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Drive Life : January 21st 2011
1HERSA1 F003 *Offer available at participating dealers on new stock vehicles purchased and delivered by 31 January 2011, while stocks last. Free on-road costs comprise registration, stamp duty, CTP, and dealer delivery. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offers. SapientNitro VOL 506 SMH S Scuderia Veloce Volvo Cars 586 Pacific Highway Chatswood NSW 2067 Ph: 9411 6677 DL15207 Annlyn Motors 93-99 York Road Penrith NSW 2750 Ph: 4722 9900 DL16178 Trivett Volvo Alexandria 75-85 O'Riordan Street Alexandria NSW 2015 Ph: 8338 2633 DL90221 Peter Warren Volvo Cars 13 Hume Highway Warwick Farm NSW 2170 Ph: 9828 8123 DL5411 Purnell Volvo 990 King Georges Road Blakehurst NSW 2221 Ph: 8558 7000 DL520 Trivett Volvo Parramatta 70 Church Street Parramatta NSW 2150 Ph: 9841 4142 MD14839 the january sale event free on-road costs across the range* STAMP DUTY • REGISTRATION • CTP • DEALER DELIVERY The Sydney Morning Herald Friday, January 21, 2011 3 A naked woman on a beach. -- CHRYSLER DESIGN BOSS RALPH GILLES REVEALS HIS INSPIRATION FOR THE NEXT GENERATION DODGE VIPER SPORTS CAR. TOP MOST CONGESTED WESTERN EUROPEAN CITIES5 ' 1 London 2 Paris 3 Dublin 4 Berlin 5 Stockholm Source: Navteq IN DRIVE TOMORROW Which wheels should drive the Ford Falcon? NET POLL Rear 48% Don't care 20% Front 2% All 30% Next week's question: Do you ever use your phone when you drive? Go to drive.com.au/vote. Cheap seats: We test three of the smallest cars money can buy. ' Drive Life editor Richard Blackburn firstname.lastname@example.org National Drive editor Toby Hagon Sales manager Ian Bellert 9282 3709 Cover Craig Abraham Drive writers abide by a code of ethics. Read it at drive.com.au/ethics DriveLIFE Electric motors turn me on JAY LENO Power trip . . . the Chevrolet Volt shows Jay Leno the joys of pushing a hybrid's range to the max. Irecently took delivery of a car I never thought I'd buy: the Chevy Volt. It's GM's new hybrid electric car. I never really found previous hybrids such as the Prius very interesting and pure electric cars never seem to go as far as they claim. I'd had a Volt prototype for a while and could see the benefits but actually living with the car has been a revelation. I've had it for a few weeks and with my daily commute being 50 kilometres, it's been easy to rack up 1600 kilometres already. The car arrived with a full tank but no charge. However, from that full tank I have used only six litres of fuel. The rest has been using the battery charge. Six litres for 1600 kilometres. That's very exciting. I never thought I'd hear myself say a hybrid is exciting. I plug in the car at home overnight and at the studio during the day, so it always starts my commute fully charged. The buzz, however, is how to get the most range from the car. The car runs on electricity the whole time. The little engine charges the battery if it runs low and a regeneration system puts charge back into the battery under braking or deceleration. Formula one had a similar system in 2009. That means on a hilly run such as my commute, by backing off the gas downhill I can end up regenerating up to 19 kilometres of extra range. The thrill of getting 18 or 19 kilometres extra is in many ways as much of a buzz as driving a car such as my F1 McLaren fast. I see why hyper-milers -- guys who take low- emission cars to the max -- find it exciting. The method of getting the best from a car is nothing new to me. I'm always after a unique driving experience. I have such an oddball collection that you need different ways to get the best from each machine. Ironically, it's some of the older cars, especially the steam cars, that have the most similar driving style to a hybrid. In a steam car, the more pressure, the more acceleration. So if you see a red light ahead, it's best to shut off the steam pressure so you have enough to pull away from the light. It's a good lesson in preserving energy. Other cars that need a unique touch are the 8.0-litre Bentley, which has a finicky gearbox that's hard to master. First to second needs to be done very slowly, double- declutching on the way; then, second to third as fast as possible. My friend Phil Hill was a master Packard mechanic. He showed me the best way to drive it and to avoid noisy gear changes. He illustrated how, to get a silent move into reverse, it's best to touch second lightly. Just a brush. It makes all the difference. Mind you, cars these days largely have no idiosyncrasies like that. If you were born in 1990, I can understand why you might not be interested in cars. So many cars now are like refrigerators on wheels. If you need to ease from one gear to the next, or coast up to traffic lights to be able to start again, you'd think it was broken. The Volt is a car for the video-game generation. I can go online or use an app on my iPad to find out its charge and oil levels. Maybe soon I can drive it using the iPad! And like the iPad, the Volt is smart technology from the US. I think, like the British, Americans have for too long had an inferiority complex about how our technology compares with that from other countries such as Japan. Toyota has had a huge amount of bad press recently. And in more bad news, they say even crash-test dummies are refusing to get into Toyotas these days. But, seriously, we should be proud of the technology the West is putting out now. We just need to get it to market faster than the Chinese, who might pinch it. I think the Volt is pretty exciting technology. I see the engineers are excited about this. It's real engineering. It's not as if they've taken a standard Chevrolet chassis or platform and somehow hidden batteries around it. It's a totally new platform: the batteries go up the centre of the car. It's very well put together; it's clever engineering. You can drive the Volt like any normal car. It's an electric car only when you need it to be. It goes pretty good. I don't think anybody would be able to tell the difference. They've done everything they can to make it look exactly like a typical Chevrolet. In no way is it a sports car or even a sporty car. It's meant to be an extremely practical car. It's what Americans would call a mid-sizer. But the thrill is how to get the most from it. As a baseline, you get 64 kilometres of free driving every time you charge it up. But the kick is how much of the 64 kilometres you can get back during your journey. I find myself getting increasingly competitive on my commute. Maybe it drives other drivers crazy because I drive the Volt gingerly. But even if you drive it aggressively (the Volt is a second faster to 100km/h than the Prius), it's still worthwhile. You get 64 free kilometres and even after that it still sips fuel. So, taking it to Vegas, or wherever grabs you, is still possible. But it's at its best when it's running only on its store of battery power. In a week, that means saving maybe 38 litres. That's a full tank. And over a year, that's hundreds of bucks saved.
January 14th 2011
January 28th 2011