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Is the Volt really a "Hybrid" or not?



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think a sticker price of $28,800 (plus freight) is indeed hard to digest. That's the problem right there.

    But we get $2000 here in MD, so final price is $20,250, list price before discounts. You should be able to get it for $19 something.

    I only picked Cube since it's also a 5 door, but fitzmall has a no-haggle one for $18,588. Juke would cost more, even FWD.

    But...$1950 for gas per year on the Cube. You'll break even the first year even if you pay full list for the Leaf (if you can live with its range limits).

    If anything that's an argument to being phasing out incentives. Drop then by $1000 per year over the next 7 years until it's gone, then let EVs compete on merit.
  • eliaselias Posts: 2,147
    that article with the planetary gear thing is clear enough that the gas engine contributes 15% of the power to the wheels when hammering it on the highway >75 mph or whatev.
    Sooo.... now seems to be a good time for us all to agree that Volt is a much better hybrid than any Prius, technically, in the real/engineering world.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,180
    How about in the real world? I am no big fan of the Prius. But it is not unusual for them the average 45+MPG. The Volt in real world driving is closer to 40 MPG. Unless you limit yourself to battery only driving short trips between recharging. Then you can claim 1000 miles per gallon. If you live in CA and charge under tier 3 rates it will cost you about $3 to drive 25 miles according to the EPA. They claim it requires 9KWH for 25 miles of driving. If you are driving a Prius getting 45 MPG paying $4 per gallon, you will pay less per mile than someone driving a Volt in CA on electricity.

    Or you can buy a Cruze that has more USA content for about $20k less and save enough money to pay for your gas the first 160,000 miles. If you live in CA the clear winner is the Chevy Cruze.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    now seems to be a good time for us all to agree

    When has that ever happened on Edmunds? ;)

    Volt is a much better hybrid

    For the price, though? Especially when you remove the $7500 handicap.

    Remember they put in an old tech iron block that doesn't even have DI. The gas engine is surprisingly antiquated, which is why MPG when in use is nothing special.

    It really depends on how much you drive. If a Plug-In Prius has enough range for your commute, that's actually going to use less fuel. Volt is better if your commute is longer than the PIP can go, but not so long that it has to use it's inefficient gas engine for long periods.

    Finally, if you have a really long commute, where the gas engine would have to be used a lot on a Volt, then a plain old Prius will do better, as Gary mentioned above.

    What's better? It depends.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,180
    To me the only way an EV or Volt is practical in CA is if you have a lot of solar panels and charge during the day. Some cities do offer a night rate for charging EVs. You have to install a separate service and meter here. That will add about $5k to the price of a plug-in. Add a $30k solar system and you can tell the oil company and electric company to shove it. If you don't go past the EV range of your vehicle.

    Another question. On the charging stations you put your CC into? How much do they charge per KWH?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,511
    >I think the reason GM got defensive/secretive was they wanted to make sure the Volt still qualified for the $7500 EV credit even if it was not categorized as 100% EV.

    I stand by my post. See next item...

    >The Volt has become a political issue inside the US.

    That's an understatement and I agree.

    >I was pro-bailout and I'm even in favor of the $7500 incentive.

    I was pro-bailout also but against gifting ownership to UAW with little in cuts to salaries and against gifting to union over the payment of bondholders, including many institutions and funds, pension funds for many of us included.

    The $7500 incentive should be for US companies. GM needs ability to sell Volt at lowest possible cost to be competitive with others who can sell at/below cost to gain market.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    OK, EPA has details, so let's take a peek, just for kicks:

    Prius will get 50mpg on regular fuel all the time.

    Plug-in Prius will get 95 mpg-e for 11 miles, then 50mpg on regular gas after that.

    Volt will get 98 mpg-e for 38 miles, then 37 mpg on premium fuel, which costs 9.2% more per AAA's fuel guage report as of today. So that's the equivalent of 33.6mpg if we're looking at fuel cost (and who isn't?).

    So if you drive 11 miles or less per day, the Plug-in Prius meets your needs, and costs $8000 less than a Volt. It nearly matches the mpg-e on electric power, so there's no way you'll ever break even. PIP wins.

    But who only drives 11 miles per day? Let's dig deeper.

    22 miles per day:

    PIP = 11@95, then 11@50. Weighted average is 72.5mpg.
    Volt = 22@98, so still 98mpg average, it's more efficient by 25.5mpg.'re saving 315 gallons of fuel, and that's assuming all that electricity is free, which is isn't. You still save about $950 per year on gas, so it would take 12.3 years to break even on the extra cost of a Volt.

    If the batteries last 12.3 years.

    Can we still say the Volt wins? I dunno, I think 12+ years it too long for a break-even. Too risky for me, personally. Volt still loses.

    Let's "cheat" and try to help the Volt win.

    Say you drive exactly 38 miles per day:

    PIP = 11@95, then 27@50, weighted average is 63 mpg.
    Volt = ideal and perfect at 98 mpg-e, so better by 35mpg.

    38*365=13870 miles, that's 396.3 gallons saved. $1415 per year at current AAA national gas price average.

    So under the most ideal of circumstances possible, however unlikely, you will break-even after 5.7 years.

    I think we can say Volt wins, but what are the odds that you drive exactly 38 miles a day, never more than that? Slim....

    My commute is 26 miles round trip, but my kids play on travel teams so the rest of my miles would probably be 90% in gas mode.


    Now let's complicate things even further, and consider the Leaf.

    The Leaf gets 99 mpg-e for 73 miles.

    So Leaf beats the Volt (99 to 98) and costs less, for anyone who drives 0-73 miles per day.

    If you drive 74 or more miles per day, then an EV is not right for you at all.

    The Volt would be better for the first 38 miles you drove, but then worse the whole rest of the time, including trips. I went to FL last year, and will go to New England this year. That's thousands of miles without charging.

    Seems for a Volt to make sense you have to set very specific circumstances, were you drive 38 miles per day as often as possible, and can wait many years to break even.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The $7500 incentive should be for US companies

    I dunno about that, what if Chrysler gets the money and builds Fiats overseas? The 500E is made in Mexico and Poland.

    So send all the money overseas and all the profits to Italy.

    I think it should be for investments made on American soil, creating domestic jobs.

    No helping Ford in Mexico, or GM in Canada, or Chrysler in Europe.

    I say this knowing it would never happen.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,511
    >[Chrysler-Fiat]...So send all the money overseas and all the profits to Italy.

    LOL. You would have to pick a good example.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited April 2013
    You know me well.

    Call it the law of unintended consequences.

    They have a green agenda, offer perks. The company does the math and can't make a profit building anything here. So they produce the 500E in Mexico, lose $6000 per car, then make it back with the incentives. $1500 profit per car goes to owner Fiat, the Italian execs get bonuses and buy Ferraris and Maseratis.

    The US government basically subsidizes Mexican jobs. Viva Mexico!

    Screw that. Build them here!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited April 2013
    Fiat is not alone, Ford still builds Fusion Energi in Mexico.

    GM makes the electric motor for the Eco models in China. Not sure how much of the Volt is domestic, but Gary seems to think a lot of it is imported.

    Edit: found a Monroney, only 46% domestic for the Volt: - g

    18% Korean.

    Edit: motor comes from Austria. Trans is USA, so that must mean the battery comes from Korea.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Found a source for all, so for fun:

    Volt 46%, assembled in USA
    Fusion 30%, assembled in Mexico (CVT is from Japan)
    Mitsu i 0%, 100% Japan

    Leaf is not listed yet, production just moved to Smyrna, but it was Japan before.

    So that $7500 is subsidizing jobs overseas all around.

    What if the law was re-written, and you got the same % of domestic content?

    So for instance a Volt would get 46% of $7500, or $3450.

    That would make sense, and encourage truly domestic green cars.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,180
    So for instance a Volt would get 46% of $7500, or $3450.

    That would make sense, and encourage truly domestic green cars.

    I would go for that in a heart beat. If they would have done that with C4C we would have stimulated the US auto industry a lot more than we did.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    True, I think Toyota benefited the most - Prius sales were through the roof. That money went straight to Japan.
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