Aug 29

Could a Chevrolet Volt cost less to own than a Chevrolet Cruze?

 

The next time someone says the Volt is only a pricey “halo” vehicle drawing buyers to Chevrolet’s bread and butter Cruze, you might want to refute them with facts to the contrary.

What facts? How about the truth that depending on miles driven per year and price of fuel, a Cruze could cost from only a few hundred less to significantly more over a five-year period.

At least this is the case if Kiplinger’s number-crunching is correct, and it had better be at least close considering it has also gone on the record with the story in its own September edition and in speaking to a TV news station.


Which costs less to own? (2011 Cruze LTZ and Volt shown because Kiplinger compared 2011s. The same should hold true for 2012 models.)

Jessica Anderson, an associate editor for autos at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance was quoted by a TV news station (and commented today to GM-Volt) about one scenario in which the Volt comes within a few hundred dollars of the Cruze. Similarly, the Nissan LEAF is nearly as close to the Nissan Versa even while factoring significantly higher selling prices for the electric cars.

“While both of them cost about $18,000 more than the gasoline models, the Volt comes within $500 of Cruze’s ownership costs over five years,” Anderson said to KomoNews, “and the Leaf is only $800 more than a Versa over five years because they do save so much.”

In its September article, Kiplinger said the five-year ownership costs were calculated based on info from Vincentric, an automotive data firm. It assumed 15,000 miles per year, and gasoline cost at $3.64 per gallon for regular, and $3.91 per gallon for premium – with a 3.5-percent annual increase for each fuel.

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CORRECTION:

Kiplinger’s Jessica Anderson got back to us at 3:45 p.m. EST today and said because I was questioning the accuracy of the calculator, they did indeed uncover a “glitch” in the system.

“The tool works by taking the inputs from users on our site, sending them to Vincentric and then bouncing back with the appropriate calculations using their data (this is so our users can benefit from their monthly data updates),” Anderson said. “Unfortunately the fuel cost for Volt is not taking the gas usage into account as we thought and subsequently that number is off by quite a bit.”

After re-running the calculations, in the example given, Anderson says the disparity between a Cruze and Volt is actually $1575, not $500. Still a pretty fair closing of an $18,000 initial price gap, but this is where it stands.

“We will be running a correction in the magazine and online, but I still think that with such a close gap in ownership costs, the Volt is certainly a viable choice for the economically minded,” Anderson said. “My apologies for the confusion and my thanks for helping us to spot a problem. We will be working in the next few days to fix the error on the Volt calculations, but that issue has not affected any of the other models in our calculator. Just another way that Volt is forcing the industry to look at everything differently.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


After evaluating the Volt’s real costs, Vincentric named it the best value in America 2011 in its new “Eco” classification.

It is also assumed the buyer will take advantage of $7,500 in federal incentives for the Volt.

In this cited example, the differential is slightly in the Cruze’s favor, but depending upon circumstances, the Volt could hypothetically cost far less over five years.

“We figure five years is enough because it’s the typical length of ownership for most people,” Anderson said to KomoNews, “and if you haven’t seen your gas savings by five years, you’re probably going to be very frustrated.”

Actually, Kiplinger’s Green Car Calculator – updated in June – allows one to plug in some key variables and calculates these with a few given factors and assumptions.

One of the assumptions is a 6.46-percent interest rate on a five-year loan on both cars, with 15-percent down payment.

Fuel consumption costs are based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s estimated mileage figures for both highway and city driving. Kiplinger assumes 55 percent city driving and 45 percent highway.


Kiplinger’s Green Car Calculator. (Note, plugging in future gas increases like $5 or $6 per gallon will not work when comparing to the Volt. This calculator is not set up for that, but it is updated monthly for average fuel and electricity rates, so it will be close if you punch in your actual fuel price for a car compared to the Volt.

The calculator also factors in “opportunity cost,” which is the amount of interest that could have been earned in a certificate of deposit if those funds had not been spent owning and operating the vehicle.

When running the numbers for the Volt, it auto-calculates “fuel” price based upon average utility rates and gasoline prices. Changing the price of fuel for the Volt therefore makes no difference to its fuel cost line (see charts).

Since the calculator is not allowing individuals to plug in their actual electricity rate or fuel prices, it looks like there’s some room for variance from real world. What’s more, hypothetical comparisons of 15,000-20,000 miles per year may be difficult to next to impossible – unless one has access to away-from-home charging, and is using the Volt for more than one full charge cycle per day.

This said, the calculator may at least be a good starting point to refine actual costs, or gauge a ballpark estimate.


Based on 15,000 miles driven per year and $4 per gallon gasoline, Kiplinger says the Cruze costs about $1,000 more over five years. (Note, the Volt’s price accuracy may be optimistic because the calculator factors gas costs at “average” rates, not $4 per gallon.)

Today Anderson replied to us via email to further qualify how the Volt’s costs are calculated. She reiterated the calculations are being done by Vincentric, and acknowledged difficulty in pinning down the Volt’s costs to the last dollar, as these are based upon any number of usage models partially using gasoline, partially using electricity.

“With the LEAF and the Volt they had to do some pretty extensive back-end work to calculate what the annual fuel cost would be. You’re absolutely right that the Volt’s cost for fuel will vary with fuel prices, but we could not build that capability into our calculator,” she said. “Thus, Vincentric has calculated using current average gas prices and utility rates and a combination of EV and gas-assisted motoring, an annual fuel cost for Volt. (LEAF’s is obviously just based on the utility costs and charges needed.) Monthly, their data is updated on fuel prices, so that rate will change, but you’ll never see it change with your inputs on the calculator because it’s all being done on their back end.”

The calculator is probably more accurate when showing that life with the Cruze is all about fuel costs and distance traveled. The higher these go, the more it costs to own compared to the Volt.


Difference for 15,000 miles per year and with gas at $5 per gallon. (Note, the Volt’s price accuracy may be optimistic because the calculator factors gas costs at “average” rates, not $5 per gallon.)

Kiplinger’s writers were surprised to discover the Volt and LEAF proved heads-above-better than several hybrid vehicles compared. Hybrids present a mixed bag ranging from financially advantageous to quite costly.

“You can be getting a really great deal like the Mercedes-Benz S400 hybrid. It’s actually the cheapest S-class that you can buy. And you save about $7,000 over five years,” Anderson said, “Conversely, another popular model, the Lexus LS600 hybrid, it costs more than $36,000 more than its gasoline counterpart and you lose all of that. It does not save money over the gasoline engine.”

If Kiplinger’s calculations are even nearly on-target, it is good news for the Volt, and contradicts cost-conscious reviewers who have portrayed the Volt as not making financial sense.

That said, it is worth repeating it is a qualified decision made on a case-by-case basis, and there are plenty of scenarios where the Volt will come out more expensive than a Cruze.

But buying the Volt is potentially more than just a money-based decision, as it also stands to keep more funds in the U.S., reduce gasoline usage, emissions, and provides other benefits, which Anderson touched upon in commenting generally about purchasing green cars.

“If your goal is to be good to the environment, the premium and the savings is not going to be something that is ultimately a make-or-break situation for you,” Anderson said. “But if your goal is to save money, run the numbers, really do as much as you can to find out about the long-term costs because some of the green cars will save you a lot and some of them really won’t.”

Kiplinger, KomoNews.

This entry was posted on Monday, August 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: 82


  1. 1
    nasaman

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (6:10 am)

    Kudos for today’s topic, Jeff! Comparisons by well-regarded 3rd party analysts such as the prestigious Kiplinger organization, if well publicized, will be extremely valuable to the EV movement and should be highly instrumental in educating the public and the general media.

    /Who knows, maybe even some hard-headed, non-thinking, high-profile media people like Neil Cavuto at Fox News might finally come to their senses! Hopefully, GM will really publicize this!


  2. 2
    Eco_Turbo

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (6:53 am)

    /Who knows, maybe even some hard-headed, non-thinking, high-profile media people like Neil Cavuto at Fox News might finally come to their senses!

    The problem probably has more to do with cent$ than sense.


  3. 3
    Jim I

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (7:26 am)

    It is really good news for the Volt, but I don’t know if GM is really going to push these numbers just yet.

    The sell about 20,000 of the Cruze model each month. And the Volt will sell 12,000 in all of 2011.

    Does GM really want people to know it costs $40K to own a Cruze for five years????? Why would you want to shoot yourself in the foot?

    Because if there would be even a slight increase in volume demand for the Volt, GM is just not ready to fulfill the demand, and that could be even more of a problem.

    JMHO


  4. 4
    nasaman

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (7:36 am)

    Jim I: Because if there would be even a slight increase in volume demand for the Volt, GM is just not ready to fulfill the demand, and that could be even more of a problem.

    Good point, Jim. It might be wiser (and less likely to affect Cruze sales) to do the “Kiplinger comparison” of a Volt to the car I believe is still the largest seller in the US, a Toyota Camry.

    /PS: I emailed this topic’s link to a key member of GM’s Volt management, who’s already replied with a ‘thank you’ email. It’ll be interesting to see what GM does.


  5. 5
    Tim Hart

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (8:34 am)

    This cost analysis is what convinced me to take the plunge. Having never spent more than 10,000 for a car, the Volt’s price tag was scary. But it will save us between 200-300 dollars a month on the gas we don’t buy at today’s prices. Let’s figure 300 a month savings over the life of the car and that might be low as gas will surely be more expensive down the road. I plan to keep the car for 15 years at least. Do the math. In 15 years I will have saved 54,000 in the gas I didn’t buy. So actually the Volt is more than paying for itself if you keep it for 10-15 years. How sweet is that!


  6. 6
    Shock Me

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (8:36 am)

    I spend about $900 per year on gasoline. Two-thirds of that amount is commuting back and forth to work as well as home for lunch. The rest is highway driving to visit relatives (or for jet fuel and warm Sprite in a plastic tumbler to relax after being felt up by the TSA).

    For my commuting purposes, a Leaf, a Cruze, or a Volt would do fine. The problem comes from the up front cost of any of them and the added expense of renting a garage where I could recharge the Leaf or the Volt. Add to that the almost $900/month for the loan, and I almost have my rent/mortgage doubled.

    The lease of the Volt or the purchase of the Cruze, are FAR more likely than me maintaining my 11-year-old Buick to deal with the Leaf’s range issue and the expense of the associated insurance costs of keeping two vehicles. That said, the sooner the prices drop the sooner I’ll make the switch. It will be hard to resist when the Volt is actually available here.


  7. 7
    kdawg

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (8:47 am)

    “But buying the Volt is potentially more than just a money-based decision, as it also stands to keep more funds in the U.S., reduce gasoline usage, emissions, and provides other benefits, which Anderson touched upon in commenting generally about purchasing green cars.”
    ————–

    Plus, your driving a Volt, not a Cruze. Enjoyment is also a factor.


  8. 8
    kdawg

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (8:55 am)

    nasaman: Who knows, maybe even some hard-headed, non-thinking, high-profile media people like Neil Cavuto at Fox News might finally come to their senses!

    The Elias Big Boy gets told what to think/say. If the talking heads don’t follow the mantra, Fox banishes them.


  9. 9
    Eideard

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (8:59 am)

    Which is why we’re considering a Volt – if they were available here in NM – or a Ford Focus electric – if they were available anywhere – for my wife’s next car.

    Her daily commute is 24 miles round trip. With the Volt she’d only use the amount of gasoline required by the periodic engine startup. With the Ford she’d use none.

    We both tend to keep our vehicles for 20 years minimum. She’s currently driving a 1982 Volvo 240DL and I have a 1994 Dodge Ram pickup.


  10. 10
    Jeff Cobb

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (9:14 am)

    UPDATE:

    I had sent an email to Jessica Anderson asking questions, but she was unable to reply till this morning. She further explained how the Volt and LEAF are calculated.

    Will update that now (9:15 am).


  11. 11
    George S. Bower

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (9:35 am)

    Are maintenance costs savings factored into this analysis??


  12. 12
    Raymondjram

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (9:49 am)

    I suggest a different approach to the operational cost comparison.

    Use the Chevy Volt against one’s present ICE vehicle. This could show when buying and driving a 2012 Volt reaches the breakpoint when operating the newer vehicle is more economical instead of keeping the older vehicle for more time.

    In the IT environment, many computer manufacturers do the same to sell newer, more energy efficient servers versus the costs of running present servers. This same concept can be carried on to the automobile market and show everyone that a EV, EREV or a common hybrid will spend less in a certain amount of time and miles versus keeping the present vehicle for the same amount of time and miles.

    If I can use the calculator with my 1995 Buick Regal values, I can use this to prove my wife that buying a Volt is better in the future than keeping the Regal longer (and I tend to keep my cars for over twenty years).

    Raymond


  13. 13
    flmark

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (10:14 am)

    “One of the assumptions is a 6.46-percent interest rate on a five-year loan on both cars”

    My credit union’s rate on this loan right now (and for quite awhile now) is 1.99%. Not only is the interest rate they used (quite) a bit out of the ballpark, it would DEFINITELY tip the balance back in the Volt’s favor.


  14. 14
    Terry BoultVolt

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (10:15 am)

    Nice Article… thanks for posting it. Note that part of the “advantage” is the Cruze’s costs.. if one compares to other cars (e.g. a Honda Insight) the volt costs are about 7K more over five years or the Prius its 5K so some people will use it to argue aginst the Volt. But Price is only one thing, one must consider the ride.

    They did seem to ignore resale value (which is harder to estimate). At 5 years that matters a little. Since the Volt can always be “gas” car, even if the batter replacement costs are high it will have some resale. A Leaf depends far more on the battery.

    Since I plan on keeping my volt a long time, (I kept my Honda for 17 years 130K miles) none of these matter to my decision process. And when people look at costs and say what about the battery, I simply reply that when/if the batteries start to fail, the motor will always allow me to keep going. My range is reduced but not my function. And while I do expect that in 10 years battery prices will drop faster than gas, at least I’ll have the choice to replace or not depending on the costs at the time.

    Its odd that they did not make it so one could include electricity costs, as its not that hard. I guess they wanted to keep it simple.


  15. 15
    Jackson

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (10:21 am)

    nasaman: hard-headed, non-thinking, high-profile media people like Neil Cavuto at Fox News might finally come to their senses

    There are a few factors fueling hard-headedness which might not be all that obvious:

    1) The bloviators see the Prius as a chariot for smug eco-zealots (resisted especially since “Global Warming is a crock of $#|+”). On the Right, all hybrids and EVs are equivalent to the Prius, Liberal darlings ripe for attack. Facts have yet to set in.

    2) GM’s “government brokered bankruptcy” side-stepped existing bankruptcy laws, favored Unions over Bondholders, and was presided over by Obama. Therefore, anything GM does is now subject to strong vocal skepticism, especially if it seems “eco-sensitive” (see above).

    3) What most people don’t realize is that many of the most vocal Right-wing mouthpieces (significantly Hannity and Limbaugh) had lucrative advertising contracts with GM; praising it’s larger hybrids, of all things. When GM realized that Obama would win the election (and that he would preside over any government bailout), the contracts were canceled (don’t know about Cavuto specifically). From that point on, GM was “public enemy number two” (after Obama).

    4) Obama’s general support-by-association with anything which appears relevant to his “green jobs” initiative has cast the Volt as his baby; and anything Obama is evil over at Fox (in fact, Obama had next to nothing to do with the Volt).

    What detractors need to realize is:

    1) The Volt project pre-dated bankruptcy by more than a year, and was inspired by the Tesla Roadster more than any single thing (it was GM’s Bob Lutz who coined the infamous “Global Warming is a crock of $#|+” comment. Lutz is generally credited with the birth of the Volt project, and was it’s early, most ardent champion).

    2) George Bush took the first, most significant role in saving GM, by signing TARP.

    3) The point of the Volt is superior technology and energy security, not Global Warming (and we’ve seen on this very site how Prius jockeys and BEV zealots feel about it).

    4) George W was hot on Hydrogen cars (specifically, with GM), so the Right can’t claim that all things Eco are strictly phenomena of the Left. (Hydrogen; he came so-o-oo close, LOL.) The Republican’s motive was mainly Energy Security.

    The facts need to ‘sink in’ for all kinds of people. Looks like it’s starting to …


  16. 16
    Jeff Cobb

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (10:37 am)

    OT – Has anyone heard of “hacking” into the Chevrolet Volt’s software or individual owners modifying things in any way for any purpose?


  17. 17
    Jackson

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (10:45 am)

    Jeff Cobb:

    OT – Has anyone heard of “hacking” into the Volt’s software or individual owners modifying things in any way for any purpose?

    I’ve been here for awhile. I suspected hacking back when the BEV Zealots were concentrating their attacks on this site, but in fact I think that everything they did was done from the outside.

    There was once a hole in the software, which allowed several people to make multiple votes (I think I was the first to find this, I exploited the bug to vote trolls into invisibility. Eventually the trolls discovered the bug themselves, and voting was shut down for a week to be re-written). This happened back in the Lyle days, and while I find it plausible that thuggish trolls might try to hack today, I don’t know that they ever successfully did so in the past.

    The Volt has lots of philosophical enemies, and I think there is motive for compromising the site to further their points of view (and diminish ours)


  18. 18
    DonC

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (10:56 am)

    This is great information. It’s hard to say it’s accurate because for any given driver some of these costs may be all over the map. For example, one driver may go 15,000 miles a year with 90% electric driving and another may go the same distance with 50% electric driving. Plus the cost of fuel can vary widely. Not only can gas prices vary but, more importantly, the price of a kWh might vary between $.02/kWh and $.22/kWh.

    Having said that, the great thing is that this is a highly credible third party running the numbers and finding that EVs can save you money despite the big difference in the purchase price. The problem here is that most consumers are fixated on initial acquisition price, or monthly payments, or both. They don’t seem to be able to see past the first six months and see the total cost of ownership over a longer period of five or more years. I don’t think this will have a big impact on most people but it does give a quick response to those suggesting a Volt or other EV is a financially unsound purchase.

    The other big deal is resale price. I’ve said that an EV comes with a discount gas card. At the end of five years the car may have depreciated but the discount card will be as good as it was on day one. That should elevate the resale value.


  19. 19
    James

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (10:57 am)

    It’s 7:50am here on the left coast and I’m still a bit fuzzy, but how does 35 mpg city and 40 hwy for Volt in Kiplinger’s Green Car Calculater read accurate?!

    Nobody explains how they calculated electricity cost into their mpg. rating, and if they did – I still don’t get it. What percentage of time in Volt was spent in EV mode?

    Over at Kiplinger’s website, I just punched in $3.80 per gallon as gasoline price and it came up with a Prius II vs. Volt comparison equalling a $3,600 or so advantage for Prius over 5 years (15,000 miles per year)!

    Can someone explain to me how this 35 mpg / 40 mpg number for Volt was tabulated?

    Is this fuzzy math – or my fuzzy thinking?

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


  20. 20
    DonC

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (10:58 am)

    Jeff Cobb: OT – Has anyone heard of “hacking” into the Chevrolet Volt’s software or individual owners modifying things in any way for any purpose?

    No. Obviously it’s possible.


  21. 21
    Jeff Cobb

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (11:12 am)

    James: how does 35 mpg city and 40 hwy for Volt in Kiplinger’s Green Car Calculater read accurate?!

    The “combined” 37 mpg is 35 city, 40 highway.

    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.htm

    Vincentric does back end calculations factoring MPGe and mpg.


  22. 22
    DonC

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (11:17 am)

    James: Is this fuzzy math – or my fuzzy thinking?

    It’s just assumptions. For example, they use the base price of a Prius. How many people buy the base Prius? No many. They also use the base price for the Volt but the base Volt comes with far more content than the base Prius, though GM is working hard on this. LOL

    Likewise they make some assumptions about how often the Volt will be driven in CD Mode. Might be right for some people but it’s shaded in this direction more than may be warranted.

    Just treat it as a SWAG not a precise estimate and you’ll be happy. Even with the comparison stacked in favor of the Prius, paying $3000 for getting to drive a Volt rather than a Prius for five years would be an amazing bargain.


  23. 23
    James

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (11:22 am)

    I’m still trying to figure out how Vincentric and Kiplinger got those mileage numbers for Volt. For what it’s worth – Vincentric created a new category for Volt and Leaf this year (“Eco”) to determine which was the best value, and Volt won. Nice graph for number crunching Volt’s costs.

    Vincentric – BEST VALUE IN AMERICA AWARDS

    Here’s their numbers:

    http://www.vincentric.com/2011AwardsLandingPage/2011BestValueinAmericaLandingPage/2011BestValueinAmericaWinnersList/2011ConsumerWinnerEco.aspx

    woo hoo? Volt really has no competition. Hmmm…Nope. Fisker won’t win any Best Value awards!

    PUMP OUT THE VOLTECS! ,

    James


  24. 24
    Noel Park

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (11:44 am)

    It’s all good. It actually makes me feel better this AM about my arguably impulsive purchase, so thanks for that, LOL.

    I STILL haven’t bought any gas since July 3, and I’ve driven over 3K miles since then, so how can that be bad?


  25. 25
    Anthony

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (11:45 am)

    I’d be interested in seeing this study extended to 8 years (the length of the battery warranty). Three more years of driving electric at the elevated gas prices would surely vault the Volt ahead of anyone in its size class.


  26. 26
    James

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (11:47 am)

    Jeff Cobb,

    Right Jeff. I get the CS mode gasoline MPG – yet on Kiplinger’s calculator site, some hybrids’ comparison numbers don’t even list a KWH price/ gal. equivelant , yet in the Cruze LTZ vs. Volt comparo, they list KWH price/ gas equivelant for electricity for an ICE…?

    They’ve obviously calculated EV usage ( “Fuel Usage” ) – What remains to be shared is what percentage of miles are they assuming car owners would drive on electricity. For me, these numbers are very puzzling and extremely hazy with no explanation as to how they got there. In other words, how did they come to the 5 year number of $2,692 for fuel cost for their calculation of gas at $4.00 per gal. and $5.00 per gal.?! We’d have to assume they’re driving in EV mode all the time! Their Green Car Calculator lists Leaf’s “mileage number” as 1 mpg city, 1 mpg hwy and electricity at .12, yet Leaf’s cost estimate for fuel over 5 years was $2958!

    The numbers are whack! Nobody is going to drive a Volt on pure EV all the time. They need to give more information per what amt. of miles were driven on gas with Volt. Otherwise, this is useless information and of zero benefit to the consumer making a cost/benefit analysis.

    RECHARGE!

    James


  27. 27
    Jeff Cobb

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (11:51 am)

    James,

    You’re right the numbers are not fully explained.

    I thought at first they were assuming EV mode, but Anderson’s quote in the article and my explanation clearly say they are factoring gasoline usage for the Volt as well.

    Also, plugging in future price increases like $5 or $6 per gallon will not work. This calculator is not set up for that, so don’t bother because it will make the Cruze look even more expensive compared to the Volt.

    The article stands though because they punched in Real World numbers of $3.91 for premium (needed for Volt) and $3.64 for regular for Cruze – and under that example the Cruze is $500 cheaper or so over five years.

    Hang in there, I’ll ask Vincentric for more details.


  28. 28
    CorvetteGuy

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (12:11 pm)

    You say “Po-tay-toe”… I say “Po-tah-toe”… but we both say “Chevrolet”…!!!
    As long as more Americans buy an American-made car when they are done with their research, that’s all that really matters! We stand ready to take your order for a VOLT or a Cruze.
    [[[sound of 'God Bless America' played on kazoo in background]]] :)


  29. 29
    James

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (12:22 pm)

    Thanks Jeff.

    Seems pre-t-t-y iffy that a Nissan Leaf at gas prices of $4.00 per gal. over a five year period will incur “fuel prices” of $266 more than a Chevy Volt over the same span…

    Perhaps Vincentric and Kiplinger have had an even tougher time of calculating Volt’s worth than the EPA!

    ; )

    James


  30. 30
    Loboc

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (12:22 pm)

    A factor I don’t see here is residual/resale value. If you buy/lease every three years, the number at the end is important.

    There are a couple schools of thought on this since we don’t have much real-world data:

    1. Residual will be very high. If you look at existing EVs such as RAV4, their resale is very high still even though the batteries are 10 or more years old. Resale for an EV should be higher because of the low maintenance costs. Cult status could make them more valuable as well.

    2. Residual will be very low. It is unknown how these batteries will last in the long run. People may be reluctant to buy a used car with unknown longevity. New technology could instantly make these cars very low value if a new one is better and cheaper. Availability of qualified mechanics could be a factor as well.

    3. Residual will be like other cars. If there is a mass build of these cars, they may become commodity and hold their value similar to gasoline cars. This is the one I’m hoping for so I can buy a used Volt in three years :) .

    4. Residual is built into my lease so I don’t care. Depending on how the actual value goes, these could be a bargain for the second owner.

    We need a good three years to see how these cars are doing on the used car market imho. We should start seeing some demos soon as well.


  31. 31
    Jackson

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (12:33 pm)

    [[[sound of 'God Bless America' played on kazoo in background]]]

    You really need to be more specific, Corvette Guy!

    (This one’s for you, Captain Jack Sparrow, wherever you are):

    http://www.youtube.com/v/-FTEdn-Xvck&hl=en_US&fs

    (I call shenanigans, BTW)


  32. 32
    HaroldC

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (12:33 pm)

    they should do a 10 years study and factor in the new battery pack you will probably have to install,or trade it in needing a new pack..the numbers might change.
    there are so many variables in trying to project costs it is very difficult to come up with an estimate that is close to the truth for everyone.
    l live in canada and electricity is 8 cents per kw and gas hovers around 5.10 us gallon.
    just sayin’


  33. 33
    Jackson

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (12:37 pm)

    HaroldC:
    they should do a 10 years study and factor in the new battery pack you will probably have to install,or trade it in needing a new pack..the numbers might change.
    there are so many variables in trying to project costs it is very difficult to come up with an estimate that is close to the truth for everyone.
    l live in canada and electricity is 8 cents per kw and gas hovers around 5.10 us gallon.
    just sayin’

    What I wonder is if there will (eventually) be an aftermarket retrofit for Volts, to the higher-density batteries which will likely exist in a few years. The saying may be:

    “Old Volts never die, they just go farther.”

    :-)


  34. 34
    Jack

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (12:43 pm)

    A Nissan Versa/Tiida is not comparable to a Leaf. Leaf has longer wheelbase, wider chassis, more interior volume and passenger space.

    Also, in order to upgrade the Versa to get all the bell and whistle of a Leaf (Nav, Cruise control, carpet, cover, etc), the Versa SL’s base price becomes nearly $21k, and still does not include backup camera. This makes the Versa SL’s ($20.8k) equipment more like the Leaf SV ($32.8k), price difference of only $12k if you neglect the fact that Leaf is still a bigger and nicer car.

    After factoring in the $7.5k federal credit and the former $5k state rebate, it makes the Leaf cheaper than Versa.


  35. 35
    James

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (12:55 pm)

    OK here goes. I rolled up my sleeves, had fifteen cups of Joe and got out my slide rule, my sextant, my sundial, my supercomputer and the 300,000 apps on my iPad2 and this is the complex calculation I’ve come up with to surmise the cost/benefit of owning a hybrid car vs. a plug-in electric or full battery electric car.

    Here goes:

    Your needs*:

    1)You drive long distances regularly ( over 70 miles )
    BEST VALUE CHOICE: conventional hybrid ( Prius, Camry Hybrid, Fusion Hybrid )

    2)You distance drive often ( trips over 50 miles or mult. trips per day over 30 )
    BEST VALUE CHOICE: plug-in hybrid ( PIP-Plug in Prius, C-Max Energi )

    3)You drive 50 – 60 miles per day max. ( commute plus short trips ) with occasional longer trips – Thus fitting the profile of 70-80% of American drivers
    BEST VALUE CHOICE: Extended-range electric EREV-PHEV ( Volt )

    4)You drive mainly short trips ( 40 miles max – ONE WAY ) – never over 78 miles round trip
    BEST VALUE CHOICE: Battery electric EV ( Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus EV )

    5)You drive all of the above and you cannot foresee paying over $24,000 for a vehicle
    BEST VALUE CHOICE**: ( any number of small compact 26mpg CITY 40mpg+ HWY infernally-combusted vehicles currently or soon-to-be on sale at a dealer near you ).

    *all results not counting if you have a charging source at work or a mid-point or resting point in your travel plan.

    ** yet you have to live with the fact that you’re enriching OPEC enemies and making the air we all breathe – harder to breathe.

    PUMP OUT THE VOLTECS! ,

    James

    Copyright – 2011 All rights reserved. News agencies, blogs, radio and television outlets contact me through Jeff Cobb for reprint

    I now have carpool tunnel calculator finger…


  36. 36
    HaroldC

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (1:15 pm)

    James,

    you can get a base prius for just under $24000…l think


  37. 37
    Jackson

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (1:23 pm)

    HaroldC:

    you can get a base prius for just under $24000…l think

    Try and find one. Seriously.


  38. 38
    kdawg

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (1:33 pm)

    Jackson,

    I think Jeff meant the car’s software?


  39. 39
    Steverino

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (1:34 pm)

    Jeff Cobb:
    OT – Has anyone heard of “hacking” into the Chevrolet Volt’s software or individual owners modifying things in any way for any purpose?

    Related threads:
    http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?8513-War-texting-lets-hackers-unlock-car-doors-via-SMS-including-OnStar-RemoteLink concerning malicious hacking

    http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?6115-Enable-DVD-when-driving.-Is-the-disabling-based-on-software&highlight=video concerning the Coastal E Tech GMX-550 Lockpick DVD and Navigation Unlock Device IPOD/IPHONE/IPAD Interface (GMX550)


  40. 40
    larry4pyro

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (1:34 pm)

    While the numbers look good, there is one thing the analysis doesn’t take into consideration, and that is how much fun it is to drive the Volt.


  41. 41
    Steverino

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (1:37 pm)

    3)You drive 50 – 60 miles per day max. ( commute plus short trips ) with occasional longer trips – Thus fitting the profile of 70-80% of American drivers
    BEST VALUE CHOICE: Extended-range electric EREV-PHEV ( Volt )

    How odd. I match #3 and drive a Volt! :-)


  42. 42
    Jackson

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (1:39 pm)

    kdawg:
    Jackson,

    I think Jeff meant the car’s software?

    Oopsie.

    Yes, I have heard of alleged hacking into the smartphone interface (not for the Volt specifically, but any of the newer cars with remote smartphone controls).


  43. 43
    DonC

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (1:45 pm)

    HaroldC: you can get a base prius for just under $24000…l think

    Jackson is right about the stripper Prius. Most people I know have ended up in the high 20s and that’s without leather. A Prius and a Volt comparably equipped are not that different in price.

    But comparing a Prius and a Volt is something of a silly comparison. A Prius is to a Volt as a Lexus 400 series is to a Camry. Very different levels of handling, performance, and so forth. Comparing a Volt to an Acura TL or a BMW 3 series is more realistic.


  44. 44
    Hawk

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (1:57 pm)

    James,

    Although I fully support the Volt, I had a hard time following the numbers for example. You give 40k for a vehicle that is financed with all these charges and cost along the way, but my Total cost according to the article, was right at the cost of the car, 40k. If I give 40k for something and pay finance charges along with everything else plus 26k in depreciation, isn’t my total cost easily north of 70k minus resale value?

    Hawk


  45. 45
    Loboc

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (2:02 pm)

    Noel Park: I STILL haven’t bought any gas since July 3, and I’ve driven over 3K miles since then, so how can that be bad?

    I just filled up my Hemi (it’s a once-a-week thing) and I’m getting 16.35mpg. The good thing is the car only cost $13k. I can buy a lot of gas for $20k difference. That’s about 100k miles. I seriously doubt that this car will last another 100k miles the way I drive.

    Interestingly, I’m averaging 39.8 miles per day and 310.7 miles per tank. Hmmmm…. those numbers sound very familiar.


  46. 46
    James

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (3:05 pm)

    Hawk: James,Although I fully support the Volt, I had a hard time following the numbers for example. You give 40k for a vehicle that is financed with all these charges and cost along the way, but my Total cost according to the article, was right at the cost of the car, 40k. If I give 40k for something and pay finance charges along with everything else plus 26k in depreciation, isn’t my total cost easily north of 70k minus resale value?Hawk

    THE REAL BOTTOM LINE

    I’m no accountant – and my math skills stink… That said, the whole idea of sitting down with a calculator and trying to justify a Volt purchase still doesn’t make sense – besides being a waste of our time. Volts are expensive any which way you look at it because the battery pack will need replacing at some point making it …probably a much more expensive proposition than a traditional car.

    So far, I don’t see anyone here who already owns one as fiscally stupid, or a dreamy early adopter. Instead I see buyers of Volts as perhaps the most intelligent folks in our society today. Why? For one, they can afford one. You don’t just waltz into a Chevy dealer and plop down $38,000 for a car if you’re middle-lower-middle income with kids, bills, too much credit and a mortgage or have 3 alimony payments! People who own a Volt have made some pretty good, wise decisions in life to be at a place where they have the purchasing power to buy one – this makes them either A) owners of a trust fund, or B) Fairly successful, financially.

    Early Volt buyers also have more reasons for their purchase than just saving a buck. In fact, most have lists as long as their pantlegs describing a Volt buying decision. I’m saving for my Volt and for me, it’s a cause as much as a new car purchase. I watched the Exxon Valdez fiasco totally ruin pristine environment and nearly destroy many lives. We watched BP slip through a nearly unfathomable man-made natural disaster. We click on the tube daily to watch human insanity in the Middle East and have to be in major denial to not believe we’re part of it all. When humans are addicted to a substance, they do things they otherwise do not do. Being completely saturated in oil addiction, the United States is like a coke fiend who manages business funds for corporations during the day and cruises the back alleys of the ‘hood looking to secure or protect their supply of drugs by night! To me, there is zero doubt that 9/11 would ever have happened if the USA hadn’t decided decades ago to bet all their chips on an endless Saudi oil supply. Just kick global warming out the door for a moment, as Euros seem totally bought-in to the fact that our C02 emissions are going to melt the icecaps that otherwise would stay put but for our driving ICE cars and burning conventional fuels to heat our homes. Many are like me, not sold out on Al Gore’s theories, but I smell the putrid air and breathe the toxic fumes from highways and byways near my house, and don’t want my children to suffer it’s obvious health effects. Clean air is sweet – and silence is golden, we need more silent vehicles in this very very loud world.

    What is that worth? How can we put a calculator on it? We can see our sour economy – when Americans invent something the world doesn’t have, and it works to the betterment of so much – how much is that worth? Add to that it’s actually made in America!

    I believe if one is ever cautious about Volt’s battery pack, how much it will cost to replace in 11 years – and realizes without a new pack, a used Volt’s value depends on unkown prices of replacement batteries in the future…I’d lease one. Simple as that – and I’ve never ever leased a car. Buyers don’t really care. They’ve weighed all the x’s and o’s and decided to jump in for all the right reasons. To me, a Volt buyer is nearly a hero. If we don’t buy one – they won’t build cheaper, better ones. It will be a Betamax or a second-gen space shuttle – only with much more epic consequences. If PHEVs, EREVs and BEVs die on the vine – it will be for us that put bottom line in wallet over all the higher benefits of buying one.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


  47. 47
    john1701a

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (3:21 pm)

    DonC: Jackson is right about the stripper Prius.

    Since the upcoming Prius C is a closer size match to Volt and it’s top package is not expected to exceed $24k, that’s not the case.

    Of course, comparing to Volt as if it was a high-volume vehicle yet still depending upon the introduction credit, makes it just an acedemic exercise. In a true mainstream situation, that credit wouldn’t be available and the compare model of Cruze would be the ECO.


  48. 48
    Jeff Cobb

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (3:32 pm)

    James,

    I got an email back from a Vincentrics managing partner inviting a phone interview to further explain their methods, but when I called, got VM.

    Will keep trying …


  49. 49
    Jackson

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (3:39 pm)

    john1701a: Of course, comparing to Volt as if it was a high-volume vehicle yet still depending upon the introduction credit, makes it just an acedemic exercise.

    There are currently more Volts on American roads than there are Prius Cs.

    And of course, the Volt will never, ever cost any less than it does now. Only the Prius C can achieve a lower price in a later Prius generation. Right, John?


  50. 50
    James

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (3:39 pm)

    john1701a: Since the upcoming Prius C is a closer size match to Volt and it’s top package is not expected to exceed $24k, that’s not the case.Of course, comparing to Volt as if it was a high-volume vehicle yet still depending upon the introduction credit, makes it just an acedemic exercise. In a true mainstream situation, that credit wouldn’t be available and the compare model of Cruze would be the ECO.

    I just did a Kelly Blue Book search on 2008-2011 Prius. I was amazed how much their asking prices are! I found several last generation 30k to 60k mile examples for $24k and above! Toyota’s NA website quotes a stripper 2011 Prius’ MSRP at $24,430. I don’t see any evidence from local dealers here of any deals below MSRP. Quite the opposite in fact. So I have to agree with Jackson 100%.

    Current real world new and used car prices vs. projections of a yet-to-be-released model.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


  51. 51
    kdawg

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (3:54 pm)

    DonC: A Prius is to a Volt as a Lexus 400 series is to a Camry

    Did you say these in the right order?


  52. 52
    CorvetteGuy

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (4:00 pm)

    Jackson: (This one’s for you, Captain Jack Sparrow, wherever you are):

    That is a girl with talent! +10


  53. 53
    Jeff Cobb

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (4:05 pm)

    Note added correction in the article above –

    CORRECTION:

    Kiplinger’s Jessica Anderson got back to us at 3:45 p.m. EST today and said because I was questioning the accuracy of the calculator, they did indeed uncover a “glitch” in the system.

    “The tool works by taking the inputs from users on our site, sending them to Vincentric and then bouncing back with the appropriate calculations using their data (this is so our users can benefit from their monthly data updates),” Anderson said. “Unfortunately the fuel cost for Volt is not taking the gas usage into account as we thought and subsequently that number is off by quite a bit.”

    After re-running the calculations, in the example given, Anderson says the disparity between a Cruze and Volt is actually $1575, not $500. Still a pretty fair closing of an $18,000 initial price gap, but this is where it stands.

    “We will be running a correction in the magazine and online, but I still think that with such a close gap in ownership costs, the Volt is certainly a viable choice for the economically minded,” Anderson said. “My apologies for the confusion and my thanks for helping us to spot a problem. We will be working in the next few days to fix the error on the Volt calculations, but that issue has not affected any of the other models in our calculator. Just another way that Volt is forcing the industry to look at everything differently.”


  54. 54
    SteveK9

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (4:28 pm)

    Chevrolet could do this calculation in a minute for the ‘average’ driver. I’m sure they already have. What is the average kWh/mile? What is the average gallon/mile in charge sustaining mode? What is the average fraction of driving in EV mode? Add in average dollars/gallon and dollars/kWh (need to put something in here for charging losses). Gas prices are not going to be easy to predict of course.

    Maybe an ‘average’ value is not of great use in making a personal decision, but it would be interesting. I don’t know if this is what Kiplinger has done.


  55. 55
    john1701a

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (4:36 pm)

    Jackson: Only the Prius C can achieve a lower price in a later Prius generation. Right, John?

    It will be available next spring at that price.


  56. 56
    Jack

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (4:52 pm)

    I find it interesting that the fuel cost for Volt is $3,867, and the fuel cost for Prius is $4,956. Assuming their calculation is correct (A big if, seeing all the mistakes they’ve made so far).

    Also, for the compact category, Cruze cost $32,187 to run after 5 years, while Prius cost $33,345 (about $1100 difference). This that after another year or so, Prius become the cheapest compact car to operate.


  57. 57
    Jack

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (5:00 pm)

    caught another mistake in their calculation:

    according to the article, the category “opportunity cost,” is the amount of interest that could have been earned in a certificate of deposit if those funds had not been spent owning and operating the vehicle. If that’s the case, HIGHER the purchase price should lead to HIGHER opportunity cost.

    However, if we compare 3 vehicles in the compact category (ICE, Hybrid, and EREV)
    Cruze: $21,975 MSRP ; $474 Opportunity cost
    Prius: $27,210 MSRP for trim level 3 with Nav; $462 Opportunity cost
    Volt: $40,280 MSRP ; $375 Opportunity cost

    so higher price ==> lower opportunity cost???

    There are too many errors in the calculation for Vincentric to be taken seriously.


  58. 58
    Loboc

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (5:21 pm)

    James: That said, the whole idea of sitting down with a calculator and trying to justify a Volt purchase still doesn’t make sense

    I totally agree. I have never, ever purchased a car based on price or tco alone. Neither have a lot of other people (I would guess the majority.) Price is like 9th or 10th on my list.

    : rant on
    A car purchase decision is made on what you want not what you need. It’s an emotional decision about something you’re going to spend 1/8 of your waking life and a whole bunch of your income on. A car (in America) defines your personality, or, conversely, your personality defines what kind of car you drive.

    Doing all this gritty calculation stuff is a waste of time. If a car gets 16mpg or 32mpg or 150mpg, it doesn’t really matter since I wouldn’t be caught dead driving the ugly thing.

    Fortunately, we have a bunch of choices in the US. You may not like my choice, and in some circles, my choice is totally politically incorrect. But hey, not everyone is happy pointing an eco box slowly down the road traveling mindlessly and unemotionally from point A to point B.
    : rant off

    Even though I’m a gas-hogging, fire breathing, high-horsepower redneck, I truly like the technical direction of Volt. Just sell me some acceleration and capability along with the (totally cool) electric drivetrain and I’m a happy camper.


  59. 59
    Frank B

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (6:21 pm)

    When a Volt is available in my area I believe my numbers would be quite different. My commute is 11 miles each way (well under the 40 miles on battery), 95% interstate. Additionally, I can charge the Volt at the office as well. Therefore, the only time I would use any gas at all would be on the weekends and even then the majority of my trips are under 5 miles. I believe my biggest concern would be stale gas. I’d like to see numbers based on this scenario, if I put 10K miles a year on the Volt I would really be pushing it. The largest drain would be the A/C, being in Las Vegas it would be on high 90% of the time.


  60. 60
    Noel Park

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (6:22 pm)

    HaroldC: you can get a base prius for just under $24000…l think

    #36

    Yesterday our local dealers were advertising Package 2 Prii for $21,995. That’s one step above base, which I do not believe you can even buy.


  61. 61
    Noel Park

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (6:29 pm)

    James: That said, the whole idea of sitting down with a calculator and trying to justify a Volt purchase still doesn’t make sense

    #46

    That’s right. +1

    And, as I and many others have said so many times before, it doesn’t make any sense for Benzes, BMWs, Cadillacs, Corvettes, Porsches, or any other car which costs more that the cheapest Hyundai or Kia.

    If car purchases were based on economics instead of emotions, all of the former brands would never have even existed.

    Next case.


  62. 62
    Jackson

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (6:31 pm)

    john1701a: the upcoming Prius C is a closer size match to Volt and it’s top package is not expected to exceed $24k

    Jackson: Only the Prius C can achieve a lower price in a later Prius generation. Right, John?

    john1701a: It will be available next spring at that price.

    So imagine what a “Volt C” could sell for, when it is offered in due course.


  63. 63
    Jeff Cobb

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (7:27 pm)

    Steverino,

    Thanks for the links.


  64. 64
    George S. Bower

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (7:41 pm)

    john1701a: Since the upcoming Prius C is a closer size match to Volt and it’s top package is not expected to exceed $24k, that’s not the case.

    Of course, comparing to Volt as if it was a high-volume vehicle yet still depending upon the introduction credit, makes it just an acedemic exercise.In a true mainstream situation, that credit wouldn’t be available and the compare model of Cruze would be the ECO.

    John,
    I think the C will be a nice car and I am looking fwd to seeing it. What I want to know is how many MPG better than the Prius is it going to be,,,,it will have less room but could be peppier!! I think it is much more interesting than that new mini van thing.


  65. 65
    James

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (9:03 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: Note added correction in the article above – CORRECTION:Kiplinger’s Jessica Anderson got back to us at 3:45 p.m. EST today and said because I was questioning the accuracy of the calculator, they did indeed uncover a “glitch” in the system…

    “…We will be working in the next few days to fix the error on the Volt calculations, but that issue has not affected any of the other models in our calculator. Just another way that Volt is forcing the industry to look at everything differently.”

    Yay. GM-Volt strikes again!

    :) James


  66. 66
    James

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (9:08 pm)

    Anybody who wants to share my disgust can leave a comment on Bill Pierre Chevrolet’s sales site.

    This is just plain wrong. -

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&catid=6001&item=200644612223+&viewitem=&itemid=200644612223

    …Note AOL used photos of the CHEVY VOLT DIE CAST as examples of what Volt looks like…Is this the best they can do?!

    http://autos.aol.com/cars-Chevrolet-Volt-2012/photos/

    $57,745 for a 2011 Volt!!!! ARE THEY NUTS?! By the way, their toll free phone number is there also if you want to just call and get out some vitriol – News outlets pick this stuff up, Leaf dealers, water cooler gossip….geez, great PR for Chevrolet, GM and that dlr.!

    > Interesting note: Just got off the phone with said dealer. He stated they sold a Volt last week for $16,000 over invoice and a dealer north of me in a town called Lynnwood, WA sold one for $22,000 over invoice. GM are you listening?

    RECHARGE! ,

    James – Volt Crusader


  67. 67
    evnow

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (10:28 pm)

    James:
    4)You drive mainly short trips ( 40 miles max – ONE WAY ) – never over 78 miles round trip
    BEST VALUE CHOICE: Battery electric EV ( Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus EV )

    Unless you can charge at work – like some do in my office (and thus drive over 100 miles round trip).


  68. 68
    Koz

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (11:29 pm)

    : It will be available next spring at that price.

    The Volt is available NOW at a lower price than this analysis uses.


  69. 69
    James

     

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (11:44 pm)

    evnow: Unless you can charge at work – like some do in my office (and thus drive over 100 miles round trip).

    Exactly. Agreed. It’s on my post under the asterisk *. Quote from my post #35: “*all results not counting if you have a charging source at work or a mid-point or resting point in your travel plan.”

    And, of course, just one more reason EREVs, PHEVs and BEVs are so hard to pin down with stats or data since everyone’s situation is different – be it charging at work, or using solar…etc.. There are so many variables even in one trip compared to another, be it topography, traffic or temperature. If EVs and assisted EVs take off, hopefully we’ll develop vocabulary and models to typify the performance of any given platform, application or use. It’s always good to note that ICE’s have had a century or so to develop their own measures of performace.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


  70. 70
    john1701a

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    Aug 29th, 2011 (11:57 pm)

    SteveK9:
    Chevrolet could do this calculation in a minute for the ‘average’ driver.I’m sure they already have.What is the average kWh/mile?What is the average gallon/mile in charge sustaining mode?What is the average fraction of driving in EV mode?Add in average dollars/gallon and dollars/kWh (need to put something in here for charging losses).Gas prices are not going to be easy to predict of course.

    Maybe an ‘average’ value is not of great use in making a personal decision, but it would be interesting.I don’t know if this is what Kiplinger has done.

    Since neither gallons nor kWh are listed, the comparisons contribute to more questions rather than providing insight related to the circumstances actually depicted.


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    EricLG

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    Aug 30th, 2011 (12:37 am)

    I get different results than Vincentric for the Cruze:

    mpg = 30 combined (0.5 36 highway, 0.5 24 city)
    60k miles
    $4/gallon fuel

    == $8000, not close to $12k as posted.

    —————————
    I think a closer cost comparo looks like this for the Volt:
    60k at 110 mpg -> 545 gallons of petrol, 15934 kwh
    Premium fuel is ~ 10% more expensive than regular, so
    545*4*1.1 = $2398 for petrol,
    and assuming 12 cents/kwh,
    $1912 for electricity*.
    Summed up, $4310 Volt fuel costs over 4 years compared to $8000 for the Cruze.

    *I calculate 400 wh/mile annual average for the Volt to account for ~ 20% higher consumption in the winter compared to EPA.

    Lucky the comparo was not a Prius :)


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    EricLG

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    Aug 30th, 2011 (12:49 am)

    Ahh, now I see that Vincentric used 5 years of ownership and not 4, and assumed a fuel inflation cost. OK, but why assume electricity cost will not inflate also ?

    Besides the above criticism, if Vincente is not going to publish a range of EV/petrol results, then the average petrol use of the Volt ‘fleet’ should be used which is about 110 MPG.

    And anecdotally, My Prius has cost me almost exactly 1 cent/mile maintenance+repairs over 7 years and 130k miles of ownership, about $750 normalized to the Vincentric study interval. This is quite a bit less than the $3859 Vincentric caluculates. They are off by 400%.

    Much more to the point: How much is a Volt going to sell for with 80k on the odometer and no battery warranty ? We know where Prius stands — depreciation is about 30%


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    EricLG

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    Aug 30th, 2011 (1:29 am)

    My crystal ball of future fuel costs is a bit clouded today, but I do know that I paid 5.4 cents a mile to fuel up my last tank, pay $20 a month for insurance, and do not have a monthly payment. I anticipate the insurance rate and monthly payment to stay at this amount for the next 10 – 15 years until I buy another car.

    Can the Volt compete on price ? Don’t make me laugh too hard.


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    jim1961

     

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    Aug 30th, 2011 (4:48 am)

    James: THE REAL BOTTOM LINE

    “…Many are like me, not sold out on Al Gore’s theories…”

    This is like saying I’m not sold on Carl Sagan’s theory of black holes.

    I’ve heard this kind of thing many times and it takes many different forms such as, “I don’t believe humans are causing global warming because Al Gore is a hypocrite” or “I don’t believe in AGW because Al Gore profits from green investments” (this one is not even true because Mr. Gore donates all profits from his green investments) Even if Al Gore were a serial killer it would have no effect on the laws of physics.

    Imagine if someone said, “I don’t believe in black holes because Carl Sagan was a hypocrite” or “I don’t believe in black holes because Carl Sagan made money selling his books and documentaries”

    If you have some type of argument against AGW that is scientific I’d love to hear it and I’d look at it with an open mind.

    Sorry for going off the subject. I love the Volt but can’t afford it and I salute all of you who are purchasing Volts.


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    David

     

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    Aug 31st, 2011 (4:03 am)

    Al Gore twisted many of his facts, and he forgot to mention one of, if not the, biggest contributor to global warming. Factory Farms. They’re worse for the environment than cars are, and make up 99.9% of all meat that is consumed. I then found out that his family owns one of the biggest cattle ranches in the U.S….Hes not a very honest person.

    However, he is right that global warming is a problem. Just don’t go bet your life on any of the facts he presented.

    -David


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    David

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    Aug 31st, 2011 (4:06 am)

    jim1961,

    It is possible that black holes don’t exist. There’s some proof, but its sketchy.
    If you’re going to try to find some example to help further your point at least pick something that is 100% real, and proven.


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    Aug 31st, 2011 (4:09 am)

    James,

    TLDR…


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    kForceZero

     

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    Aug 31st, 2011 (2:46 pm)

    While this is a great comparison, and it justifies what I’ve been suspecting all along about the Volt not costing more than a similar ICE car, I would say that the Cruze could be shown to cost even more than what they estimated because it doesn’t look like they factored in gas price uncertainty. Simply assuming gas increases linearly in price every year doesn’t account for all the fluctuations in price, and uncertainty costs too after all. I think a more accurate comparison of the total spent on gas by the Cruze vs Volt would be to estimate the price of an option contract to buy the estimated amount of gas used for each car at a fixed price over the next 5 years. Assuming that the volatility in gas prices remains about the same as it is today, the cost of these option contracts could be much higher than what was estimated above. In essence, the difference between the prices of the two contracts would show just how much more dependent the Cruze would be on gas price and price fluctuations than the Volt would be.


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    Ron

     

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    Aug 31st, 2011 (10:22 pm)

    Since I couldn’t buy a volt in Nebraska last year when I needed a new car, I’ve been driving a Cruze instead. From real-world experience, I’m averaging 26-29 MPG. Best ever was 36 on a road trip. Worst ever was 21 in a blizzard with lots of idling and short trips. Plug 28 into your calculations and you’ll be pretty much right on the mark.


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    Steve

     

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (2:36 pm)

    The people who say that the cost of the Volt cannot compete with costs associated with a good used car are correct. Buy a $10,000 used car and your savings will dwarf what you can save with the Volt or any hybrid. A used car is less costly, though, than ANY new car you can buy, so I don’t think it’s a valid comparison. You gotta compare the Volt to other new cars. If everyone bought cars purely on keeping ownership costs to a minimum, then NOBODY would ever buy a new car. Obviously, people buy new cars all the time so a car purchase is much more than a pure financial decision. With that in mind, if you like the Volt, it makes no sense to buy a Cruze because you think it will save you a bit more money over 5 years. Same thing with a Prius. You’re stuck driving a Cruze or a Prius and if you’re that sensitive to cost of ownership, buy a used car. If your total daily miles driven is low, the Volt will enable you to almost completely avoid gas stations and that’s very satisfying above and beyond what it saves you money-wise. These cost of ownership calculations can take you in surprising directions. For example, it will save you even more money to buy a car like an Audi A5 over a Volt or a Cruze. That’s because the A5 retains it’s value so well. So at this point in the game, there’s not yet a compelling financial reason to buy a Volt (unless the price of gas goes up even further, which is very possible). It’s more a matter of if you want to be on the cutting edge of the future, pollute the environment less, and not have to give so much money to the oil companies. Someday there will be decent $10,000 used EV cars and no premium on new EV cars and then it will be a whole new ballgame.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (5:54 pm)

    David:
    jim1961,

    It is possible that black holes don’t exist. There’s some proof, but its sketchy.
    If you’re going to try to find some example to help further your point at least pick something that is 100% real, and proven.

    Black holes not 100% real and proven? (face palm)


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    Chris C.

     

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    Sep 5th, 2011 (2:03 pm)

    Thanks for issuing the correction on this story, and not burying at the bottom of this long piece. When I read it I wondered why you/Kiplinger were getting different answers than others.

    Other analyses have shown that you do NOT save enough money over the life of the vehicle (over any reasonable period) to counteract the high upfront cost. But you get pretty close, closer the longer you own it. And over the next couple years those high upfront costs will come down for future model-year Volts (and other EVs), at which point we WILL hit parity. Finally, of course, if gas goes up then we also get parity.

    When talking to people about my Volt and they ask about this cost justification, I tell them that you can not yet justify a Volt on economics alone. But it’s only a matter of time before we can!

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.