Jan 31

Lucky Family First to Get a Volt & a Leaf

 


[ad#post_ad]So far we haven’t found anyone in California or anywhere else with BOTH new mass-produced plug-in cars. Since my wife Rochelle Lefkowitz and I both work from home, we’re not that typical. Still, as early adopters, it’s a privilege to be an ecumenical plug-in household.

Which car is better? The real competition is the electric mile versus the fossil-fuel mile. But we enjoy competition among plug-in design solutions and carmaker races — so here are our initial impressions and our first match-ups. In the spirit of encouraging wide discussion, we’re posting this message broadly. See links at http://www.calcars.org/photos-plugins-arrive.html for the latest.

Since we got our Volt on Dec. 22 and our Leaf Jan. 24, I’ve felt like we’ve taken a time machine to the future. Since as the Founder of CalCars.org I’ve been doing little else but talk and evangelize about this for a decade, I thought I’d be ready for this moment. But now that it’s really here, it’s far better than I ever imagined!

Each car is like a 21st century space capsule, gliding silently through streets clogged with last-century vehicles. I was never so aware of the unique and ugly sounds from each gas-guzzler. At stop lights I even feel their low-frequency vibrations. As a driver of a Prius since 2004, which 60,000 miles ago in 2006 was converted to a plug-in hybrid, and as an occasional driver of a RAV4 EV or a Tesla Roadster, I’ve had glimpses of how this feels. But it’s completely different to drive this way almost all the time!

Each car greets the driver with fun as its first feature. The instant torque of electric motors turns each of them into rocketships at low speeds, and easy lane-changers on the highway.

The driver’s seat of the Volt feels like an airplane cockpit. It’s a little intimidating at first, but reassuring after a few minutes of studying the controls and displays — or just ignoring some for a while. The Leaf has a spare quality, and the simpler right-side panel is all about audio and climate.

Each car offers subtle clues about its fundamental character. The Volt puts a whole car between the front left electric door and the rear right gasoline door. Inside, the button to flip open the electric door stands out while I have to work to reach the gas-door release, giving the message, “You’re not going to be using this very often.” The Leaf’s charging ports are under a giant door right in the center of the car’s nose: “There’s nothing going on in here but electricity.”

Both cars have slipped up some on what’s called “computer-human interface.” We wish they’d listened to suggestions to put prototypes in the hands of Silicon Valley’s usability experts last summer. For instance, the charging signals. Plug in the Volt and the indicator turns yellow (connected), then steady green (charging). Finally it flashes green (done). That’s exactly the reverse of a user’s expectations. The Leaf, with a longer charge time, starts out well, with three indicators that illuminate in succession as the car reaches its charge. But 15 minutes after it’s full, all the blue lights go off. My first morning, when I greeted the plugged-in car, I wondered, “what happened?” Both MyLink and MyLeaf, the phone apps that enable me to monitor and control charging and many other activities, need major overhauls and quicker refresh. (Since the Nissan app doesn’t make Leaf all-caps, I’ve got permission to stop doing so….)

Each car’s manual is full of important information — far more than I got even in the superb orientations from Novato Chevy’s Terry McCarter and North Bay Nissan’s Victor Maldonado. But each is daunting, and, unsurprisingly, written defensively and sometimes in legalese. I downloaded them fromAttachment 936Attachment 936 http://www.chevrolet.com/assets/pdf/…olt_owners.pdf and http://www.nissan-techinfo.com/refgh…issan-Leaf.pdf. Alas, for a spare copy, pages designed to fit in a glove compartment don’t print well on letter-sized paper. And while the Volt’s Index listings are live links; the Leaf’s aren’t, though once I got inside its chapters I could click to navigate. Nissan and GM may be watching Hyundai, which turned its Equus manual into a downloadable App — and included an IPad with the car.

We all know both cars will get better soon. All carmakers will learn from each other. (The savvy ones aren’t relying on their customer service operations, but have budgeted for large teams to track down and analyze the tens of thousands of comments and suggestions strewn around online.) The automakers can quickly update some software features. One reason we leased the Volt instead of buying it is our expectation for future hardware improvements in Version 2. The Volt’s big challenge is making the car a five-seater. Tomorrow, Nissan could promise to supply every Leaf with rear headrests that lower to the level of the top of the back seats. That will vastly improve the half-blocked rear window visibility. (We remove them and replace them when we have rear passengers.)

Rochelle’s first comment was, “Hey, I love these cars!” (She and our son Josh, both shown at the CalCars.org “Plug-Ins Arrive” page, have been stalwart supporters.) She wishes both carmakers had personalized the mirrors so she doesn’t have to reset them every time she gets in after I’ve driven it. Otherwise, she’s happy to just be able to get into each vehicle, push the on-button and drive it like any other car. She says it was a bigger adjustment to switch from a 1997 Camry to a 2007 Camry Hybrid than from that car to the Volt. She appreciates the rear cameras, especially important now that most safety-conscious cars come with thick side pillars.

Finally, the hard numbers. Our Leaf experience began with a fair test with an EPA-assigned 73-mile range: from the dealer in Petaluma to Redwood City. Driving at 65 MPH the whole way and not bothering to detour around the steep hill in San Francisco between the Golden Gate Bridge and US 101 (which cost about 4 miles of range), we finished a 74-mile trip comfortably with 14 miles to spare. The Leaf is reassuringly predictable: with 80-100 miles of juice, most of the time, we don’t think about range; we just drive around and charge it at night. With 163 miles in four days, it may become our first-to-use car, with the Volt reserved for times we both drive and for distances.

The Volt is a more dramatic story. In 37 days, we’ve driven 2,281.0 miles and used 33.4 gallons. Does an average of 68.1 MPG sound disappointing? Not to us — because it includes two round-trips to Lake Tahoe. Until now, no one could drive a plug-in car that route without refueling along the way: 225 miles including 8,000 feet of Sierra elevations. (Read about that record-setting first trip and see photos at http://evworld.com/article.cfm?storyid=1955.)

Here are details on the two Tahoe expeditions: First: 225.7 miles, 6.31 gallons at 35.8 MPG up, and 221.5 miles, 4.36 gallons at 50.8 MPG down. Second: 244.0 miles, 6.37 gallons at 38.1 MPG up, and 242.9 miles, 4.56 gallons at 53.2MPG down. (The second time we more than confirmed the numbers. We don’t know why we got better results even on a longer route with an additional passenger and more cargo.)

We started each of the four drives with a full battery (boosting our average), then had major uphill drives (reducing MPG). The combined 43.2MPG is about what a second- or third-generation Prius gets on that route. (We expect the Gen2 Volt will improve its long-distance “charge-depleted” driving performance, which wasn’t the top priority in GM’s four-year push to meet the Volt’s promised delivery date.) This proves a PHEV’s best selling point: this one car can drive all-electric most of the time at its base location, then go any distance worry-free with good fuel economy, and again drive entirely electrically at its destination.

We’ve reached a sweet moment. Since 2005, CalCars has been trumpeting that plug-in hybrids (and extended range electric vehicles) get100+ MPG of gasoline (plus a penny a mile of electricity). GM didn’t squawk when the Volt sticker said its MPG when using gasoline and electricity would range from 69-168 MPG for 30-75 mile trips. Now our real-world Volt experience confirms both our experience with conversions and our predictions for production vehicles. Many of our Bay Area trips in the Volt have exceeded the car’s typical 35-40 mile all-electric range — and we’ve used our portable charging connector at a destination only once. When we subtract out the two long trips, our local 1,346.9 miles on 11.8 gallons were at 114.1 MPG. (And CalCars colleague Ron Gremban driving his Volt Lynne McAllister showed 205 MPG after their first 468 miles, mostly in Marin County.) As they say, QED — point proven!

Stay tuned for more specifics and comparisons in the future.

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This entry was posted on Monday, January 31st, 2011 at 12:01 am and is filed under Competitors, Volt Nation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 50


  1. 1
    Mike-o-Matic

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (12:42 am)

    Wow, it must be tough to choose what to drive on a given day!


  2. 2
    Kent

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (12:52 am)

    One noticeable point left out of this comparison. The Volt looks a helluva lot better!


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    Mike-o-Matic

     

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (12:55 am)

    Felix, judging from the photo, you appear to be pretty tall. May I ask, how tall exactly, and how do you like the Volt’s seating, head and legroom, etc.?

    What exciting times! Congratulations and keep up the good work.


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    jim perkins

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (1:08 am)

    I bet they dont have 2 llamas


  5. 5
    jeffhre

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (1:13 am)

    Enjoy your vehicles. Thank you for all of the years you put in to reach this point. Thanks again for the report and the whole ball of wax resulting from the years of effort. I could add, it’s a little late though. I’ve been waiting to see that picture in front of your garage and the write-up on your experience of it since about 1976. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂


  6. 6
    Larry

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (2:45 am)

    Prius’ and Leafs and Volts… Oh My!


  7. 7
    Mark Z

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (4:02 am)

    An iPad in the Volt would be nice, but how many of those iPads would stay parked in the glove compartment? What would help is to have the manual on the Volt hard drive and allow quick access during a help mode by pressing the console button for help on that button. Appearing on the center console screen, it wouldn’t leave the Volt.


  8. 8
    Dave K.

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (5:38 am)

    Total cost for the three $100k
    Total tax credit $20k

    Incentives won’t last forever.

    =D-Volt


  9. 9
    Dan Durston

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (5:52 am)

    “Plug in the Volt and the indicator turns yellow (connected), then steady green (charging). Finally it flashes green (done). That’s exactly the reverse of a user’s expectations.”

    This sounds pretty darn normal to me. I doubt a user would expect the reverse….yellow when fully charged???


  10. 10
    Dave K.

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (5:57 am)

    636 miles driven
    .53 gallons of gasoline burned

    NPNS

    VoltgaragedLyle.jpg?t=1296471288


  11. 11
    WVhybrid

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (7:05 am)

    jim perkins: I bet they dont have 2 llamas    

    I wonder where I can buy a stuffed llama toy?


  12. 12
    Tagamet

     

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (8:15 am)

    Hi Felix,
    Thanks for the great article and even moreso for all the work you’ve invested in the electrification of transportation. I’ve been on your calcars mailing list for a very long time and enjoy the updates.
    I’d pushed for getting a test fleet of Volts into citizens’ hands before production too, though I wouldn’t have limited them to “silicon valley” types. Getting a few out to normal folks would have been nice too (lol).
    Don’t scratch your head too much about the llamas comments – people here have been inserting them in posted photos. A bit of an “inside joke”.
    Thanks again,

    Be well,
    Tagamet


  13. 13
    Jim I

     

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (8:24 am)

    WVhybrid:
    I wonder where I can buy a stuffed llama toy?    

    ===================

    Amazon has everything!!!!

    http://www.amazon.com/Aurora-World-Plush-Llama-Flopsie/dp/tags-on-product/B001PJXGJ2

    🙂


  14. 14
    Jim I

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (8:26 am)

    Dan Durston: “Plug in the Volt and the indicator turns yellow (connected), then steady green (charging). Finally it flashes green (done). That’s exactly the reverse of a user’s expectations.”This sounds pretty darn normal to me. I doubt a user would expect the reverse….yellow when fully charged???    

    =======================

    I think that a more “normal” would be:

    Blinking green when charging and steady green when done…..

    JMHO


  15. 15
    Dave G

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (8:28 am)

    From the article: The driver’s seat of the Volt feels like an airplane cockpit. It’s a little intimidating at first, but reassuring after a few minutes of studying the controls and displays — or just ignoring some for a while. The Leaf has a spare quality, and the simpler right-side panel is all about audio and climate.

    This is where I think GM can learn from Nissan. A lot of people don’t want a complicated user interface. The base version of the Volt should have regular analog gages (speed and tac), and regular control knobs and buttons. For the people that want the fancy LCD screens, add that as part of a more expensive trim package. Don’t make people pay for something they don’t want.
    .


  16. 16
    Jimza Sketptic

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (8:35 am)

    Dan Durston: “Plug in the Volt and the indicator turns yellow (connected), then steady green (charging). Finally it flashes green (done). That’s exactly the reverse of a user’s expectations.”This sounds pretty darn normal to me. I doubt a user would expect the reverse….yellow when fully charged???    

    My Li-on power tools have a charge meter that starts out with one green light and goes up to 5 green lights signifying percent of charge. Flashing red light means it recognizes something is plugged in, but is either not “seated” correctly in the charger or something is wrong. No lights means the operator forgot to plug the charging into the wall !!! (As car chargers are hard wired, this step can be ignored!)


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    theflew

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (9:30 am)

    Dave G,

    I think they saved weight by not using standard gauges. Also, it allows customization as well. It can only be a matter of time before they allow some type of theme change for the DIC. Maybe a $50 charge at your dealer to have it done/downloaded?


  18. 18
    theflew

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (9:42 am)

    theflew,

    To follow my own post….

    I think as far as radios and the like I think they didn’t want aftermarket radios installed. I imagine the whole center console (minus display) probably has a single ribbon cable, so installation is a lot easier. You wouldn’t be able to do that with standard radio/hvac controls. It also makes repairing, upgrading (future model years) a lot easier.


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    Schmeltz

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (9:44 am)

    Dave K.: 636 miles driven
    .53 gallons of gasoline burned

    Gee whiz Dave… only a measely 1200 MPG???

    LOL! 🙂


  20. 20
    Rashiid Amul

     

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (9:49 am)

    Nicely done, Felix.
    Great picture.


  21. 21
    redeye

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (10:02 am)

    Dan Durston,

    About the charging lights. Seems normal to me also. My shaver is steady green when charging and flashing green when charged.


  22. 22
    kdawg

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (10:09 am)

    Have you raced them? 🙂


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    Schmeltz

     

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (10:09 am)

    To Felix Kramer:

    Thanks for posting and congatulations on being the first multi-plug-in family! Lets hope that this description is duplicated by many more families in the future! Please continue to keep us posted here with your experiences.


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    neutron

     

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (10:12 am)

    Soooo. If I were to buy just ONE vehicle…. Looks like this quote from his article states it quite clearly –

    “The Leaf is reassuringly predictable: with 80-100 miles of juice, most of the time, we don’t think about range; we just drive around and charge it at night. With 163 miles in four days, it may become our first-to-use car, with the Volt reserved for times we both drive and for distances.”


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    neutron

     

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (10:20 am)

    Jim I,

    You are correct. That is how most chargers I use report a full charge.


  26. 26
    Tall Pete

     

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (10:21 am)

    Jim I: Dan Durston: “Plug in the Volt and the indicator turns yellow (connected), then steady green (charging). Finally it flashes green (done). That’s exactly the reverse of a user’s expectations.”This sounds pretty darn normal to me. I doubt a user would expect the reverse….yellow when fully charged???

    =======================

    I think that a more “normal” would be:

    Blinking green when charging and steady green when done…..

    JMHO

    What about red : plugged but something is wrong (no electricity from socket to recharge the car); blinking yellow : charging but SOC less than 50%; blinking green : charging and SOC > 50% and finally steady green : charged.


  27. 27
    Tall Pete

     

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (10:24 am)

    redeye: Dan Durston,
    About the charging lights. Seems normal to me also. My shaver is steady green when charging and flashing green when charged.    

    My wife’s cell phone is blinking red when charging and steady green when charged. Aren’t we missing a standard here…


  28. 28
    bookdabook

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (10:50 am)

    You guys are saying goodbye to the past of smog and noise and hello to the future of quiet, clean transportation. It will be a great day indeed when this is the norm!


  29. 29
    Felix Kramer

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (11:09 am)

    Thanks, everyone, for the reactions and kudos. We’re still accumulating comparative experiences…lots of fun! We hope to be down to “only” two plug-ins when we find an institutional or individual home for the “PRIUS+” that has been so important to the campaign. Here are a few responses to comments:
    3 Mike-O-Matic: I’m 6’2 and am fine in the Volt’s rear seats. But if I stretch out my legs comfortably in front, any person is scrunched behind me. (I don’t have to do that to drive comfortably.) The Leaf is roomier in back.
    12 Tagamet — I’m a big llama fan; I’ve seen several llama farms in the San Francisco Bay Area.
    14 Jim I — I’m with you on steady green meaning “good to go.”
    22 Kdwag — Most reports show the Volt at 0-60 around 9, the Volt around 10. I’d love to see timings for –30, which is more relevant more of the time. I live 60 miles from Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, where I’ve been to the (green car) Michelin Challenge Bibendum. If anyone wants to arrange a trial, we’ll bring the cars!


  30. 30
    Gary

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (11:33 am)

    As much as I like the idea of driving an electric car, this article parallels the self-proclaimed superiority of Prius drivers of recent past.

    “…gliding silently through streets clogged with last-century vehicles. I was never so aware of the unique and ugly sounds from each gas-guzzler.” Ugh. Give me a break. While you’re at it, why not blog about how wonderful your $5 morning fancy-pants coffee is? Why not also blog about how perfect and wonderful life is in the State of California, while burying your head in the sand about the reality of how broke the state has become being a bureaucracy of environmental legislation?

    When I get my Volt, I won’t be on this preachy mission telling everybody that I’m better than them for having an electric car, and that people should never go back to gas-powered cars. I won’t plaster my car with tacky stickers all over the back, either. When people act like this, it creates backlash and negative feelings toward that person and all that they stand far… essentially hurting their cause. I’d rather take the approach where people riding in my car can for themselves observe the merits of driving electric, and decide if it’s right for them.

    Who knows why I typed this; maybe it’s the mood I’m in today.


  31. 31
    MICHIGAN GUY

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (11:40 am)

    Luv ya Gary! +1


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    MichaelH

     

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (11:40 am)

    Gary: Who knows why I typed this; maybe it’s the mood I’m in today.

    We all have those days. Get a cup of black coffee (I recommend Maxwell House) and read the comic section. Stay away from the headlines (Egypt and all). We’re here for you man! 😉


  33. 33
    Vlad the Impaler

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (11:51 am)

    (click to show comment)


  34. 34
    Felix Kramer

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (11:53 am)

    I have a full day of events etc., so I can’t stick around to comment. But I meant the Volt at 9 seconds and the Leaf at 10.
    And Gary, I didn’t mean to be preachy (if you recall the South Park satire on Prius “smug””), I do admit, based on science, that we face a a global emergency that means we need to get off fossil fuels as soon as possible — for my views on that, see http://gm-volt.com/2010/12/22/calcars-plug-in-campaign-victory-after-8-years/. Or check it at http://www.climateprogress.org.
    And for a lighter view, see the just-published piece in the Sunday Washington Post Magazine, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/21/AR2011012105347.html


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    stuart22

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (12:00 pm)

    Gary: As much as I like the idea of driving an electric car, this article parallels the self-proclaimed superiority of Prius drivers of recent past.“…gliding silently through streets clogged with last-century vehicles. I was never so aware of the unique and ugly sounds from each gas-guzzler.” Ugh. Give me a break. While you’re at it, why not blog about how wonderful your $5 morning fancy-pants coffee is? Why not also blog about how perfect and wonderful life is in the State of California, while burying your head in the sand about the reality of how broke the state has become being a bureaucracy of environmental legislation?When I get my Volt, I won’t be on this preachy mission telling everybody that I’m better than them for having an electric car, and that people should never go back to gas-powered cars. I won’t plaster my car with tacky stickers all over the back, either. When people act like this, it creates backlash and negative feelings toward that person and all that they stand far… essentially hurting their cause. I’d rather take the approach where people riding in my car can for themselves observe the merits of driving electric, and decide if it’s right for them.Who knows why I typed this; maybe it’s the mood I’m in today.    

    Gary, I sense you to be an introvert and Felix an extrovert – as pretty much an introvert myself, I understand your POV. I don’t need or like walking and talking billboards shoving their messages down our throats, as innocent as they may be. I give Felix a pass however because I’m already committed to the cause, but I would hope he lightens up with the cheesy bumper stickers. 🙂


  36. 36
    pjkPA

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (12:01 pm)

    Thanks for the real world report.
    I only have a 10 mile commute … so most of the long trip info does not concern me… anything over 30mpg will be more than fine for me.
    re:Plug in the Volt and the indicator turns yellow (connected), then steady green (charging). Finally it flashes green (done). That’s exactly the reverse of a user’s expectations.

    I sort of think they got it right… blinking means done… I have no problem with that.

    I do wish for a more utilitarian CUV without frills .. and rear seats that come out.


  37. 37
    Noel Park

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (12:13 pm)

    Felix Kramer: And Gary, I didn’t mean to be preachy

    #34

    Don’t waste your energy worrying about it. 1000 thanks for all that you do. +1


  38. 38
    Dave K.

     

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (12:59 pm)

    Schmeltz: … only a measely 1200 MPG???

    I log my driving at Traffic Solutions. Started my work commute log this month. Here are the results so far.

    VoltTS1-15-11to01-29-11.jpg?t=1296496697


  39. 39
    Tagamet

     

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (1:05 pm)

    neutron:

    Assuming that you live in sunny Calif….

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    Streetlight

     

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (6:51 pm)

    Hadn’t thought about it, but sure… with smartphones being under $25 (or even given free) why not… give a smartphone with every VOLT.

    Two trips across I-80 Redwood City to Tahoe. A pretty good hike-225 miles. Finally an actually report. VOLT did just fine. As you see the Sierras 900 miles at 20 gals.; and, mostly flatland drives for 12 gal. at 1300 miles. (Rounded) Very impressive-Thank you Felix & Rochelle.


  41. 41
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    Jan 31st, 2011 (7:43 pm)

    DrivingCosts.jpg?t=1296520891


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    ClarksonCote

     

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (9:01 pm)

    Jim I:
    =======================I think that a more “normal” would be:Blinking green when charging and steady green when done…..JMHO    

    I personally like what Chevrolet did. My phone has an LED constantly lit when charging, and blinks when it’s done. A constantly lit LED for charging seems to be the norm, or so I thought. It especially seems intuitive to me considering that there is more than one condition of “not charging” that the Volt conveys with various speeds of blinking lights (delayed charging versus completed charging).

    join thE REVolution


  43. 43
    CorvetteGuy

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (9:08 pm)

    I had the opportunity to try out “Mountain Mode” for the first time today. I needed to make a run from Riverside (Low Desert) to Victorville (High Desert) to drop off the Owner’s Manual and spare key packet to a customer who bought an Equinox las night. I screwed up and gave them the wrong packet.

    Today was my day to have the VOLT demo overnight anyway, so I used this excuse to take a 90 mile round trip in Mountain Mode. I switched to that mode just as I left the parking lot and had a full charge.

    During the drive I expected to see some battery charge remaining EVEN THOUGH the generator mode would come on. Instead, the battery gauge continued to just count down to ZERO and then the icons switched position on the screen and the big blue gas tank showed another 211 miles. (The gas tank was not full.)

    I was listening to the radio at the time the generator came on, so I did not hear it and I did not feel it come on. The low-rolling-resistance tires create the most ambient noise in the car.

    The car drover normally in Extended Range Mode and I did not notice any lack of ‘passing power’ going up the hill. I drove between 65 and 75 miles per hour all the way up. The terrain leveled off and I expected to see some ‘remaining battery charge’, but that was not the case.

    The navigation system works flawlessly and took me right to my destination. THEN, I put the car in Park and switched to “NORMAL MODE”. And suddenly the Icons switched positions again, back to battery mode, and the battery indicated that there was 12 miles remaining. (Almost a third left!)

    AH-HA! So that’s how it works. The generator did come on early and maintained about 30% state of charge.

    After my task I turned around to come back down the hill. I used up the remaining 12 miles in Normal Mode. Out of curiosity I moved the selector to “L” position. The increase in ‘Regen Braking’ is pronounced. On the steepest parts of the downhill I merely coasted. The animated display showed energy going back to the battery but it did not seem to increase the number of ‘bars’ on the pack.

    Instead, I could see the generator turning on and off occasionally as needed during the descent down the hill. So, when it picked up a certain amount of electricity, the generator seemed to stop and was on electric power again. Then as I accelerated, the generator just came back on.

    I traveled 90 miles with an average 56 miles-per gallon. Very cool.


  44. 44
    Dave K.

     

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (9:51 pm)

    #555 returning from a night cruise…

    Voltnightlights.jpg?t=1296528528


  45. 45
    Tagamet

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (10:16 pm)

    CorvetteGuy,

    Ahhhh, the old “I screwed up and gave them the wrong packet.” dodge. Nicely done!

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    Tagamet

     

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (10:18 pm)

    Dave K.,

    I can still tell that it’s red. 🙁

    Be well anyway,
    Tagamet


  47. 47
    Scott Chandler

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    Jan 31st, 2011 (11:38 pm)

    We had a weather issue here in Virginia last week that doesn’t happen often but enough to be a consideration.

    My wife was stuck in traffic, very unexpectedly, so bad that her 18 mile drive took her hours and there was no options for exits or back-tracking.

    This happen in Winter with freezing weather so the heat was needed, no option. But could have happened in 100 degree summer where cooling would be needed. It was night so lights were required.

    Yes, some cars ran out of gas because the owners didn’t prepare. But if an owner of a Leaf and an owner of a Volt did fully prepare, full charge, full tank then the Volt would make it home and the Leaf would not.

    The Leaf can not be an option for my wife. The Volt, maybe yes.


  48. 48
    jeffhre

     

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    Feb 1st, 2011 (12:55 pm)

    Scott Chandler: We had a weather issue here in Virginia last week that doesn’t happen often but enough to be a consideration.My wife was stuck in traffic, very unexpectedly, so bad that her 18 mile drive took her hours and there was no options for exits or back-tracking.This happen in Winter with freezing weather so the heat was needed, no option. But could have happened in 100 degree summer where cooling would be needed.It was night so lights were required.Yes, some cars ran out of gas because the owners didn’t prepare. But if an owner of a Leaf and an owner of a Volt did fully prepare, full charge, full tank then the Volt would make it home and the Leaf would not.The Leaf can not be an option for my wife. The Volt, maybe yes.    

    I don’t understand the Leaf haterations. Look Leaf lovers have had these little guys since November 2010. A little shorter than the ones in the prized photos of Volt lovers, but otherwise fully functional llamas. babyllamas-600×366.jpg

    From ( http://nissan-leaf.net/2010/06/11/nissan-leaf-range-uncovered/ )

    “Well, wonder no longer.
    The good news is that under ideal conditions, zipping around at 60 km/h (almost 40 mph) you get 222 km or 138 miles! Huzzah! The bad news is, under the very worst conditions, like cranking the A/C on a hot, hot day for your journey in stop and go traffic, 75 km, or 47 miles”…”47 miles, 6mph = 47/6 = 7.888 hours in the car! Nobody is going to be spending that long in the car. The low range expectancy is because they’re running the AC for 8 hours.”


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    jeffhre

     

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    Feb 1st, 2011 (1:07 pm)

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    Sarah S

     

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    Feb 15th, 2011 (4:50 pm)

    first visit and just wanted to stop by and say Hi All!