No. Your Dad taught you to drive correctly and those habits will serve you well in the Volt.
Originally Posted by Betty Lou Spence
Good for you driving a manual! You and I are a dying breed. Forget about the range extending engine in the Volt for a moment. It's easier to just recognize the Volt for what it is, and electric vehicle. Electric motors have a much broader range of power than internal combustion engines (ICE) do. They can make power from 0-12,000 rpm or so. They are also capable of providing nearly all of the available torque (the twisting force needed to get you moving from a stop or accellarate) from zero on up. The average ICE makes power from about 800 to 6,000 rpm and with in that range only a much narrower range makes useful torque and power maybe from 2,500 to 5,000 rpm and this power band can be graphed like a bell curve. The sweet spot is around 3,500 - 4,500 rpm or so. For this reason, the conventional car needs a transmission to attempt to keep the engine running in it's sweet spot and most efficient. The electric vehicle requires no transmission because it is linear and has no real power curve with a sweet spot. So in effect, the Volt is an "automatic", but you won't be getting a shorter range.
1. Drive a manual-speed transmission (self-explanatory). I admit it: I like driving one. I've heard the Volt is an automatic - something to do with not needing a transmission? I don't know enough about the technology - does anyone have any links or other info that would help me understand this?
Not slamming the brakes is still good advice. Even though the Volt will utilize regenerative braking, the longer the time it has to put the power back in the battery the better. The batteries can only charge at a certain rate and if you exceed that rate, the power is just wasted off. Braking slowly should help make the most of regenerative braking. Having said that, I don't think there is great cause to go out of your way to start applying the brakes a mile out or anything. What you are doing now is probably fine.
2. Don't slam the brakes. If I know I'll be stopping, I take my foot off the gas and begin to decelerate to both save on gas and wear & tear on the brakes. However, I've recently read about regenerative braking. Does this mean I should spend more time applying the brakes?
Still good advice. Even though the Volt will transfer power to the wheel more efficiently with it's electric motor, stomping on the gas will generate more heat because when you give the motor full power and the car is at a stop, the motor is still not powerful enough to instantly rocket you to 100mph. So as the motor works hard to get you up to 100, the excess power being drawn from the battery is being wasted off in the form of heat. A more gradual accelleration will result in less wasted energy and greater battery range.
3. Don't smash the gas. Is this even an issue with the Volt? I've been reading about not using the AC and radio to optimize electric output (is that true?). Does this mean pounding the gas pedal no longer matters for the first 40 miles?
Using the AC and radio, or any powered device in the car will reduce your range by some amount. This is true of the car you have now too. Turning off the AC and radio will help you achieve higher MPG and extend your range in a conventional car. This is a question that has yet to be fully answered. Can the Volt make it's 40 miles all electric with the radio and AC or heater on still at freeway speeds? I believe that they are working to make this the case, but we don't know for sure yet.
Nope. That's the true genius and beauty of the Volt, it allows us to drive as we always have with little to no compromises.
Are there any other ways I should be driving a Volt differently?
Last edited by DaV8or; 03-20-2009 at 06:20 PM.
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