If cars had star signs the Holden Volt would be a Gemini, because this car has a very split personality. It’s not a hybrid like say the Toyota Prius, nor is it a plug in Electric Vehicle (EV) like the Nissan Leaf; it’s a bit of both. One of the phobias people have about EV is called rage anxiety. While they may never travel far enough to flatten the batteries the fear is always there, the Holden Volt is a plug in hybrid, so for the average Perth commute it works as a plug in EV, but if the driver does go too far then it automatically switches to become a hybrid so you can get home safely. Range anxiety solved, despite the short range of less than 100 km.
The design is a combination of urban boring, quality and pure bling, an identity crisis waiting to happen for a car with a modestly small brain. Looking at the car one has to ask why they did not get a reputed car designer to craft the body. Sit in the car and wonder who the hell would be impressed with all the multitude of controls and screens, for example, it’s as simple to set the cabin temperature as it used to be to program a VCR! On the one side there is leather and space a plenty, but who this side of Hong Kong thinks contrasting black and white seats, dash, everything is the least bit sophisticated? Drive the car and become confused, am I driving a family car that offers no feedback to the driver at all, or a sports car with rather good standing start acceleration? Does this all add up to identity crisis, Gemini or just trying to be all things to all people?
Lets make no mistake, electric cars are the way of the future, but until there are a network of high speed charging stations, and thanks to the RAC for their work on this, electric/hybrid combinations give the comfort one requires when setting out to know you will reach your destination. The lower range offered in the EV/hybrid combination means fewer batteries are required so the car can be lighter than a pure EV, but that has not resulted in the Volt getting anywhere near being a driver’s car. I do believe in a short space of time EV will become commonplace, and then the choices will be better, sensible commuter car, sports car or tradies ute? At that point conventional manufacturers look out, because the disruptive technology EV are will put you out of business unless you keep ahead of the game. Remember Kodak were at the top of the tree in the 1980’s when they invented the digital camera, but crashed a couple of decades later when they did not exploit that invention.