The Volt electric car coming to NZ
Sun, 14 Oct 2012 6:28p.m.
By Shaun Summerfield
General Motors are billing the Volt as the future of cars, and their Australasian arm Holden believes there's a place for the new electric car on New Zealand’s roads.
It has taken more than a year to make it here, and so far there is only one – a lone Volt hoping to plug a gap in New Zealand’s car market. But just what that gap is even Holden isn’t quite sure.
“It's not an electric car,” says Holden corporate affairs manager Neil Waka. “It's not a hybrid. It's sort of in between.”
Unlike General Motors’ first electric effort, the EV-1, which was controversially forced into extinction, the Volt is seen as the future of what was once the world’s biggest car company.
Holden boasts as much computing power as a 747's flight deck under the Volt’s bonnet, helping create silent and environmentally friendly motoring.
But because of something called “range anxiety”, where quite simply people are scared of running out of electricity, the Volt has not one but three motors – two electric and one good, old-fashioned internal combustion engine.
The petrol engine has been a cause of some controversy, despite what General Motors have said: “the petrol engine actually charges the battery instead of driving the wheels”.
But it is actually possible for the engine to mechanically drive the wheels, which technically makes it just another hybrid. Keep the battery charged though, and you might never need a drop of petrol.
Filling up the Volt is pretty simple. Plug one end of a cable into the wall, the other end into the car, wait for the beep, and that's it. Charging will take around six hours.
Using a power meter, 3 News was able to work out exactly what the Volt cost to run, and the around town results were stunning – 153km of regular commuting used no fuel, just $6.84 of electricity.
Once the battery ran out, a longer open-road drive travelling at the legal limit returned a commendable 5.5 litres per 100km, meaning our 670km Kiwi cruise averaged $4.85.
So clearly the Volt is better when it is closer to power sockets.
At $85,000, the Volt costs BMW money, and is $20,000 dearer than New Zealand’s top selling hybrid, the Toyota Prius. But you'd need to travel over half a million kilometres in the Volt to recoup the cost over Holden’s own Cruze.
Holden is still banking on buyers. Its current goal is put 200 Volts on New Zealand roads.
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15/10/2012 2:48:06 p.m.
You said it above, however you will never recover the extra cost of this car as the batteries will never last half a million kilometres. Look after a petrol engine however and you can get 20 years out of it. Cost wise it's still not an option, only when we move to much smaller and lighter cars as the fuel runs out will electricity become the only option.
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