Chevrolet Bolt EV and Volvo XC90
Chevrolet Bolt EV | Starting price: $$30,000
When Chevrolet introduced the 2017 Bolt EV— a totally electric or battery electric vehicle — it fulfilled its promise to offer a long-range, affordable electric vehicle for the masses. This plug-in electric car represents a big step forward in EV design.
The Bolt EV offers more than 200 miles of range on a full charge. The range estimates on the Bolt are actually conservative. Even when driven “normally” and not babying the car, it easily exceeds its 200 mile range estimate which is about twice the range of other vehicles in the class. It also features advanced connectivity technologies designed to enhance and personalize the driving experience.
One of the compelling advantages of pure electric-powered vehicles is that the powertrain is so uncomplicated. Because the electric motor is powered by the electricity stored in that car’s battery, none of the complexity of traditional internal combustion engines is needed. That translates into no pistons, crankshaft, spark plugs, gas tanks, radiators, fuel pumps, exhaust systems, tail pipes, mufflers, oil changes, transmissions, exhaust emissions, etc. There’s just a battery and a simple electric motor. Because of the simplicity, vehicle maintenance is minimal and EV’s tend to last a very long time.
The missing element in all EV cars has been efficient battery technology; being able to store enough power to give the vehicle decent range between recharges. That is important because you can fill up the gas tank in your car in about 10 minutes but to fully recharge a battery takes up to 8 hours.
With the Bolt and its 200+ mile range between charges, General Motors has taken a huge step forward in the acceptance of EVs, as 200 miles far exceeds the average daily distance driven in a car in this country today.
The Bolt’s aerodynamic shape also yields a surprisingly large and useful interior for a car with such a small footprint. The electric motor is compact and the battery is below the floor, which allows tremendous flexibility in how the interior is configured.
As you might expect, this totally new and innovative vehicle is festooned with technology. The Bolt is capable of using the latest mobile apps to enable car sharing, advanced GPS routing and gamification, all designed to enhance the ownership experience now and into the future.
The Bolt EV’s connectivity innovations should provide smart, personalized solutions for managing the driving experience. So systems like low-energy Bluetooth seamlessly connects a smartphone to the car when the owner approaches the vehicle. The OnStar 4G makes the car a high-speed Wi-Fi hotspot. The Bolt boasts a 10.2’’ MyLink color touch-screen display controlling vehicle functions and infotainment plus a wide-angle Rear Camera Mirror.
Thanks to large government tax credits intended to encourage the purchase of electric vehicles, the Bolt is priced at about $30,000. That’s a hefty price for a small vehicle but when you consider that you can avoid the cost of ever having to buy gasoline again, ever… it’s a fair price.
Volvo XC 90 | Starting price: $45,000
According to Volvo, the new XC90 boldly drives to the pinnacle of the luxury market. It’s a confident assertion that may actually be correct if the accolades and feedback from the automotive press is any indication.
This revolutionary next-generation luxury SUV artfully combines all of Volvo’s traditional attributes – safety, performance, refinement and technology – while accelerating each to new levels of world-class excellence. The XC90 is a large unibody SUV/CUV that offers luxury car-like conveyance plus the expected positive utilitarian advantages of an SUV.
So Volvo engineers and designers focused on alluring styling, improved drivability, world-first safety features, the latest connected car technologies and enhanced interior space.
The XC90 is available in three trims: The T5 series with its turbocharged 2.0 engine, the T6 series with the supercharged and turbocharged 2.0 engine, and the T8 series which has the T6 engine mated with a plug-in hybrid drive. The Excellence model is the uber luxury version of the T8 priced at over $100,000.
The horsepower ratings are T5 250, T6 316 and T8 400. All have super-efficient 8-speed automatic transmissions and available electronic all-wheel-drive. That technology provides on-road comfort and control of the vehicle plus off-road capabilities that give the driver confidence in any road condition.
The interior is described as a Scandinavian sanctuary. Its beautiful wood and leather combinations are elegant, comfortable, useful and supremely safe for occupants. It’s a place that you’d love to spend time in.
The cargo area offers generous space and clever load features. Maximum cargo area with the second and third row seats folded is a generous 85.7 cubic feet. Convenient access is provided via a power-operated tailgate with a soft-close feature. A semi-automatic cargo cover retracts halfway for easy loading when the handle is depressed. A hidden storage compartment under the load floor includes a divided storage tray for small or valuable objects.
Volvo’s heritage of vehicle safety is also significantly advanced with the vast array of electronic-based monitoring and intervention systems.
Onboard systems are impressive with Sensus Connect Technology the most modern in-car control system on the market today. It interacts with navigation, media, phone and user-defined in-car apps.
The XC90’s safety technology provides Electronic Stability Control, Understeer Control Logic which minimizes unintended understeer, Engine Drag Control, Road Sign Information, Driver Alert, Lane Departure Warning and even braking “after” a collision.
Automatic braking after collision is truly new and unique. After a collision where the safety belt pre-tensioners or an airbag have been activated, the brakes are automatically activated to help prevent secondary or tertiary collisions.
The XC90 also offers Run-off road protection, blind spot, cross traffic and intelligent braking technology. Add to that distance alert, pilot (driver) assist, lane keep aids, intelligent cruise control, roll over prevention, and even systems designed to avoid collisions with bicyclers and pedestrians. This Inspector Gadget vehicle is both high tech and high style. The T5 front wheel drive model starts at $45,000, which in today’s market is a very fair price considering what you get with this Volvo.
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