Casting a Cold Spell

2013-05-22T00:00:00Z Casting a Cold SpellSteering You Right With Sharon Peters
May 22, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Q: I have a Chevrolet Volt and found that during really cold days and nights over the winter, I didn’t get nearly the range I did during the fall when I first bought it. Have you heard anything about whether cold impacts Volt’s range?

A: Many people had the same winter experience you report. Indeed, a writer for Wheelbase Media tried a little experiment: driving a Volt during a 10-day cold spell in Canada. He learned that the Volt’s total electric range was 180 to 200 miles, not the 380 that the ratings promise. His widely disseminated results are a reminder that not only do batteries not love extreme cold, many factors can cause a vehicle, regardless of how it is powered, not to live up to the ratings.

Q: OMG! A friend told me there’s some mini van that has a built-in vacuum cleaner. Could anything be more perfect? All those spilled jelly beans and Fritos and all the wet mud and gravel stuck into the treads of sneakers that drops onto the carpet when dry. I never thought about how invaluable such a thing would be and now I’m panting to get one. My friend can’t remember what mini van has it, and although there aren’t that many, I’ve gone to every site and find nothing. Did she imagine this or does it exist and I can’t find it?

A: It exists. But you can’t find it yet because the vehicle with it won’t be out until this fall.

The most expensive version of Honda Odyssey for 2014 will include a built-in vacuum cleaner with a hose that extends to all of the nether reaches of the vehicle. The van with this snazzy gizmo was unveiled in March at the New York International Auto Show, and it created a major stir. Little wonder. As you point out, it fills a vital need, and, seriously, it is a little hard to imagine why no carmaker figured out how to make it happen a long time ago.

The company says the vacuum will work for up to eight minutes when the van is turned off, and as long as you want it to when the van is on.

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