can drive the Volt.
The engineers who put the Volt together in record time, including during GM’s bankruptcy, are the core of the “new” GM. These are the “car guys” who really understand the car business, not Lt. Dan Akerson who hails from telecommunications and Wall Street private equity.
The price is still an issue (MSRP $41,000), but if you can take advantage of the $7,500 federal and $5,000 California tax credits, it becomes much more affordable. And if you live in an area where your local electric company or local government helps subsidize the installation of an in-home quick charging station, you really come out ahead. [Update July 22 2011 – California credit pool out of money.]