The 2011 Chevrolet Volt may have to come with heated seats as its standard equipment. Why? For the obvious reason that the Volt runs on pure electric from its battery, which gets its juice from its on-board small gasoline electric generator.
Without a combustion engine to generate wasted heat to warm the Volt’s cabin while driving in electric mode, GM has to add heated seats to warm the cabin. Through recent cold weather testing a few months ago, GM engineers found that it takes the same amount of energy to warm the cabin as it does to move the Volt down the road. Basically, the electric driving range of the Volt will be reduced with this feature.
Sure you can heat air and blow it into the cabin, but this is not an inefficient way to warm the car cabin. The Chevrolet Volt team claims that a heated seat can warm a passenger much faster, and it uses less energy than a heat blower. Chevrolet hasn’t confirmed that heated seats will be standard equipment. More testing is still needed and the Volt team is looking for other alternatives to reduce energy consumption to make the Volt hits the 40-mile electric range in cold weather.
The Volt team is currently scheduled to test the Volt in hot weather condition by this May in Yuma, Arizona, and the question will come up as “Will the Volt be able to put out a 40-mile range when it is running with the air conditioner on?” We’ll keep you update.
The Chevrolet Volt goes on sale at the end of 2010 for around $40,000 before $7500 federal tax credit.