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Volt Update

September 5th, 2013 · 4 Comments

I’ve had my Chevy Volt for about 18 months now. Update: I still love it. Still fun to drive, still extremely economical to drive, after you get past the purchase price (which has recently dropped $5000).

I’ve put about 13,400 miles on it, and used 48 gallons of gas. I typically drive about 90% of the time on battery, only using gas about 10% of the time. I always regret having to dip into the gas tank, but it’s great peace of mind knowing that I can. I think I would be too nervous driving a battery only car, at least until there are many high-speed charging stations everywhere I want to drive.

Mileage when I am using gas varies from 35 to 40+ miles/gallon, depending on my speed, air conditioning use and driving style. Battery range varies from 30 to 45 miles, depending on the same factors. I have to admit that I am usually closer to 35 than 45 for both battery range and gas mileage, since my driving style isn’t the most conservative. But I can usually get to Mom’s house and back on a single charge, and it’s 18 miles each way mostly on the freeway.

I mainly use it just to drive around town, though I have been to Tucson and Flagstaff. It’s a fine highway car, but as I mentioned I hate to run it on gas any more than I have to. I usually go about 3 months between gas station stops unless I am taking a longer trip. Driving on electricity costs about 1/4 as much as driving on gas, at current gas and electricity costs.

It’s notable that the Volt sales total is higher than Toyota Prius sales total was at this point after its introduction (33 months, over 45,000 sold). I still rarely see another Volt on the road, but I don’t get many stares or questions any more either. And the Volt is still at the top of the Consumer Reports list for owner satisfaction (“Would you buy this car again?”).

On a related topic, if you haven’t heard of the Tesla electric car you should take a look. It earned Consumer Reports acclaim as the best car they have ever tested. It earned a perfect score on NHTSA safety tests. The top end model can go over 250 miles on a charge, and accelerate from 0 to 60 in about 4 seconds, faster than almost anything else on the street. The company is installing a network of fast charging stations throughout the country, with several already in place in California. Only Tesla cars can use them, but they are free for Tesla owners. This might be the future of electric cars. If they had charging stations around Arizona, and the purchase price was half what it is, I would be very interested. But for me, my Volt works out better.

Tags: Computers, Tech & Science

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Donna // Sep 6, 2013 at 10:59 am

    I still love your little car, too. We have a charging station here at work for the few electric car owners.

  • 2 Don // Sep 7, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    I was going to suggest you might look at a Model S.

    On my commute up the 405 (mainly in the afternoon as I’m moving too quickly to notice in the morning) I see some Volts and some Teslas. I think I see almost as many Teslas as Volts.

    I saw that Tesla has introduced a battery exchange station which takes about 1 minute and gives you a fresh battery and takes your battery. The idea is you would make a trip and at the first station it would remove your battery and charge it for your return trip and you would get loaner batteries at each subsequent station.

    Tesla thinks they can get the cost down for this to *close* to a tank of gas.

    I don’t think it’s ready to go for a year or so but that’s in the works I heard.

    With the range of a Model S and a station in Blythe you could almost make the trip from Phoenix to LA.

  • 3 Don // Sep 8, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    We just passed a Model S on the 101 coming back from Redondo Beach. We passed a Volt on the way there this morning.

  • 4 Daryl // Sep 8, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    The Tesla Model S looks like a very cool car, especially the higher-end models. Too expensive, and no recharging stations around the Phoenix area. But maybe some day…

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