Will the Chevy Volt Succeed?



  • digliberrydigliberry Member Posts: 3
    Good point - but what about all those apartment dwellers who don't have access to a charging station, or a garage with electricity for that matter?
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    edited April 2012
    Those things are coming down the infrastructure pipe. Already some apartments which use parking garages are installing charge stations.

    Search this phrase on Google and you can see some of them which are doing it now:

    "charging stations for apartments"

    In 15-20 years, all or most every parking lot will have EV charge connections.

    Takes time to get the mindset changed.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Savings come slowly for hybrid, electric car owners

    If you're thinking about buying a fuel-efficient hybrid, electric or otherwise eco-friendly vehicle as a way to save money over time, do your homework — or be prepared to wait.

    Buyers who choose Nissan's all-electric Leaf ($28,421) over its approximate gas-powered equivalent, Nissan's Versa ($18,640), will likely wait nearly 9 years until they break even, according to a new report by The New York Times that examines the cost of fuel efficiency.

    For drivers of the Chevrolet Volt ($31,767), the wait is even longer— 26.6 years.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/blog/2012/04/savings-come-slowly-for-hybrid- .html
  • ighigh Member Posts: 60
    > For drivers of the Chevrolet Volt ($31,767), the wait is even longer� 26.6 years.

    This is what happens when you do generalizations. I looked at the table.
    The Volt was compared in price to a Cruze Eco with stick that gets 33 mpg

    The Cruze cost 19500 by the report. The annual fuel savings for Volt was $446 (I do not know how they got that number). But (31767 - 19500) / 446 = 27 years !!

    Now lets look at my real scenario. The cost of a similar Cruze as a base Volt - 22400 (I cant drive a stick :) )
    Cost of Volt in CA - 31767 - 1500 = 30267 (CA rebate 1500)

    The Volt will be driven almost 90% city and within 40 mile range everyday for a total of 9000 miles per year.

    In city the Cruze mpg is 26. So Gas cost - 9000/26 * 4.4 in CA = $1500

    For Volt Gas - 900/37 * 4.6 = 112 + 8100/100 * 36 KWh * .12c/kwh = 350
    Total - 500 approx.

    So 1000 dollars savings per year. Another 100 per year in reduced maintenance. $1100.

    Does not end there - Volt has 0% for 60 months now, Cruze only 2.9%.
    So another 1.5K saved.

    So payback (30267 - 1500 - 22400)/1100 = 5.8 years :D

    So not that bad after all. Everybody has to do the math for himself.

    However, saving money was not my primary goal, burning less fossil fuel was. Add to that ride quality, high tech features like free on-star, free electricity now from my solar panels and you can find a lot of good reasons of buying a Volt.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Good Job on the math.

    For some unknown reason, some people HATE the idea of people wanting and buying a vehicle that saves them fossil fuel costs, and will try to pick apart every advantage.

    I just don't get it..... :confuse:
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Member Posts: 1,739
    They are also jealous because they can't afford to buy a nice car like the Volt. So they try to badmouth people who can't afford one. :shades:
  • jimparrjimparr Member Posts: 9
    I bought a Volt a month ago. I've been waiting to post. The car is fantastic! I've driven 1486 miles and only used 4.3 gal. of gas. Twice I have driven 46 miles on a single charge.
    The way I see it, by driving this car I am helping out everyone who does not own one. I'm helping to reduce their price of gas. Imagine if half of America drove one. What would the price of gas be then?
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Member Posts: 1,739
    Wow, that's equal to over 345mpg. That would have cost me $310 to go that distance compared to your $17+.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Are you charging yours with Solar Panels also? If not have you calculated the cost of electricity vs gas? Welcome to the Forum. Keep us posted.
  • digliberrydigliberry Member Posts: 3
    So with those savings how long will it take you to recoup the extra costs vs buying a much cheaper highly fuel efficient car. That is where I am not quite sold. The Volt is so expensive in comparison to even the Leaf.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I don't think realistically you will ever make up the difference. Those with blinders only see the savings in fossil fuel. Which has merit. What I think about is the $7500 of US tax dollars going to foreign countries. 70% of the Volt is made elsewhere mostly China. We do not have the resources or expertise to make a decent EV or Hybrid. I would expect the whole Volt to be made in China within the next couple years. The Leaf is made in Japan. So you may be able to save a few gallons of fossil fuel for what reason no one can give you an intelligent reason. But if you are interested in helping your fellow Americans, there are many vehicles with much higher USA content.
  • ighigh Member Posts: 60
    You are very concerned about the Volt tax credit which total about 10 million so far going to other nations but you are not at all concerned about the 100 billion dollars that US spends every year to import crude oil from hostile countries and to prop up tyrannical regimes in the middle east. I do not understand this dichotomy.

    The Leaf will be built in Tennessee from this fall and that will result in a 1-2K price reduction. Due to the unfavorable exchange rate Nissan is losing money by importing the Leaf from Japan.
  • jimparrjimparr Member Posts: 9
    I estimate my fuel costs to travel 1486 miles as: $15.91 for gas and $32.85 for elec. The car is more affordable than most people think. Because sales are sagging most dealers are motivated to sell. For example a base Volt MSRP approx. $40,000.00. Dealer reduction of $6,000.00 (I got more on my MSRP $46300.00 Volt) and federal tax credit of $7500.00 and possible state tax credits can bring the price down to the mid $20,000.00 range.
    I leased my Volt 36 mos., 20,000 miles per year, @$378.37 per month. All I paid up front was the first payment and a security payment of $378.37. So I am paying about the same per month to drive this car as my previuos 2010 VW CC. I think I will save $120.00 to $150.00 per month in gas minus my elec costs of approx. $30.00 per month. A net savings!
  • jimparrjimparr Member Posts: 9
    My sticker says 46% US/ Canadian parts. Other major source of parts is Korea at 18%. Assembled in Detroit. And don't forget, GM is an American company.
  • jimparrjimparr Member Posts: 9
    No solar panels. Cost of a full charge to go 40 miles= $1.00. Cost to go 40 miles on gas (my car gets 40 mpg on gas) = $3.70.
  • jimparrjimparr Member Posts: 9
    Your post is disturbing. China is not mentioned in the parts content part of my sticker. Where does that China stuff come from?
    Also you state we do not have the resources or expertise to make a decent EV or Hybrid. I got news for you, there is one in my garage, its real, its here now, its American, and its a fantastic car!
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Yes your Volt has an American name plate. No it is not mostly a USA made car. My research shows that actual USA content including assembly is 30%. I am glad that Nissan will be assembling the Leaf in the USA as well. That is better than nothing. But your premise that the name makes it an American car is about as true as saying an Apple iPhone is an American product. To manufacture an EV or Hybrid takes a large amount of Rare Earth Elements. Currently China produces and Sells 97% of the World's supply. We are just now starting to mine them again to protect our military. However we are sending them to China for refinement. We are NOT in any position to build a complete or even half of an EV or Hybrid. Thanks to years of over regulation in this country.

    As far as the old "buying from the enemy" line. We bought more crude oil from Canada last year than the total from the Persian Gulf. You may not realize it but the Lithium in your batteries comes from an avowed enemy in Bolivia. There is a reason we buy our Li-ion batteries from Korea. Bolivia does not want to sell the USA their resource.

    The Green agenda is going to be more buying from other countries than the old fossil fuel agenda. To support our workers people should buy a Ford F150, Camry or Accord that are about 80% USA made. Thankfully we are still sort of a free country to do as we like.
  • jimparrjimparr Member Posts: 9
    You bring up China a lot. It seems to me that you are willing to assume at some point that country will be involved with production of the Volt. I don't like to assume anything. We can build this car--that's not an assumption. Yes the batteries come from Korea. That still does not make the case for a pro oil agenda.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    edited April 2012
    You can be thankful. You will have one of the few Volt cars assembled in the USA. My guess they will be built in China by next year. Too bad our government does not protect US like most other countries protect their workers.

    GM to Build Electric Cars in China, Protect Chevy Volt Technology

    SHANGHAI – General Motors Co. agreed Tuesday to deepen cooperation with its flagship Chinese partner on development of electric vehicle knowhow amid pressure from Beijing to hand over proprietary technology.

    Investments and other details of the plan were not provided, and it was unclear if the agreement was the result of a renewed push by China to acquire advanced technology its own automakers still lack.

    U.S. lawmakers have complained that China is shaking down GM to get the technology that drives the Chevrolet Volt electric car. GM plans to start selling the Volt in China by the end of the year, but its prospects are iffy because it doesn't qualify for a Chinese government subsidy that amounts to $19,000 per car. The government offers the subsidy only to electric cars made in China.

    Pro oil is not the issue. It is the 250 million existing vehicles that require oil to move down the road. And that is still the most economical means of individual motorized transport.
  • jimparrjimparr Member Posts: 9
    Thanks for an informative and nice response. I hope for the sake of the American worker that production of the car remains in the USA.
    I do think the Volt is economically viable now for the right consumer. And I think there are millions of "right " consumers. Mass consumption of the Volt would help get this country toward economic independence.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    The more I see US losing manufacturing jobs the more concerned I get. Cars like the Volt and Leaf are the future. We are not doing much to manufacture the future in the USA. We should be manufacturing the battery cells and electric motors and controllers here. GM is still buying the gas engine in the Volt from Opel. Built in Europe somewhere.
  • ighigh Member Posts: 60
    The Volt engine is currently being built at the Michigan Flint Engine South plant. GM had to retool the assembly line to get the production costs in line.

    http://www.wnem.com/story/17231047/gm-to-invest-75m-to-upgrade-offices-at-flint-- engine

    GM has battery contracts with A123 systems (recently in the news for wrong reasons) and Envia a start up from Silicon Valley. US will continue to innovate and make stuff at the top of the value chain. Mature technology will be moved to China for low cost production.

    US did import $100 Billion worth of oil from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and
    other middle east countries in 2011. US spent another 100 billion on military costs to ensure these oil supplies in the middle east.

    Currently Chile (a friendly nation) is the largest producer of Lithium. Bolivia was not among the top 10 in production in 2011.

  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I should have said lithium reserves:

    Now, with the emergence of electric cars, lithium could challenge petroleum as the dominant fuel of the future. And nearly half the world’s known resources are buried beneath vast salt flats in southwestern Bolivia, the largest of which is called the Salar de Uyuni. Bolivians have begun to speak of their country becoming “the Saudi Arabia of lithium.”

    Yet it’s not clear that Bolivia is capable of making money off its trove. Morales, who is closely aligned with the populist socialism of Hugo Chávez, the President of Venezuela, is prone to revolutionary declarations: “Either capitalism dies or else Planet Earth dies.” Such rhetoric tends to scare away the kind of foreign investment that would facilitate the development of the Salar.

  • jimparrjimparr Member Posts: 9
    My sticker says the engine was built in Austria. Transmission (electric drive uint) - United States.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    A reporter wonders about Chevy's reputation abroad. If you did not grow up in the US, email [email protected] by 4pm Eastern today, April 13, 2012, to share your thoughts on Chevy's reputation back home.
  • kevin2020kevin2020 Member Posts: 2
    Has anyone experienced a clunk noise when clicking on the brites in a 2012 volt?
  • kevin2020kevin2020 Member Posts: 2
    I am experiencing a loss of power from what I have when using the battery when my 2012 volt switched from battery power to fuel. Is anyone else experiencing this? Also when I switch to fuel the engine seems to run very fast and noisy . Thanks
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Member Posts: 1,739
    I just got mine Tuesday and the couple times it switched from elec to gas the only way I could tell was by the dash display. With radio off, there was no difference that I could feel or hear. Now maybe at 70 I'm sure I would hear the engine.
  • ighigh Member Posts: 60
    dmathews3 congrats on your new Volt. Did you get a good deal?

    I also cannot tell most of the time when the engine switches from electric to
    gas. A loss of power should not happen unless you are going up
    an extended incline and forgot to switch to Mountain mode 30 mins before
    the climb. Any other loss of power should be very short lived - the time
    it takes the gas generator to charge the battery for depleted reserve power.

    So far 1980 miles on 10 gallons. I charge using the 120v outlet for 10 hrs
    every night. Most night do not need to charge full as charge remains from
    previous day.

    The scenarios for using gas are:
    1. airport pickup/drop off (70 miles round trip)
    2. Going to a party/get-together on Friday night after battery depleted
    on commute
    3. visiting some of my local friends/relatives outside the 20 mile radius on

    Looking to reserve the Focus electric next. By using the combined
    electric range of 120 miles for the 2 cars, I think I can cut down on gas
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    edited April 2012
    Having never driven a Volt, but understanding that the gas engine is simply there to generate electricity when the battery is low, you shouldn't feel any difference when the engine switches on should you? And the engine is simply going to run at the speed it runs at to move the vehicle and (I assume) supply some recharging capability to the battery, correct? The wheels are driven by electric motor and as long as there's juice, there's power. It's not like you step on the gas and the engine revs go up, is it? That would border on extremely silly.

    Just some inquiring mind questions :shades:
  • ighigh Member Posts: 60
    Actually it is a little bit more complicated than that.

    You see from the specs: Volt Motor - 149 HP, Volt Gas Engine - 85 HP,
    Volt Generator - 74 HP, Volt Battery - 16 KWH.

    Now if the battery is depleted completely, one question that puzzled me was how do you drive a 149 HP motor at full power with only a 74 HP generator? The car it bound to lose power if that is the case.

    The answer lies in the complicated but sophisticated Volt battery charge management. The Volt battery has 3 charge zones:
    1. 10.6 kwh is normal EV driving zone
    2. 1.4 kwH is power boost reserve
    3. 4 kwh is unusable to keep battery sustainable

    This power boost reserve does the trick once EV drive is exhausted. You see even though the motor is 149 HP, you seldom need full power to drive the motor. Even when going at 80 mph on flat road, the Volt only needs about 54 hp to overcome friction and aerodynamic drag. When sudden bursts of power is needed for passing etc, the battery reserve supplies the rest of the power over the 74hp the generator can supply.

    When you go back to steady state, the extra 20 hp that the generator has over the 54 hp, is used to recharge the battery to top off the loss in the power boost charge.

    The above scenario works well in most cases until you need more than 74 hp in a sustained manner - like going up a long incline at high speeds. One example is the Grapevine area on I5 before entering LA. Another challenging climb is the Pikes Peak in Colorado.

    In such cases the power boost will be depleted in no time, the generator does not have excess power to recharge the power boost and car will ultimately lose power.

    To address this scenario, Chevy devised the "Mountain Mode". When you know you are about to climb a mountain, before the climb, you should switch the car to that mode by a button on the dash.

    In that mode the EV charge is reduced to 5.6 kwh and the power boost
    is increased to 6.6 kwh. The generator revs up to build up this extra reserve. This extra reserve is sufficient to carry the Volt over any extended climb in the US. This was experimentally determined by the Volt engineers by actually driving the car over those challenging terrains.

    The control circuitry for all these and fine tuning the parameters for best performance must have taken years but the Volt engineers pulled it off for which I am really in awe of them.

    Only one question remains - why not just use a 149 HP generator? It will
    be more bulky, will not fit inside a compact, and off course have much worse gas mileage. 74hp was sufficient with some clever engineering.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
    If you own a Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf, a reporter would like to talk with you. Email [email protected] by Monday, May 14, 2012.
  • ighigh Member Posts: 60
    Miles traveled - 3127
    EV miles - 2720 (87%)
    Gas Used - 10.7 gallons
    Gas Only Mpg - 38
    Electric Only KwhM - 32Kwh/100 miles

    It is performing as expected so far, no issues.
  • eliaselias Member Posts: 2,209
    edited June 2012
    news flash yesterday, volt outsells vette. this actually surprises anyone?
    Fwiw, GM offered me $3k off the top for a vette recently, plus my current/minimal GM card rebate. I wish I could do it but college tuitions are impending first...

    Along the lines of a previous/GM thread, if I could have any two GM cars, one would be a magna-ride vette/CTS-V/ZL-1 ... the other would be a Volt (I'd mod it by putting the AMPERA badge on it) .
  • cody1943cody1943 Member Posts: 7
    Great car. After researching for the last 30 days bought one last week. It is very hard to filter out all the haters of this car. There are so many untruths out there, like Eric Bolling of Fox news who seem to loath the car enought to not tell the actual elect. rates he was getting. But reviewing Edmunds and Volt forms on the net, true owners of the Volt, 99.9% of them love the car. I've got up to 46.3 elect miles and put 0 gas so far. Rides, drives and handles fine. After all the discounts, you can find them for close to $30,000. I was putting $250 a month in the gas tank and now can see close to zero. Drive one and talk to a owner of one before trashing this car. Ive had over 70 cars in my life time, and this is a GREAT car. Not just a economy car.
  • jimparrjimparr Member Posts: 9
    After 3 months of ownership, traveled 4400 miles, used 33.6 gallons of gas. The car is magic.
    Internal combustion is so uncivilized--costly,noisey,polluting!
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    70 cars? How is that even possible?

    If you started with your first car at age 16, and got a different car EVERY YEAR, you'd have to be 86 years old.

    70 cars?
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I take it he is my age. I had at least 8 different beaters before the age of 19. You also buy cars for wife and kids. 70 is a lot but not out of reason.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 32,597
    edited June 2012
    I'm at 1.23 cars per year of driving, and that's not including those in my name that my wife primarily drives. If I include hers, its 1.667.

    Fairly steady: '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c, '01 Xterra, '20 S90 T6, '22 MB Sprinter 2500 4x4 diesel, '97 Suzuki R Wagon; '96 Opel Astra; '08 Maser QP / Rotating stock, but currently: '96 Daihatsu HiJet, '97 Alto Works, '11 Mini Cooper S

  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Administrator Posts: 11,134
    Just a guess, but i take it that his birth year is represented by numbers in his user ID. If that's the case, 70 is not out of the question, particularly if you count those purchased and owned by you, but not primarily driven by you. If you're married, and/or you have children and buy vehicles for them, that ups the number as well.

    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
    Share your vehicle reviews

  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    I wasn't accusing the guy of lying, but merely just wondering about the logistics which would allow someone to own/drive 70 cars in a lifetime.

    Even at age 69, that's a lot of cars to have owned.

    Glad he loves his Volt !!
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    1943 is my year, so that was what I noticed. Then some folks buy old beaters and fix and sell them. That can be profitable as well as run a lot of cars through your yard.

    Bottom line, he likes his Volt.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Member Posts: 1,739
    Maybe he is like me, been married for 33 years and we both enjoy new cars so one of us gets a new car each year and since I'm the one who makes the decisions most years equals a few cars plus a few motorhomes a jeep or two, or three for off roading while camping and it don't take long to add them up. I've had one totaled, and wife a couple wreaks where she didn't want to drive it any longer and you have a lot of vehicles :shades:
  • eliaselias Member Posts: 2,209
    great news re volt. i like hearing from owners. one pal of mine has one and i read about it on FB.
    as for # of cars, i'm 50 and have owned about 30 cars, 29 of them new. my vehicular consumption rate has lessened, so I'm probably not quite on pace for 70 cars ;).

    one highschool friend of mine got a letter from the state when he was 18 - telling
    him not to sell any more cars in the year - else he would have to register with the state as a car-dealer. (he had bought/restored/profited on >10 cars.)
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    If you are looking for a Volt, most of the dealers in So CA have them ready to go. No waiting here. My favorite Chevy dealer Bob Stall has 10 in stock.

  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Administrator Posts: 11,134
    Thanks for trying to help, but that was just link spam disguised as a real post. :sick:

    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
    Share your vehicle reviews

  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I figured it was and did not go to the link provided. Just wanted any prospective Volt buyers know it is still a buyers market. Plenty of them available for sale.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    AUSTIN, Texas — Maybe it should be renamed "Chevrolet Volt-ville." The largest concentration of Chevrolet Volts in the country will play a key role in helping Texas residents in a 700-acre planned community as they test the impact of "smart homes" and other green technology, like electronic vehicles.

    http://www.insideline.com/chevrolet/volt/2012/2012-chevrolet-volt-becomes-center- piece-of-smart-community.html
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Chevy Volt sales drop in November, Nissan Leaf remains steady

    Plug-in sales dropped slightly in November with Nissan Lear's steady sales unable to make up for the drop in Chevy Volt sales, Voelcker writes. The Chevy Volt range-extended electric car, logged 1,519 sales.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/In-Gear/2012/1204/Chevy-Volt-sales-drop-in-Nov- ember-Nissan-Leaf-remains-steady
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    How long before they own the Volt and its parent GM?

    A Chinese car parts maker has won the auction for bankrupt US battery maker A123 Systems, in a further success in international dealmaking for Chinese groups.

    Wanxiang Group bid about $257m to win the auction for the battery maker, which supplies electric cars.
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