What's Dragging Down the Volt? And What Can We Do Now?

By · March 08, 2012

Chevy Volt

Many plug-in advocates have been feeling frustrated about the Chevy Volt. It's an inspiring example of innovation, a milestone of advanced technology, and a pioneering vision of how to start getting off fossil fuels. Now its factory is closing for five weeks to clear inventory. What's the Volt's future? Can it resume its successful trajectory?

POLITICAL FOOTBALL: As GM CEO Daniel Akerson told Senators in January, the Volt has gone from "technological wonder" to "political punching bag." For some examples of how a car welcomed by the Bush Administration first turned into "Obama's car," then became a product that critics hoped would fail, see Joe Romm's roundup at
http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2012/03/03/437116/limbaugh-fox-news-tea-pa... .

WHERE ARE WE ON THE ADOPTION CURVE? For over a decade, the Gartner consulting firm has been situating products and technologies along a graph it calls the Emerging Technology Hype Cycle. See an example at http://bimeanalytics.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/gartner-hype-cycle.png . It features a rapid rise of expectations, fueled by early adopter enthusiasm, with an early Peak of Inflated Expectations followed by a rapid slide that ends in a Trough of Disillusionment. From there, SUCCESSFUL products go through second- and third-generation refinements and gradually rise through a Slope of Enlightenment to a Plateau of Productivity. How will the Volt get through the Trough?

WHAT'S THE LIKELY IMPACT OF THE FIVE-WEEK THE PRODUCTION HALT? We fear that without energetic responses, opponents will tarnish the Volt as a failure. Advocates have our work cut out for us -- and we can't just look backward or gripe! For some insights, green car journalist/consultant Michael Coates evaluates the GM work stoppage based on his deep experience in automotive marketing. Centrally, he points out that a slowdown is better than a glut. See http://www.plugincars.com/why-chevy-volt-showdown-good-thing-plug-ins-11... . The 65 comments to date, many of which include replies by Coates, are very much worth reading!

NO RETREAT: It would be a mistake to conclude from the pause that it's time to ratchet DOWN our expectations for the Volt. We still need to find ways to get hundreds of thousands of them on the road. All the energy security, climate, economic and social benefits impelling GM and the world's auto industry to evolve still hold. The Volt and other plug-in vehicles remain at the core of a global imperative to get off fossil fuels ASAP.

PRICING: In these challenging economic times, more buyers need to know they can lease a Volt for about $350/month. And purchasers need to hear Volt owners crow that they got a BMW-level car at half the price. Though the Chevy Cruze is often in the same showroom (and dealers may make more money selling them), GM needs to re-position the Volt so it's NEVER compared to this budget car with which it shares a "platform." Volkswagen has managed to avoid people wondering why they should buy an Audi when it costs so much more than a Passat. And will anyone ponder whether to save money by buying the new Dodge Dart instead of the same-platform Alfa Romeo Giulietta?

SAFETY: Quick headlines about battery fires partly eclipsed appreciation of the Volt's universally stellar safety ratings. We find humorous responses most effective: "If you crash your car, don't stay inside for a few weeks. And make sure you don't leave it turned upside down until it's repaired." GM did a good job with its customer satisfaction policies and safety modifications. And in December, it took only a hundred or so Volt owners declaring "We're keeping our keys" on Facebook to counter much of the unprincipled misinformation.

SALES REPUTATION: Pointing out that first-year Volt and Leaf sales far exceeded initial Prius levels didn't offset negative headlines. Now that GM has halted production for five weeks in a catch-up move, advocates and owners need to step up their visible efforts. We can only imagine how things would be different if automakers maximally leveraged their satisfied customers as their best allies. Sites like http://www.facebook.com/groups/chevyvoltowners/ and the new http://www.voltstats.net help -- but the message has to go beyond that.

HAPPY VOLT: GM has just launched a new series of videos showing owners http://www.chevroletvoltage.com/index.php/videos.html . But just as many were put off by the Volt Superbowl ad showing strange aliens and awkward people, the first three of a promised dozen ads feature people with unusual names making odd points, sometimes in foreign accents or drowned out by music. GM could spotlight reassuring people saying, "I love my Volt. It drives just like any other car -- just zippier, quieter, and using almost no gas. And I canl plug it in almost anywhere." CNN found one easily: http://money.cnn.com/video/news/2012/02/28/n_chevrolet_volt_owner.cnnmoney/

RECRUITING BUYERS: As the automakers pitch their cars through ads and social media, advocates can build on their efforts, with a harder sell than GM's ads. At least four constituencies can be buyers: fans of early technology, people who don't want to fund petro-dictatorships, environmentalists, and the LOHAS market segment (tens of millions of households willing to pay more up front for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability).

GO FOR THE GREEN: The quickest response can come from the environmentally-focused car-buyers. Green groups' websites and newsletters already promote the benefits of plug-in cars. Their members may have missed much of the negative spin. And they'll be receptive to the message that switching to a plug-in car could have a greater impact on their "footprint" than other purchases.

WE URGE CALCARS-NEWS READERS to ask their organizations to transform current informational efforts into CAMPAIGNS. Just as they have done for compact fluorescent bulbs, hybrid cars, and rooftop solar, they can urge their millions of members to buy PHEVs and EVs and distribute branded plug-in bumper stickers. They can tie in to other networks to offer every member a test-drive with a happy owner. Imagine how quickly even one group with hundreds of thousands of members could generate tens of thousands of sales. That turn of the tide could leave automakers with a challenge worth having: building enough plug-in vehicles to meet a steadily-growing demand.

Comments

· jdun87 (not verified) · 2 years ago

The Volt of course is a Green Car. However, in my opinion most Americans do not care about that. When I was researching the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma I found this interesting quote "“The installation at the raceway may be an educational tool and an inspiration for those race fans who will always pick the most powerful, well-performing, functional and reliable piece of equipment, and then if they could also do something good for the environment, they would” said Steve Page President of Infineon Raceway". To me this holds true for the Volt. First buyers need to be reassured that the Volt has the same performance, functionality, and features as a Luxury Sedan, then tell them that it's good for the environment.

· · 2 years ago

How about just selling Volt/Ampera in Europe where already there are 7,000 orders for them?

Volt already makes economic sense in Europe even at this price because gas over there is $8-$9 per gallon.

Can somebody explain to me why GM stops the Volt line in March when there are 7,000 unfulfilled orders for Volt/Ampera in Europe?

· · 2 years ago

@Yegor

Because in a month they could easily build 4000 Volts.

· jdun87 (not verified) · 2 years ago

I really enjoyed this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=IOJMVbQnNIU
My family owns a Nissan Leaf and I've driven it quite a bit. I don't think the Leaf could do everything the Volt does in this video and the iPhone app for the Leaf sucks compared to the Volt. I still think Leaf is more practically for local trips of 60 miles or less but Volt is more American, no range anxiety, and you can torture the car and it will still be fine. Mountain and Sport modes are cool.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

No no no.

Let market forces determine what the best car is. GM missed the mark with Volt. I can't believe they projected 120K sales the first year for an expensive car that has compromises. The big mistake is probably that they included a gas engine. Even if it is a different setup than the Prius, it doesn't matter to the public - they see hybrid rather than "electric." The Prius base MSRP is $24K, which is way below Volt MSRP minus various tax breaks.

What this group should focus on is the success of upcoming vehicles, like the Ford Focus or continued success of the Nissan Leaf.

· · 2 years ago

I'm going to go with price. After subsidies the car is still, well, the 2nd biggest purchase you'll make. If the subsidies or the initial price could place the Volt or the Leaf in the league of a Civic or Corolla, well that would be different.

· jmac (not verified) · 2 years ago

@ Yegor

While GM has some 6 to 7 thousand fleet sales in Europe for the Ampera, these fleet buyers may not want to take delivery until let's say May or August or even Dec. 2012. And that's when the vehicles will be delivered and actual money changes hands. These Ampera fleet sales are no doubt memorandum of understanding or MOU between GM and the fleet buyers and are likely spread out over all of 2012.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

When I went to my local Chevy dealer to buy a car, These are the best deals they offer me.
Malibu 0% for 60 month or $3000 cash back
Impala 0% for 72 months or $3500 cash back
The Volt is never mentioned even though one is in the showroom.

Now look at Feb 2012 top vehicle sales. Why is the Malibu & Impala sales so high? Are they good cars or is it Cash Backs and 0%.
Ford F-Series
47,273
Toyota Camry
34,542
Nissan Altima
32,953
Chevrolet Silverado
32,297
Honda Civic
27,087
Honda CR-V
24,759
Ford Focus
23,350
Dodge Ram
22,595
Toyota Corolla/Matrix
22,148
Ford Fusion
21,773
Honda Accord
20,702
Toyota Prius
20,589
Chevrolet Cruze
20,427
Chevrolet Malibu
19,987
Ford Escape
18,666
Chevrolet Equinox
17,851
Hyundai Sonata
17,425
Chevrolet Impala
15,333
Isn't the Impala made in Canada? $3500 cash back to promote a Canadian built car while GM shuts down American jobs and American technology at the Volt factory.

· · 2 years ago

GM needs to decide if they want to repeat the same bad mistakes they made in the past of making decisions based on this quarter and this year or if they want to be a dynamic player in the auto industry in the years to come.

There are many different things GM could do to boost Volt sales worldwide if they choose to put the effort in. One of the simplest would be to put a system in place where would-be buyers worldwide could log their location into a website so that GM could figure out how to get Volts there. The LEAF has a national website that keeps a 4 month waiting list.

But there are many things they could do if they tried. Some of them within US dealer showrooms. Incentivise the dealers to want to sell Volts. Give them percs in terms of their ability to order other desirable cars if they move Volts. If the dealers really want to sell the Volts, the Volts would be flying out the doors. The Volt is a very compelling, if a little expensive, car.

· jmac (not verified) · 2 years ago

Anonymous said:

"while GM shuts down American jobs and American technology at the Volt factory."

The fact is that most major auto manufacturers are international in scope. They are not "patriots". but corporations whose sole purpose is to make money for the corporation, the upper echelon management, the board of directors and wealthy stock-holders.

Just like the oil companies.

· ampted (not verified) · 2 years ago

The best hope for the volt is for gas prices to stay high. I was not a fan of the volt in the beginning because they put a gas engine in it, but I do like it now. I think battery tech. needs 2 or 3 more years to be a practical alternative for Americans.

· Smithjim1961 (not verified) · 2 years ago

There is another vehicle that's not selling well that really surprises me. The Honda Insight. (I own one and I think it's the smartest car purchase I've ever made) I would have thought the most affordable hybrid would sell much better. The Prius, which is priced halfway between the Insight and the Volt is selling like hotcakes. Perhaps the $24,000 - $27,000 price range is a sweet spot for upper middle class car buyers who are environmentally conscious.

· · 2 years ago

@ smithjim1961 - The Insight is a great car and you should feel good about buying it. The reason why its sales are so low is that potential buyers compare it to the Prius which has very similiar styling, much greater cargo capacity, more passenger room and a much better mpg. The Insight, if it were designed like the Prius in terms of engineering, would get better mpg than the Prius, not worse given that it is a smaller vehicle. People see that and can't get over it even though the Insight costs less.

I think this is really something that Honda should fix. If they wanted to it is very much within their capability to make the Insight have equal, if not better, fuel economy than the Prius and still keep the price down. In fact, the only hybrid to out mpg the Prius was the original Insight years ago.

· Smithjim1961 (not verified) · 2 years ago

I recently had a discussion with a friend who is interested in the Volt. I told him the Volt is rated at 94 MPG equivalent in EV mode. I said the EPA came up with MPGe because a gallon of gasoline has the chemical equivalent of 33.7 kiloWatts of electrical energy. Then I told him that using the 33.7 kW-h conversion factor the cost of electricity in the St. Louis area is $2.80. He was glad I explained it to him in those terms and now he "gets it".

· jmac (not verified) · 2 years ago

Strictly from an advertising point of view, what the Volt needs to do is advertise the car not with "Aliens" as in their Super Bowl ad but with hot chicks draped all over the car.

Sad to say, but that will sell more cars than shrunken aliens

· Smithjim1961 (not verified) · 2 years ago

Alt-e

I did a lot of research before buying the Insight. It turns out that the average Insight driver is getting better MPG than the EPA estimate by about 5 MPG. The average Prius driver is getting almost exactly that of the EPA estimate. (The EPA website includes averages from actual drivers) Honda can only advertise official EPA estimates which is unfortunate. In one way I'm quite pleased that the Prius is selling very well. It means that a lot of people are looking at EPA estimates and choosing the most efficient model possible based on EPA estimates. I'm hoping the general public, not just people like us green car enthusiasts, will become familiar with the MPGe ratings of EVs.

· · 2 years ago

@Smithjim1961 - I didn't know that the Insight outperformed the EPA compared to the Prius. The results from the EPA do seem to have a bit a randomness in them.

· jmac (not verified) · 2 years ago

Thanks to Felix Kramer and others who saw long ago that our transportation sector doesn't have to run on just oil alone.

· · 2 years ago

Simple Fix, adjust pricing, allow buyers to receive the 240v home charging stations for free (plus electrician install fee), allow Volt owners to use HOV as single passenger, increase number of chargepoints. Thats it!

· · 2 years ago

From what I've read, a lot of Volt owners are using predominately electricity for most of their driving.

I have a Leaf and I'll bet the 3.6 KWH per mile I get from the "wall" is close to what Volt owners get as far as efficiency. Here are some interesting numbers I came up with:

At $3.50 for regular gasoline the 2010 Prius costs .07 per mile to run. If you divide one dollar by .07 cents you get 14.28 miles of travel per that one dollar. So $1=14.28 miles.

Our current rate for electricity is .09 cents per KWH. Our 2011 Nissan Leaf goes 3.6 miles per KWH. (This number was obtained by a KWH meter on our dedicated charging circuit.) If you divide $1 by .09 you get 11.11 KWH of electricity per dollar. If you then multiply 11.11 KWH by our average efficiency of 3.6 m/kwh then you get almost exactly 40 miles per dollar of electricity. So, with our electric rates, $1 =40 miles of driving in the Nissan Leaf. This means that the Nissan Leaf (and the Volt most likely, too) are 2.8 times cheaper to run than a 50 mpg Prius running on regular unleaded at $3.50 per gallon. Anybody with third grade math should see that electric is a no brainer.

If you use 2.8 and multiply that against 50 mpg then you get an equivalent 140 mpg efficiency of running electric vs a 50mpg Prius.

A 50 mpg Prius cost $70 to go 1000 miles.

A Nissan Leaf costs $25 to go 1000 miles.

· · 2 years ago

Bear in mind that I'm not knocking the Prius or any other similarly efficient hybrid. I also own one, a 2005 Prius. All I'm saying is that there is a compelling financial benefit to owning an electric car if your personal situation allows for it.

· · 2 years ago

I agree with all of this great points all around
GM needs to take long term view and give lots carrots to dealers
Consumers will sprint to EV once they understand how easy to operate
How much fun to drive the are and as last poster noted
How Inexpensive it is to drive

There is angst anxiety uncertainty with major purchase of
New unproven technology

I think it is exactly like solar panels
Huge upfront cost with no brainer slow short term savings
same for my woodstove cordwood purchase
Re 240 volt charging I plan on using my free 120
Until I need the 240 though I would take free 240. V !:)

Off topic
Felix THANK you for your work excellent post
I thought I heard you or another calcar guy ?jay?on climate one podcast
Say that the majority of "pre leaf" EV drivers use 120
Could you comment?

· · 2 years ago

Having driven a Volt for a couple of months I am really loving the car. The longer I have it the more I like it. So far I have driven 95% electric saving a lot of gas money. It costs me about $0.40 to drive the first 35 miles. After that it turns into a 35 Mpg car which is not too bad but the whole point is that most people very rarely drive in this mode.

I have a 240V charger because I used to own a Leaf but with the volt a regular socket would have been fine. All of my charging is done overnight so who cares how long it takes as long as it is finished by the time I get up. If you ever run out of battery you just keep driving.

It is a real shame that the Volt is not selling better. It is a great car and a lot more people should be driving one. It is great for America and great for the environment.

Everyone thinking about a plug in Prius should have a second look at the Volt. Once you own a plug in it becomes a game to stay in electric mode as much as possible and with the 11 miles range of a Prius you will probably get frustrated a lot.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

One problem is the people selling Volts. Many of these salespeople are old dudes who have been selling ugly gas-guzzling American cars since before I was born. I went to look at a Volt here in Phoenix and the guy was just clueless about the car and its advanced features. I knew much more about the car than he did. Nissan, on the other hand, has Leaf specialists who are specifically trained to praise and talk about the car. I dealt with two of these people and they knew their stuff.

We will still buy a Volt to complement our Leaf, but the average buyer might be put off by Chevy dealers' lack of knowledge (or outright animosity).

· Londo Bell (not verified) · 2 years ago

@ Anon,

These old dudes need to provide money on the table for food, for eduction, etc. for their kids so that their kids will have a brighter future, just like you.

Have you seen the number of salespeople in a car dealership with university degrees, especially in science or Engineering? I wonder why that isn't the case...

Thus, don't blame the salespeople. Blame GM, and its dealer's owners and principles, for not modernizing the car sales business. Imports like Nissan has done one thing that's beyond GM - allow the online reservation system, hence, by-passing the "dealership" visit to reserve a car. If you do have to go to a Nissan dealership to test drive and reserve the vehicles, you'll most likely receive similar treatment, just like of the GM dealership, as told many times in mynissanleaf.com

· · 2 years ago

The $3,000 or $3,500 back is nice, if you can pay for the car in cash. Otherwise it'll get burned up in interest. But, it would advertise well for the Volt to at least offer the option.

Granted, if you had $30k or $40k, would an extra three thousand dollars really be holding you back from buying a Volt?

· · 2 years ago

iTunes podcast

March 8 2012
GM CEO Dan Ackerson talks to commonwealth club

Search for climate one commonwealth club

He sounds excited about volt envi battery technology
He mentions natural gas and fuel cells a lot as well

Let me know what you think

· · 2 years ago

Another aspect that has not been mentioned, is the Volt is a significantly smaller car than the Leaf or the Prius. The Volt seats 4 while the Leaf and the Prius seat 5 people, and the back seat of the Volt has considerably less headroom so those 2 people have to be less than 6' tall, so for my family it is not a lot different for everyday than an iQ would be.

GM cars are almost all like that -- they have overstuffed seats that take up a lot of the interiors room, leaving a lot less for the people. They should study the Honda Fit to see how it is designed. My brother is almost 6'-7" and he drives a Fit; it can fit 4 tall people (I'm 6'-4" and I comfortably fit in the back seat) and a child can sit in the middle -- and there is plenty of usable luggage space.

I think it is utterly crucial that GM stand behind the Volt, and that they make rapid design changes that address the efficiency and practicality of the car. I think that GM has missed the mark by a bit and they need to stick with it and work it out. It is too expensive and a bit too small.

They took an off-the-shelf cast iron 1.4L 4 cylinder block, and they are running the it in a low efficiency mode; varying the RPM depending on the load -- the engine should be run at a single fixed RPM and charge the battery directly in as short a time as possible; and then it gets shut off. They have three clutches -- it should have ZERO clutches. The only transmission should be a single speed reduction gear.

They need to design a smaller displacement, low RPM, high torque, 2 or 3 cylinder engine that has it's valves and intakes and exhaust all fine tuned to hit it's peak efficiency at a single RPM.

The engine's output only has to meet the *average* power use of the electric drive motor, by using the battery as a buffer. It would warm up more quickly, and should only have to run 1 hour for every 2 or 3 hours of driving, after the initial charge is used.

The engine would weight half as much, and the cooling system would be half the size. No clutches and no multi-speed transmission means a lot less weight, as well. Hopefully their next gen battery cell costs far less and is more powerful -- GM has invested in a battery company that makes cells that are ~$125/kWh vs the $500-600/kWh and it could have much greater range, as well. This is good.

They need to improve the aerodynamics on an ongoing basis; as should all car makers.

+++++

GM should "refresh" the styling of the EV1 and put some lithium cells in it -- at SELL IT! They had both a serial hybrid and a parallel hybrid version of the EV1, and they should continue on the better of these and hone the efficiency of the platform. They got so much right on the EV1 that no current EV has come close in efficiency. The SIM-LEI will vault past even the EV1, and it is *far* more practical than the Volt.

+++++

How many models does Toyota/Scion/Lexus have? About 16 or 17?
How many models does Honda/Acura have? About 10 or 12?
Someone listed 127 GM models… (Before they closed several divisions.)

All companies should use the year that a vehicle is sold as the model year. This takes the pressure off of making change for changes sake. It also (hopefully) will reduce the prevalence of planned obsolescence; and increase the durability and the recycle-ability of the materials used. All these things would greatly lower costs over the long run.

All design changes should be based on functional improvements. Imagine it: higher and higher reliability, better and better efficiency, continuous safety improvements, more and more recycled materials, design changes based on owner’s needs — what a concept!

Neil

· · 2 years ago

@NeilBlanchard
"They need to design a smaller displacement, low RPM, high torque, 2 or 3 cylinder engine that has it's valves and intakes and exhaust all fine tuned to hit it's peak efficiency at a single RPM."

Something like this maybe?

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/01/kspg-20120111.html

http://m.pressebox.com/pressreleases/kspg-ag/boxid/444293#&ui-state=dialog

· · 2 years ago

@NeilBlanchard - Exactly. If they did all the things you listed to the Volt the price would drop and sales would soar.

The whole world would want a car like that once they understood what it meant. Which they would in pretty short order by it just being on the road.

At least until battery tech improves and the engine can be ditched.

· jadziasman (not verified) · 2 years ago

Longevity of the battery packs in PHEVs and EVs is a deal stopper for me and many other potential buyers. The Volt's 16 KWh pack and the Leaf's 24 KWh pack are currently close to the price of a new economy car. Replacing them earlier than the expected life of the vehicle - which is 15 years or longer for Hondas and Toyotas - without a price reduction over time on the replacement batteries would make them useless if the current owner could not or would not cough up the dough.

When the battery pack in my 05 Prius needs replacement, I had always hoped some entrepreneur would have produced a replacement HV battery for it that was a step above Toyota's existing 1 KWh NiMH unit at a reduced price. So far, there is nothing on the horizon that I have heard of to serve this market. Gen II and Gen III Prii total over 1 million units in the US alone. I would have thought someone would have attempted to exploit this huge market by now. Replacement options remain as new OEM, salvage, and rebuilt ones.

For now, potential EV owners should be aware that replacement of the battery pack might be necessary at some point if they intend to own the cars over their entire lifespan - which some people do - and add this unexpected additional cost when estimating how much money they saved using electricity instead of gasoline.

· · 2 years ago

There are quite a few manufacturers offering ready-to-go gensets:

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/09/lotus-range-extender.html

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2010/02/getrag-20100218.html

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2010/02/fev-20100209.html

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2010/06/capstone-20100622.html

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2011/05/evomahle-20110517.html

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/01/kspg-20120111.html

The last one is the same as you linked to, I think?

I realize that there is still a lot of work integrating something like this into the Volt, but the gensets are out there.

After you get a good efficient drivetrain, the next most important thing in the aerodynamic drag. The EV1 and the SIM-LEI set the standard here. And Cd's lower than 0.19 are possible.

Neil

· · 2 years ago

@jadziasman:
My Nissan Leaf has an eight year battery warranty. I am not worried. I also have a 2005 Prius and I can buy fresh kill used packs for $300 all day long at car-part.com. Even new ones are under $2 grand from the dealer. I'm not worried about that car, either. There are a few Prius battery pack refurbishers online. Take a look.

· · 2 years ago

@jadziasman:
There really isn't a huge market for replacement Prius packs yet since they rarely fail. Also, you can buy add on Lithium packs from a few places for the Gen 2 Prius to make it a plug in.

· dcsmith (not verified) · 2 years ago

Yes, I'm an early technology adopter. I bought a 2001 Prius. However, I knew this was a stopgap to using less foreign oil - or any oil for that matter. I joined the gm-volt.com forum in 2007 and watched the Volt evolve. I was disappointed at the final price, but NOT with the end product.

GM put a lot of research & engineering into this product and (hopefully) they are LEARNING from what's happened since the Volt has been released to public scrutiny. The data they are getting from OnStar should tell the tale. Heck, the data that's available to ANYONE from www.voltstats.net tells quite a tale as well, even if it's less than 10% of the Volts sold!

When my personal economic conditions allowed, I finally bought a Volt this past February 2012. I have not been disappointed. Despite the $40,000 cost, I haven't needed to buy ANY gas since I bought the vehicle. I still have a half a tank after six weeks of driving! Yes, I'm burning coal (primary electricity generation fuel in my area) instead of gasoline, but its AMERICAN coal - NOT foreign oil!

My electric cost for a full charge (dead battery to full charge) is currently $1.00 (excluding the basic fixed $9.00 service charge). That full charge has been getting me approximately 46 miles! $1.00 of "coal" to go 46 miles - not bad. I can do even better if I go with the Georgia Power "Time of Use - Personal Electric Vehicle" (TOU-PEV) rate. If I charge my battery at night from 11:00PM to 7:00AM, the total cost of a charge drops to $0.25! Yes, twenty-five cents to for 46 miles!

When the gas generator kicks in when I have depleted the battery on a long trip, I'm still getting 39MPG "gasoline". That's not too shabby either!

I understand that to be a consumer on the leading edge of technology, there can be plusses and minuses. However, I have been very satisfied with my choices thus far. My 2001 Prius averaged 55 MPG over 120,000 miles. I finally replaced the main battery at 117,000 miles - well past the battery warranty. I sold the vehicle at 123,000 miles for 30% of its original cost. Not bad for an eleven year old vehicle!

Bottom line; The Chevy Volt is the first of many electric vehicles to hit the market. Some will suceed, some will not. However, the initial "big" picture, is not just saving money for the individual buyer, but also reducing our dependence on foreign oil!

Until battery technology is improved to eliminate the "range anxiety" issue, the Chevy Volt and vehicles that use a similar "mule" technology will have an advantage with everyone other than those who can deal with an approximate 70 mile TOTAL battery range.

· · 2 years ago

Hi !
I'm an advertising student @ Temple University, working on my senior project. I would really appreciate VOLT OWNERS taking the time to do these 2 surveys, it would be so helpful. thanks!
http://kwiksurveys.com/?s=LNMJNN_c5760b76
http://kwiksurveys.com/?s=LHKDHF_3d42a3b4

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

Drudge report - and the other childish fools who call the car Obamamobile - government motors- publicize all volt bad news - no volt success stories - hmmmm that might kill a few sales

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  7. Quick Guide to Buying Your First Home EV Charger
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  8. Electric Car Utility Rate Plans: Top Five Rules
    With the right utility plan, electric fuel can be dirt cheap.
  9. The Ultimate Guide to Electric Car Charging Networks
    If you plan to charge in public, you'll want to sign up for charging network membership (or two).
  10. Eight Rules of Electric Vehicle Charging Etiquette
    Thou shalt charge only when necessary. And other rules to live by.