Holden Volt – The Car The Greens Deserve

Posted on Sat 09/08/2012 by


By Andrew Bolt ~

Holden Volt

Remember, the whole idea of a hybrid is to cut emissions to stop global warming. But when Toby Hagon tests drives the Holden Volt, he finds he’s paying a fortune to use coal-fired power to move small distances – usually to a motel whose unwitting owner is made to pay for his fuel:

Holden labels the Volt a long-range electric car, refusing to call it a hybrid, a term Toyota unofficially owns. But the addition of a petrol engine that acts as a generator for the batteries cements its inclusion in the ‘’H’’ team…

Our first overnight stop gave me the chance to recharge… The cable is thick and cumbersome and carefully tucked under the boot floor in a package that makes packing a two-man tent into a fist-sized ball feel like a snip. Extension cords are not recommended, which is limiting because not many hotel rooms are within five metres of the front left fender, where the charging plug goes.

An extension cord was my only option, so I weaved the bright orange and yellow cord through the carpark of the motel into my room. Holden says the Volt costs about $2.50 to charge, and a deal it’s done with infrastructure company Better Place allows the exclusive use of green electricity. But I’m going out on a limb and guessing that the $90-a-night motel I stayed in hadn’t ticked the box for renewable energy….

After an overnight charge the colour digital instrument read-out suggested the electric-only range would be 64 kilometres, but that quickly plummeted up the steep mountain climb. After only a few kays it dropped to 39 kilometres …

After our next overnight charge the Volt suggested we’d get 66 kilometres from electricity. But on these 110km/h roads and loaded with the family and luggage (with the porky 1715-kilogram car and all the gear, we were tipping the scales at more than two tonnes) the range fizzled to about 40 kilometres…

Hardened country folk … were keen to chat about the technology of the car they’d read about. One almost swallowed his tongue when I casually mentioned it cost $60,000, about $20,000 more than similarly equipped mid-size cars…

Across the challenging Blue Mountains the batteries depleted so much that the petrol engine couldn’t charge them fast enough. The car solved the problem by reducing power to the wheels – ‘’propulsion power is reduced’’ was the warning – but it lowered performance noticeably. Steeper hills had it struggling to maintain 100km/h, and overtaking was temporarily not an option….

Greens deserve this car. It’s a welcome tax on stupidity, and it’s just a pity motel owners are made to share the pain.

Andrew Bolt is a journalist and columnist writing for The Herald Sun in Melbourne Victoria Australia.

Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am, and his book  Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.

Read more excellent articles from Andrew Bolt’s Blog . http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/