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Will the Chevy Volt Succeed?



  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,110
    Did the dealer take the $7500 tax credit and reduce the lease? I did not think the CA AT-PZEV Volt was going to be available for about a month. Did the dealer guarantee it was an HOV qualified Volt? Only the new ones coming out are eligible for the Green HOV sticker. Hope you like it.

    The catch is that you need to buy a 2012 Chevy Volt equipped with a low emissions package. These are being made available for Volt’s built and sold in the state of California. Keep in mind not ALL 2012 Chevy Volt have the low emissions package and will not qualify. GM only started to produce the Volt’s with low emissions packages as of February, and will start to deliver low emissions Volt’s in March.

    If you are on a dealer lot and want to make sure the Volt you are buying will qualify for an HOV sticker, you can check the VIN number of the Volt. Look at the 5th position of the VIN for the letters (E, F, G, or H) For example, my Chevy Volt VIN number is 1G1RD6E4XBU100010. The 5th position is a “D” so it does not qualify for HOV lane privileges. Older Volts cannot be retrofitted to include a low emissions package so if you bought in the first year you are out of luck!
  • ighigh Posts: 60
    I am in the Bay area. Got the base with rear camera package - 200 below invoice and 0% for 60 months. Qualifies for 7500 federal and 1500 CA tax credit (correct VIN). Carpool sticker not
    important to me. Will be wife's car - daily commute 31 miles. Yearly 9000 miles. Hoping to get
    by on one tank per year. The electricity comes from my solar panels.
    The dealer cannot keep them on the lots - already pre-sold 3 of the 4 new CA ones allotted
    to him. If Chevy is having trouble selling the car elsewhere maybe it can send all of them to the
    Bay area :) .
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,110
    With solar the Volt makes more sense. I don't think the ones sent to other states have the same warranty. If they sell well in CA, Chevy will send most of the production there. Not sure where they are coming from with the factory shut down and all the people laid off. The 10 year battery warranty would be a big plus if I needed a car like that.
  • I have double checked VIN, and it was definitely CA HOV car (5th Digit is G). I drove it home yesterday (60 miles away), and it went 45.5 miles before gasoline engine kicked in...not bad. Car was smooth and drove very well.

    I checked CA DMV site, and I have to wait until I have DMV registration card before I can apply for green HOV sticker.

    US Bank uses $7500 to reduce lease rate. HOWEVER, (this is kind of strange) residual is increased by $7500, so it won't make sense for me to purchase the car after the lease because residual is very high. I think it was around $26000 after three years and 15K per year.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,110
    I understand the leasing company getting the tax credit. Does not seem right they add it back on the end. As you say best to give it back to them after the lease ends. If you really like it after 3 years you may want to buy a new one. If you don't have solar and live where it would work, that would be advisable. CA utility rates are outrageous. Do keep us posted how well you like the car. Who knows how many people's thinking you may turn around on the car.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,110
    I understand the leasing company getting the tax credit. Does not seem right they add it back on the end. As you say best to give it back to them after the lease ends. If you really like it after 3 years you may want to buy a new one. If you don't have solar and live where it would work, that would be advisable. CA utility rates are outrageous. Do keep us posted how well you like the car. Who knows how many people's thinking you may turn around on the car.
  • ighigh Posts: 60
    The factory will close on March 19th and stay shut till Apr 23. The special CA Volt production started on Feb 6. Those Volts are currently arriving at the dealerships. The factory has a capacity of about 4000 Volts per month currently.
  • eliaselias Posts: 2,120
    edited March 2012
    awesome move with the solar-charged volt, iggy ! do you have a website showing maximally nerdly photos of components/systems involved in setting that up? is the car a big-dog with torque & power at real-world big-dog highway speeds? Or is volt really only good for commuting & around-town?
  • ighigh Posts: 60
    Unfortunately I do not have a website yet but I am thinking of setting one up. My renewable energy project is much more ambitious than the Volt. I want to be energy independent in day-to-day living. My solar panel system is a 11.8KW standard grid tied system. It generates about 17000 kwH of energy every year. It makes my all-electric home net zero energy and then there is about 6000 kwH left yearly for the cars. The Volt will use up about 3000 and I have 3000 kwH remaining for the Ford Focus Electric which I will buy next. Looking forward to a life free from PG&E, Chevron and Shell. Now if only they could make the plug in hybrids flex fuel, then I could get rid of all fossil fuels once and for all.

    About the Volt, it drives really well. Electric mode is buttery smooth with 0-60 about 8 sec. 0-30 is better than a 3 series due to the instant electric torque. The handling is excellent due to the low center of gravity resulting from the batteries. In gas mode with complete battery depletion, it is a bit sluggish at times but very quickly the generator builds up supplementary battery power and again you are good to go for those occasional high accelerations. You with hit 80-85 mph very often if you do not pay attention. The seamless drive train integration is a marvel of automotive engineering. No wonder it is car of the year in US and Europe. It is unfortunate that people trash this car for political reasons. This is what US innovation is all about.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,110
    I envy your solar system. Until recently SDG&E would not let you run the meter backward to save daytime power for night time usage. They now allow it. Though you cannot sell them power, only use it yourself. If you put in a battery system you can eliminate the utility completely and not be subject to outages and rolling blackouts. A well and being on septic would complete the system if you heat and cook with electric. Sounds like you are getting lined out. I wanted to convert my old Ranger to Electric. Just could not justify the cost. I would steer as far away from ethanol as you can get. It is not a good fuel. Maybe think about biodiesel as diesel hybrids come to the USA.
  • ighigh Posts: 60
    Actually I am an electrical engineer (every other person in Silicon Valley is one I think :D ) and designed the system myself and got an electrical contractor to install it. Right now solar panels are dirt cheap - as low as 85 cents a watt. You can actually get the 12 KW system installed for about 26K after rebates (I am not kidding. My cost last year was about 32K). That is $2.2/watt. If you assume conservatively 20 year life it works out to 7.5 cents/Kwh. No utility in CA can sell power that low now all the time and definitely not in another 20 years. So it is a great investment to make. I am in the middle of an incorporated city and probably cannot have my own septic and well. Heating, cooking, hot water is all electric - so no natural gas either.

    Ethanol can be a solution if used in moderation. In case of a flex fuel plug in hybrid 80% of the miles will be in electric and just 20% in ethanol. US already has the capacity to support that. It takes less than $500 to convert a gas engine to flex fuel and existing gas pumps can support it with minor modifications. The Govt can create enough incentives so that people remember to charge as often as possible and use Ethanol only on long drives where waiting to charge is not an option.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,110
    edited March 2012
    I go along with all your getting as much bang for the buck using Solar. Our tiered system in San Diego has most everyone in the 31 cents per KWH every month. I use all CFLs and am very frugal. My bill averaged $92 per month last year. My neighbor across the street with a smaller home never has a bill under $200. Propane is the worst part of the utilities. About $240 per month during the 4 months of cool weather. And we did not get a single frost this winter. We got a solar assessment, and the salesman said he could not save us any money with our low bill. If solar keeps coming down I will be tempted to get out from under the utility.

    I am not a fan of ethanol. I think the damage to the environment far outweighs any positives it presents. The only viable alternative I can see for the future is Algae biodiesel and other biofuels. It still has a long way to go. Do keep us posted on your Volt.
  • eliaselias Posts: 2,120
    thanks for all the info, igh ! low CG.
    sometimes lately as i sit stopped in commute/rush-hour traffic I wonder about getting a vehicle with mpg better optimized for immobility. :|

    it's true about the EEs in silicon valley. i had solar heat panels when I lived out there, but no PVs... a pal tried work installing home PV systems here on the east coast but not enough business in that as of a couple years ago... maybe better now.
  • An"electric" car is actually a "coal powered" car in the US where 60% of power is coal generated. When will we learn that governments cannot decide what will sell over the Free Market. This is simply because government decisions are made by FEWER PEOPLE mostly for political gain or ideals (like: saving the planet or going green)while the Free Market with its "Invisible Hand" will ALWAYS win out in the end as these decisions are made by MANY MORE PEOPLE exercising freedom to buy or not. Imagine if Windows or the Iphone or Facebook or groceries were developped by government grants!
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    unhappykris says, "An"electric" car is actually a "coal powered" car in the US where 60% of power is coal generated."

    First off, I'm sorry to hear you are so unhappy. Cheer up.

    Secondly, as all "generalities" tend to be, your brush is a little too wide.

    Anyone who owns/uses solar panels and drives an electric car is driving a "solar powered" EV.

    People near (or who get power from) nuclear power plants are driving a "nuclear powered" EV.

    People near (or who get power from) wind farms are driving a "wind powered" EV.

    People near (or who get power from) geothermal sources are driving an "earth powered" EV.

    People near (or who get power from) hydro electric plants are driving a "water-force powered" EV.

    People near (or who get power from) "clean coal" power plants are driving a "clean coal powered" EV.

    People near (or who get power from) natural gas power plants are driving a "natural gas powered" EV.

    The goal is to drive a vehicle that is AT-PZEV or cleaner. Many EVs fall into this category, depending on the power source for the electricity.
  • In your opinion, how does the Chevy Volt compare to the Nissan Leaf?
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,748
    Having driven neither ( although I AM going to take a Leaf for a spin just to see how it drives out of curiosity) I would imagine the Volt must be a little heavier since it's carrying around a gas engine as well as batteries. The spec pages on Edmunds list the Volt at 4553 pounds, but give no weight for the Leaf. Not sure why, but having sat in the Leaf and looked it over, I'm guessing it's somewhere north of the 3330 pounds that my 2012 Versa weighs. Subtract the engine, add the batteries and I'm sure that adds at least a couple of hundred pounds.

    I'm just curious to see how the package operates. Neither of them are a practical option for me, so I'm interested to see what I'll wind up thinking about them afterwards.

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  • ighigh Posts: 60
    Volt weight is 3781 lbs. Leaf is 3360 lbs. Volt has dual drive train but 2/3 the battery of Leaf. Volt motors are 150 hp whereas leaf is 110 hp. So Volt 0-60 in electric is 8.5s, Leaf around 9.5.

    The main issue with the Leaf is the range anxiety. It basically limits you to within a 40 mile radius from home unless you can charge at work. Volt has no such drawbacks though it just seats 4 against the Leaf's 5.

    We use the Volt as the family sedan for our family of 4 and wife's commute car (28 miles total). I will get a Leaf or Ford Focus Electric for my commute (about 18 miles total). I personally do not like the styling of the Leaf but that is a personal matter.

    The second car I drive now is the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. That will remain as the third car for vacations and long trips. I think currently this is the most optimal scenario from gas consumption point of view - gas free in day to day life with about 100 gallons per year for vacations/long trips.
  • ighigh Posts: 60
    Since I was one of them this is really good news for me. This gives me hope that the Volt will not go the way of GM's EV1.

    An interesting observation is if everybody drove a Volt for commute and just charged overnight in their garage/carport like a cellphone, US could get rid of ALL crude oil imports right now. Now that would be something to look forward to. :)
  • 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 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 San DiegoPosts: 31,110
    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. .html
  • ighigh 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 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 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 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 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 San DiegoPosts: 31,110
    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.
  • 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.
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