Mar 29

Chevrolet Volt MPG: like no other car, or somewhat polarizing?

 

The Chevrolet Volt has been generally well received, and the idea of a range-extending gasoline engine paired with electric power is not a difficult one for many people to comprehend.

It has been said, however, that not all people “get” the car’s full value.

So, in the face of less-than-stellar reviews from the likes of Consumer Reports, Edmunds Inside Line blog, and some local publications around the U.S., Chevrolet recently issued statements sticking to its guns that the Volt delivers unprecedented economy.

And widely variable mileage as well.

Unlike strictly internal-combustion-powered cars that perform within a fairly limited economy range, GM is citing individual owners recording from 62 to 93 to 231 MPG.


With somewhere around $1 billion invested in the Volt, Chevrolet is doing all it can to line up customers for its first-generation Volt.

“I haven’t filled up my Volt since I took delivery,” said Mike DiPisa of Lyndhhurst, N.J.

DiPisa bought his Volt home in December, and at the time of his statement, 1,391 of his 1,485 miles traveled had been achieved by using electricity, thus Chevrolet calculated his economy at 231 MPG.

Similar stories are given for other Volt drivers, and Chevrolet says the Volt is what you make of it.

“Three Volts. Three distinct fuel economy stories,” say Chevrolet’s marketing department.

“The Volt is great for any lifestyle and can handle the driving demands of daily life,” said Volt Marketing Director Cristi Landy, “The majority of Volt customers are finding that by recharging their cars daily they are seeing exceptional real-world fuel economy.”

Federal baseline

Despite what Chevrolet’s marketing team is saying, the average figures the EPA put on the Volt are 93 MPG equivalent (MPGe) in the city/highway for the first 35 miles, when the battery is fully charged, and the car is driven in all-electric mode, and 37 MPG for the city/highway estimate (during gas-only driving).

It allows for potentially higher MPGe assuming lower mileage, and a charged battery, but does not go so high as 231 or several hundred miles as some have said they have seen. The EPA bases its comparatively conservative numbers on its simulated driving cycle from last year.


Chevrolet say the Volt can get hundred of miles per gallon. The federal government says the above are the facts. What is the truth?

The Volt’s official EPA figures reflect another unusual turn of events: Estimated MGPe in the spot where the “city” average usually goes (calculated for the Volt in all-electric mode) is 60-percent better than the spot where the “highway” average usually goes. This is because the latter figure accounts for the car using gas only during the driving cycle test the EPA used.

Bogus Figures?

But some people – and professional car reviewers alike – are less generous in sizing up the Volt, and are grappling with what to make of it.

In a recent blog write-up testing its efficiency and costs, Dan Edmunds said he would cater to readers’ desire to see MPG figures such as Chevrolet is touting, but he pooh-poohed the idea other than to say it satisfied a political-social sentiment.

“Some of you expressed an interest in seeing the ‘apparent’ mpg, looking at gasoline used over all miles driven and ignoring electricity,” Edmunds wrote, “It’s a bogus figure from an overall cost and consumption perspective, but it has a use if all you care about is reducing our dependence on gasoline that’s derived from oil.”

Frankly, Edmunds is not the only person who says things like this.


Electricity – and installing stations across the country – all cost money. MPG figures in the hundreds of miles per gallon, critics say, are therefore a false metric.

In discussing the Volt with several other “car people” we’ve heard criticism leveled at GM for pushing to see the highest possible EPA MPG rating on the Monroney sticker.

Balance needed

At GM-Volt, we know the Volt is a revolutionary car. It meets multiple needs, and is an excellent “bridge” technology as we attempt to transfer away from dependence on oil.

To those of who have a Volt, what has been your experience? What are your views on this topic?

We have already noted some citing high MPG ratings. Are ultra-high MPG estimates truly even-handed assessments of the Volt’s operational cost?

If you do think Chevrolet’s media department has it right, do you think it is only a matter of time before more people agree?

Sources:
GM
InsideLine

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 83


  1. 1
    Mark Z

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (6:48 am)

    It all depends how you drive the Volt. Drive locally or between charge station locations and the fuel consumption is minimal. Drive across the country and the MPG numbers will fall. This is what makes the Volt so exciting, you get to determine your fuel economy! It has seemed strange to have fueled up two months ago and meanwhile drive over a thousand miles while prices are climbing and not having to stop for fuel. The 240 volt charge station makes it possible to run errands in the morning, then have plenty of charge for a night on the town. How sad we didn’t have the Volt 40 years ago!


  2. 2
    Barry252

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (6:55 am)

    I’ve got Volt 63 and I haven’t bought gas for over two months. In fact, I’d still be on my dealer’s gas if I hadn’t just wanted to make the gas door worked ok. I bought my Volt mainly to commute all week long, gas free. So far, so good. My wife and I have taken several longer trips so we have used some gas, 4 gallons since last filled. We’re showing a lifetime MPG of 120. My electricity bill has increased by $20 per month, but my gas bill has dropped to ZERO! We’re nearing 2000 miles on the Volt and still thrilled with it! If we had the money, we’d buy a second one.

    Since my focus has been about NOT buying gas, I’m happy with GM’s MPG calculations. Mark Twain said that there are three types of lies: Regular old lies, Damned scurrilous lies, and STATISTICS!


  3. 3
    Eco_Turbo

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (6:57 am)

    When GM starts programing the Volt for the performance that only electric drive can give, (would love to know how 0-30 mph compares to other cars even the way it is now) more people will take notice. A few people probably bought muscle cars of the 60s and 70s for their looks, but most were bought because of the kick in the pants they produced when you floored the accelerator.


  4. 4
    Raymondjram

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (6:59 am)

    I believe Chevrolet more that the media, because I have own four Chevy vehicles (and present;y own an Equinox now), and my father and my brother also own Chevy vehicles, so in my family it is our favorite brand. Presently I don’t have the Volt yet, but I am planning for the 2012 calendar year (maybe the 2013 model).

    The cost of electric charging stations is much less and has less regulations that a gasoline pump. Any gas station owner can explain the high cost of putting and maintaining the underground gasoline tanks and pumps. I have seen one station near my work that had its tanks exchanged, and it took three months. A charging station can be mounted in hours, although a free standing unit with a pedestal can take a week. But there is hardly any maintenance (checking connector and cable), and most outdoor charging stations can last for years.

    Although many potential can buyers read different magazines and other published sources that evaluate vehicles, most true buyers use “word of mouth”, which in other words (pun intended) means that they listen to previous buyers. So this is why present Volt owners use this forum and other sources of information to promote the Volt, as they are the best evaluators possible.

    This forum is the best Volt source for information since it began before the Volt was manufactured, and it continues to be the best source, as much as that other sources read the comments published here daily. General Motors now has a true feedback of how the Volt is performing in real life, and eventually will use that feedback for the next generations.

    So for you Volt owners, I say that you keep up posting the good and the bad that you find on your daily driving, let others enjoy reading real news about the Volt, and let potential buyers see what the Volt truly represents over any good or bad news from other sources.

    Thanks to every Volt owner! Now I feel less VES! I will get some relief by stroking my 1/18 scale Volt model tonight…

    Raymond


  5. 5
    Dan Petit

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (7:11 am)

    If the pack electric range were to be increased to 60, then just about all these claims of a false metric would be shattered. It’s just that these skeptical sources do not yet have a Volt to drive for a few months. The next step in getting overall costs down and getting the electric range up will be the final answer for these unsure skeptics.

    Any breakthrough advancement always has the potentially-diminished and potentially threatened parties dismissing the breakthrough advancement. It’s seen in their contexts and especially what they do *not* say.

    Do you hear something like “Voltec is on the right track for the economics if it had a 60 mile electric range.” (?) NO.

    This is because they do not yet understand the complex metric, nor the clear next phase of how easy it will be to get to that 60 mile electric range. Where light driving characteristics get the Volt up to 49.3 miles on electricity, (pretty much in the same manner as now everyone is driving with $3.75/gal gasoline), getting another 20 percent electric range for a decrease in costs by 25% and the discussion and questions become moot. Completely moot.

    Just look at what has happened over the last few years. Competing parties are no longer concerned about “battery fade up pikes peak in attempting to pass five semi’s”. [5 tractor trailer rigs all supposedly tightly driving uphill 60 miles per hour and requiring the Volt to pass them all]. Now there was a fantastic false metric if there ever was one in all of technical writing history.

    It’s more like that comprehending Volt can’t be done from the usual abstractions of internal combustion.


  6. 6
    Dave K.

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (7:13 am)

    If you want a car that burns gasoline buy a Cruze. You’ll be able to drive 1000 miles and use about 26 gallons. If you want a car that uses electricity from the grid, from solar cells, or from opportunity charging buy a Volt. You’ll be able to drive 1000 miles on little or no gasoline. If you want a car that uses no gasoline EVER, buy a car without a range extender. Such as a Leaf.

    Volt1144mpg.jpg?t=1301396361

    I posted this result of 1144MPG here a couple of days ago and one immediate reply mentioned that electricity cost money. This goes without saying. This terrific mpg result also means just 1.1 gallon of gasoline in a 30 day period: No trips to the gas station (no gas lines-no gasoline vapors), no money sent to OPEC, no noise or smoke from a combustion engine, very good acceleration on battery power.
    If you drive an “economy” car @ 28mpg you will have stopped for gasoline at least 4 times in 1200 miles. You will have purchased over $170 in gasoline. If you drive a gasoline hybrid @ over 40 mpg you give up acceleration and solid feel. And you still need to buy gasoline.

    =D-Volt


  7. 7
    Herto

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (7:33 am)

    “Despite what Chevrolet’s marketing team is saying, the average figures the EPA put on the Volt are 93 MPG estimated in the city, and 37 MPG on the highway.”

    Wrong!!
    93 MPG EQUIVALENT is volt’s rating on electricity only and 37 MPG is its rating on gas, both combined hwy/city. How can you misunderstand the sticker so much?

    In Dr. Dennis’ time, there wouldn’t have been this kind of wrong informations in a GM-Volt’s article.


  8. 8
    Kup

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (7:49 am)

    I’ve only had my Volt (1885) a little more than a week but from the time I got it home to the time I got to the office yesterday I had about 200 MPG and less than .1 gallons for an average of over 2,000 MPG.

    But then you take potentially crazy MPG stats like that and you add the fun factor and it’s just an amazing car. I can’t stress enough how fun it is to put in Sport mode and just tear off at some stop lights. I’ve never been much of a car guy as I almost always bought used cars with little horsepower but decent MPG. Now I get to drive super efficiently and flex a little muscle when someone looks at the Volt and thinks it might be a glorified golf cart.

    To be sure, I’m a lucky person in that I get to charge for free at work and that enables me to essentially get off of gas during the week. Thus, I realize my results may be somewhat atypical. However, as EVs go more mainstream I think more companies will offer charging (free or charging the employee) and more will be able to do the same and get awesome MPG.

    Finally, one last point. I understand the cost/efficiency issues when discussing only gas consumption when I am getting most of my energy from electricity. But it is very satisfying to explain to neighbors (like I did last night) that for the first week I got over 2,000 MPG. The next question they asked was “But aren’t your electricity bills sky high?” To which I point out that it costs around $1.30 a day.

    The look on their faces as they come to grips with what this car can do was priceless and it was quickly followed by two of the four people saying “I want one!”


  9. 9
    Kup

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (8:19 am)

    Herto,

    Herto,

    You are right about the MPG estimate vs MPG equivalent, however, with much respect to Lyle, Lyle was not error free. He did an amazing job with the information he brought to the table and he created an excellent website/community which I have visited everyday for greater than 18 months.

    But let’s not lionize Lyle nor denigrate Jeff due to a small error.

    PS I do miss Lyle’s take on things. I even find myself missing his spelling errors. It bugged the be-jesus out of me at first but it then came to be a part of the charm of his blog.


  10. 10
    Clarksoncote

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (8:27 am)

    The EPA’s label does have a number higher than 231MPG, it’s listed as N/A for when trips are less than 30 miles in the bottom right. In other words, you burn zero fuel in this case.

    My lifetime MPG just crept up to 235MPG, and I’m looking forward to hitting the “250+ MPG” lifetime mark before I have to make a long trip.

    I should also mention that the electricity I purchase is generated by 100% wind power.

    join thE REVolution


  11. 11
    Rashiid Amul

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (8:27 am)

    From the caption under the first picture:
    With somewhere around $1 billion invested in the Volt, Chevrolet is doing all it can to line up customers for its first-generation Volt.

    Drop the price by $10,000 and I will buy one this afternoon. Cash.


  12. 12
    Jeff

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (8:29 am)

    Here’s my experience regarding gas mileage. I took delivery of my Volt in early December. I work from home, so I don’t drive all that much. Since acquiring the car I’ve driven approximately 1,200 miles. I have yet to put gas in the car. I’ve used a total of 6.4 gallons of gas, so I’m still driving on the original tank (which the dealer put in), nearly four months after acquiring the car. My gauge shows 185 miles/gallon average over the life of the car. The engine comes on so rarely that it surprised me recently when it came on automatically, even though it was fully charged, for maintenance reasons (so the display informed me). It stayed only for only a short while, burning .1 gallons of gas; then turned off. At least I know the engine works! I could not be more delighted with the fuel economy, especially with gas prices on the rise. Range wise, I’m getting an average of 33 miles per charge. I usually drive in Sport mode, because I like the added acceleration. This has not been a problem for me, though I’m convinced that if the car were able to go 50 miles on a charge (it can’t), my engine would virtually never come on.


  13. 13
    gmtx2652

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (8:30 am)

    Personally I think both Chevrolet and Edmunds messages could be improved (although Chevrolet’s message is more enlightened and Edmunds is clueless (in my opinion).

    The EPA sticker indicates cost per mile on the lower right hand side. That should be the measurement used. As Chevrolet mentions mpc/mpg varies more than any other car based on use. The EPA sticker also mentions a 14-60 measurement on the left, with the Volt rated 60 (best). Nuff said.

    #5 Dan. I think the Volt should be offered in 20 and 40 mpc ratings/battery packs. If/when a Buick Electra or Cadillac Lightning (or other name) came out, they should go for 60-80 mpc to reflect GM’s brand hierarchy. JMO.


  14. 14
    Schmeltz

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    Schmeltz
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    Mar 29th, 2011 (8:30 am)

    Dave K.: I posted this result of 1144MPG here a couple of days ago

    Dave K.: YOU are my hero! You always have great posts that are relevant and real world, and they cut to the heart of the matter as to what this car is about. People like Dan Edmunds don’t get it, and maybe never will. That’s ok though, evangelizing is a process that takes time. There are no short cuts. People like you who stand on a principle and consistently live by example will be what will ultimately turn the tide in my opinion. If no one else ever tells you this, I want to say `Thank you’ for what you and so many others here are doing. It matters.


  15. 15
    Tim Hart

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (8:36 am)

    This is great! After a long development phase when us Volt lovers understood instantly what a breakthrough car this was, now that it is here the real world kicks in and jealousy and ignorance rear their ugly heads. Not that there weren’t a few trolls along the way from the very beginning. Change is always hard. And the more important the change, the harder it is. But electric transportation is here to stay and will become the norm in the not too distant future.


  16. 16
    Rashiid Amul

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (8:45 am)

    Ted in Fort Myers has gotten almost 50 MPC.
    I wonder if anyone else has done so.

    I have done a complete 180° turn on mileage estimates.
    I now believe the EPA estimates are bogus.
    No one is going to get the same mileage because we all drive differently.
    Ted in Fort Myers milks his electric charge to the fullest. Not everyone does that.
    I have seen people claim to go almost 2000 miles on less than a gallon of gas.
    That is an awesome accomplishment by GM and the individual drivers.


  17. 17
    Jackson

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (8:46 am)

    Will people listen to GM when it says:

    “Unlike strictly internal-combustion-powered cars that perform within a fairly limited economy range, GM is citing individual owners recording from 62 to 93 to 231 MPG.”

    Will they listen to the detractors?

    “Dan Edmunds said he would cater to readers’ desire to see MPG figures such as Chevrolet is touting, but he pooh-poohed the idea other than to say it satisfied a political-social sentiment.”

    The one they are sure to listen to is the guy down the street who owns one. In other words, those of you who have taken the early plunge with the first-run Volt; and are dedicated to getting the word out: on this blog, in parking lots … and at traffic lights in Sport Mode. ;-)


  18. 18
    Nelson

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (8:48 am)

    MPG? I don’t care anymore. I’m driving a Volt!
    Before I owned the Volt, I drove a 4 cylinder Saturn ION. I would spend about $60 dollars a month on gas when gas was $2.50/gallon. Driving the Volt since 1/22/2011, I have spent a total of $62 on electricity for the Volt. How do I know this? I purchased an outlet meter “Kill A Watt EZ” at Lowe’s home improvement store for about $30.
    http://www.lowes.com/pd_322553-15584-4460_0__?newSearch=true&catalogId=10051&productId=3191393&UserSearch=kill+a+watt&Ntt=kill+a+watt&N=0&langId=-1&storeId=10151

    I’ve yet to buy gas for my Volt, which still has half the dealer supplied full tank of gas. My only problem now is deciding what to spend my $60+ savings on every two months. :)

    Starve an OPEC greedy, selfish, ruler (dictator).
    Buy a Volt!

    Volt#671
    NPNS!


  19. 19
    Rashiid Amul

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (8:51 am)

    Nelson: My only problem now is deciding what to spend my $60+ savings on every two months.

    Your car payment? ;)


  20. 20
    Rich Remund

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (8:59 am)

    After you hit about 70 MPG it really just doesn’t pay to invest thousands of dollars to gain more MPG. You run into the “Law of Diminishing Returns” Just take a look at the Annual Fuel Cost for various scenarios, and think of the “Cost in Dollars or Functionality of a Vehicle when you hit those numbers.

    Your only saving about $200 a year to move from 70 MPG to 100 MPG.

    I think the real Savings is our Grace as a Nation. What we could do with 1.5-2 Trillion Dollar a year, all exported to the Middle East… Not to mention 3 Trillion on a couple of wars. It would easily pay for the “Grand Solar Plan” Congress reviewed years ago.
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-solar-grand-plan

    I enjoy driving my Volt more then the Ferrari.

    12000 miles a year 3.75 gallon
    ——————————————————–
    at 14 MPG – 857 gallons x 3.75 = $3213 / yr
    at 20 MPG – 600 gallons x 3.75 = $2250 / yr
    at 24 MPG – 500 gallons x 3.75 = $1875 / yr
    at 35 MPG – 342 gallons x 3.75 = $1282 / yr
    at 70 MPG – 171 gallons x 3.75 = $641 / yr
    at 100 MPG – 120 gallons x 3.75 = $450 / yr
    at 140 MPG – 85 gallons x 3.75 = $318 / yr
    at 200 MPG – 60 gallons x 3.75 = $225 / yr


  21. 21
    Clarksoncote

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (9:05 am)

    I’m still planning on creating a website where everyone can enter in their monthly roll-ups on efficiency, for any electric car, and the proof will be in the pudding.

    join thE REVolution


  22. 22
    Rashiid Amul

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (9:19 am)

    Clarksoncote:
    I’m still planning on creating a website where everyone can enter in their monthly roll-ups on efficiency, for any electric car, and the proof will be in the pudding.

    join thE REVolution

    Very cool. Any idea how soon?


  23. 23
    Dan Whitlock

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (9:39 am)

    Over 100 cruise missels fired at Lybia at a cost in excess of 1 million dollars, EACH. This is a country that is not a threat to the United States, but they do have a lot of oil! Now, ask again why I want to own a Volt, and use less gas made from oil imported from the Middle East.


  24. 24
    Nelson

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (9:47 am)

    Rashiid Amul: Your car payment?

    Nope.
    I feel your pain. I too was once like you buying on credit and making payments. Now I plan my future big ticket purchases and save for them instead of financing them. Create a Volt fund and sock away a 10-20% of your paycheck. Before you know it you have enough to buy it cash. I started saving for my Volt in 2007.

    Remember: You don’t plan to fail, you fail to plan.
    No mortgage.
    No car payments.
    Credit card bills always paid in full.

    If you can’t save to make the purchase, don’t make the purchase. Lenders hate that advice.

    Volt#671
    NPNS!


  25. 25
    Shock Me

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (9:49 am)

    Eagerly awaiting the Volt to show up at my local dealer. Not in a hurry to replace my Buick Century which uses very little gas as my commute is very short (<4 miles). As soon as my savings and the Volt's falling price intersect I will own one. (I'll be keeping the Buick though since it is worth more to me than what I can get for it.)

    Excited to get behind the wheel of my own Volt as soon as it is financially prudent. I offer a special thanks to all those telling their ownership stories here and in the forums. My only reservation is battery life and replacement cost for the battery as I don't often replace my vehicles.


  26. 26
    TheRFMan

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (9:56 am)

    GM need to add a cost-per-mile comparison calculator. The following inputs would be required:

    -Miles driven per day
    -MPG of current vehicle
    -Cost of gas in your region (this could be figured out automatically with a ZIp or Postal code)
    -Cost of electricity in your region (also can be figured out with ZIP or Postal code)

    The output of the calculator would be $/month in operational cost of a Volt vs. current vehicle (or any other vehicle).

    The Volt will generally win hands-down, except in areas where electricity rates are extremely high (mostly certain parts of California from what I hear). In most parts of Canada, electricity is inexpensive and gas is much more expensive than in the U.S.A., so the decision is a no-brainer.


  27. 27
    Mike D.

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (10:04 am)

    Well, that is me in that first quote guys, lol. Volt #218. I’m sad to say, I finally had to go to the gas station this weekend. I ended up taking a trip to visit my sister, 180 miles round trip, with only about a 4 hour 110v charge at her house while I was there. But I only put $10 worth of gas in, lol. Ended up with 55mpg for the entire trip, and that was with 3 people in the car, plus a bunch of boxes to bring back home. Thing is, in the 4 hours I was on the NJ Turnpike that day, I never even gave a second though to the drive. It was so smooth and quiet, it practically drove itself. I also had quite a few people giving me thumbs up and staring, lol.


  28. 28
    Rashiid Amul

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (10:14 am)

    Nelson: Nope.
    I feel your pain.I too was once like you buying on credit and making payments.Now I plan my future big ticket purchases and save for them instead of financing them.Create a Volt fund and sock away a 10-20% of your paycheck.Before you know it you have enough to buy it cash.I started saving for my Volt in 2007.

    Remember:You don’t plan to fail, you fail to plan.
    No mortgage.
    No car payments.
    Credit card bills always paid in full.

    If you can’t save to make the purchase, don’t make the purchase.Lenders hate that advice.

    Volt#671
    NPNS!

    I didn’t create a Volt fund. I paid off my mortgage with that money.
    Believe me, I understand planning. It is so nice being debt free. No mortgage payment, no car payments, no credit card payments. But I don’t have a Volt fund. That is the next thing to do.


  29. 29
    gwmort

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (10:21 am)

    I think the biggest hurdle for getting the uninitiated to understand the savings is that typically evasive answer “it depends”.

    Now in this case it really does, and for many people it will be a real benefit (myself included), but it can be tough to sell an idea that can’t be quickly conveyed in a soundbyte (just ask the Dems).

    Too many people, even those without a specific agenda, are just very cynical and when given an ambiguous answer like that go looking for the “catch”. Then they bump into things like the Edmunds or CR articles or the green car list from the government, and don’t take the time to digest the information and think about what it means to them.

    At this point if the wrong tanker gets hijacked by Somali pirates or some other instability issue arises and fuel needs to be rationed for a period of time I think we’ll get our soundbyte “I’m driving and you’re in line”.


  30. 30
    Kup

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (10:29 am)

    Mike D.: Well, that is me in that first quote guys, lol. Volt #218. I’m sad to say, I finally had to go to the gas station this weekend. I ended up taking a trip to visit my sister, 180 miles round trip, with only about a 4 hour 110v charge at her house while I was there. But I only put $10 worth of gas in, lol. Ended up with 55mpg for the entire trip, and that was with 3 people in the car, plus a bunch of boxes to bring back home. Thing is, in the 4 hours I was on the NJ Turnpike that day, I never even gave a second though to the drive. It was so smooth and quiet, it practically drove itself. I also had quite a few people giving me thumbs up and staring, lol.

    One interesting thing that I didn’t know about the Volt before I began driving it was that when you are using the gas engine it isn’t on all the time to re-charge the battery. I was in stop and go freeway traffic yesterday running on gas and I saw that a) the gas engine will shut off for rather lengthy periods of time if the battery is getting enough re-gen power from coasting and braking and b) it is nearly imperceptible if you aren’t watching the power flow screen. I would have guessed that once the battery was depleted you would be on gas the whole time but at one point it went about a mile with no additional gas.

    I was really impressed with the forethought and engineering that went in to making it use even less gas when it is in CS mode. The MPGs were well above the 37 MPG rating.


  31. 31
    Sonoma Richard

    +5

     

    Sonoma Richard
     Says

     

    Mar 29th, 2011 (10:51 am)

    Volt #324…2575 miles so far and 15.2 gallons of gasoline. So, close to 170 MPG in real world driving.
    To add to KUP #30; I think that GM needs to figure out a way to emphasize the Re-Gen features of the car. When driving to San Francisco from Sonoma the gas engine usually goes on around Mill Valley but when I reach the top of Waldo Grade I pick up enough electricity going down the other side to cross the Golden Gate bridge and drive another 3 miles just on electric power. I believe that this Re-Gen feature really adds considerably to the MPGs and needs to be advertised more.


  32. 32
    Dave K.

    +6

     

    Dave K.
     Says

     

    Mar 29th, 2011 (10:56 am)

    Mike D.: I also had quite a few people giving me thumbs up and staring, lol.

    Haven’t noticed many thumbs up here. Have had numerous questions about cost and “if it’s the right car to buy”. I talked with a fellow yesterday that is getting 8-10mpg with his small motor home. OUCH!
    Most people mention that it’s the first time they have seen a Volt. And how great it looks. I have backed away from listing the many features (NAV, XM, heated seats, 8 speaker BOSE …ect) and default back to how smooth and quiet it is. And how Volt #555 hasn’t been to a gas pump since the middle of January.

    NPNS


  33. 33
    Jeff Cobb

    +12

     

    Jeff Cobb
     Says

     

    Mar 29th, 2011 (11:05 am)

    Kup:
    Herto,

    Herto,

    You are right about the MPG estimate vs MPG equivalent, however, with much respect to Lyle, Lyle was not error free.He did an amazing job with the information he brought to the table and he created an excellent website/community which I have visited everyday for greater than 18 months.

    But let’s not lionize Lyle nor denigrate Jeff due to a small error.

    PS I do miss Lyle’s take on things.I even find myself missing his spelling errors.It bugged the be-jesus out of me at first but it then came to be a part of the charm of his blog.

    Thanks for cutting me some slack Kup (and other plus-1 voters). I had little time to do this. The article was corrected. It now reads “city/highway.”

    Otherwise, I think I showed I understand the sticker fine …

    “As is the case with other plug-in cars, official EPA figures reflect another unusual turn of events: Estimated city average mileage is 60-percent better than city/highway because of the Volt’s reliance on electric power during lower speed driving cycle tests.”

    Your continued support is what I need, so thanks again.


  34. 34
    Storm

    +2

     

    Storm
     Says

     

    Mar 29th, 2011 (11:21 am)

    Rashiid Amul,

    Rashid,
    Pay the $30k you have available and finance the rest. Your payments will be covered by fuel savings. You have been on this site forever and complaining about the price. You could spend over $40k for any one of a variety of new vehicles. You decide which one to purchase depending on what features you want. If you want the features of a Mercedes, buy a Mercedes. Have you priced a Land Cruiser or a Rover? If the feature you really want is an EV with an on board range extender, buy the one you feel offers the best value. Unfortunately, the only choice now is a Volt. So the Volt offers more value per $ than any other vehicle in its class. What are you waiting for? More Volts in CT. (Spring for the heated seats. I didn’t.)
    storm


  35. 35
    Rashiid Amul

    +4

     

    Rashiid Amul
     Says

     

    Mar 29th, 2011 (11:28 am)

    Storm: Pay the $30k you have available and finance the rest…….You have been on this site forever and complaining about the price

    All my cars, except one, have been under $16K.
    The 2000 Subaru Outback was the only exception.
    I’m cheap when it comes to buying big ticket items.

    For the record, I’ve been here since the beginning, long before the price was known.


  36. 36
    Evil_Attorney

    +5

     

    Evil_Attorney
     Says

     

    Mar 29th, 2011 (11:45 am)

    “Some of you expressed an interest in seeing the ‘apparent’ mpg, looking at gasoline used over all miles driven and ignoring electricity,” Edmunds wrote, “It’s a bogus figure from an overall cost and consumption perspective, but it has a use if all you care about is reducing our dependence on gasoline that’s derived from oil.”

    Maybe I’m just a dirty, tree-huggin’ hippie (TM), but isn’t one of the main goals of the Volt to reduce usage of gas and increase usage of a cleaner energy? Last month I got 536 mpg, 1,453 electric miles, 117 gas miles. Edmunds scoffs at focusing on oil usage like it’s something only stupid people do.

    Does Edmunds focus so intently on overall cost and consumption when reviewing luxury cars? In my book, the Volt is a luxury car in so far as it give you the luxury to use to radically different fuels. Compare the Volt to a BMW or Mercedes and see how that cost/consumption analysis comes out.

    Second, I would love it if Chevy advertised it’s KWH/mile but I don’t think it would mean anything to the typical consumer (last month mine was 30 kW-hr/100 miles). Overall cost is important, and the Volt has much cheaper fuel costs for me over my Prius, but cost does not tell the whole story. Gas prices can fluctuate wildly and therefore there is more price stability in electricity. Also, consumers have more control on reducing their unit price of electricity by getting EV-metered rates or time of use rates. But as others have said, a GM cost calculator would be nice.


  37. 37
    N Riley

    +1

     

    N Riley
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    Mar 29th, 2011 (11:53 am)

    Herto:
    “Despite what Chevrolet’s marketing team is saying, the average figures the EPA put on the Volt are 93 MPG estimated in the city, and 37 MPG on the highway.”

    Wrong!!
    93 MPG EQUIVALENT is volt’s rating on electricity onlyand 37 MPG is its rating on gas, both combined hwy/city. How can you misunderstand the sticker so much?

    In Dr. Dennis’ time, there wouldn’t have been this kind of wrong informations in a GM-Volt’s article.

    While I agree this article got the sticker wrong, I do not agree with your “tone” in pointing this out. We are all used to seeing two mileage figures on a sticker where one (the higher number) is for highway MPG and the lower number for city driving. At first glance most people would make the same mistake.


  38. 38
    Rob

     

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     Says

     

    Mar 29th, 2011 (12:01 pm)

    Dan Whitlock,

    It will be once the Islamists take over from Gaddafi.


  39. 39
    N Riley

    +3

     

    N Riley
     Says

     

    Mar 29th, 2011 (12:01 pm)

    Rashiid Amul:
    From the caption under the first picture:
    With somewhere around $1 billion invested in the Volt, Chevrolet is doing all it can to line up customers for its first-generation Volt.

    Drop the price by $10,000 and I will buy one this afternoon.Cash.

    Make it available to me locally in Jackson, Mississippi today and I would buy one at today’s sticker price for cash.


  40. 40
    N Riley

    +4

     

    N Riley
     Says

     

    Mar 29th, 2011 (12:07 pm)

    Schmeltz: Dave K.:YOU are my hero!You always have great posts that are relevant and real world, and they cut to the heart of the matter as to what this car is about.People like Dan Edmunds don’t get it, and maybe never will.That’s ok though, evangelizing is a process that takes time.There are no short cuts.People like you who stand on a principle and consistently live by example will be what will ultimately turn the tide in my opinion.If no one else ever tells you this, I want to say `Thank you’ for what you and so many others here are doing.It matters.

    All I can say is: Absolutely the truth. Dave K is a gem. We need to keep him polished and let him keep on shining on this blog. Thanks Dave K and to you Schmetlz for pointing this fact out.


  41. 41
    CorvetteGuy

    +31

     

    CorvetteGuy
     Says

     

    Mar 29th, 2011 (12:08 pm)

    In the past week or so, I’ve had a couple of guys stop in to see the VOLT. And it’s easy to tell by the way they phrase their questions and they way they talk in general, they’re sales guys from a nearby Toyota Dealer.

    So, I just smile and give them the full presentation and a test drive. While on the test drive, I take them to the freeway onramp and just before they get there I place the VOLT in “Sport Mode”. Then I have them punch it to the floor. [Then I snicker when their eyes light up. No Prius can drive as nice as a VOLT.]

    When we get back, I get confirmation they’re Toyota guys when they start grinding about MPG’s. One of them told me he has to drive 250 to 300 miles each and every day for his work, so the VOLT’s MPG average at that distance can’t match a regular Prius.

    Then I smile and agree with him. [you could have knocked him over with a feather] His jaw dropped when I explained that the VOLT is optimized for the typical driver that travels 100 miles or less per day. If you want to drive 250 to 300 miles per day, you would be much better off with a CRUZE LTZ which is considerably less, but about the same size. And, in a head-to head comparison to a Prius, the VOLT is the “greener car” for any American that drives about 15,000 miles or less per year.

    I also point the Toyota guy to this website to get the facts about the VOLT’s MPGs in the real world. Then they leave, but you can see it on their face that they know the VOLT is a much better car. End of story.


  42. 42
    stuart22

    +7

     

    stuart22
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    Mar 29th, 2011 (12:12 pm)

    I don’t see what the big issue is -the Volt pure and simply is a revolutionary breakthrough motor car. Its capabilities are vast thanks to its unique dual-mode powertrain.

    It is a car with big payoffs for those who learn how to achieve them.

    Sure it can be driven like a regular car – forget about using the plug (as it seems Edmunds was doing), just fill it up with gas and drive away…..it’ll still get gas mileage better than most cars but inferior to the highest mileage makers out there. Nonetheless, I’d wager that its performance and driving dynamics are far better than any of those econoboxes…..

    And then there’s the smart people who will figure out how to minimize their gas usage by plugging in as often as possible. Apparently none of these kinds of people are employed at Edmunds or several other media outlets.


  43. 43
    Kup

    +3

     

    Kup
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    Mar 29th, 2011 (12:21 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: Thanks for cutting me some slack Kup (and other plus-1 voters). I had little time to do this. The article was corrected. It now reads “city/highway.”Otherwise, I think I showed I understand the sticker fine … “As is the case with other plug-in cars, official EPA figures reflect another unusual turn of events: Estimated city average mileage is 60-percent better than city/highway because of the Volt’s reliance on electric power during lower speed driving cycle tests.”Your continued support is what I need, so thanks again.

    Hey Jeff,

    No thanks necessary for providing you some slack. But I think the point that Herto was pointing out rather rudely and is that the window stick has 93 MPG “equivalent” in all electric mode and you have 93 MPG “estimated”. Small point to be sure but obviously you can’t have any miles per gallon rating when you are in all electric mode. It’s a small point and most people that are here knew what you meant but, unless I’m way off base, Herto is right on the need to change it to “equivalent”. If not in this article then in any article when discussing all electric mileage.

    To borrow a phrase, be well. (Hey is Tagamet around still? I don’t think I’ve seen him lately)


  44. 44
    CorvetteGuy

    +19

     

    CorvetteGuy
     Says

     

    Mar 29th, 2011 (12:24 pm)

    And I still use this table that I created (with the help of everyone here) to explain the VOLT MPGs.

    mpg3.jpg


  45. 45
    N Riley

    +2

     

    N Riley
     Says

     

    Mar 29th, 2011 (12:38 pm)

    CorvetteGuy,

    Very good chart. Thanks. Hope you gave one to the Toyota guys.


  46. 46
    Bob

    +6

     

    Bob
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    Mar 29th, 2011 (12:48 pm)

    I took delivery of my Volt (#157) in late December and have just crossed the 5000 mile mark.
    If not for the wicked cold winter, my MPG would be higher. But I am fine with that, because I know my battery is being maintained. On the warmer days I see the electric range go up.
    Getting between 169 and 178 MPG, depending. Right now my lifetime mileage is 174 MPG.
    It would be higher if I did not force the ICE to run in mountian mode. I do this so people can test drive it when I reach work. It is a great ride, and 100% of the people who drive it are impressed with the performance and comfort. GM engineers did an amazing job.
    I am very happy.


  47. 47
    LauraM

    +8

     

    LauraM
     Says

     

    Mar 29th, 2011 (12:50 pm)

    “It’s a bogus figure from an overall cost and consumption perspective, but it has a use if all you care about is reducing our dependence on gasoline that’s derived from oil.”

    Maybe I’m missing something, but what else are we supposed to care about?


  48. 48
    Raymondjram

     

    Raymondjram
     Says

     

    Mar 29th, 2011 (12:52 pm)

    gmtx2652:
    If/when a Buick Electra or Cadillac Lightning (or other name) came out, they should go for 60-80 mpc to reflect GM’s brand hierarchy.JMO.

    I am one on the many who agreed on the Buick Electra name, but I admit now that I like the Cadillac Lightning name. But there was a supercharged Ford truck with that name before.
    http://www.fordlightning.com/

    Raymond


  49. 49
    Jeff Cobb

    +9

     

    Jeff Cobb
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    Mar 29th, 2011 (1:11 pm)

    Kup,

    Yes, “well” I am trying to be. Thanks for that.
    fyi, I’m also blogging now for autoguide daily as well. Kind of like a full-time-and-a-half job with need for originality and no mistakes daily …

    I fixed the “equivalent.” I knew it, posted the sticker that is plainly legible, but somehow what I read and typed did not line up, and still did not catch it this morning while working on three other stories at once.

    I appreciate all of you who have offered me positive support.


  50. 50
    Raymondjram

    +2

     

    Raymondjram
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    Mar 29th, 2011 (1:15 pm)

    CorvetteGuy,

    Tell that guy who travels 250 to 300 miles per day to move closer to his work, or transfer to a dealership closer to his home. He is already spending too much for a daily travel, and I consider that anyone who has more than one hour of driving time from home to work is living “far out of his/her reach”.

    Then tell him to buy the Volt and save even more.

    Raymond


  51. 51
    theflew

    +4

     

    theflew
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    Mar 29th, 2011 (1:41 pm)

    Maybe some of the owners here should email pictures of their displays like Dave K in post #6 to Edmunds, Consumer Reports, etc… to show some real world driving data and not their random tests.


  52. 52
    jeffhre

    +1

     

    jeffhre
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    Mar 29th, 2011 (1:56 pm)

    Yesterday on my lunch break I saw a silver customer ordered Volt on the lot at my local dealer. The salesman told me he had recently sold Saturns and he had learned a lot about the Volt in classes but it was tough because of all of the details that were dissimilar to other vehicles. They also had a demo Volt.

    Driving back to work a Solar City Van passed me while sitting at a stop light. I felt like it was really the end of the beginning in the process that Lyle has been so passionate about. Reading this article and seeing Edmund’s comments again, there is still a lot of work left to do.


  53. 53
    jeffhre

    +1

     

    jeffhre
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    Mar 29th, 2011 (2:01 pm)

    LauraM: “It’s a bogus figure from an overall cost and consumption perspective, but it has a use if all you care about is reducing our dependence on gasoline that’s derived from oil.”
    Maybe I’m missing something, but what else are we supposed to care about?

    We are only supposed to care about direct financial costs with no externalities taken into account at all. I would like to say it’s a childish point of view, but we learned in kindergarten to clean up the messes we make, so it can’t even be justified on those terms.


  54. 54
    stephent

    +4

     

    stephent
     Says

     

    Mar 29th, 2011 (2:36 pm)

    I’m a Volt fan, and on the cusp of ordering one, but to me Edmunds is right and the Chevy way of reporting simply (miles driven)/(gallons gas) used is completely bogus. 230+ mpg, 2000 mpg, these numbers are meaningless since electricity is being counted as “free”. If you use no gas, you get infinite mileage calculating this way, has Chevy invented the perpetual motion machine? I think not. And electricity is not free, neither from a personal economic standpoint nor from an environmental impact standpoint.

    I think there are only two reasonable ways is to count mileage. One is mpge as per the EPA with the 33.7 kw-hr=1 gallon, in which case your mileage is some figure between around 104 mpge and 30-something depending on your ratio of CS vs. CD driving, how much range you can squeeze out of a charge (40 mi = ~104 mpge, EPA got ~36 miles for their figure), how much of a lead foot you have in CS mode. The other way is to count pure cost per mile equivalence, basically take ((cost 1 gallon of gas)/(cost per kw-hr)) * (miles per kw/hr). This will of course vary wildly depending on the relative costs of gas & electricity in your area. For me, $4 gas, best case $0.06 kw-hr electric (off-peak electric vehicle rate), that comes out to around 185 “mpg equiv cost” in CD mode. With an average electrical rate it would be about half of that, 90 something, still stellar.

    Where Edmunds and Consumer Reports went wrong, IMO, was in publicizing calculations using absolute worse case scenarios for range (e.g. 25 miles per charge, in frigid conditions, instead of the more typical 35+), and in using crazy electrical rates (Edmunds did some article using something like $0.31 per kw-hr because the driver was on a high-usage tier; anyone using that much would put in a 2nd separate meter for better rates if they were really going to buy an EV. They’ve done better in more recent articles though including calculations with normal rates.)

    Does the Volt make sense on a pure dollars basis at current vehicle prices and gas prices vs. say a Prius? No. But it’s a much nicer looking & better performing car IMO, and energy independence and the push for cleaner electrical generation are worth something.


  55. 55
    Mitch

    +1

     

    Mitch
     Says

     

    Mar 29th, 2011 (3:09 pm)

    stephent: I’m a Volt fan, and on the cusp of ordering one, but to me Edmunds is right and the Chevy way of reporting simply (miles driven)/(gallons gas) used is completely bogus. 230+ mpg, 2000 mpg, these numbers are meaningless since electricity is being counted as “free”. If you use no gas, you get infinite mileage calculating this way, has Chevy invented the perpetual motion machine? I think not. And electricity is not free, neither from a personal economic standpoint nor from an environmental impact standpoint. I think there are only two reasonable ways is to count mileage. One is mpge as per the EPA with the 33.7 kw-hr=1 gallon, in which case your mileage is some figure between around 104 mpge and 30-something depending on your ratio of CS vs. CD driving, how much range you can squeeze out of a charge (40 mi = ~104 mpge, EPA got ~36 miles for their figure), how much of a lead foot you have in CS mode. The other way is to count pure cost per mile equivalence, basically take ((cost 1 gallon of gas)/(cost per kw-hr)) * (miles per kw/hr). This will of course vary wildly depending on the relative costs of gas & electricity in your area. For me, $4 gas, best case $0.06 kw-hr electric (off-peak electric vehicle rate), that comes out to around 185 “mpg equiv cost” in CD mode. With an average electrical rate it would be about half of that, 90 something, still stellar.Where Edmunds and Consumer Reports went wrong, IMO, was in publicizing calculations using absolute worse case scenarios for range (e.g. 25 miles per charge, in frigid conditions, instead of the more typical 35+), and in using crazy electrical rates (Edmunds did some article using something like $0.31 per kw-hr because the driver was on a high-usage tier; anyone using that much would put in a 2nd separate meter for better rates if they were really going to buy an EV. They’ve done better in more recent articles though including calculations with normal rates.)Does the Volt make sense on a pure dollars basis at current vehicle prices and gas prices vs. say a Prius? No. But it’s a much nicer looking & better performing car IMO, and energy independence and the push for cleaner electrical generation are worth something.

    It still comes down to what you want…too expensive for only 4 seats (check the VW Phaeton, 116,000 seats 4), gas not an issue? drive a something HUGE…define your desire. Electricity is not free per se. But here in my neck of the woods, I can get a solar array installed free, along with household electricity if I give the exces genereation to the installer for 20 years. There is an incentive in Ontario for green sourced electricity with a guaranteed purchase price from the utility. Wind farms are growing faster than wheat in Essex and Chatham kent counties (anyone who crosses the border in Windsor? jump onthe 401 and drive to exit 81, you will see at LEAST 100 w-mills.) and that is only the ones visible fromthe highway.)

    I can get free electricity, I am slowly getting off grid, in my case, with a 80 kn round trip, charge at work, I will likley acheive infinite MPG INCLUDING my electrical costs which will be 0.

    Like Kermit says…”it isn’t easy being green”


  56. 56
    Dave G

    +3

     

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (3:36 pm)

    I’ll say it again, Miles Per Gallon (MPG) makes no sense for plug-ins.

    Gallons Per Year (GPY) is a much better yardstick.


  57. 57
    Noel Park

     

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     Says

     

    Mar 29th, 2011 (3:40 pm)

    gwmort: “I’m driving and you’re in line”.

    #29

    No s**t! +1


  58. 58
    Noel Park

    +6

     

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (3:53 pm)

    My Volt #1756 is averaging 40 miles AER. It is getting over 39 mpg on gas. I can commute all week on no gas. I hate going to the gas station and now I don’t have to near as much. I love sending less money to OPEC. I’m doing my tiny bit to help clear the air in the dreaded South Coast Air Basin – worst in the country. It’s doing everything it was advertised to do. I’m enjoying it very much. I couldn’t care less about all of this other stuff.


  59. 59
    Newport

    +5

     

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (4:33 pm)

    It irritates me to no end that many in the media take every chance that they can get to criticize GM because of the government bailout. They imply that the Volt was developed with government funds, totally ignoring the huge amount GM invested before the Fall of 2010. In addition, they cite the sale price as if it’s some sort of corporate greed. Finally, and quite often, they cite 40 miles as if it’s the maximum range. You have to wonder how much of the remainder of the news is this biased.


  60. 60
    Chris

     

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (5:01 pm)

    Jeff Cobb,

    Hi Jeff–

    Maybe I’m the one who is confused, but this line still appears on my browser, and still seems quite incorrect:

    “Despite what Chevrolet’s marketing team is saying, the average figures the EPA put on the Volt are 93 MPG equivalent in the city, and 37 MPG for the city/highway estimate.”

    I think the sticker says 93 MPGe All Electric and 37 MPG Gas Only.

    Both numbers on the EPA sticker refer to “combined city/hwy” so the distinction in your article leaves me scratching my head.

    Maybe it’s just me???


  61. 61
    Engineer

     

    Engineer
     Says

     

    Mar 29th, 2011 (5:19 pm)

    I think when it comes right down to it, MPG rating is pointless when observing hybrids and electric vehicles. Yes, it is a familiar term that people can relate to, it, however, can get muddy in some areas.

    If they want to give a case for real efficiency of the cars, then calculations should be done that include the energy efficiency of the electric drivetrain AND the ICE.

    “infinite” MPG claims always give me a bad feeling, it goes directly against the conservation of energy.


  62. 62
    N Riley

    +1

     

    N Riley
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    Mar 29th, 2011 (5:21 pm)

    Noel Park:
    It’s doing everything it was advertised to do.I’m enjoying it very much.I couldn’t care less about all of this other stuff.

    If I had one, that would be my sentiments exactly. All the rest of the stuff people talk or whine about is crap. This is what I care about. Is it doing what it is supposed to do? Am I enjoying it? After that what else matters?


  63. 63
    N Riley

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    N Riley
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    Mar 29th, 2011 (5:27 pm)

    Newport:
    It irritates me to no end that many in the media take every chance that they can get to criticize GM because of the government bailout. They imply that the Volt was developed with government funds, totally ignoring the huge amount GM invested before the Fall of 2010. In addition, they cite the sale price as if it’s some sort of corporate greed.Finally, and quite often, they cite 40 miles as if it’s the maximum range.You have to wonder how much of the remainder of the news is this biased.

    No, Newport. It was not the “hand-out” that got these people hating GM. They were in that mode long before that. It was just more icing on the cake for them. But, just ignore them. They don’t matter anyway. Make your on mind up based on your experience. I can remember during the VCR heyday everyone beat on Emerson as being a terrible piece of equipment. I purchased one because it had the features I wanted and the price was right. After keeping it about 10 years with steady use I let my son take it with him when he moved out on his own. I bought a more “up-scale” VCR and it was crap. I finally up-graded it to an Emerson about 6 or 7 years ago and it is still working without a hitch.

    Edited: And, yes, the rest of the news is biased just like the reports you read about GM. So what is new?


  64. 64
    Engineer

     

    Engineer
     Says

     

    Mar 29th, 2011 (5:30 pm)

    Chris:
    Jeff Cobb,

    Hi Jeff–

    Maybe I’m the one who is confused, but this line still appears on my browser, and still seems quite incorrect:

    “Despite what Chevrolet’s marketing team is saying, the average figures the EPA put on the Volt are 93 MPG equivalent in the city, and 37 MPG for the city/highway estimate.”

    I think the sticker says 93 MPGe All Electric and 37 MPG Gas Only.

    Both numbers on the EPA sticker refer to “combined city/hwy” so the distinction in your article leaves me scratching my head.

    Maybe it’s just me???

    That’s how I read it too. I did a calculation a while back and found that the electrical efficiency number can be anywhere from 80MPGe to 160MPGe. So really any “averaged” MPGe or MPG number higher than the electrical efficiency is totally bunk.


  65. 65
    Jeff Cobb

     

    Jeff Cobb
     Says

     

    Mar 29th, 2011 (6:08 pm)

    Engineer,

    OK, I revised the line. EPA uses MPGe term. The sticker posted says what you are saying, so I thought the brief description would suffice.


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    Jeff Cobb

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (6:34 pm)

    Chris – thanks. Saw your comment, and then delete. You caught me in the middle of editing. Like I said, I’m kind of over-loaded as I adapt to the new schedule.

    Thanks again,

    Jeff


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    Dave K.

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (7:25 pm)

    Volt-Unpluggedsanfran2010.jpg?t=1301441090


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    Mar 29th, 2011 (7:54 pm)

    Dave K.,

    I’d love to know who the semi blond is. I love going barefoot.


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    Engineer

     

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (8:03 pm)

    Jeff Cobb:
    Engineer,

    OK, I revised the line. EPA uses MPGe term. The sticker posted says what you are saying, so I thought the brief description would suffice.

    No harm done. If I ever say anything that sounds somewhat like I am being a dick, I’m not, I am just trying to be pragmatic. Unfortunately being an engineer, it almost always sounds like I am being a dick.


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    Jeff Cobb

     

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (8:08 pm)

    Engineer,

    No, no problem at all. You were right. It read incorrectly.


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    jeffhre

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (8:10 pm)

    Engineer: If I ever say anything that sounds somewhat like I am being a dick, I’m not…being an engineer, it almost always sounds like I am being a dick.

    Maybe that means…oh never mind :)


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    jeffhre

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (8:11 pm)

    Dan Whitlock: Over 100 cruise missels fired at Lybia at a cost in excess of 1 million dollars, EACH.

    Plus trillions in Iraq and trillions in Afghanistan. I’m beginning to think Edmunds and staff are having trouble with basic addition.


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    Engineer

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (8:18 pm)

    jeffhre: Maybe that means…oh never mind

    DON’T SAY IT! :D


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    Dave K.

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (8:26 pm)

    Eco_Turbo: I’d love to know who the semi blond is. I love going barefoot.

    We all realize the significance of the 2010 Volt Unplugged Tour. I still find it hard to grasp reality each time I ask my son if he wants to go for a ride in our Volt. We press the start button and are off for another gasoline free drive in Sport Mode. When he asks where we are going. I say, “I don’t know. Let’s just drive around town”. We usually end up at an ice cream place. Or the local Carl’s Jr.
    The next two days will be fun. Playing golf both days and planning on Italian dinner with wine.
    Here is a shot of one of the courses.

    Go Volt!

    ranchomosaic.jpg?t=1301444724


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    flmark

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (9:37 pm)

    Rich Remund: After you hit about 70 MPG it really just doesn’t pay to invest thousands of dollars to gain more MPG. You run into the “Law of Diminishing Returns” Just take a look at the Annual Fuel Cost for various scenarios, and think of the “Cost in Dollars or Functionality of a Vehicle when you hit those numbers.Your only saving about $200 a year to move from 70 MPG to 100 MPG.I think the real Savings is our Grace as a Nation. What we could do with 1.5-2 Trillion Dollar a year, all exported to the Middle East… Not to mention 3 Trillion on a couple of wars. It would easily pay for the “Grand Solar Plan” Congress reviewed years ago.http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-solar-grand-planI enjoy driving my Volt more then the Ferrari.12000 miles a year 3.75 gallon——————————————————–at 14 MPG – 857 gallons x 3.75 = $3213 / yrat 20 MPG – 600 gallons x 3.75 = $2250 / yrat 24 MPG – 500 gallons x 3.75 = $1875 / yrat 35 MPG – 342 gallons x 3.75 = $1282 / yrat 70 MPG – 171 gallons x 3.75 = $641 / yrat 100 MPG – 120 gallons x 3.75 = $450 / yrat 140 MPG – 85 gallons x 3.75 = $318 / yrat 200 MPG – 60 gallons x 3.75 = $225 / yr

    I love your discussion- and numbers. While you meant this for the Volt- and I can’t wait for my Volt- I stop in the lower numbers of your table to discuss my Tahoe Hybrid. I am so sick and tired of people saying that GM failed with its Two Mode hybrid system when it was just the opposite. My NY neighbor tells me her slightly older Tahoe cannot get more than 15 mpg. Meanwhile, I can drive smart and keep my mpg, city OR hwy, at 24 mpg. Your table shows that I save hundreds of gallons (and more than a thousand bucks) a year. Most people don’t get that the Law of Diminishing returns means that HUGE gas/money savings are had at the low end of the scale for even single digit alterations in mpg. So between the big Tahoe Hybrid and the little Volt, GM is my hero regarding its gas saving technology.


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    Mar 29th, 2011 (10:24 pm)

    Just back from a cruise. Stopped at Foster Freeze for root beer floats. Sport Mode @ no gas.

    NPNS

    Volt555sunset03-29-11.jpg?t=1301451700


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    Mark Wagner

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (10:55 pm)

    While there may be a feel good factor of ignoring electricity when calculating gas mileage, it is only a way to kid ourselves and take the emphasis off what should be the ultimate objective: Fuel efficiency!

    We all know that our electricity is currently made largely from dirty coal and other fossil fuels, and we also all know that charging up a car means not only consuming electricity but also waiting while you charge and toting around a heavy battery — which degrades the overall efficiency and occupies space in the car.

    I do love my Volt and find it easy to fall prey to believing false claims of super-efficiency, but if we don’t measure the use of all fuels (including the impact of suboptimal temperatures and other conditions) we won’t demand further improvement to efficiency and cleaner electricity! We should not ignore the impact of the primary fuel that the car uses!

    We wouldn’t claim that a natural gas or diesel fueled car has infinite gas mileage because they don’t use any gasoline. And likewise we shouldn’t measure an electric car or an extended range electric car based only on the gasoline they use. It doesn’t make sense. It allows GM to avoid the realities of the car. And it prevents us from focusing on improving on an excellent product that is only in it’s first year.


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    Chris C.

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    Mar 29th, 2011 (11:42 pm)

    When I talk to people about my Volt, I give them the standard spiel (35 miles on a charge, runs gas after that, can go on long road trips from gas station to gas station just like a regular car) but bring it back to emphasizing that MOST days I burn ZERO gas. And then I illustrate it with these two facts:

    1. Last month I drove 600 miles and burned 4 gallons of gas. You do the math.

    2. My electric bill has gone up about $20-$30 a month.

    There is a TON more to say, but for most folks I usually stop there because I’ve already blown their mind.

    Those that start giving me the usual arguments (dirty coal power etc.), well, I continue to engage from there. But only if they bring it up.

    GM, get the production numbers up and we will take care of the rest.


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    Mar 30th, 2011 (4:03 am)

    Ohio-gozymus from Japan.

    Gas is 132 yen per liter here. Or about $8 / gallon. I guess that’s why most the cars are the size of Smart Cars.

    I don’t know what electricity costs here, but I’m guessing a lot , especially with all power problems going on in the north.

    Even still, I’d bet it’s much cheaper to run a car on electricity vs gas. Even better, most people here in the city walk or ride a bike.


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    Herto

     

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    Mar 30th, 2011 (8:35 am)

    Kup,
    You’ve corrected the lines, that’s good.
    I’m sorry if I looked a bit aggressive in my previous post, as N Riley points out. Misinformation comes so quickly with plug-in cars, especially with the Volt…
    Maybe EPA sticker is not comprehensive enough?

    Anyway, thanks for the daily work of information you’re continuing on gm-volt.com.


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    volt11

     

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    Mar 30th, 2011 (4:44 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: And I still use this table that I created (with the help of everyone here) to explain the VOLT MPGs.

    Nice chart. I’m currently in the 3rd category and my numbers are pretty close.

    But really, all this talk about the Volt’s value equation are getting extremely tiring, and at this point I think both sides are talking past each other. Screw the detractors, they’re hopeless, Dan Edmunds included. Of all the other “green” cars on the market, IMO none of them even approach the appeal level of the Volt.

    I’m starting to actually dig the CS mode in the Volt, which I’ve had to use a lot. It’s really quite well executed.


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    Apr 1st, 2011 (10:19 am)

    I am a Volt owner and my biggest complaint about the vehicle is that it provides all sorts of misleading fuel efficiency information by ignoring electric energy use in it’s fuel efficiency reports.

    I am very interested in knowing how the electric range impacts electric efficiency of the car and I think that the vehicle should has the data to determine this better than I do. The fact that GM avoids reporting electric energy efficiency gives me a lack of confidence that it is an environmentally friendly vehicle when electric range diminishes.

    In addition to GM’s misleading efficiency information, I am frustrated by the lack of a power shut of on vehicle chargers. I understand that all of the existing vehicle chargers continue vampire draining of power after the car is unplugged (if the charger remains plugged in). This makes the car less efficient still and could be easily preventable if the chargers totally switched off their power drain when they’re unplugged from the car. This would be an easy improvement of the car’s efficiency — if GM didn’t pretend it wasn’t the car’s problem.

    The Volt needs to be about more than just independence from foreign oil. GM claims it is also good for the environment and therefore total electric energy efficiency is very important. The car is a great product, but let’s acknowledge the real electric efficiency of the car so it can be continuously improved.


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    60Hertz

     

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    Apr 3rd, 2011 (1:21 pm)

    OK, I am late posting as usual, since I only get on here every few days, so nobody will probably read this, but here goes anyway. An MPG figure is meaningless for the Volt except for the miles driven in CS mode. IMO, the Consumer Reports article (referring to the one in the April magazine issue) was pretty even-handed and realistic. Their approach was pretty common sense – about 2 miles per kWH when running on the battery and 30 miles per gallon when running on the gas engine. Now these are numbers you can use. Just plug in (no pun intended) your own figures for the cost of electricity and gas where you live and make your own estimate of how much of your driving will be on electric and how much on gas. The CR report clearly acknowledged that they were testing in cold weather and that the cold affected the results. Since I live in a cold climate, this was representative of my own driving conditions for a large part of the year. Unless you put in some pretty extreme numbers (very expensive gas, very cheap electricity, and nearly all miles driven electric), it is easy to see that you simply cannot recover, over the useful life of the car, the current cost premium of the Volt compared with a conventional ICE car of similar utility (e.g., the Cruze). That is true even if you pay MSRP for the car (CR paid a $5k dealer markup for their test car) and qualify for the $7500 tax credit.

    That said, there are other reasons to buy the Volt other than just economical transportation. If you take a personal interest in cleaner air and reducing dependance on imported oil, and you have $41k burning a hole in your pocket, then more power to you. When I read about people trading in their BMW’s and Lexus’s for Volts, I think that’s great for all kinds of reasons. And no doubt the Volt is just the ultimate cool toy for us gEEks. But, if you have a mortgage and kids who need braces and college funds and then try to save something for your own retirement, then the financial realities take a front row seat. So, there are lots of good reasons to own a Volt, but for the time being, saving money is not one of them. If the car gets more volume and a lower price tag in a few years, it will become attractive to a lot more people, including me. You early adopters have my gratitude (and envy), as you are paving the way for a more affordable Volt down the road.