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Holden Volt

  • By Neil Dowling
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    It is surprisingly quick and the lack of noise masks how fast the car is going. Photo Gallery

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The first electric car to overcome range anxiety with a petrol engine to charge its batteries.

Too heavy, but good to drive. "For all the greenery, it's still got an internal combustion engine in it. And it should be forty grand," Chris Riley said at the COTY judging.

The Volt is beautifully quiet, rolls confidently without feeling like a golf cart and just feels like a really quiet car. 

There are four modes for the drivetrain but the normal mode is perfect for suburban and city driving while the high-speed, or sport, mode will make you the king of traffic-light acceleration. It is surprisingly quick and the lack of noise - it's more a hushed whoosh like starting an electric fan - masks how fast the car is going. It's fodder for speeding tickets.

Ride comfort is good, though there is some low-speed jiggling caused by the suspension coping with a hefty 1720kg dry weight and irregular road surfaces. Steering is better than some electric systems though it can't hide the car's weight and its tendency to understeer into corners. No biggie - this isn't a sports car.

I had to overlook most of the instrument features because it was distractive to the art of driving. When the engine finally turns on, there is a muted rumble, but no more than a conventional car.

Holden Volt

Price: from $59,990
Engine: electric motor, 16.5kWh lithium ion battery, 1.4-litre petrol four-cylinder generator 
Transmission: CVT, front wheel drive
Power: 111kW
Torque: 370Nm
Fuel use/emissions: 8.5 l/100km, tank 35 litres 95RON PULP; 201g/km
Brakes/safety systems: Driver and front passenger airbags, front seat side/thorax, curtain airbags, front knee airbags, stability control (Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Traction Control), rear parking sensors, Forward collision alert and lane departure warning
Dimensions: Length 4498mm, width 1788mm, height 1439mm, wheelbase 2685mm, cargo volume 300 litres, weight 1721kg
Wheels/tyres: 17in alloy wheels



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Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 8 comments

  • Why do they call these cars electric when they still have a petrol motor why not get rid of the petrol motor entirely and increase the batterys to give at least a 200 to 300 km range
    False advertising

    mf of brisbane Posted on 07 September 2013 7:27pm
  • For commuting, this car may never need to use the engine if trip is less that 80 Km between charges. Using E10 petrol here would give it plenty of time to destabilise and separate the alcohol, also absorbing water. This car would quickly highlight the damage E10 fuel can do to an engine when it finally started up! You would need to avoid E10 at all costs. Hope GM give a warning on that hazard.

    Bram of Central Coast Australia Posted on 02 February 2013 12:13am
  • Looks like a good buy when more realistically priced . 60 Grand forget it .40 Aud more like it . If GM come to their senses they should have a winner and   volume seller..Wait and see . Where are front fog lights ,,rain sensing wipers ?Fullsize spare?Overall dimrnsions and interior layout /views?

    colin hingley of Wollongong Posted on 20 January 2013 3:01pm
  • Sixty grand here, forty in the states. Must be bloody heavy if it costs THAT much to ship here. Please don’t hand me all that “oh but it has to pass ADR’s” etc because we sell our Caprice and Commodore cheaper there than here. Only EV I have driven was a short trip in a Nissan Leaf….if this is similar AND they price it more realistically it could be a winner. Let’s hope so.

    Tony Guacomole Snr. of Australia Posted on 17 January 2013 10:52am
  • If this had a Ford badge it would have been seriously more scathing.

    Brody Posted on 10 January 2013 3:04pm
  • ! Holden decided to bring in the Volt a premium vehicle, fully optioned up to show case it’s technology (Which is very impressive as I’ve been following it since 2007).Many of the features are appearing slowly in other models of GM’s.
    So if you want one where they did everything right and used the best suppliers with highest quality then the Volt is for you - along with the EV Grin. Ps Volt Driver may suffer EVWS “Electric Vehicle Withdraw Symptoms”  when forced to use a regular vehicle. Cure is simple - go drive a Volt!

    Martin Volt of Victoria Posted on 23 December 2012 3:37pm
  • I’ve had one as my Daily drive since the 6th of December.Only in electricity mode!
    It’s the only car I’ve owned that gives me a free smile with every drive. The car is a game changer, as it offers the benefits of true EV with none of the negatives.  The drive experience of the Volt will become the norm along with the greening of the power network.  For price reduction it doesn’t look like our local pollies wish to practically help with kick starting new future technology, they provide “lip service” while other countries pollies do things that really help. People have to realise that electricity is used to produce and provide petrol, Hydrogen is an inefficient process, so the battery technology is the ice breaker that will change our ways of transport. Ever listen to the CEO’s of Nissan, Tesla or retired GM’s Bob Lutz?  it provides glimpses of environmental / political pressures on car manufactures Now – and the best future is simply electric!

    Martin Volt of Victoria Posted on 23 December 2012 3:35pm
  • I’ll wait until the price drops to something more realistic.  Probably about 6 months, if US discounting is any guide.

    Rhys Filbee of Tasmania Posted on 17 December 2012 8:09am
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