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Is the Volt really a "Hybrid" or not?



  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    I hope other states do that. It gives consumers an incentive to use less and to be smart about their usage.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,784
    Not all CA has high rates. It is based on cost of buying energy from the producers. If you don't charge the Volt it does not get any better mileage on gas than any other car in it class. The typical Volt in my area is going for $43,685. Less $7500 tax credit if you fit the narrow band of tax payers it will benefit. If you are a victim of AMT don't count on the tax credit.

    I would think a smart shopper would opt for the Ford Fusion hybrid for about $15k less. It has a lot more room for passengers. Even the Prius would be a better choice.

    Calling the Volt a 4 passenger is a real push. Check out the back seat leg room. Not many people will be able to sit back there with any kind of comfort.
  • brybrybrybry Posts: 25
    I don't think the Prius would be comparable. It has less leg room than both vehicles, it's ugly and ha lots of quality problems. Try selling a Toyota! The Ford is a nice car but if you're going that route you should buy the Malibu, it gets better mileage on the highway and the same in the city.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,784
    Are you referring to the Malibu Hybrid? I don't think they build them anymore. The standard Malibu mileage is not even close to the Fusion Hybrid. I agree the Prius is one ugly vehicle. It does have better back seat leg room than the Volt and is rated for 5 passengers. Though the 5 passenger rating in today's vehicles is very misleading. I took my daughter, son in law and grandson in the back seat of my rental Accord and it was not comfortable for a 25 mile ride. I cannot imagine squeezing four adults into a Volt.

    I don't like subjecting my passengers to anything I would not like. And I can tell you most of the cars today are cramped in the back seats. The Volt is strictly for the buyer that wants to look green. Not sure it will stand out like the Prius.
  • brybrybrybry Posts: 25
    The Fusion hybrid ($28,800) gets 41 Hwy/ 36 city mpg and the Malibu ($24,0000) gas 4 cylinder gets 47.7 Hwy/ 30 city mpg. I think that is very close if you average them out and the GM Malibu isn't a hybrid. With this type of mileage I don't think it's worth buying a more expensive hybrid of any kind.
  • The Fusion hybrid ($28,800) gets 41 Hwy/ 36 city mpg and the Malibu ($24,0000) gas 4 cylinder gets 47.7 Hwy/ 30 city mpg. I think that is very close if you average them out and the GM Malibu isn't a hybrid.

    Huh? No Malibu gets 47.7mpg hwy or 30mpg city unless it's going down the side of a mountain. Where did you get this mis-information?
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    You're out of your mind, brybry. The EPA mileage figures for the most efficient version of the Malibu are 22 city, 33 hwy, compared to 41 city, 36 hwy for the Fusion hybrid.
  • brybrybrybry Posts: 25
    From the GM and Ford websites.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 6,418
    If you think it's going to cost $1.50 to fuel the Volt per day, I'd like a six pack of whatever it is you found. Think of it like this. Right now, with a gasoline powered vehicle you're willing to pay X per day to fuel it. You'd be ECSTATIC to pay 1/2 of that per day. I'd wager that 1/2 of X is a LOT more than $1.50

    There is no free lunch. If large numbers of people start plugging in to charge up, electric rates WILL go up. Nobody ever seems to want to recognize this. And no, it won't matter when you plug in. The demand on the grid from electric cars is something that is not there now. More demand, same supply, price goes up.


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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,784
    That comparison is between the Malibu and Fusion NON hybrid. The hybrid Fusion gets about 33% better overall MPG than the Malibu or Fusion non hybrid. You live in Canada. You can get a Smart diesel and get close to 90 MPG according to one owner I talked to.
  • dodgeman07dodgeman07 Posts: 574
    edited October 2010
    On a positive note, I'm amazed it only takes $1.50/day of electricity for the average consumer to re-charge the Volt. 16kWh at $0.08/kWh (what I pay) is only $1.28/day.

    They'd have to sell millions of these to have any significant effect on overall electric consumption. I use to track CO2 emissions at a small manufacturing plant where I worked. Our rate was $0.04/kWh and our average monthly bill was $300,000. This small (250,000 sqft) plant burned 250,000kWh/day average!

    For comparison purposes: Re-charging a fully depleted Volt battery burns roughly the same amount of electricity as a small family uses operating a 50 gallon electric hot water heater every day.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,784
    Looking at rates across the country, I don't see anyplace under 8.65 cents per KWH. Which is a rate I would be tickled to have. The EIA rate sheet does not reflect graduated rates like we have in So California. Our lowest rate is for the first 300 KWHs of usage. For the Volt buyers that look at their electric bills it may be a shock after the first bill arrives. They may just run on gas as it could be cheaper.
  • That's a nice table you linked gagrice. I live in an area (county) that maintains it's own coal-fired power plant, which is unusual. My rates are lower than the typical consumer rate of $0.11/kWh.

    You'll be green with envy if you open this link and see my rates:

    I pay half what many parts of the country pay as you noted. And yes, some would be spending more money on their electric bill than they would if operating gasoline only in a highly-efficient automobile that can get 35mpg.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    My "Off Peak" rates for SRP in Arizona are:

    7.79 cents per kWh May thru June and September/October
    7.88 cents per kWh July/August
    7.29 cents per kWh November thru April.
    7.65 cents per kWh average for the year.

    With my Solar Panels and the usage patterns I currently have, I will never pay any "On-Peak" charges, so these are the rates I pay.

    OK, I know this likely puts me in a VERY SMALL GROUP of people paying that small amount, but still - there might be a few thousand more like my situation across the country.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    We should look at the markets where the Volt will be sold, though.

    Isn't it going to be sold only in major urban area, like LA, DC, and NYC?

    Rates in those areas may be a lot higher.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Chevy has a $350/month lease, right? I'm wondering if this accounts for the $7500 federal tax credit?

    By my math, I live in the DC area, one of the Volt markets, and commute 26 miles each working day, about 22 times per month (working days). I use about a gallon of gas each day, so it costs me a little under $3 a day. At current prices let's call it $60 per month.

    For me I may never need to buy gas - so potentially I'd save roughly half on the cost of "fuel", if you want to call it that.

    But...when I look at a $350/month lease, vs. a $199/month lease for a Cruze or similar compact car (maybe even less), it doesn't really add up. Even if I got free solar and paid zero for electricity, I'd have to make up the $151/month discrepancy in the lease cost, or about $6.86 for each of those 22 working days. Even if gas prices doubled it wouldn't add up.

    The $7500 credit may offset that, though. Let's say it's a 3 year lease, apply $2500 credit per year, or $208.33 per month. That would be enough to make the Volt cheaper to own than a Cruze for 3 years.


    Question is - can you get the $7500 credit on a lease?

    Also, what are the terms on that $350/month lease?
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 6,418
    I'm not sure thart "happy" is the right word, but at the moment consumers are willing to pay what fuel costs. The cost to "fuel" to Volt isn't going to settle far from that. let's use the electric only range or 50 miles. Say I was within that range for my daily driving. At 28-30 mpg (which is what I get on my Altima around town) I use roughly 2 gallons of gas daily. That's $5.75 at today's price at the pump. So the way I'm looking at the "$1.50 to fill up" claim is that it seems too good to be true, so in all likelyhood, it's not


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  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Maybe it would help to look at TCO, i.e. total costs.

    You save on fuel costs, but spend more to acquire one in the first place.

    The idea of never (or rarely) having to go to the gas station is appealing to me. My Miata's low fuel light goes on after just 280 city miles or so, since the gas tank is small.

    Then again it costs half what a Volt does, pre-rebate at least.
  • This is what I've calculated also. That is, you're not going to get 50 miles range for $1.50. At least most people won't.

    30 miles for $1.50 is closer to reality for the average consumer. And don't even get me started on the "Zero Emissions" claims. There is no free lunch. Coal-fired power plants are among the worst polluters on earth. The "Zero Emissions" claims go up in smoke as soon as you plug in an electric vehicle.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I prefer the term "Remote Emissions", because they simply happen somewhere else, i.e. not at the tail pipe.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: US 25 & US 40Posts: 19,433
    I looked in the Leaf thread to see if anyone there is worrying about the cost for recharging over there. No one is concerned about the cost over there yet. The Leaf must use a different electric source than the Volt?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I want to see a bicycle-powered generator charging the battery. That plus solar and wind. Then you've really got zero emissions.

    If you've never seen Living with Ed, it's a great show. He makes toast by riding on his bicycle. It's a funny show, most the of humor coming from his relationship with his wife. They drive each other crazy.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 6,418
    Nobody anywhere seems to be worried about recharging costs as if there is going to be zero impact on electric rates when the demand of charging electric vehciles is added to the load on the grid. I just don't get how that can NOT be looked at. :confuse:


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  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    Even if I got free solar and paid zero for electricity, I'd have to make up the $151/month discrepancy in the lease cost, or about $6.86 for each of those 22 working days. Even if gas prices doubled it wouldn't add up.

    But you're not counting the value of the smug grins that Volt drivers get to enjoy! Surely thinking "I'm so virtuous" is worth $151/month!

    /end sarcasm
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    edited October 2010
    My opinion on this is taken from my gut feeling, along with things I have read about this situation.

    First, in the beginning, almost ALL the charging will be done at night, when the demands on the grid are at their lowest.

    And in addition, the number of EVs on the road will ramp up slowly.

    Most people who will buy them as early adopters will be people who are confident they can do their commute mostly or entirely on electric power. This will leave them as "night chargers" only.

    So because of those reasons, I'm almost certain that "Grid Impact" will be small at first.

    Later, say five years from now, things might change.

    By then, ASSUMING THAT EVs take off in popularity similar to what happened to Hybrids in the first 5 years, there will be more of a Grid Impact.

    There will be charging stations at random locations, Interstates, and at workplaces. This will be the era when more people WILL start charging during the daytime. This WILL affect the Grid.

    Hoping that by then, utilities will have ramped up their non-coal alternative sources and will have enough capacity to handle it.

    Only Time Will Tell.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I had a concern, too, when not too long ago Cali had rolling black-outs, but the point about most charging going on overnight is a good one.

    I think it would make sense to have timers for them, though. It's not like you get home at 6pm and wait until midnight to plug it in, most would forget.

    There should (probably will) be a way to program it to charge at a specific time, say, midnight to 6am.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    That's a concern for sure, but my take on that is that after about the 2nd time someone forgets to plug their EV in when they get home, they will take measures to make sure they don't forget anymore. Like setting an alarm or alert on their phone or something.

    And yes, I bet the cars will allow for "timer charging" at some point. Good thought.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,784
    Question is - can you get the $7500 credit on a lease?

    The way I read the IRS take on the subject, the person leasing does not get the credit unless GM takes it off the price and claims it for them selves. Which is kind of the way I read their $350 lease offer.

    In addition to certification, the following requirements must be met to qualify for the credit:
    ● You are the owner of the vehicle. If the vehicle is leased,
    only the lessor and not the lessee, is entitled to the credit;
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587

    OK, so no such thing as a free lunch, as expected.

    Back to my math, I'd have to save about $7 a day on gas, which is not possible given the 40 mile range.

    So it'll cost more than the bigger Cruze that it's (loosely) based on pretty much no matter what.
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