Nov 29

Living With the Chevy Volt: the First 1300 Miles

 

Volt in front of Englewood Hospital, New Jersey

[ad#post_ad]I have had the honor and distinct privilege of living with the 2011 Chevrolet Volt for the past 19 days.  I have driven the car day in and day out as my only vehicle.  I was granted this opportunity through GM as part of the Volt consumer advisory board along with 16 other individuals across the nation who have been given a captured test fleet car for use and feedback over a 90 day period.

In these past 19 days I have driven the car nearly 1300 miles, and thus the following review is based on the longest duration experience ever published.

Exterior Design
The Volt is a beautiful and striking vehicle, yet can assimilate within traffic.  It looks compact sitting around in parking spots and in traffic but exudes a high tech aura.  People familiar with the car immediately recognize it.  People new to the car are regularly struck with its aggressive yet refined and sporty styling.  The seams are razor sharp and exact in tolerance, and every component appears high quality and luxuriant.  I have been driving the Viridian Joule color model and the black highlights on the belt line, rear and roof are pleasing to look at and don’t have any gaudy quality.  I have found slight issues with the low front end air dam which scrapes on steep angles, but am told by GM officials this wont injure it as it was made to bend.  They also claim a higher front end optional dam design will be made available.

The charging door is optimally placed and easy to open either with the key fob or a button on the driver’s door.  The charging coupler readily eases in and the car signals the commencement of charging with a short beep. The charging door doesn’t close in an extremely satisfying way however.  I made GM aware of this and they acknowledge they are fixing it slightly.  It must be pressed from the center, not edge.  Once it opened spontaneously on the highway.

Interior
I am 5’8″, 145 pounds.  The car is very roomy for me.  There is significant amount of headroom and hip room and egress and ingress is no problem.  I have watched many people over 6 feet get in and out and drive with no problems as well.  The black leather seats are sturdy and firm and comfortable.  The steering wheel tilts and telescopes easily and the seat is manually controlled to move up and down, back and forth, and to recline.  Finding the perfect driving configuration is a breeze.  I don’t particularly care about the lack of electronic seat controls GM left out to reduce mass.  The rear seating is equally roomy in the lateral dimension for two passengers, though with a front seat pushed far back, knee room is limited.

There is ample storage bins in the doors, the center console, and above the dash.  The cupholders are well placed for my needs and I use them every morning for my cup of coffee.  The cargo space in the hatch is copious.  I used it to bring home a week’s worth of groceries for my family of 5, about 12 plastic bags full without any problem.

Dash/Displays/Tech
The bright crisp high resolution driver’s dash display is a joy for me.  Everything is easy to find and recognize and there are many different unique messages the car can tell you when the time is right, such as cruise control is on, fuel door can be opened, press twice to turn off (if you hit the off button while driving).  The bright green happy battery indicator is just right as is the green eco-ball indicating how aggressively you are driving.  There are less detailed configurations available at the push of a button to the left.  I prefer more information.

The center stack of this car is the white version.  It looks very sturdy and refined in person and with use, its quite attractive.  After a short learning curve the myriad capacitive buttons are simple and satisfying to operate and find when you need them.  The center display has a terrific touch sensitive surface that seems to be calibrated just right.  It is a joy to behold the technology and connectedness you always feel.  This is mostly supplied by OnStar which I have found easy to use and friendly, and ensures you are never alone.  The stereo is perfect and iPhone integration both for songs and phone calls is a breeze.

After each trip a screen indicates how much energy you used both in terms of gas and electricity and overall MPG efficiency is displayed.  There is also a real-time efficiency screen that shows you your driving style from 0% (aggressive) to 100% (highly efficient).  Use of the cabin HVAC is also rated in similar terms of efficiency.

I have found the OnStar iPhone app very useful.  I have enjoyed looking at my battery state of charge from afar, and even more importantly have warmed up the cabin on a couple of occasions using grid energy 15 minutes prior to my departure.

Driving
The car is truly a pleasure to drive.  It is quick and responsive and feels powerful from off the line to over 80 mph on the highway.  It feels heavy and solid and very well-planted on the ground.  This allows for quick aggressive turns with no lateral skidding.  It hugs the road well.  In fact this bottom heavy weightedness is a blessing separating the Volt from most compact cars that are much lighter, and gives it the feel of a luxury car.  It reminds me of the Mercedes E350 I used to drive.  My wife felt the same way.  Yet the calibration of the steering and accelerator make it seem much more nimble that its weight would have you expect.

With the shifter in the D position the car coasts in the same way any conventional car would.  The L position adds significant regenerative drag when the accelerator is released.  I find myself mostly driving in D to allow for coasting, but use the L position to simulate downshifting and to obtain motor braking

The brakes are powerful.  I had to slam them a few times and the car stopped very aggressively.  At first at low speeds they seem a little unusual but over time I readily got used to them.

Efficiency
This car is all about minimizing the use of gas while at the same time giving the driver limitless driving freedom.  To this mission the Volt hits the mark.  What’s so interesting about the car is how it will work differently for everyone.  Anyone who drives less than 40 miles per day will enjoy gas-free driving at almost all times.  The longer the length of the average daily driving cycle the lower the effective mpg.  My daily drive is roughly 60 miles.  I can arrive from home to work purely on electricity usually with anywhere from 3 to 8 miles of EV range remaining.  The EPA has found the car gets 35 miles of EV range, and that is roughly what I have been averaging.  My commute, however, is nearly all highway at around 65 to 70 miles per hour, and I do drive a little towards the aggressive side.  I primarily use the sport mode which has a more aggressive pedal map, but is noted by GM not to reduce efficiency over the normal mode.  I usually get anywhere from 32 to 38 miles of EV range.

I have the luxury of being able to charge at work in my office parking garage assigned spot, for free.  I am there for four hours three days per week and eight hours two day per week.  At 120-v this gets gets me 14 miles of range in four hours and 36 miles in eight hours.  The EPA has found the car uses 12.9 kwh of electricity from the grid to provide the full electric range.

I have kept a detailed driving log here, but for the total of 19 days, I have driven 1291 miles and burned 9.28 gallons of gas (one full tank) for an effective 139 MPG.  Of those miles 946 (73%) were on electricity and 346 (27%) were on gas.

My total combined average fuel economy in charge-sustaining mode is 37.3 MPG.

I have consumed an estimated 340.4 kwh at a cost of 20 cents per kwh.

Thus the total energy cost for me has thus been 9.28 x 3.34 = $31.00 for gas, and $68 for electricity.  This works out to 7.7 cents per mile.

Furthermore, my particular lifestyle and job also required me to surpass 100 miles three times over those 19 days, without time to charge in between.  This is typical for me, and makes exclusive use of a pure 100 mile EV impossible.  When I drove the MINI E for 1-year I had to use a backup gas car for those occasions.

Very importantly, the Volt allows me to complete all my driving requirements with absolutely no concerns or compromises or needs for any additional vehicles, all the while reducing my petroleum consumption by a stunning 75%.

Street Cred
I have found from my interactions that the Volt seems to be viewed by the general public as a hero of sorts.  There is tremendous interest and what appears to be American pride in the car.  The majority of passersby don’t seem to notice it, but each day several people ride up next to me check it out and give a thumbs up.  A few people actually blow the horn, wave, and show great excitement.

Many people have stopped me in parking lots to ask about the car.  Parking attendants seem extremely interested.   I went to one restaurant where there was valet parking.  When I came out the attendant had mounted the car up on the curb in front of the restaurant like a trophy while a dozen high end Benz’ and BMWs sat neatly in the rows with common cars in the back parking lot.  The attendant was filled with glee and said he wished he was allowed to drive the Volt out on the road, but took it around the parking lot as may times as he could.  The main questions people ask are “how do you like it?” and “how much does it cost?”

Conclusion
I am extremely impressed with what GM was able to achieve with the Volt.  I am awed and amazed thinking back to those early days in 2007 when I started GM-Volt.com.  I had no idea then how unbelievably successful GM would prove to be in developing this car.  The car is a masterpiece on every measure.  It truly deserves the awards and attention it is deserving, and every day I look forward to my drive.

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This entry was posted on Monday, November 29th, 2010 at 7:08 am and is filed under Test drive. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 200


  1. 1
    MichaelH

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (7:22 am)

    Excellent review Lyle. Thanks for everything you have provided.

    I have never followed anything in my whole life as I have followed this car and your site. As of later this week it will be 2-1/2 years for me, reading the posts almost every day. Thanks again. :-)
    Michael


  2. 2
    Van

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (7:25 am)

    Great report, thanks.


  3. 3
    Roy H

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (7:37 am)

    Excellent article, Lyle. Interesting that the charging door must be closed by pressing in the center. When it opened on the highway, was it improperly closed?

    Fit and finish are the hallmarks of a fine quality car. Many would judge this by the consistency of the gap around the doors, hood, and hatch, as well as the gap being small. It sound like Chevy has excelled here.

    Enjoy your ride!


  4. 4
    Dave4664

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (7:38 am)

    The Volt will go down in history as a true milestone. Dr. Lyle, you will go down in the history books too…as a true visionary. Please continue to keep us informed about your experiences with the Volt….at least until we all have one too. ( that may take several years for some of us )


  5. 5
    ziv

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (7:41 am)

    Still laughing about the valet parking the Volt in the position of honor! That is what GM needs, people proud of a Chevy that isn’t a Corvette! When I was the doorman of the Grand Champions out in Palm Desert we used to park 3 different cars on the three prime sides surrounding the central fountain, each shift picking the cars they liked best. My favorite was having Boris Becker’s Rolls Royce starting out the right side lineup of different types of Rolls, far side was all Ferrari 308′s, left side was a stunning variety of drop nose Jag XKE’s.
    But the Volt would put them all to shame! An American company that builds a car that makes me proud, that is kind of cool. I love the Z06, but the Volt isn’t just different, it is inherently better than anything out there, the best of both worlds. :-)


  6. 6
    tom w

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (7:42 am)

    With the extra grid juice needed beyond what is used to drive the next day:

    “The EPA has found the car uses 12.9 kwh of electricity from the grid to provide the full electric range.”

    And using 20 cents/KwH, Lyle is actually not saving much money per mile as compared to his gas costs. Of course the economy benefits when our money stays here to fuel our cars instead of going overseas but Lyle paying that rate for electricity is unfortunate.

    I’m getting a Volt or Leaf as soon as one is available in Ohio but for mass adoption of these vehicles, the hurdles to over come are

    1) Design and manufacture the first generation production vehicles (Complete, great job GM and Nissan)
    2) Reduce production costs by reaching significant volumes or production (Significant improvements in the pipeline thanks to government incentives and us early adopters)
    3) Increase work place, highway and other parking lot charging availability, as Lyle shows the kind of AER that can be achieved by charging at work (most people would be able to charge their cars as needed at work in the morning before peak demand -I could see during peak summer AC periods I could see rules that require parking lots to turn off the juice to charge cars by 11AM)
    4) Lyle’s KWH/cost also shows the importance of getting utilities to charge lower nighttime rates with TOU meters that reward people that produce more revenue for the utilities without increasing their peak demand.


  7. 7
    Paul L (VoltinME)

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (7:46 am)

    Lyle- great feedback. You are a lucky guy. I can’t wait to drive my own. It is good news to hear that GM is listening to you and the others on feedback. Great way to improve the car.


  8. 8
    Loboc

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (7:48 am)

    Cool review and impressions. Thanks for this Lyle.

    Can you do more comparisons to other cars you have owned or driven? What car is it most like in your experience?


  9. 9
    Jim I

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (7:50 am)

    Lyle:

    Great report. I agree with you. The Volt is a winner for GM.

    One question for you:

    Once I have owned anything there are always a few things I wished were designed differently. You already mentioned the air dam and the charging door. Is there anything else you wish was different?

    Thanks.

    NPNS

    Have Outlet – Ready For EREV In Ohio


  10. 10
    BobS

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (7:51 am)

    I see you work at he E-hospital, which must stand for Electric.


  11. 11
    Eco_Turbo

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (7:52 am)

    From article…

    When I came out the attendant had mounted the car up on the curb in front of the restaurant like a trophy while a dozen high end Benz’ and BMWs sat neatly in the rows with common cars in the back parking lot.

    That sentence speaks volumes, IMO.


  12. 12
    VoltGuy

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (7:55 am)

    I am surprised at the raised awareness of the Volt over the last three weeks. Most folks at work (office of about 80 people) know I that am waiting on mine but up to this point there were not that many questions about the Volt. Now I get questions everyday and since most of the folks here are Engineers they tend to want to know about the technical aspects of the Volt.

    Jerry


  13. 13
    Tom C

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (8:03 am)

    I think we owe Mr. Bob Lutz kudos for this car. Lest we forget.


  14. 14
    nasaman

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (8:04 am)

    On Lyle’s gm-volt.com facebook page posting today’s topic I said: “The Doctor is in & he’s adroitly pronounced this “new patient”, the Chevy Volt, to be in perfect health! An enjoyable read!” Watch out, Motor Trend, Car & Driver, etc. You’ve got some competition!!!


  15. 15
    ClarksonCote

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (8:13 am)

    tom w: 4) Lyle’s KWH/cost also shows the importance of getting utilities to charge lower nighttime rates with TOU meters that reward people that produce more revenue for the utilities without increasing their peak demand.  (Quote)  (Reply)

    I’ve posted a link in the Volt owners forum about a current rate case with National Grid of NY. It’s a great opportunity to suggest time of use rates for EV’s if anyone wants to take a minute and submit a public comment via web form.

    I’ve also posted what I sent them. People can submit comments until tomorrow, 11/30. The forum link with all the info people need is: http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?5663-Encourage-NY-state-EV-time-of-use-electricity-rate

    join thE REVolution


  16. 16
    John A

     

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (8:16 am)

    Great article Lyle. Thanks for providing so much detail. Keep having fun!


  17. 17
    nasaman

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (8:25 am)

    My quick summary of the gasoline consumption of this CAB member’s Volt so far:

    Distance covered: almost 1,300 miles (nearly 950 in EV mode and 350 in ER mode)

    Gasoline consumed: One tank (9.28 gallons) at an average mileage of 139 MPG

    /Would anyone else like to get about 1,300 miles from 9.3 gals of gas + about the same electricity as a large refrigerator uses over that same period of time?


  18. 18
    Jason

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (8:25 am)

    Total money saved compared to conventional 25 mpg car:

    1291 / 25 mpg = 51.64
    51.64 x $2.75 = $142.01

    Lyle’s cost = $31+$68 = $99.00

    Money saved from gas displacement in 19 days = $142.01-$99.00 = $43.01


  19. 19
    LRGVProVolt

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (8:31 am)

    Thanks for the detailed and honest report, Lyle. It will be great to compare it against other CAB members.

    Your results show what can be done to reduce the use of petroleum once we get the Volts on the road. This will be a significant change when there are many more Volts and other EV on the road.
    This vehicle will renew pride in America, as demonstrated in the attendant’s action. Imagining the Volt sitting in front of the restaurant brings a smile on my face. Great advertising for the Volt.

    I’m hoping that the few problems that you have experienced so far are corrected in the Volt you have purchased. This will go down in history as a remarkable time when civilization became aware that we can exist without polluting our atmosphere without giving up any of the luxury we have grow to accept; i.e., comfort, speed, excellent handling, etc. GM has made a huge improvement in the automobile.

    Joy to the World, Lyle; enjoy your new voyage!!

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


  20. 20
    Dave K.

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (8:32 am)

    Very good update Lyle. Although the Volt is rated a bit lower. Triple digit mpg is a solid reality. Can really feel the momentum building as these cars are being prepared for delivery.

    =D-Volt


  21. 21
    dwwbkw

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (8:33 am)

    Lyle, thanks so much for your excellent report. Your driving experience reminds me so much of how much I enjoyed my 1991 Cadillac Seville – the solid feeling, the weight, the cornering, the responsiveness, the acceleration, and most of all, the compactness of the car. As I have said before, slipping into the driver’s seat was like putting on a well-worn glove. When it came time to finally give up the car (after 16 years), the closest car I found that duplicated the feel of my Seville was a BMW 535i, a lighter car but very responsive with wonderful handling. As much as I enjoy my Bimmer, I still miss the feeling of my Seville, that feeling of oneness with the car. So your comment comparing the Volt to driving MBs and BMWs struck a chord with me. Your description of your Volt says it is really a Cadillac wearing Chevrolet colors. Looking forward to the day I can order one (I live in Washington state).


  22. 22
    lh_newbie

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (8:39 am)

    Two comments:

    – $0.20/KwH? That’s much higher than it is here – we signed up about a year ago for a 11.9 cent/KwH 100% wind plan and since, rates have come down into the mid 9′s. At 20 cents/KwH – it’s quite possible to cost-justify solar panels on your home’s roof if you have good Southern exposure!

    – 139 MPG average, 75% decrease in gasoline usage. While that alone is amazing, it is even more amazing when taking your above average commute into account.

    Thanks for the review, Lyle. Very relevant and interesting data. Unfortunately, I am coming to the conclusion this vehicle isn’t for me at this point in my life… but only because I only go into the office once a week (work from home otherwise) and limited other driving – so I’m putting less than 60 miles per week on my vehicle. I guess on the bright side, I also use less than 10 gallons of gas in a 19 day period. LOL!

    Brian

    Brian


  23. 23
    Tim Hart

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (8:48 am)

    Thank you Lyle. Great report. I’m glad to hear we might be able to get an air dam that is a little higher. The scrapping of the front end is something I would like to avoid and I doubt it will effect EV range in any significant way. Half the fun of having one of the first Volts will be raving about it with all the people who want to know more about this great car.


  24. 24
    JeremyK

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (9:04 am)

    Great report.

    I’ll receive my Volt sometime next year and plan to use opportunity charging at work (Thanks GM) to cover most of my needs. That’s if there isn’t already a row of Volts taking up all the charging spaces at the Warren Tech Center.

    For now I’m still working in Pontiac. Saw another “in the wild” Volt on my way to work this morning…probably an executive driving a captured fleet vehicle, though it didn’t have a manufacturer’s plate.
    44364151.jpg


  25. 25
    JohnK

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (9:09 am)

    VoltGuy: Most folks at work (office of about 80 people) know I that am waiting on mine but up to this point there were not that many questions about the Volt.

    Yes, funny that you mention it, kind of similar here. I was actually approached by a coworker after the Chicago drive and as somebody passed by he was “warned” that an innocent question could turn into a long winded story. His reply, “No, I really want to know all about it.”


  26. 26
    JohnK

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (9:15 am)

    dwwbkw: I still miss the feeling of my Seville,

    I’m pretty sure that the DHAM plant was built for the purpose of building the Seville.


  27. 27
    Kevin R

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (9:20 am)

    I have never followed anything on a daily basis as I have the Chevy Volt. I began reading everything I could starting in January 2007 then moved to this website once it was established. I have ordered my Black Volt/black interior with an expected delivery date of March/April 2011. I can’t wait. This report Lyle really, really helps. Keep it coming.


  28. 28
    CorvetteGuy

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (9:31 am)

    Kinda gives you goosebumps just reading about it. :)


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    Eco_Turbo

     

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (9:39 am)

    JeremyK: Saw another “in the wild” Volt on my way to work this morning…

    Is that a Camaro cowl induction (I think they call them) hood scoop the camera’s looking over? 8-)


  30. 30
    Eco_Turbo

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (9:41 am)

    JohnK:
    Yes, funny that you mention it, kind of similar here.I was actually approached by a coworker after the Chicago drive and as somebody passed by he was “warned” that an innocent question could turn into a long winded story.His reply, “No, I really want to know all about it.”    

    ROFLMAO!!!


  31. 31
    bt

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (9:43 am)

    Lyle,
    Two questions:

    1) What did it feel like when you filled the tank up?

    2) Does the Volt rate you an ‘aggressive’ or ‘highly efficient’ driver?(I think this comes under the ‘You can run, or drive, but you can’t hide’ Department)

    LOL


  32. 32
    Ray

     

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (9:47 am)

    Great Job Lyle !! Your dedication to the Volt is truly been worth while.

    Keep up the good work..


  33. 33
    Mark Z

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (9:47 am)

    Lyle, one question after reading your most excellent, enlightening and informative review:

    How easy has it been to avoid bumping the front air dam using the “Ultrasonic Front and Rear Parking Assist (UFRPA) system?

    I just hope to remember to turn it on (by pressing the park assist button in the overhead console) when slowly approaching a tall cement wheel stop or high curb.

    Thanks again for your encouraging review!


  34. 34
    Tex-Arl

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (10:04 am)

    Dr. Lyle–A very straightforward and concise report as you would expect from a Dr. Thanks.

    In the forum, I had asked for you to comment re range anxiety or absence of same.

    We know you had been driving a Mini and had said you had gotten over any anxiety. I would still ask you to comment on this very important area. It has been my contention I would never put my wife in a pure electric. Maybe this is my own “range anxiety “.

    Would appreciate a comment.


  35. 35
    Jean-Charles Jacquemin

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (10:08 am)

    Thanks Lyle,

    Great report, …but (and I hate to write that but I must) do you find the price of the Volt matches its performances, feel, comfort, etc. and the private savings on energy consumption ?

    P.S. I know I must take into account the independence for oil, the better public health, the lesser emissions of CO2, etc.. but the tax credit of the government covers those externalities until now IMHO.

    Best regards,

    JC NPNS


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    tom w

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (10:10 am)

    ClarksonCote,

    regarding posts #6 and #15.
    Is it appropriate for someone in Ohio post on that New York rate case issue?

    This is a huge issue for adoption of EV’s in our country. GM and Nissan have already done their job of bringing production vehicles to Market. But they will not reach mass adoption until work place charging is more common (as Lyle demonstrates with his high AER) and night time charging is made cheaper. These are just the facts.

    And it is a clear win/win for everyone but OPEC to have cheaper night time charging. EVs become cost effective and utilities increase revenues without having to build capacity.


  37. 37
    bookdabook

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (10:12 am)

    Great job Lyle with the review, website and everything. I too, like many here have watched from the sidelines as alternative fuel vehicles have been proposed over the years and either been way too expensive, i.e. Tesla and Fisker Karma, or just not practical and too far ahead of its time, EV1. When I was much younger, I remember the start of the solar car races across the deserts and was always curious if that would ever be possible for consumers.

    Now I am able to afford this Volt especially at the lease rate. I wish I could buy it since it is historic and I’ll be getting a low number, #135, but I’ve got 2 kids in college draining my income as well. Nevertheless, I am very happy to be able to participate in this, the beginning of practical electric motor driven vehicles.

    -Book


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (10:12 am)

    Seems that the initial survey on driving habits was pretty accurate. I believe that it said approximately 75% of driving was electric capable. The Dr. is averaging 73%.


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    Randy C.

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (10:15 am)

    What gets me is: Why they are locking the charger port door? Do they think someone is going to come by and siphon the charge out?


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (10:21 am)

    Nice report Lyle.

    …”Very importantly, the Volt allows me to complete all my driving requirements with absolutely no concerns or compromises or needs for any additional vehicles, all the while reducing my petroleum consumption by a stunning 75%.”

    This sums up everything I have been telling people about the Volt.

    This is why GM and the Voltec technology will revolutionize motoring in America.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (10:34 am)

    tom w: And it is a clear win/win for everyone but OPEC to have cheaper night time charging. EVs become cost effective and utilities increase revenues without having to build capacity.

    If utilities give decreased night-time rates without increasing daytime rates, they would have a lot of happier campers out here. Maybe the best people to talk to are the state utility regulatory commissions around the country. I’m guessing the regulators will have more control over the utilities on this matter. Here’s a link to contact a national organization:

    http://www.naruc.org/contact.cfm


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    CorvetteGuy

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (10:40 am)

    Chevy Volt
    15,000 miles per year
    Divided by 139 mpg average
    = 107.91 gallons per year

    Typical ICE Car
    15,000 miles per year
    Divided by 32 mpg average
    = 468.75 gallons per year

    A savings of 360.84 gallons per year
    Times 15000 Volts produced in 2011
    = 5,412,600 less gallons burned this coming year. 
    Times $3.39 (premium gas in my town)
    = $18,348,714 that is not going to foreign governments.
    A good start. 


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    CorvetteGuy

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (10:42 am)

    Randy C.: What gets me is:Why they are locking the charger port door?Do they think someone is going to come by and siphon the charge out?    

    Yes. Most people are terrified at the thought of it.


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    Leon

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (10:43 am)

    I saw someone driving a Volt last Tuesday at about 3pm in Satellite Beach Florida. I honked and waved. Couldn’t stop smiling the rest of the day.

    I have a bad attitude toward the company since it was taken over by the government, but seeing the car in person wiped that all away. Plus I know it was designed before the takeover.

    I can’t wait to get one though I’ll have to wait until the price comes down quite a bit (or buy a used one in a couple years).


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (10:44 am)

    Thank you for the detailed review – keep them coming. I will be interested in how your mileage (both electric and gas) will change during the cold winter months; I’m sure you’ll keep us posted.

    One question: One review I read was not impressed with the stereo system. How does it sound in your opinion?


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (10:46 am)

    Seems the EricLG (aka Dagwood) nitwits have vaporized for the moment, but I’m sure they’ll be back soon. Something that occurred to me, especially when they yammer about the Prius: how many drops of human blood can be associated with a drop of gasoline? We all know that a great many US troops have died in the current oil wars. We all know that over 100K civilians have died. Those numbers are probably way below the real ones. So which vehicle results in less blood on the hands of the driver: Prius or Volt?

    Since it is, of course, the Volt, does that make the Prius a Big Oil teet-suckling murder mobile?

    Just asking. ;-)


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (10:48 am)

    Talk of $100/bbl oil in the news today. Is $4.00+ gas nationwide next year possible?

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Talk-of-100-Oil-Returns-as-bloomberg-1317601168.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=1&asset=&ccode=


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (10:48 am)

    I started two threads in the forum related to quality. It started off because I was looking for information on how the car would handle cold weather areas like IL. I found some excellent Volt quality related videos on multiple subjects and wanted to let others (enthusist and naysayers) see some of the quality that goes into car testing. I was blissfully ignorant.

    Thread: Any videos on the Volt quality testing?
    http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?5737-Any-videos-on-the-Volt-quality-testing

    Thread: Does the Volt work in cold[&hot] weather places? Did they account for that?!?
    http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?5736-Does-the-Volt-work-in-cold-weather-places-Did-they-account-for-that-!

    Exterior Design
    …The charging door doesn’t close in an extremely satisfying way however. I made GM aware of this and they acknowledge they are fixing it slightly. It must be pressed from the center, not edge. Once it opened spontaneously on the highway.

    Within the “Thread: Any videos on the Volt quality testing?” is this video that shows testing of the fuel charging door. I’m sure they’ll be tweaking that test after this report … but it was impressive anyway in regards to simulating long term usage!

    Video:Durability testing on Chevrolet Volt charge port, trunk & fuel door
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6DoejbN3Po

    Efficiency
    …I primarily use the sport mode which has a more aggressive pedal map, but is noted by GM not to reduce efficiency over the normal mode.

    Someone help me with this? This does not seem to pass my smell test. Seems like the driver in this mode would use more resources … wouldn’t the battery drain slightly quicker in steep acceleration vs modest (no correlation to jackrabbit gas car starts?). Also it seems sport mode would mentally cause the driver to drive more aggressive (green ball turning yellow). (aside: I understand Sports mode also changes steering).

    Also then why would they provide normal vs sport if sport was just as economical? Just for the drivers “experience” and “feedback” (ie. some want a sportier car vs econ “feel” car).


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (10:49 am)

    I suspect that the charge door closure issue is due to weather sealing around the connector, requiring a direct push in the center. It’s probably something that just takes a bit of getting used to.

    Unlike a gasoline filler door where there is a separate gas cap, the charge door itself appears to have the sealing integrity built in.

    Speaking of gasoline filling, could you describe the pressurized tank and anything new or unusual about the fueling process?


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (10:53 am)

    tom w: And using 20 cents/KwH, Lyle is actually not saving much money

    Anybody know what the current pay-back is for roof-mounted solar? I was thinking that the break-even point was around 20c. And that was several years ago.

    I am paying 10.2c in N. Texas. Customers are also encouraged (by the rate plan) to use MORE electricity. It gets cheaper the more you use. We have providers (billing only) that compete for your business with low rates and contracts that hold the rate steady. I’m not so sure how it was before the commission de-regulated this piece.

    The way it works here makes it very difficult to use less electricity. However, it makes it easy to switch to an EV with these rates. $1.28 for electricity vs $2.80 for premium.

    I seriously doubt that these issues weigh too much on the decision to buy a Volt vs anything else at this point. Volt’s initial (first 3 years) market will be pretty high-end and they generally don’t care about energy use except in a green-like kind of way. However, if you need the wife to sign on it’s good to have numbers on your side. :)


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (11:05 am)

    CorvettGuy
    > A savings of 360.84 gallons per year
    Times 15000 Volts produced in 2011
    = 5,412,600 less gallons burned this coming year.
    Times $3.39 (premium gas in my town)
    = $18,348,714 that is not going to foreign governments.
    <
    That's not entirely right math in terms of what goes to the foreign country. You need first to convert the gasoline back to a bbl of oil. Since one barrel does not equal 42 gals of gas, the $/bbl we sent off shore (and to Canada) is about $80 which produces about 30 gals of gas + other by products. 5.4MM / 30 = 180K bbls = about $14 Million. We need the byproducts, though to make things like plastics, propane and so on. We will buy less oil that's for sure but we just cannot compute gas = dollars to foreign countries without factoring in the extra products coming out of a barrel of oil.

    $14M is almost nothing in terms of our imports. We can indeed drop oil imports by millions of barrels a month through ongoing science of EV’s, conservation, telecommuting and of course recession. Our recession is helping lower oil usage due to lower jobs out there (which is kind of sad). Oil is used most by the growing economies – which may mean the costs of goods coming out of the far-East will be going up which then means we can bring jobs home and start growing again. All good things.


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    Eco_Turbo

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (11:07 am)

    Bungoman: So which vehicle results in less blood on the hands of the driver: Prius or Volt?

    Since it is, of course, the Volt, does that make the Prius a Big Oil teet-suckling murder mobile?

    No_Prius.jpg


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (11:07 am)

    bt:

    Lyle,
    Two questions:

    1) What did it feel like when you filled the tank up?

    2) Does the Volt rate you an ‘aggressive’ or ‘highly efficient’ driver?(I think this comes under the ‘You can run, or drive, but you can’t hide’ Department)

    LOL  (Quote)  (Reply)

    Filling the tank required a slight delay when the button is pressed to depressurize it, after that same as in any car.

    The car doesnt rate your overall driving efficiency, only for each charge cycle.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (11:14 am)

    Loboc – payback for solar is when you have paid for the system, any interest on the loan and start to generate “free” electricity. if you buy a system say a 5-6kW solar system and don’t pay more than about $5.50 per W installed (before rebates) – you should expect a 6-7 year ROI on the investment whereby after that you start making money on the system. That is, of course, if you have taken the 30% federal tax rebate, take part in a state-wide SREC sale of your green energy credits and also maybe have a state taxable rebate. Otherwise, without SREC sale and state rebates, a Solar system really pays you back after 10 years.

    It’s not always the cost per kWh but if you are > 20 cents, looking at Solar is smart.

    I will be at $0.16 in January rising to $0.18+ in the summer. It’s not horrible but I’ve looked at Solar enough to know that the only way I could “do it” is to ensure SREC paybacks and also the current state-incentive of $0.85 cents per installed Watt.

    Solar is like the Volt – you have to believe you are doing good and are willing to pay-up for the priviledge of reducing resource demand off your grid. And, like anything, once it becomes cost-effective, everyone will be getting systems. Since all our neighbors are not clamboring to install PV Solar systems – the price isn’t cost-effective yet for mass appeal.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (11:21 am)

    Loboc: I seriously doubt that these issues weigh too much on the decision to buy a Volt vs anything else at this point. Volt’s initial (first 3 years)

    right, i’m talking about mass adoption in 3 years and beyond (post #6, 15, 36). Mass adoption requires cost effectiveness, which requires work place charging to extend AER and lower night time rates. And the car companies won’t keep pushing the envelope if they don’t see mass adoption and that requires these elements.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (11:34 am)

    John: Talk of $100/bbl oil in the news today.Is $4.00+ gas nationwide next year possible?http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Talk-of-100-Oil-Returns-as-bloomberg-1317601168.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=1&asset=&ccode=    

    I doubt that oil could hang at $100/bbl for long. If it even gets there.

    The world economies that use oil the most (US~20% and China~10% of world production) aren’t going anywhere fast. China is growing, but the US will probably use less oil as time goes on.

    China has efforts under way to curb oil use. They don’t want to be in the same trap as the US. Americans are becoming more educated about oil use and impact to the US economy.

    If China can hold their oil use (growth) down and the US uses about the same or less, oil cannot sustain $100/bbl. If it ever does, there will be more crash programs to use substitutes which will drive down the price.

    All of this assumes that the fundamental supply vs. demand scenario is working in oil markets. I don’t believe that to be the case. Oil is being used as a financial football and will continue to jump wildly in price until it is a more stable commodity. Although politically incorrect, oil might have to be un-pinned from the US dollar for this to happen.

    Having OPEC control supply abnormally will cause people to eventually stop using oil. OPEC will crash and burn as they spiral down into a dog-eat-dog price war until demand actually equals supply. Oil will be come a non-issue. Like salt. We will probably move on to water or grain as the next problem.

    We are still in a world-wide economic crisis. Prices of items like gold, silver, oil etc will vary from the bell-curve until the world is back to a more normal economic balance.

    ————-

    My personal strategy is to have diversity in my energy use. I have both electricity and NG coming into my house (and solar if it ever becomes economically cheaper than NG). I also have an E85 vehicle and will have an electric+E85 when I buy a Volt. I am looking very hard at conversion to CNG for the seldom-used truck. The diversity I will need will probably be food not energy. Flowers and bushes will become corn and beans. That 30,000 gallon pool could come in handy if Armageddon arrives.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (11:37 am)

    It’ll be important to get the Volt sold in low cost per kWh states. WV, OH, MI, TX and similar where you see anything from .09 to .14/kWh Sounds like they are targeting the “high income” areas first where the buyers have stable and high-paying jobs.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (11:39 am)

    Great story, Lyle. I know you are looking forward to driving the Volt. Who among us would not. Keep up the good work and the reports. We only wish we all could experience the Volt like you are doing. Thanks from all of us for the work you have done over the past three and a half years. It has been an excellent time of discovery. Thanks to GM, also.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (11:39 am)

    One interesting observation:
    Volt takes 12.9 kWh of electricity or 1 gallons of gasoline to cover the distance of around 36 miles.
    So simple rule of thumb is:
    if gasoline price per gallon is less then 13 times the cost of kilowatt hour of electricity then driving Volt on gasoline is cheaper. Otherwise driving on electricity is cheaper.

    For example, for $.20/kWh gasoline should cost 2.60/gal or less to break even.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (11:50 am)

    VladG: So simple rule of thumb is:
    if gasoline price per gallon is less then 13 times the cost of kilowatt hour of electricity then driving Volt on gasoline is cheaper. Otherwise driving on electricity is cheaper.

    For example, for $.20/kWh gasoline should cost 2.60/gal or less to break even.

    Interesting observation, VladG.
    Man, I hope that’s not where rates are headed, but experience makes me think otherwise.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (11:53 am)

    Terrific report. I’m getting anxious to get my hands on a Volt. The dealer says that ours should arrive in January or February.
    We have a 7kWt solar system and have not paid for electricity for the past 3 years. Can’t wait for the sun to fuel our Volt.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (11:55 am)

    Sonoma Richard,

    How does your system work, ie: grid tied, storage, etc?


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (11:55 am)

    CorvetteGuy: Yes. Most people are terrified at the thought of it.  (Quote)  (Reply)

    I for one will wait for the first news link to the idiot that shoves 2 wires in and attempts to siphon (touching both leads with his (or her) tongue)


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (11:56 am)

    Seeing your car in front of the Hospital I was glad there was not an emergency but if there was an unexpected change of plans being able to have the ER function would help until charging is more convenient and faster. I am not knocking the pure EVs and I truly hope this never becomes a problem for them.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (11:56 am)

    Hey Lyle,
    Do the back seats fold down, allowing a set of golf clubs to fit in the Volt? Might be cool to drive one electric vehicle to the course, and another one ON the course.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (12:02 pm)

    Lyle…
    This is the best review of the Volt so far… very well done… Thanks.

    Most reviews of cars are by journalists who drive cars for a couple minutes or hours then write about how they can’t reach the radio… I have never seen a review by someone who has researched the car as much as you have. “Smokey” who was a mechanic who wrote for Popular Science used to have a really good common sense review of cars.. I don’t know of any other jounalists who have replaced his common sense. I appreciate your common sense reports.
    Your Log of information is most informative.. Thanks.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (12:02 pm)

    PowerEngineer: Hey Lyle,
    Do the back seats fold down, allowing a set of golf clubs to fit in the Volt?Might be cool to drive one electric vehicle to the course, and another one ON the course.    

    Seats down
    45chevroletvoltfd2011.jpg

    Seats up
    44chevroletvoltfd2011.jpg


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    JCook

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (12:09 pm)

    I know everyone wants to avoid this but when you include electricity it is ~67 MPGe. Still quite impressive compared to any other car out there. That’s 17 MPG better than the anemic Prius that is currently on the road. Also if Lyle had been driving the Leaf there would have been some nail bitters getting home. This shows the Volts advantage, the average American likes their convienience. We need mass sales to make a big difference.

    Also awsome job on the review Lyle, you came off as being very honest and gave us exactly what I think we were all looking for.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (12:13 pm)

    Lyle – you should use reusable grocery bags! Plastic bags are bad. :)


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (12:20 pm)

    pjkPA: “Smokey” who was a mechanic who wrote for Popular Science used to have a really good common sense review of cars.

    Wasn’t his article called “Say, Smokey…”? That was always the first thing I read in Popular Science. Smokey Yunick


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (12:37 pm)

    tom w: but Lyle paying that rate for electricity is unfortunate

    He plugs in for free at work I believe.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (12:43 pm)

    The Volt review of Lyle, and all the others I have seen so far, all tell us what most of us already knew. All that brilliant work by the lightning bugs in Michigan have produced what we all were looking for—TOMORROW’S CAR TODAY.

    BIG BTRY


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (12:47 pm)

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (12:48 pm)

    Jason: Total money saved compared to conventional 25 mpg car:
    1291 / 25 mpg = 51.64
    51.64 x $2.75 = $142.01
    Lyle’s cost = $31+$68 = $99.00
    Money saved from gas displacement in 19 days = $142.01-$99.00 = $43.01

    You need to use Lyle’s gasoline price of $3.34/gal
    So it would be 51.64 * 3.34 = $172.48
    the difference would be $73.48
    (note this doesn’t account for the charging inefficiencies, or getting free electricity at work)


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (12:54 pm)

    Randy C.: What gets me is:Why they are locking the charger port door?Do they think someone is going to come by and siphon the charge out?    

    The charge port door needs to latch mechanically in order to weather-seal the connector. In order to release it there either has to be a thumb-turn or other exterior hardware (ugly) or a remote release, cable or electric. GM went for the remote release. I don’t think it’s really a security thing.

    The concept and early Volt pictures showed a slick, almost stealthy charge input that was integrated into the trim with the Volt logo that extends from the driver’s side mirror onto the front fender. I though that was really cool, too bad they couldn’t keep it but the present setup is probably more rugged.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (12:58 pm)

    Eco_Turbo,

    Actually, it’s a Saab 9-2X Aero…or Saabura to those in the know. :) I’ll miss the turbo and AWD but am looking forward to the Volt.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (1:02 pm)

    VladG: One interesting observation:
    Volt takes 12.9 kWh of electricity or 1 gallons of gasoline to cover the distance of around 36 miles.
    So simple rule of thumb is:
    if gasoline price per gallon is less then 13 times the cost of kilowatt hour of electricity then driving Volt on gasoline is cheaper. Otherwise driving on electricity is cheaper.
    For example, for $.20/kWh gasoline should cost 2.60/gal or less to break even.

    My electricity is 35 times cheaper than my gas.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (1:02 pm)

    Thanks for the update, Lyle. I enjoy hearing the details about your experience. It confirms my faith that GM has a winner here…

    Chaim


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (1:05 pm)

    Rob: Check this out, this is more interestinghttp://green.autoblog.com/2010/11/24/report-renault-shooting-for-150-mile-range-electric-vehicle-by/    

    And even more interesting:
    http://green.autoblog.com/2010/11/22/report-renault-to-debut-high-performance-version-of-zoe-electri/

    “The high-output hatch will most likely be fitted with the Nissan Leaf’s electric powertrain, which would bump the Zoe’s horsepower rating from 80 to 134 and jolt its torque numbers from 164 pound-feet up to 200. ”

    Now if they could only make it look like a real car instead of a bean. I know they can. Here’s a Megane.

    Ma_mgane_II_F1.jpg


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (1:07 pm)

    CorvetteGuy,

    I am all for cutting the amount of $ sent away overseas….

    But about half of that money stays here in taxes, profits of local dealer, refiners profits and costs.

    Still $10,000,000 staying here is a good thing! We need that.

    At 20 cents a KWH cost, solar coming down to near $3-4 kw (peak output) cost it may soon make economic sense to install rooftop solar at home!


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    JCook

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (1:15 pm)

    kdawg,

    I believe Lyle’s #’s did include charging inefficiencies


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (1:15 pm)

    BTW. Tomorrow is the last day of the month. Is that when the OnStar report is available? Someone said it comes out monthly.


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    Noah Nehm

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (1:17 pm)

    Very importantly, the Volt allows me to complete all my driving requirements with absolutely no concerns or compromises or needs for any additional vehicles, all the while reducing my petroleum consumption by a stunning 75%.

    This is why I think the Volt (i.e., Ampera) will be a huge success in Europe, and the Leaf less so (despite winning the 2011 European Car of the Year award). The Leaf really can only function as a second car due to its range limitation, but the Volt can operate as a family’s only car. When I was living in Europe in the mid 1990s, most of the people I knew had only one car. For most of these folks, if they want to replace their gas burner with electric, it will have to be a range extended EV or a plugin hybrid not a BEV. Add to that the fact that most families in Europe tend to be small, the 4 seater is not a major problem.

    BTW, I did a little Googling and in France the cost of electricity is about $0.18/kW-hr (including VAT), while the cost of Gasoline is about $7.00/Gallon. This kind of price differential makes EVs really pretty compelling in Europe.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (1:27 pm)

    JeremyK: Saw another “in the wild” Volt

    Love that picture! Like seeing a furtive wild animal, maybe a leopard, looking at you from the side of the road at night before it darts off into the woods. I would treasure a sighting of such a rare animal.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (1:28 pm)

    Leon: or buy a used one in a couple years

    High-end limited-production cars tend to hold their value over a longer period. If they become ‘classic’ they can fetch more than the original MSRP.

    Check out some of the old ‘Vettes coming out of auction houses like Mecum’s.
    http://www.mecum.com/auctions/lot_detail.cfm?LOT_ID=CA0810-96548

    $440k!! Yikes!


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    usbseawolf2000

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (1:32 pm)

    (click to show comment)


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    Sonoma Richard

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (1:35 pm)

    Eco_Turbo,

    We’re tied to the grid. We “sell” power to PG&E at high rates and use (more) electricity at low night rates. We have a credit of around $300.00 which we will slowly use up during the winter. Next spring we start all over again.


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    Loboc

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (1:52 pm)

    usbseawolf2000,

    Um… 139mpg is higher than 50mpg.


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    Matthew_B

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (2:01 pm)

    usbseawolf2000: For Lyle’s case, Volt is more expensive to operate and it generates more CO2 than a standard Prius. Volt displaced 16.5 gallons of gasoline but emit 93 lbs more CO2 for the 1,291 miles. Is it a good trade-off, considering you’ll have to plug it in and it costs more to own and operate? You decide.

    My electricity is 71% hydro. My power costs 7.1 c/kwh.

    You can take your Prius and shove it.


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    greenWin

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (2:02 pm)

    Tom C: I think we owe Mr. Bob Lutz kudos for this car.Lest we forget.    

    True. AND the innovators at Tesla who inspired Bob to push for the Volt. It was Bob’s competitive edge toward the silicon valley upstarts that catalyzed GM’s Volt program. Now, of course there are hundreds of brilliant engineers, technicians and designers who have contributed to the final product. They have all done a fantastic job and indeed, we are deeply proud of this accomplishment.

    This vehicle and its leading direction WILL change the world. Thanks Lyle for a great report! BTW, we love that you actually USE the OnStar link to smartphone. It is a good word of mouth accessory.


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    usbseawolf2000

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (2:05 pm)

    (click to show comment)


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (2:06 pm)

    Mitch: I for one will wait for the first news link to the idiot that shoves 2 wires in and attempts to siphon (touching both leads with his (or her) tongue)  (Quote)  (Reply)

    I hope they put that one on YouTube.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (2:07 pm)

    usbseawolf2000: 0 kWh is less than 340.4 kWh.

    9.28 gallons * 50mpg = 464 miles.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (2:18 pm)

    CorvetteGuy,

    I hope they put that one on YouTube

    Jeez….now you went and done it..it’ll be in the next jackass movie…


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    usbseawolf2000

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (2:18 pm)

    (click to show comment)


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (2:24 pm)

    usbseawolf2000,

    Yes, but there is a small difference. We can greatly change the way we produce electricity, but we cannot change way we extract oil. At this particular moment of time and in particular place Prius can be more economical, but Prius, being a great car, is nailed to the single source of energy.
    In Massachusetts Volt and Prius would cost about the same to run 1291 miles: around $75-80 ($.17/kWh $3/gal).
    At the same time, Noah Nehm noticed here, in France electricity cost is $.18/kWh and gasoline is $7/gal. In France Volt would run 1291 miles for $81 (assuming electric mode only) comparing to $180 for Prius. As you can see – same time, different place, drastically different results.
    So there are two ways of moving forward. We can blame Volt for its price, “lack of economy” and production of more CO2 in certain places that some other good cars and, in general, go into well known “just consume less of what we have” philosophy or we can try to imagine the future where we produce electricity using thorium nuclear cycle (10 times less waste than uranium, and mere 300 years of waste activity) combined with solar and wind technologies.
    In case of Volt this future makes sense. In case of gasoline car, even the good one – it does not.


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    Kickin Canada

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (2:51 pm)

    Hey usbseawolf2000 . R u crazy? clearly. Do you have any idea of environmental cost of producing gasoline – expecially that which comes from tar sands – use of water, emission of CO2 etc. And just because PSE&G in NJ uses 58.7% Fossil – its likely from coal not imported foreign oil. I happen to live in Canada where most is from hydro – non CO2. Get a grip buddy.

    Lyle – I have checked this site every day since its inception. As soon as I can get a volt in Canada I certainly will. Go GM go. And thank you Lyle!


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    Muhammad

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (3:33 pm)

    Great report — Thanks Lyle.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (3:40 pm)

    JCook: I believe Lyle’s #’s did include charging inefficiencies

    Hard to tell. He estimated 340Kwh. So if you take 946 miles/ 35 miles per charge = 27.03 charges
    27.03 charges x 12.9 kwh per charge = 349 kwh…. (pretty close.. maybe he did)


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (3:41 pm)

    Jason: Total money saved compared to conventional 25 mpg car:1291 / 25 mpg = 51.64
    51.64 x $2.75 = $142.01Lyle’s cost = $31+$68 = $99.00Money saved from gas displacement in 19 days = $142.01-$99.00 = $43.01    

    Yeah, but factor in vehicle cost and your savings probably become negative.

    The volt will save gas, but certainly not money.
    Not for a few years, if at all.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (4:04 pm)

    Mitch:
    I for one will wait for the first news link to the idiot that shoves 2 wires in and attempts to siphon (touching both leads with his (or her) tongue)    

    ROTFL!

    That was funny because it is silly to think that someone will do such thing!

    In the actual car, the system will sense the input voltages before connecting to its internal charger, so there is an interlock (relay) isolating the external charger port from any internal voltages. There will be no danger of “siphoning”. If there is any doubt, ask anyone who is driving a Volt to open the charging port and use a multimeter to check for any voltage at the contacts.

    Thank you again, Lyle, for that excellent usage report.

    Since you have another two months to test that Volt, what will you do when GM delivers your Volt next month? Would you have your wife use it?

    Raymond


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (4:11 pm)

    Great post Lyle! Is tomorrow Job 1 celebration day?

    NPNS!


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (4:29 pm)

    usbseawolf2000: $99 for 1,291 miles. Even if we use the premium price $3.34 per gallon, 50 MPG Prius could drive 1,482 miles for $99. Prius runs on regular gas (normally 20 cents cheaper) so it could go 1,576 miles — 285 miles further than the Volt.

    You could only make that statement if you intend to buy a Volt and never plug it in to charge its battery.

    If you buy a Volt knowing you would never plug it in, you are foolish and ignorant, or you must like its styling and 100% electric drive feel more than saving money on gas.

    NPNS!


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    Dan Petit

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (4:32 pm)

    Hi Lyle,
    Thoroughly nice and comprehensive report!

    How much did the E350 run you at that time? (Just a thought to be comparative to value.)
    I think a huge proportion of other luxury vehicle brand owners are going to demand the Volt once they drive one.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (4:33 pm)

    canehdian: Yeah, but factor in vehicle cost and your savings probably become negative.
    The volt will save gas, but certainly not money.
    Not for a few years, if at all.

    Depends on how much the 25mpg vehicle cost.
    You can factor in maintenance costs savings too.
    You could also look at the $350/mo lease


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    scottf200

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (4:35 pm)

    usbseawolf2000:
    I apologize if my post angers you. The intend of my post was to provoke calculation on individual basis rather than going by hype blindly.I provided source so everyone can do their own calculation. If the Volt works better for you, good. There is no need to shove anything up anybody’s .    

    While I appreciated your input, you must certainly realize that the purchase of this GM Chevrolet product is a lot more than about saving money. A lot more. If you had acknowledged that then I don’t think you’d get such the negative feedback.

    It will be my first Chevrolet product because of what they have done and what it has the the potential of doing. I’m buying it and realize that if I were to put it in a spreadsheet then it would be a many year buyback (> 10). I spend $250 a month now in gas for just my vehicle. Yep, I realize the extra I’ll pay in electricity and less I’ll pay in oil changes, etc. But I realize, I’ll make an environmental impact and help GM and their employees get this going. I’m going to really enjoy this fun car and the features. A co-worker told me they wanted a ride and I told them that I want them to drive it and feel it for themselves!


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    Joseph

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (4:55 pm)

    Reminds me of how folks treated us with the EV-1

    Hope GM has learned something from that. (and hopefully learned also due to their Bankruptcy from their slowness to finally get a car into consumers hands that we’ve been clammering over for the last 2 decades)


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (5:02 pm)

    Mrs. Obama said after the election she was finally proud to be an American, well, I am finally proud to say after six very nice well made Toyota Camrys, my next car will be a very well made American developed and engineered Volt — a vision of the future..


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    coffeetime

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (5:02 pm)

    CorvetteGuy,

    You’ve hit upon the MAIN reason that many consumers will buy a Volt or other electric vehicle, IMHO. Being a pioneer and given the higher cost of the Volt compared with other ICE-powered 4-passenger compacts, you won’t be able to make an economic argument even if gasoline doubles in price. You really can’t make much of an environmental argument, as buying a used fuel-efficient car will most likely save the planet more energy over its lifetime (remember, when you buy a used car, all of the energy that went into the creation of it has already been expended). But that’s OK – I believe that weaning our nation off of imported oil is valuable – patriotic, actually – in and of itself.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (5:16 pm)

    coffeetime: I believe that weaning our nation off of imported oil is valuable – patriotic, actually – in and of itself.

    Agreed. And if you can have more fun than a person should be allowed to have at the same time, all the better. 8-)


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (5:29 pm)

    Sorry my last post should have said:

    Agreed. And if you can do that while having more fun than a human being should be allowed to have, at the same time, all the better. :)


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    IQ130

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (5:31 pm)

    Nice review, more than 70% driven on electricity I think this is a nice target for all Volt drivers. It could even be higher when charging at work with 240 V.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (5:35 pm)

    Good article on the Chevy Volt Battery from last month’s Design News

    http://www.designnews.com/article/510555-Volt_Battery_May_Be_Poised_for_Success.php

    “Experts say that GM has made a mammoth effort to discover the failure mechanisms and test for them under all possible conditions. The giant automaker has invested $8 million to double the size of what already was “the largest and most technically advanced battery lab in the U.S.” Located at the company’s Warren, MI, campus, the lab spans 63,000 sq ft and houses a growing team of approximately 1,000 engineers. It’s also equipped with 176 test channels, 42 thermal chambers, shaker tables for structural integrity testing, a battery tear-down area and an integrated test automation system”

    “Through countless iterations, the company’s engineers have also made important decisions regarding the battery’s design. As a result of intense scrutiny of the battery’s cooling characteristics, GM engineers chose a 5 x 8-inch prismatic cell configuration, instead of the wound, cylindrical design employed in mobile electronics (and in the Tesla Roadster). They also departed from the cobalt oxide cell chemistries commonly employed in consumer devices, and then added a hot and cold liquid cooling system to the pack, which consists of 288 cells.”


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (5:40 pm)

    OT:

    The countdown clock is at about 6.5 hours.

    I wonder what it will do at midnight tonight?

    I think Bob Lutz will appear and give the first person to click on his pink tie a free Volt!!!!

    Hope springs eternal………………..

    :-)


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    cab

     

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (5:45 pm)

    Cost of Volt is 40.95 MPGe for Lyle for 73% electric and 27% gas.

    So far it has cost Lyle $99 to drive 1291 miles in the Volt.

    It also costs $3.34/gallon for gas (premium I suppose so regular is probably $3.14/gallon).

    So $99 dollars would buy 99/3.14 = 31.53 gallons of regular gas.

    So the Volt so far has a MPGe cost of 1291/31.53 = 40.95 MPGe
    If electricity cost was 12 cents/KWh and the charge efficiency was 90% then cost would be 65.5 MPGe

    The killer is the 20 cents/KWh electricity cost and the 82% charging efficiency.

    That


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    T 1

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (5:57 pm)

    Why do some of you guys waste your time talking to a troll?


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (6:03 pm)

    Nelson

    What are you talking about?

    usbseawolf2000 is going by Lyles 73% EV and 37% gas driving cycle with plug ins every night and at work.

    Even if you just looked at the 946 EV miles traveled using $68 of electricity, $68 would buy 68/3.14 = 21.66 gallons of regular gas or the same cost as a car getting 43.68 MPGe.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (6:10 pm)

    Jim I: “The countdown clock is at about 6.5 hours.

    I wonder what it will do at midnight tonight?

    I think Bob Lutz will appear and give the first person to click on his pink tie a free Volt!!!!

    Hope springs eternal………………..”

    … midnight in what time zone?

    /limbering clicking finger …

    ;-)

    .


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (6:19 pm)

    Eco_Turbo: Wasn’t his article called “Say, Smokey…”? That was always the first thing I read in Popular Science. Smokey Yunick  (Quote)  (Reply)

    That’s it! Thanks.
    He had some really good articles.
    I wish I could find another true mechanic who is writhing a auto article.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (6:21 pm)

    Jackson: … midnight in what time zone?

    Hey it’s always 12 o’clock somewhere.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (6:30 pm)

    Craving for OBTAINING a “VOLT” Brochure. It My MOST WANTED 2011 “PRINTED” Full-detailed Brochure out of all other ALL-New 2011 Auto Brochures. I.ve e-mailed Chevy several times .+ E-mailed 1 dealer . If ANYBODY or Dealer has any HAVE Full-detailed “Printed” Chevy Volt Brochures-Please E-mail me Direct at < conleymj@yahoo.com. I reply back in flash with my POSTAL/ Mailing Address .Thank you


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (6:34 pm)

    coffeetime: You’ve hit upon the MAIN reason that many consumers will buy a Volt

    We must not quit even after all of the Oil Sheiks are on CNN sobbing like little girls when the USA no longer needs their stinking oil…


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (7:08 pm)

    Eco_Turbo:
    Hey it’s always 12 o’clock somewhere.    

    And even a stopped clock is right twice a day. ;-)


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (7:21 pm)

    John: Talk of $100/bbl oil in the news today. Is $4.00+ gas nationwide next year possible?http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Talk-of-100-Oil-Returns-as-bloomberg-1317601168.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=1&asset=&ccode=  (Quote)  (Reply)

    Meaningful recovery = $4.00+ gas, no way around it other than economic malaise or worse until there are enough Volts and other alternate fuel choices to limit potential demand.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (7:32 pm)

    Eco_Turbo: Hey it’s always 12 o’clock somewhere.

    At 15 min after the hour, it’s not 12 o’clock anywhere.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (7:34 pm)

    kdawg:
    At 15 min after the hour, it’s not 12 o’clock anywhere.    

    It’s 12:15


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (7:52 pm)

    “Volt consumer advisory board along with 16 other individuals across the nation ”

    Lyle….How can we see the drive logs of the rest of the advisory board?
    More logs would be more interesting.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (7:53 pm)

    Mike Conley: Craving for OBTAINING a “VOLT” Brochure. It My MOST WANTED 2011 “PRINTED” Full-detailed Brochure out of all other ALL-New 2011 Auto Brochures. I.ve e-mailed Chevy several times .+ E-mailed 1 dealer . If ANYBODY or Dealer has any HAVE Full-detailed “Printed” Chevy Volt Brochures-Please E-mail me Direct at < conleymj@yahoo.com. I reply back in flash with my POSTAL/ Mailing Address .Thank you

    Mike – It’s not a retail brochure, but a free 60-pg magazine-format pdf file with remarkable graphics intended for engineers, from the SAE at: http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/sae/10EVSD1104/#/0

    PS: I also emailed this to you


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (8:07 pm)

    Raymondjram: ROTFL!
    That was funny because it is silly to think that someone will do such thing!
    In the actual car, the system will sense the input voltages before connecting to its internal charger, so there is an interlock (relay) isolating the external charger port from any internal voltages. There will be no danger of “siphoning”. If there is any doubt, ask anyone who is driving a Volt to open the charging port and use a multimeter to check for any voltage at the contacts.
    Thank you again, Lyle, for that excellent usage report.
    Since you have another two months to test that Volt, what will you do when GM delivers your Volt next month? Would you have your wife use it?
    Raymond

    What if someone’s mouth is just right? Like the guys with braces who pick up radio signals?


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (8:08 pm)

    NEWS FLASH: from Chevrolet Volt. Tune-in tomorrow morning, Nov. 30, for a live webcast from our Detroit-Hamtramck manufacturing plant in recognition of the Chevrolet Volt. The pre-show begins at 9:30 a.m. EST, and will be led by General Motors CEO Dan Akerson along with other key members of GM and Chevrolet leadership, including representatives from the Volt development team. -Phil

    It will be at: http://www.facebook.com/chevroletvolt at 9:30 am EST


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (8:13 pm)

    Can someone help me understand one thing… Why did GM make the volt use premium gas only? I thought that they were trying to make this car compete with the others…

    P.S. I like it, but the premium gas prices will make this car not worth it. Regular gas would have given this car that extra value.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (8:25 pm)

    Great review Lyle. I can almost feel your feeling of great satisfaction with the Volt. The fuel price is practically free!


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (8:26 pm)

    Keith Mallard:

    Can someone help me understand one thing… Why did GM make the volt use premium gas only? I thought that they were trying to make this car compete with the others…

    P.S. I like it, but the premium gas prices will make this car not worth it. Regular gas would have given this car that extra value.

    Keith – From Dr Dennis’ intro for this topic, “Thus the total energy cost for me has thus been 9.28 x 3.34 = $31.00 for gas, and $68 for electricity. This works out to 7.7 cents per mile.”

    If we assume premium gas costs 20c/gal more than regular, his additional cost for the nearly 1,300 miles logged would have been: 9.28 gals x 20c = $1.86. And note that premium gas lasts longer and produces higher power from the Volt’s engine than regular, so it’s well worthwhile.


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    cab

     

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (8:29 pm)

    JohnM

    If you include the electricity price and the gas price the cost is the same for Lyle as a car that gets 40.95 MPG. We get a better deal in California where off peak electricity is 12 cents/KWh not 20 cents.


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    Loboc

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (8:42 pm)

    Keith Mallard: Can someone help me understand one thing… Why did GM make the volt use premium gas only?I thought that they were trying to make this car compete with the others…P.S.I like it, but the premium gas prices will make this car not worth it.Regular gas would have given this car that extra value.    

    You’re kidding right? That’s like 10 cups of coffee PER YEAR difference in cost.

    I think anybody buying a $33,500 car can budget a little for gas. Way less gas than your current car, btw.

    /I smell a troll around here somewhere.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (9:07 pm)

    Absolutely Awesome!
    USA USA USA!


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (9:12 pm)

    usbseawolf2000: For reference, 50 MPG Prius emit 0.388 lbs/mi running on gasoline.

    The problem with your “analysis” is you’re neglecting to mention that it takes 7.5 kWh of electricity to refine a gallon of gasoline and maybe another 2-3 kWh to do all the multiple pumps and stores until the gallon gets to the gas tank of the Prius. If you want to count the emissions from the kWh of electricity needed to charge the Volt, which is fair enough, then you need to count the kWh of electricity used in the refining and delivery process needed to deliver a gallon of gasoline to the Prius. If you count both, or neither for that matter, it’s obvious that the Prius isn’t remotely in the Volt’s league as far as all emissions, including CO2, are concerned. IOW in order to reach your preconceived conclusion, you make the very mistake you’re constantly claiming everyone else is making, namely, only counting ONE of the TWO sources of emissions created by running the car.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (9:14 pm)

    # 136

    Great. Now we’re getting oil-of-old-lady links.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (9:14 pm)

    GM expects the battery to last 10 years/150,000 miles. Yes, the battery will eventually need to be replaced but one could assume that the cost of the battery will come down considerably in 10 years. Because the ICE is used only 25% of the time (or less) the ICE will have the equivalent of only 37,500 miles on it (or less). It seems to me that the Volt will do quite well at retaining resale value. Does that make sense or am I missing something?


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (9:19 pm)

    DonC,

    You’re wasting your typing on this one.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (9:20 pm)

    kdawg: At 15 min after the hour, it’s not 12 o’clock anywhere.

    If I remember correctly Nepal is +45 minutes. Some people have to be different. LOL


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (9:21 pm)

    jim1961: GM expects the battery to last 10 years/150,000 miles. Yes, the battery will eventually need to be replaced but one could assume that the cost of the battery will come down considerably in 10 years. Because the ICE is used only 25% of the time (or less) the ICE will have the equivalent of only 37,500 miles on it (or less). It seems to me that the Volt will do quite well at retaining resale value. Does that make sense or am I missing something?  (Quote)  (Reply)

    When my daughter took her test drive in NJ a GM person told her that there is a VOLT battery that has more than 500,000 miles on it.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (9:24 pm)

    Mitch:
    I for one will wait for the first news link to the idiot that shoves 2 wires in and attempts to siphon (touching both leads with his (or her) tongue)    

    Folks won’t want to siphon the Volt’s battery because they won’t know if you’ve filled it with Regular or Premium electricity ;-)

    (Here in San Jose, CA, it’s definitely Premium, selling at over 60C per kWh if you’re a heavy user in summer…..).


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (9:26 pm)

    Loboc: You’re wasting your typing on this one.

    Yeah, I get that. But for me it’s a more general educational effort. FWIW Nissan has been quite good in pointing out the logical fallacy of counting the emissions related to the electricity needed to charge an EV but not the electricity needed to refine, store, and deliver the gasoline.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (9:50 pm)

    Thanks Lyle for the update!

    When I bought my Prius in 2007 I made a mental note to keep a log of my mileage, and that went out the window about five days later when I realized there was such a difference between my wife and my driving. It would be nice to have Driver 1 and Driver 2 settings and logs on the car computer – or a configurable system you could link up with your laptop via USB to update.

    My biggest conundrum re: buying a Volt when they’re available in Seattle, is that my wife will have the bliss of electric driving while I will have the bliss of cleaning the muck in the back seats from the joys of little kids riding back there…ugh… and it will basically fill the role of our current Prius.I work at home with no commute and drive my 4 X 4 1995 Toyota 6 cyl. T100 for my errands and picking up the kids after school. This year there basically would not have been a Thanksgiving holiday for us had we not had 4 wheel drive. We had snow for several days which is unusual here, but the timing would have been disastrous had it not been for my truck. It would be amazing to have a Voltec truck with all-weather capability. One interesting idea is Porsche’s “power axle” where two electric motors take energy from a flywheel instead of a battery pack – driving a different axle than the main engine/motor. Highlander hybrids and Lexus RX450hs have all wheel traction but they specify not to drive them off road. To me, an all wheel drive van or extra cab midsized pickup truck is the Swiss Army Knife of vehicles – One vehicle to meet the lion’s share of the needs of most owners.

    We’re basically on a middle class income so I am realizing a LEAF for her ( “sacrificial lamb” for the kids ) and a Volt for me while keeping the old truck isn’t within our budget.

    Now the hardest thing to think about is the idea of selling our Prius and handing those precious Volt keys to the wife and kids —- AAAUGH!!!!

    PUMP OUT THE VOLTS! ( in all 50 states ).

    James


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    EVO

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    Nov 29th, 2010 (10:14 pm)

    The last generation Mercedes E class came with 15 different engines and three different transmissions for 45 possible drivetrain configurations, none of which offered perfectly quiet and smooth acceleration at a maximum torque at 1 rpm launch, while the Volt has one drivetrain unavailable in any other vehicle on the planet, so that comparison doesn’t help much for understanding performance, without knowing WHICH drivetrain configuration Lyle had in his old Merc. My bet is that it wasn’t diesel, which means no low end torque grunt, which the Volt has in gobs and gobs.

    The E relates to fuel injection, from the 1950s.

    So no surprise that the Volt/Ampera would be generally viewed as more desirable than an E class Mercedes.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (10:23 pm)

    JB,
    LOL
    I was thinking the same thing.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (10:37 pm)

    VladG: usbseawolf2000, Yes, but there is a small difference. We can greatly change the way we produce electricity, but we cannot change way we extract oil. At this particular moment of time and in particular place Prius can be more economical, but Prius, being a great car, is nailed to the single source of energy.In Massachusetts Volt and Prius would cost about the same to run 1291 miles: around $75-80 ($.17/kWh $3/gal).At the same time, Noah Nehm noticed here, in France electricity cost is $.18/kWh and gasoline is $7/gal. In France Volt would run 1291 miles for $81 (assuming electric mode only) comparing to $180 for Prius. As you can see – same time, different place, drastically different results.So there are two ways of moving forward. We can blame Volt for its price, “lack of economy” and production of more CO2 in certain places that some other good cars and, in general, go into well known “just consume less of what we have” philosophy or we can try to imagine the future where we produce electricity using thorium nuclear cycle (10 times less waste than uranium, and mere 300 years of waste activity) combined with solar and wind technologies.In case of Volt this future makes sense. In case of gasoline car, even the good one – it does not.  (Quote)  (Reply)

    Very well put.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (11:01 pm)

    Kubel:
    “Can the cost of the charger be rolled into the Volt’s lease?”

    Chevy Dealer:
    “What charger are you referring to?”

    Kubel:
    ::facepalm::


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (11:10 pm)

    nasaman: Keith – From Dr Dennis’ intro for this topic, “Thus the total energy cost for me has thus been 9.28 x 3.34 = $31.00 for gas, and $68 for electricity. This works out to 7.7 cents per mile.”If we assume premium gas costs 20c/gal more than regular, his additional cost for the nearly 1,300 miles logged would have been: 9.28 gals x 20c = $1.86. And note that premium gas lasts longer and produces higher power from the Volt’s engine than regular, so it’s well worthwhile.  (Quote)  (Reply)

    FYI: there is no more energy in Premium gas then regular gas. However the higher Octane allows for a higher compression engine, therefore more HP from the same size engine. Just saying.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (11:19 pm)

    scottf200:
    Seats down

    Seats up

    I’m curious about the “Seats up” picture that you posted. When I saw the Volt in person, there was nothing in the middle there to block the gap between the two back seats and the cargo area in the back. Is this some sort of pre-production concept?

    I’d love to have something to separate the two compartments. What you posted looks great, but that’s not what I’ve seen in person.

    join thE REVolution


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (11:29 pm)

    EVO: “So no surprise that the Volt/Ampera would be generally viewed as more desirable than an E class Mercedes.”

    I don’t see where you can jump to this conclusion. They are in two different price classes and two different market segments. Kind of like comparing an MKZ to a Corolla.

    Lyle said: ” It reminds me of the Mercedes E350 I used to drive.” This is an impression, not a direct comparison per se. Going from this to ‘Volt is more desirable’ is quite a jump. imho.


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (11:37 pm)

    Jim:
    FYI: there is no more energy in Premium gas then regular gas. However the higher Octane allows for a higher compression engine, therefore more HP from the same size engine. Just saying.    

    The engine management computer can adjust the timing, spark advance, fuel injection duration, (and maybe even the valve timing in some cases) to better utilize premium fuel. However, if the engine was originally designed for regular fuel, there wouldn’t be much improvement without tweaking the settings with a chip modification.

    Even then, you can only go so far. Like up two octane points (say from 87 to 89 octane).

    Check out Diablo Predator.

    http://www.amazon.com/DiabloSport-U7135-Predator-Flash-Tuner/dp/B000Z4IEZ4/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=I3KB4V77UA8VES&colid=32E6KYCU7JA4G


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    Nov 29th, 2010 (11:49 pm)

    Loboc:
    I don’t see where you can jump to this conclusion. They are in two different price classes and two different market segments. Kind of like comparing an MKZ to a Corolla.

    Lyle said: ” It reminds me of the Mercedes E350 I used to drive.” This is an impression, not a direct comparison per se. Going from this to ‘Volt is more desirable’ is quite a jump. imho.

    Lyle also said: “When I came out the attendant had mounted the [Volt] car up on the curb in front of the restaurant like a trophy while a dozen high end Benz’ and BMWs sat neatly in the rows with [other] common cars in the back parking lot. The attendant was filled with glee and said he wished he was allowed to drive the Volt out on the road, but took it around the parking lot as may times as he could.”

    No conclusion jumping at all, Loboc. Did you read the entire article?


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    Nov 30th, 2010 (12:00 am)

    Countdown clock reads 00. I win. I win…

    I remember when that was 1000 days…


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    Nov 30th, 2010 (12:14 am)

    Also, Lyle obviously desires the Volt more, because he now drives one, and doesn’t drive a Mercedes E class any more, which he used to. Just as my daily driver now uses electric drive, when I used to drive a precursor to the Cadillac DTS. Nothing provides luxury performance launches like electric drive, blended or not. Facts speak louder than FUD.


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    Nov 30th, 2010 (12:15 am)

    ClarksonCote:
    I’m curious about the “Seats up” picture that you posted.When I saw the Volt in person, there was nothing in the middle there to block the gap between the two back seats and the cargo area in the back.Is this some sort of pre-production concept?I’d love to have something to separate the two compartments.What you posted looks great, but that’s not what I’ve seen in person.join thE REVolution    

    I don’t recall that either when I test drove but I admit I was pretty excited and could have missed a lot of things.

    They came from the gallery here: http://www.autoblog.com/model/volt

    Hmm… could it be the LPO: “(RWW) Rear seat storage/barrier” ???

    http://gm-volt.com/files/Volt_workbook.pdf


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    Nov 30th, 2010 (12:19 am)

    http://gm-volt.com/chevy-volt-reasons-for-use-and-cost-of-operation/

    Chevy Volt: Reasons For Use and Cost Of Operation
    REASONS TO BUY A VOLT:
    There appear to be three leading reasons people are interested in buying a Chevy Volt, in order of importance:
    - To achieve freedom from oil use
    - To achieve cost savings
    - To protect the environment

    (Map may just depict areas relative to each other.
    Current numbers for below: http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/table5_6_a.html )
    energy_map.gif

    energy_source.gif


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    Nov 30th, 2010 (12:21 am)

    Great report…I hope the furthest public dissemination on real-consumer reports like this. I was beat on the 12:00 post, but it is DAY OF SALE! Thank goodness. No rush on a release in coal-heavy Ohio, I understand…
    Even Honda has done a 180 and declared they will be marketing a plug-in in 2012.
    PS – Lyle, you really should try reusable grocery bags;)


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    Nov 30th, 2010 (12:21 am)

    I want to drive a domestically fueled car. Can the Volt’s gas engine be converted to Natural Gas. (hang in there the stations with nat gas are coming)


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    Nov 30th, 2010 (12:22 am)

    Loboc: The engine management computer can adjust the timing, spark advance, fuel injection duration, (and maybe even the valve timing in some cases) to better utilize premium fuel. However, if the engine was originally designed for regular fuel, there wouldn’t be much improvement without tweaking the settings with a chip modification.Even then, you can only go so far. Like up two octane points (say from 87 to 89 octane). Check out Diablo Predator.http://www.amazon.com/DiabloSport-U7135-Predator-Flash-Tuner/dp/B000Z4IEZ4/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=I3KB4V77UA8VES&colid=32E6KYCU7JA4G  (Quote)  (Reply)

    My statment is correct, “there is no more energy in Premium gas then regular gas.”


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    Nov 30th, 2010 (12:28 am)

    (click to show comment)


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    Nov 30th, 2010 (12:36 am)

    Jim:
    My statment is correct, “there is no more energy in Premium gas then regular gas.”    

    http://gm-volt.com/2010/07/30/why-the-volt-requires-premium-gasoline/
    Why the Volt Requires Premium Gasoline


    According to Volt vehicle line director Tony Posawatz, there are two main reasons.
    “The Volt is all about efficiency,” he said. “Premium fuel offers the opportunity to have a little bit more spark.”

    “Ninety one octane fuel also offers the opportunity to be a little more efficient, he added. “So technically its a five to ten percent fuel economy improvement the few times that most people will run the range extender.”
    Posawatz also claimed the increase is cost will be offset by the efficiency gains.

    “Based on our calculations the fuel economy and efficiency gains you get will effectively compensate for the extra cost of premium fuel,” he said
    Additionally, premium fuel is apparently slower to go stale.

    If people are not using the extended range capability a lot, the premium fuel does last a little longer,” he said “There will be a few that will have their gas go bad,” he added. “We have ways to address that as well.”


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    Nov 30th, 2010 (12:48 am)

    Loboc: I don’t see where you can jump to this conclusion. They are in two different price classes and two different market segments. Kind of like comparing an MKZ to a Corolla.

    A Volt would be a more appealing car to me than a Mercedes S Class. Would it be better? Depends on your definition of better. Probably not based on many of the traditional measures. But the Volt can go on electricity and they can’t. So for me the Volt is “better”.

    To some extent ICE vehicles are the victims of their own success. They’re all awfully good. An S Class may be better than an E Class, and maybe a BMW might be better than either one, but it’s all marginal. Especially if you’re just driving locally.

    At some point EVs are just more exciting to me because they’re new and exciting. ICE vehicles are boring by comparison but they remain awesome from a performance standpoint. IOW no accounting for taste.


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    kent beuchert

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    Nov 30th, 2010 (12:50 am)

    20 cents per kilowatthour is pretty outrageous, but then we’re talking the Northeast, home of highway robbery from the grid.


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    Nov 30th, 2010 (12:54 am)

    rvd: yoy are absolutly right, nevermind the negative rating

    Yeah he’s absolutely right. You produce fewer emissions consuming a gallon of gas and 10 kWh of electricity than you do by consuming 15 kWh of electricity. Ba ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!


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    Nov 30th, 2010 (1:18 am)

    12 plastic bags?! Surely the back could fit 12 canvas bags, no?


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    Nov 30th, 2010 (5:17 am)

    From the article: I primarily use the sport mode which has a more aggressive pedal map, but is noted by GM not to reduce efficiency over the normal mode. I usually get anywhere from 32 to 38 miles of EV range…

    My total combined average fuel economy in charge-sustaining mode is 37.3 MPG.

    So you’re getting the EPA estimates in sport mode. Maybe the EPA estimates are a bit off?


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    Nov 30th, 2010 (6:42 am)

    JB,

    Plastic bags in the same review as the volt … not good :(
    Otherwise great review :)


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    Nov 30th, 2010 (8:12 am)

    I live in Belgium.

    When will it be possible to test the Volt in Belgium ??


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    Nov 30th, 2010 (8:24 am)

    cab,

    Even if gas was $1 / gallon and I could buy a car for $10k that gave me 60 MGP, I would still buy the $41K Volt because I’d rather my money not go to a country that is anti-democracy and supports terrorists. Not to mention I like my air particle free.

    NPNS!


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    Nov 30th, 2010 (9:05 am)

    I have found slight
    issues with the low front end air dam which scrapes on steep angles, but am told by GM officials this wont injure it as it was made to bend.  They also
    claim a higher front end optional dam design will be made available.

    I am pleased to hear that GM will have an optional higher up air dam. For me, I would rather give up some air flow instead of scraping my air dam constantly. Maybe later, GM can design an air dam that can be raised and lowered like a visor to give people like me the best of both worlds.
    For some people, opportunity charging will be important to get the most benefit out of their Volt. I am looking forward to see what changes will be made for Gen. II Volt.


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    Nov 30th, 2010 (9:15 am)

    Unfortunately, suggestions simply end up getting negative votes. It’s really hard to be constructive when getting arbitrarily dismissed like that. But in an attempt to make the real-world data more informative, here it goes anyway…

    Looking at the daily-driving log, notice how there is no on-going average. Without one, there’s no way of seeing how individual days influence the overall efficiency.

    All that’s provided is a final total. And that’s based upon computer estimates, not actual measurement at the pump. Experience reveals the process of approximating the quantity of fuel injected results in several MPG for the margin-of-error.

    Also, notice how there’s no mention of CS-mode efficiency, nor is there the number of times plugged in each day.


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    usbseawolf2000

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    Nov 30th, 2010 (10:02 am)

    DonC:
    The problem with your “analysis” is you’re neglecting to mention that it takes 7.5 kWh of electricity to refine a gallon of gasoline and maybe another 2-3 kWh to do all the multiple pumps and stores until the gallon gets to the gas tank of the Prius. If you want to count the emissions from the kWh of electricity needed to charge the Volt, which is fair enough, then you need to count the kWh of electricity used in the refining and delivery process needed to deliver a gallon of gasoline to the Prius. If you count both, or neither for that matter, it’s obvious that the Prius isn’t remotely in the Volt’s league as far as all emissions, including CO2, are concerned. IOW in order to reach your preconceived conclusion, you make the very mistake you’re constantly claiming everyone else is making, namely, only counting ONE of the TWO sources of emissions created by running the car.    

    DonC, I still have not heard from you what car you currently drive. Some big claims you got there. I like to see you back them up from a reputable source.

    If you want Well-To-Wheel comparison, see below (from DOE):

    26563d1288885376-test-drove-volt-today-us-average-mix-ghg.jpg

    Electric miles using the electricity in the US is not very clean because majority of the power come from Coal. A standard hybrid is still the leader in lowest Greenhouse gas emission.


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    Nov 30th, 2010 (10:22 am)

    scottf200: I spend $250 a month now in gas for just my vehicle. Yep, I realize the extra I’ll pay in electricity and less I’ll pay in oil changes, etc.But I realize, I’ll make an environmental impact and help GM and their employees get this going.

    I paid hybrid premium when I got Prius as well. I got hybrid premium features so it was worth it for me. What are hybrid premium features?

    - Consume less gas
    - Reduce emission
    - Electric propulsion (smooth and quiet)
    - HOV lane access
    - Etc…

    Volt may consume less gas but emission benefit is questionable. It has no HOV lane access as well. My point is, if you want to make environmental impact, there are better ways of doing it. You mentioned your gas bill is $250 per month. You can lease a Prius for $189 per month and get more hybrid premium features than Volt can offer.

    If you want to help GM and their employees, there is no better way than buying the Volt. You’ll pay $33,500 and tax payers will pay $7,500.


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    Loboc

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    Nov 30th, 2010 (10:46 am)

    EVO,

    Yes, I read the entire thing. Twice. At no time did Lyle state “Volt is way better than E350″.

    Even if he did, the fact still stands. These are two entirely different marketing areas for cars.

    There is no way a $33k car compares directly to a $50k one.


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    Jay

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    Nov 30th, 2010 (1:02 pm)

    Matthew_B:
    My electricity is 71% hydro.My power costs 7.1 c/kwh.You can take your Prius and shove it.    

    If he shoves it where the sun doesn’t shine, the solar panels on the roof won’t work.


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    freetimecreations

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    Nov 30th, 2010 (1:32 pm)

    @usbseawolf2000

    I see this graph showing WTW emissions for coal generated electricity and NOT what DonC was asking for. He asked for WTW for the production, transportation, pumping, and what ever else is need to get gas from Oil Wells to the Wheels. Am I correct in saying this graph shows only your side of the argument?

    usbseawolf2000:
    DonC, I still have not heard from you what car you currently drive. Some big claims you got there. I like to see you back them up from a reputable source.If you want Well-To-Wheel comparison, see below (from DOE):Electric miles using the electricity in the US is not very clean because majority of the power come from Coal. A standard hybrid is still the leader in lowest Greenhouse gas emission.    


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    Linda

     

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    Nov 30th, 2010 (2:04 pm)

    Good review, but I was struck by the photo of your groceries in plastic bags. You want to drive an electirc vehicle, but still use plastic bags? I find that very ironic.


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    usbseawolf2000

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    Nov 30th, 2010 (3:28 pm)

    freetimecreations: @usbseawolf2000I see this graph showing WTW emissions for coal generated electricity and NOT what DonC was asking for. He asked for WTW for the production, transportation, pumping, and what ever else is need to get gas from Oil Wells to the Wheels. Am I correct in saying this graph shows only your side of the argument?
        

    WTW includes everything from mining, production, transportation, pumping, etc of coal, gas, oil, everything that goes into our grid. The topic was about emission, not energy.

    If you want to look at the entire report, see below.

    http://www.osti.gov/bridge/servlets/purl/982352-XonYa7/982352.pdf


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    freetimecreations

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    Nov 30th, 2010 (4:01 pm)

    usbseawolf2000: WTW includes everything from mining, production, transportation, pumping, etc of coal, gas, oil, everything that goes into our grid. The topic was about emission, not energy.

    Exactly, emissions. Your absolutely correct that the graph shows everything that goes into the production of our grid power used for the EV portion of the car.
    Now where is the information for the “emissions” created throughout the production, transportation of gasoline used for the ICE in your car?
    Being smirk, the gas just does not appear in the Gas Station Pump. Just like the chart is showing all the emissions of electricity production. It does not just appear in our Electrical Outlet.


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    Nov 30th, 2010 (5:27 pm)

    From the OP:

    Of those miles 946 (73%) were on electricity and 346 (27%) were on gas.

    My total combined average fuel economy in charge-sustaining mode is 37.3 MPG.

    I have consumed an estimated 340.4 kwh at a cost of 20 cents per kwh.

    End quote

    So, 340.4 kwh / 946 EV miles = 360 wh/mile in CD mode. How much of that is due to agressive driving style mentioned? I thought it was going to be about 250 wh/mile. Are my calculations wrong or my expectations?


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    Bungoman

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    Nov 30th, 2010 (5:34 pm)

    usbseawolf2000,

    So, do you think the WTW calculation in that chart factors in the military action necessary to secure those oil based fuels and all the energy costs associated with it? Oh wait, it doesn’t.

    So, do you think the WTW calculation in that chart factors in the several hundred thousand human deaths that are attributed to the present day military action that has been necessary to secure those oil based fuels? Oh wait, it doesn’t.

    So, do you think the WTW calculation in that chart factors in the costs of everything that has had to change in our lives since 9/11 for the sake of protecting ourselves from people who’s root problem with our culture is directly tied to our thirst for their oil? Oh wait, it doesn’t.

    Externalities, like Karma, can be a real bitch sometimes.


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    Pete

     

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    Nov 30th, 2010 (6:13 pm)

    Lyle,

    Nice report. I live in a climate that is cold in winter and hot in summer. Does anyone have a graph of the temp effect on range over -20 to 110? How about the effect on range when using the heater and the air conditioner? Battery pack replacement adds about ten cents per mile assuming $10K cost and 100K Mi.

    Thanks,
    Pete


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    usbseawolf2000

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    Nov 30th, 2010 (7:34 pm)

    freetimecreations: Now where is the information for the “emissions” created throughout the production, transportation of gasoline used for the ICE in your car?

    I don’t think this report shows the breakdown for gasoline but WTW value was given for comparison. The graph I posted before (also on page 107) indicated about 400 gram/mi for non-hybrid gas powered car.

    Are you suggesting DOE omitted gasoline Well-To-Pump emission to pull an unfair comparison?


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    usbseawolf2000

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    Nov 30th, 2010 (7:48 pm)

    Bungoman: So, do you think the WTW calculation in that chart factors in the military action necessary to secure those oil based fuels and all the energy costs associated with it?Oh wait, it doesn’t…. several hundred thousand human deaths … 9/11…

    If you are going to use FUD, I can pull out Lithium dependency card as well but let’s not go there.

    You don’t have to be an Oil Terminator with extremist mindset. We simply need to cut our consumption by half to become independent. If you eliminate all the oil consumption, US jobs will be lost because we also produce half of the oil we consume.

    The #1 country we import oil from is Canada. #2 is Nigeria and #3 is Mexico. So the fear, uncertainty, doubt you are projecting is exaggerated.

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/company_level_imports/current/import.html


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    Bungoman

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    Nov 30th, 2010 (9:18 pm)

    usbseawolf2000,

    Nothing you typed addresses the current oil war we have been engaged in since 1991. Simple, unarguable facts and figures. So which of us has the FUD factor? Oh yea, you.

    And last I checked the countries with the big easily extractable lithium reserves are on very good terms with us and don’t even require crossing an ocean to get to. Oh yea, all that lithium is 100% recyclable, unlike fossile fuels, but I guess that little fact was too heady for you?


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    Nov 30th, 2010 (9:40 pm)

    Bungoman,

    You concern is valid and I share the same view as well — one of the reason why I drive Prius. Some of the posters here may preach about oil independence but at the end of the day, they jump on the gas hog SUVs.

    What I wanted to point out was not to think like black or white / all or nothing. There is a balance middle ground that gives the best bang for the buck. I may be bias because I drive a Prius but I back up my statements from reputable sources, unlike DonC.

    With due respect, do you mind disclosing what you currently drive?


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    freetimecreations

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    Nov 30th, 2010 (10:10 pm)

    usbseawolf2000: I don’t think this report shows the breakdown for gasoline but WTW value was given for comparison. The graph I posted before (also on page 107) indicated about 400 gram/mi for non-hybrid gas powered car.
    Are you suggesting DOE omitted gasoline Well-To-Pump emission to pull an unfair comparison?

    Nope, I am not suggesting that anymore. I learn something new or at least understand something new. It takes reading and not looking at the pictures.


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    Bungoman

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    Nov 30th, 2010 (10:34 pm)

    usbseawolf2000,

    No problem:

    2005 Jetta TDI with a Frybrid WVO conversion kit which I had installed a few months after I bought the car new. Over 200,000 miles mostly on waste vegetable oil.

    I have even considered purchasing a used Prius and installing an Enginer battery kit, and I may still do so.

    But I just cannot tolerate the Prius fanboi-ism. I would have thought that most Prius owners would be enlightened enough to hail the coming of the Volt, rather than become typical clan savages. It sickens me actually. That’s why I take great pleasure in pointing out that now the Prius is a big oil teet suckling pig with a continuous stream of human bloodshed attached to its operation. The Volt allows the average US driver to have no blood on their hands under average driving conditions. And, if they would actually figure in the CO2 and pollution associated with the current oil war, I believe the Prius and other non plug in hybrids would realize a much large carbon footprint.

    So I’ll back off, but be on notice that I will hold Prius fanbois feet to the fire at every opportunity.


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    Dec 1st, 2010 (2:04 am)

    ksstathead: So, 340.4 kwh / 946 EV miles = 360 wh/mile in CD mode.How much of that is due to agressive driving style mentioned?I thought it was going to be about 250 wh/mile.Are my calculations wrong or my expectations?    

    Where was the 340.4 kWh measured? There are inefficiencies in the charging system as well as potential losses in temperature management of the battery during charge. If the 340.4 kWh was based on measurement from the AC mains and the 250 Wh/mile is based on DC power delivered from the battery, that could account for some of the discrepancy.


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    Allen

     

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    Dec 1st, 2010 (10:34 am)

    Placed my order for the Volt yesterday in NJ! Expect April delivery. And I got it without paying a premium over the list price.


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    GM Volt Fan

     

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    Dec 1st, 2010 (12:20 pm)

    Great review of the Volt Lyle! I am sure you are loving being one of the very first people outside GM in the world to have a Volt. You are a lucky guy.


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    benion2

     

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    Dec 1st, 2010 (1:08 pm)

    usbseawolf2000: they jump on the gas hog SUVs.

    That’s what I do. I love my gas hog SUV. It tows my gas hog boat. I’ll be glad to drive my second gen. Volt to the the marina, to use my gas hog boat. But, I’m still driving a pretty dang good Chevy Impala, that I park next to the gas hog SUV, that really seems to bug you.
    OT- Lyle’s report, sounds very exciting. Go GM!

    Benion2
    GM Fanboy


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    UVic EcoCAR

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    Dec 1st, 2010 (9:38 pm)

    Wow, $99 for driving 1300 miles, even with your relatively high cost of electricity. I live in British Columbia, Canada, where I pay about $0.08/kWh (depending on usage); with your usage in BC, you would have paid around $58. Not to mention that over 90% of the electricity produced in BC is through hydro, so it’s clean to boot!

    I’m also part of a student team at the University of Victoria developing a plug-in hybrid as part of the EcoCAR Challenge, which is sponsored by GM (they rock!), so it’s really cool to see the potential of next generation hybrids. :)

    Support University of Victoria in the EcoCAR competition!
    Check out the team on Uvic EcoCAR website: http://www.ecocar.uvic.ca
    Get involved on Uvic EcoCAR forum: http://ecocar.dailyforum.net/
    Learn more about the competition on Green Garage website: http://www.green-garage.org/


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    Pete

     

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    Dec 2nd, 2010 (10:05 am)

    So, no one has any information on how range is effected by temperature, air conditioner or heater use, headlight use, radio use, etc. Seems like there is no hard tech. info available. This is very dissappointing.


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    Dec 2nd, 2010 (1:13 pm)

    The Volt really needs to use E85 rather than premium. I know there are some costs involved with E85 also, but the benefits outway those costs IMHO. I’d also like to know how many 45 watt collectors I’d need to charge my Volt overnight for use as in this review…anyone got data on this?


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    Dec 3rd, 2010 (1:35 am)

    I love the new volt. Congrats to everyone who is making these changes possible. My question however is why buy a Volt for $33500 when I could order a tesla model S for $42500? All electric. 280 mile range.

    I don’t mean to bash the volt in anyway because I know price point for the average person is already pushing it at 33 thousand but it just seems to me that for 9 thousand extra the Tesla is much more car. Am I wrong?


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    EFK

     

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    Dec 6th, 2010 (1:47 pm)

    shouldn’t you have asked for paper instead of plastic at the grocery store ;)


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    Jim

     

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    Dec 8th, 2010 (9:41 pm)

    Ryan: I love the new volt. Congrats to everyone who is making these changes possible. My question however is why buy a Volt for $33500 when I could order a tesla model S for $42500? All electric. 280 mile range. I don’t mean to bash the volt in anyway because I know price point for the average person is already pushing it at 33 thousand but it just seems to me that for 9 thousand extra the Tesla is much more car. Am I wrong?  (Quote)  (Reply)

    Tesla S looks like a great car, however you can’t get one until at least 2012. So that would be one reason to get the Volt. And then there is that range thing. Just saying.