Chevy Kills the Volt – EV Fans Express Strong Emotions

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Electric vehicle fans are vocal about the Chevy Volt’s cancellation. 

Preface: The discontinued 2019 Chevy Volt is an extended range electric vehicle with a 106 MPGe rating. It has an EPA-estimated all-electric range of 53 miles, after which its onboard gasoline engine helps to power the electric drive system. The Chevy Volt was GM’s first modern-age electric vehicle and the first electric vehicle the company sold commercially. It was built over two generations and is a great example of just how much ground EVs can gain as years pass. The range of the Volt increased 33% when it entered its new generation and pretty much every performance metric was higher.

The Volt was introduced in late 2010 in the United States and sold well, by electric vehicle standards. In 2018, it was the top-selling EV GM built, narrowly outselling the Bolt (battery electric vehicle or BEV). It was also the third-best selling affordable EV on the market this past year and was number six overall. Once neck and neck with the Nissan Leaf, the Volt pulled away in 2016 and outsold the Leaf by two to one in 2017. There is another way to view the Volt. It has outsold the EVs from Volkswagen, Ford, Toyota, all of the FCA Brands, Subaru, Mazda, Mitsubishi, every luxury brand, and a whole lot of other big-name automakers – combined – since its introduction.

During its run, the Volt earned dozens of awards including the 2011 “Motor Trend Car of the Year Award.” The Volt was also a Car and Driver “10-Best”, a “Green Car of the Year Award” winner from Green Car Reports and a “Best of the Year” winner from Motorweek.

Despite this success, and despite a legion of fans and loyal owners, GM decided to kill off its top-selling green car. Katie Minter at GM confirmed to us that the model is now discontinued and that production would end no later than March 1. Recent reports indicate the model has now completed its production run and the remaining inventory on dealer lots is the last of the best-selling green car GM ever created.

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The Varying Views & Habits Of Green Car Advocates/Owners

Many Volt owners operate their Volts entirely on electricity. And pride themselves on doing so. Some Volt owners use so little gasoline that GM had to devise a way to keep the fuel fresh enough that it didn’t harm the engine after sitting unused for months. Another group of Volt owners bought their car so that they could eliminate their internal combustion engine vehicle, yet still have a range of over 400 miles between stops if they needed to make longer trips in areas where charging would not be possible or practical. Others live in cold climates and need a green vehicle that does not suffer big drops in range and suffer long delays when charging if temps go below zero. A new Volt costs less than half the price of a Tesla Model 3 after incentives and about 1/5th the price of the larger Model S. For many owners, the Volt was the best and most practical EV they could access given their budget.

Opinions on the Volt’s Cancellation

Scan the headlines for news on the Chevy Volt and it is easy to find stories written in EV-advocacy publications that offer up a eulogy story about the Volt’s demise. We have compiled a quick list of the comments under from some notable publications. Here are some that express sadness that Volt is gone:

Tesla Forum:

“My 2013 Volt was the best car that I owned. I cannot say enough good things about it. My M3 may become the best car that I have ever owned — too early to tell. It is headed that way, though.”

Green Car Reports:

“Sad to see the Volt getting the axe. I wanted to get one for a while.”

“It was a very bad move for a company that claims to be moving into the electrification of their vehicles to stop making a very well designed electric car platform like the Volt.”

The Verge:

“Would love to have one of these, with the ICE, perfect for the cold climate where electric struggles with heat and efficiency. ”

Autoblog:

“Too bad. Probably one of the best bowties ever made. ”

Then there are a minority of EV fans who won’t miss the Volt:

Inside EVs:

“The Volt shows how far Lutz missed the mark with what EV buyers wanted. It is a great car, but not the future of EVs.”

“Mechanical engineers were never very impressed with the VOLT. You will see very few VOLTS on the road 5 years from now. It will be relegated to the Edsel museum.”

Tesla Forum:

“It is a sad day for wanna-be potential EV owners.”

“Volt is not true EV, that is the Bolt.”

GM gave itself a long lead time to wind-down of its U.S.-based Volt manufacturing operations. It is easy to envision GM stockpiling Volts in their current form as it readies more Bolt production or another new electric model. How long could GM sell these stockpiled Volts? It’s hard to say, but through the rest of 2019 would not be hard to imagine. We don’t do a goodbye story for every vehicle at BestRide, but the Volt was a top-seller in its class for nearly a decade and broke GM into an emerging vehicle market. It is certainly worthy of a fond farewell.

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John Goreham

John Goreham

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