How To Plug In Your Chevy Volt

Illustration for article titled How To Plug In Your Chevy Volt

In order to get that 230 MPG city mileage, GM expects Chevy Volt owners to recharge at home every single night. Here's how you'll do that.


The volt will come standard with a portable 120-volt charger that'll work with standard home outlets. Just plug it into the wall, connect it to the car and come back six to eight hours later for a complete charge.

Illustration for article titled How To Plug In Your Chevy Volt

For impatient owners, GM is also talking about offering an optional 240-volt home charge unit that'll need to be hardwired into your garage, car port or whatever you high falutin suburbanites keep your cars in these days. Expect the price of the unit and the installation to be wrapped into one bundle that'll be appealing priced and available straight from dealers. A coil cord will extend from that wall unit to the car and can complete a full charge in just three to four hours. It's expected that the vast majority of owners will use this setup and carry their 120-volt portable chargers for on-the-go or emergency recharges.

The reason the 240-volt charger isn't portable is due to national electric codes which require the device to be hard wired and the nature of the 240-volt plug (think of the big three pronger that hooks your dryer up to the wall), which isn't designed to withstand repeated plug-ins/unplugs. Speaking as someone who has electrocuted himself with 240-volt electricity several times, hardwiring is probably for the best.

Illustration for article titled How To Plug In Your Chevy Volt

Both types of charger will connect to the car with a universal J1772 plug that's capable of withstanding the full weight of the car should your wife run it over, can shut the car off if she tries to drive away with it plugged in and "talks" to the batteries to regulate the flow of juice should the level of amperage being drawn threaten to trip circuit breakers or similar.

GM hopes to offer hardwired 240-volt quick chargers in the parking garages of major companies and retails outlets and at other popular commuting destinations at some unspecified date in the future.


GM has gone so far as to consider and then rule out the use of automatic plug winders, finding that they're prone to breakage and the tightly wound extension cords can generate dangerous levels of heat. Instead, a variety of cord lengths will likely be offered to suit individual needs.

How safe is all this? According to Volt vehicle line director Tony Posawatz the recharging system is idiot proof. He even went so far as to say, "You could dunk this in a bucket of water and you'd be ok." [via Edmunds]



Why does no one, and I mean NO one, EVER talk about the drain all of these "plug in" cars will have upon our electrical infrastructure?

It's worse than everyone in the neighborhood running their AC units during a heatwave at the same time...and yet this is supposed to be the panacea?