Is the Volt really a "Hybrid" or not?



  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    I'm not as much concerned about "fraud" as I am that GM certainly doesn't seem to be doing anything with the Volt but going for "image". It's great to want to be seen as green, but if this is any indication of how they're going to run MY company, maybe we should have let them slim down through the bankruptcy process like any other mismanaged company
  • dodgeman07dodgeman07 Member Posts: 574
    I apologize if this has already been asked and answered here.

    What is the kWh of electric consumption required to re-charge a fully deleted Volt battery pack? There's a lot of hoopla about the gas mileage and not much talk about the electric bill. At least not that I've seen.

    Thanks in advance.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    why only at 70 mph

    That assumes GM is telling the truth, and they were misleading before, so I'm skeptical to say the least.

    If they are telling the truth this time, unlike before, then perhaps it's because batteries get hot when you extract a lot of power over a short amount of time. Acceleration at high speeds requires the most power to counter the added wind resistance. That's probably the reason.

    why isn't the engine mechanically moving the vehicle too?

    GM was hiding behind their patents, who knows what the truth is?

    The media is a bit miffed, so I bet several Volt test drives will have a private-investigator approach to see when the engine really turns on, and in what situations it provides propulsion assist.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Makes you wonder if it's 100% legally entitled to that $7500 credit, doesn't it?

    That's 7500 very good reasons to lie. ;)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Very good point.

    We should look at cost per mile, versus miles per gallon.

    A horse gets more than ONE BILLION miles per gallon, but that's meaningless too since it will never drink that gasoline.

    You'll incur costs in horse feed, water, stall rental, training, horseshoes, etc.

    So we should look at cost-per-mile. Electrics do well, so no reason not to. CNG cars also do well in that sort of comparison, but you should add the cost of the "Phill" station in that math as well.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    The Volt has a 16KWH battery. However it is designed to work between 80% and 30% charge levels. About 8KWH usable. That is good for 40 miles according to Chevy. 8 KWHs @ my cost in San Diego is approximately $2.80. Cost about the same as a vehicle that gets 40 MPG. The question is will gas prices rise faster than electric utility prices. At this point the Volt cannot compete with the Prius or any of the small diesel cars on the road. Both cost per mile or initial cost.

    One of the most critical facts we obtained from GM is that the 40 mile all-electric driving range will occur within 50% of the batteries maximum charge, or 8 kWh out of 16 kWh total. This translates to 200Wh/mile of energy consumption. ls-and-clarifications/
  • brybrybrybry Member Posts: 25
    The volt is 100% driven on electricity. All you naysayers that claim only plug ins are electric better think about where their hydro is coming from. If it's coming from a coal fired hydro facility then I beleive that particular car would be an electric/coal fired driven vehicle. The volt is the most advanced electric car in the world. You can jump in a Chevrolet Volt and travel as far as you would like without being burdened by a plug-in-only electric car. Apparently the owners are claiming that the Volt is getting better mileage and a longer range on the battery than GM is advertising. It's also got some room and style. I'd buy one.
  • dodgeman07dodgeman07 Member Posts: 574
    I saw on the Chevrolet website that they estimate $1.50/day in electricity consumption for the Volt. I certainty hope that's not calculated using a $0.04/kWh industrial rate. Consumers in most parts of the country pay $0.10 - $0.12/kWh and as gagrice noted, you could push $3.00 per re-charge pretty easily.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    The issue I have with EV type vehicles is the radical utility charges in CA. At least in San Diego the price goes up incrementally the more you use. So an EV would be at the higher rates. I try not to use any AC unless it goes over 80 degrees in the house. Yet I almost always get up to the 34 cents per KWH rate using well under 1000 KWH per month. If a person worked in downtown San Diego they would need to charge at work as we are 35 miles from the city.

    For me a straight EV would be fine for my errand running if the vehicle used less than the Volt to get around. It would have to be at least 80 miles on a 8 KWH charge to be at all practical.
  • brybrybrybry Member Posts: 25
    I totally agree. That's why the Volt is such a great car, you don't need to worry about charging your vehicle because the gas engine would take over until you got home to plug it in. I didn't realize that CA pays more for hydro the more you use, do other states do this?
  • larsblarsb Member 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 Member Posts: 31,450
    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 Member 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 Member Posts: 31,450
    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 Member 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.
  • dodgeman07dodgeman07 Member Posts: 574
    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 Member 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 Member Posts: 25
    From the GM and Ford websites.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    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.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    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 Member 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 Member Posts: 31,450
    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.
  • dodgeman07dodgeman07 Member Posts: 574
    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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 9,372
    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
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member 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.
  • dodgeman07dodgeman07 Member Posts: 574
    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 Member Posts: 72,587
    I prefer the term "Remote Emissions", because they simply happen somewhere else, i.e. not at the tail pipe.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Member Posts: 26,795
    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?

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member 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 Member Posts: 9,372
    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:
  • stephen987stephen987 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 31,450
    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 Member 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.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    The only reason I can see to buy or lease the Volt is to look green. Even if you are not. Kind of like De Caprio driving a Prius to be seen and flying a Gulf Stream as his main transportation.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Well, actually it is a free lunch.

    If you do not buy the Volt, you still get a lower lease payment because GM is getting the $7500. Your payment would be far higher than $350 is they were passing the rebate on to you.

    So it's a win-win for GM and the Volt driver (whether or not you buy or lease) and a lose-lose for the taxpayers who are funding the $7500 rebate.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Good point.

    If you buy, I think the residuals on these will be a HUUUUUGE gamble, as we really have no idea at all what they'll be worth 5 years from now.

    If it flops, values will plunge.

    If they're a hit, manufacturers will make huge improvements on batteries and other technologies, and people will want to buy the new and improved ones.

    How many people do you know who are looking for Gen I Priuses used? Nobody? That's what I thought.

    That's why the lease makes sense, to mitigate risks.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    edited October 2010
    I don't think it matters WHEN the charging will take place, as it's charging that is not taking place now. It's a new load on the grid. Yes, it's true that it's not going to be a lot of vehicles for now, but if numbers increase it IS going to affect power rates, and not just for EV owners.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    I'm not sure I agree.

    At what level can the utility companies "blame" any increase in usage on EV charging?

    5,000 EVs sold?

    10,000 EVs sold?

    5 % increase in electric usage?

    10 % increase in electric usage?

    15 % increase in electric usage?

    And how would they even be able to quantify that?

    How is increased usage not just a function of more people owning more electronic devices, which are becoming ubiquitous these days - iPads, iPhones, laptops. Just about every level of economic classifications in the USA now have multiple electronic devices in the family.

    How much increased usage can be attributed to population growth?

    How much is increased cooling/heating loads?

    I just think there are far too many "unknowns" at this juncture for the utility companies to say ANYTHING about increased usage.

    I think the ONLY WAY they could attribute any increases in load to EV charging is in the cities where the Volt and Leaf are sold first, and ONLY by measuring nighttime usage in those areas.

    But then again - If they see a 3% increase in nighttime usage, how can they attribute that directly to EV charging anyway?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Didn't the rolling black-outs occur during peak use periods? In other words, during business hours?

    I don't think the Volt will add much burden to the grid because everyone's going to charge them at night. Especially since it has the gas engine to extend range.

    The Leaf and other pure electrics may use charging stations during the day, and indeed that could be a valid concern if the grid is already at capacity.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I think your earlier post was closer to reality. People will come home and plug in the Volt at 6 PM. That is a peak usage time in So CA where the Volt will be sold. Rolling blackouts did not occur this year for two reasons. First we averaged about 10 degrees below normal all summer long. Second, in San Diego the utility offered a discount if you allowed them to install a device on your AC unit. When the load gets too high they turn off your AC until the load comes back down. We were visiting an 83 year old friend on one of the few hot days last summer. At 7 PM her home was at 85 degrees and she was suffering in the heat. They had shut off her AC at 5 PM. It did not come back on till 8 PM. I refused the option as it was not worth the risk that woman felt compelled to take.

    The Volt plugged into 110 volts will draw over one KW per hour. A few hundred of them could have an impact on the current grid. Most people are not going to worry about plugging it in after that peak as we have NO night rates for electric usage.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Member Posts: 26,795
    The draw at 1000 watts is less than two normal size TVs. Less than 1 big screen plasma, I am guessing. Slightly more than toaster.

    I don't see those as being huge current draws. That's about 8 amperes.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I am figuring that it takes 8 hours to charge about 8 KWs. Give a little to loss in the charging. A standard 20 amp breaker would be more than adequate. I would expect most owners to install a 220 Volt outlet to shorten the charging time.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    Has nothing at all to do with blame. It's just simple supply and demand. The quantification is simply going to be the increased load, which can be measured. It's not a conspiracy to punish EV's, just a consequence that nobody seems to want to see.

    We're about to go through deregulation of electric rates here in PA because forcing "competition" didn't work. A few years back, they gave everyone a choice of electric companies to use. You would have had to be an idiot to not choose the company with the lowest rates. Well, SURPRISE, as I said at the time, there was no way that company would have the capacity to supply everyone who might choose to get their power from them. So what's the company to do? They have to buy the more expensive power from the other companies to meet the demand. Do you think they're going to sell that power to customers at a loss?

    Now the government is telling me forced competition didn't work. I'm SHOCKED I tell ya.

    So pardon me for getting edgy when people start talking about how adding demand to the grid isn't really going to affect anything. Electric power is a commodity just like unleaded gas. And gas does a pretty good job of fluctuating around times of increased demand like holiday weekends and summer driving season, right?
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