I may know a thing or two about cars but I will be the first to admit, I am no expert when it comes to the topic of EV’s (Electric Vehicles). Never one to turn down an adventure, I said yes to venturing to Quebec City with the Chevrolet Canada team to learn more about the new and improved 2016 Chevrolet Volt. Absolutely stunning during this time of the year, the quaint town of Scott played host to us for 48 hours for our extended test drive. Our mission over those two days was to simply experience the true benefits of being a Chevrolet Volt owner and attempt to take in the beauty of the local area.
Upon arriving at Aeroport International Jean-Lesage de Quebec, we were driven up to our hotel La Cache a Maxime to get acquainted with our Volt in a meeting with the brand team and begin our road trip journey. Our first stop was to a traditional Quebec City family owned restaurant, La Poulette Grise in Sainte-Marie before heading onwards to Alpagas des Appalaches, a real life alpaca farm. This may seem like an odd and random pitstop to make but in the coming weeks you will discover why I was interested in learning more about these cuddly and cute animals that closely resemble Llamas – trust me, they are trending! It was unbelievably cold on the farm that day but the owner’s gift shop was full of locally made clothing and accessories made from their alpaca’s fur. Surprisingly, much warmer than wool, I wore an alpaca scarf over my trench that kept me toasty all afternoon.
We literally could have stayed and played with the alpacas all day but in effort to get more time behind the wheel of the Volt, we decided to take a drive to Old Quebec City to stop in some of the town’s charming shops and cafes. Seeing as this was off our agenda for the day, we relied solely on the car’s OnStar system to get us to our next points of interest. By simply pressing the blue OnStar button located on the rear view mirror, we were patched through to an operator who was able to give us a list of rustic charming shops in the area for us to choose from. After selecting a spot, the turn by turn directions were then transferred directly to the vehicle by the operator, making our off the beaten path adventure seamless.
Wearing Canadian Designer Mary Young’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month Bralet for designed for ReThink Cancer
For most, the category of EV’s is a bit of a mystery. Not to be mistaken for a full electric vehicle, the 2016 Chevy Volt is a plug-in hybrid vehicle that uses two different power trains 1) an electric motor that let’s drivers go a certain distance (up to approximately 80 km’s) and 2) generates additional electric power through a gas powered generator that kicks in once the electric motor is depleted. Vehicles that are solely electric; like the Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus Electric and Tesla Model S have no alternate engines to help out when their batteries run out of juice. This is primarily why many drivers have apprehensions exploring the options of EV’s, not knowing that there are other options like the Volt which is essentially an electric car with a backup plan
I first saw the new Volt debuted earlier this year at the Toronto International Auto Show amongst other journalists and current Volt owners, so I was already familiar with the car’s refined and upscale exterior design, that sits a bit lower and longer than it’s predecessor. But it’s what goes on inside the vehicle that really blew us away. The Chevrolet brand team took feedback from existing Volt customers and made the interior more friendly and inviting with more rear passenger room moving it to the 5 passenger seating category and high tech, intuitive controls featuring an 8 inch colour cluster, 8 inch center stack touch screen and what I have grown to love in new GM vehicles – 4G LTE wifi.
A closer look at the 2016 Chevy Volt’s Power Flow Screen
After a busy first day and four course dinner at the hotel’s steak house, day two was more of a relaxed day. We spent the morning exploring the vast grounds of the hotel, that includes 20 beautiful cottages, a spa and main hotel building, with our Volt’s to get a better understanding of the vehicle’s value added functionalities. Advanced safety features such as; Lane Keep Assist, which gives the driver a small nudge back into their lane if drifting is detected and advanced technology features such as wireless charging for mobile devices and everyone’s new favourite – Apple Car Play. This system integrates your iPhone apps with the car’s digital system, allowing you to control them and your device more easily. This allows the driver to use the functionality of their phone without having to fumble around with it or take their eyes off the road. Throughout our driving experience, we were able to use our iPhone’s messaging and phone capabilities, play our iTunes music and Spotify, navigate with Apple maps (if we wanted to) and even watch videos. If you’re purchasing an EV or EV hybrid, chances are you want to know how you car is using the power it generates and the “Power Flow Screen” shows you exactly where the energy is going during your drive. As if all this was not enough, the “Regen on Demand” braking system by far was the most impressive feature to me. Through steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, I was able to decelerate the vehicle with performance characteristics similar to downshifting in a manual transmission vehicle. Not only does this make for a more fun and active driving experience, engaging the paddle-shifters also regenerates energy from the vehicles motion and stores it in it’s battery all while slowing the car down.
While our Volt’s re-charged at the hotel, we decided to do some recharging ourselves in Noah Spa’s Watergenic Pool. Using water in different states; liquid, steam, ice and water at different temperatures, this hydrotherapy method is known to purify, tone and revitalize the body while also diminishing aches and pains. As a non- EV driver, I’ve often wondered what the charging requirements were on these types of cars. Is is difficult to find charging stations in public? And what about at home? Are there specific charging options at home that a new Volt driver would need to install? Turns out, the Volt can be re-charged using just a standard 120-V outlet with portable cord overnight or in approximately 13 hours. However, with a professionally installed 240-V charging system, the car can be fully charged and ready to go in just 4.5 short hours.
Photos by Vanessa Cesario of TheBrunetteSalad.com
So here’s the skinny on the new Volt…in comparison to Gen 1, drivers can expect a lot more from the 2016 version. More range – up to 85 EV km’s, fuel efficiency, more value as the new version no longer requires premium gasoline, more space and of course safety features. The only thing you will find less of in this vehicle is noise due to it’s quieter engine. Click here for a complete deep dive into the 2016 Chevrolet Volt Electric Vehicle and for more information on the brand’s fleet of vehicles, head to Chevrolet.ca