Mar 12

MPG Comparison: 2012 Volt vs. 2010 Prius vs. 2013 Prius Plug-in

 

By Ray Iannuzzelli, PE

Note: This is a rewrite of two earlier articles comparing a 2012 Volt with a 2010 Prius V.

With the introduction of the new Prius PHV in the U.S. more data has become available and it is now possible to compare it with the Volt EREV. I was very curious to see how the new Prius would stack-up to the Volt, especially since it has a much smaller battery and price tag.

2012 Volt EREV                                                     2013 Prius PHV

So How Do They Compare?

Figure 1 shows the Volt’s gross and net specific energy history over the past three months or so. The difference between these is that the net specific energy is determined using the Volt instrument readout while the gross specific energy is the actual amount of energy (KWh) used. Measurement of the gross specific energy requires an external KWh meter. There appears to be a 0.032 KWh/mile overhead associated with the pumps, heaters, and electronics when charging the Volt’s batteries.

Figure 1 Volt Specific Energy History

Figure 3 compares the Volt and Prius based on the energy used (mpge) as well as on the cost of the energy (mpg$). The EPA rating for electric plug-ins is based on energy content of gasoline. Figure 3 shows the cross-over distance where the Volt mpg equals the Prius mpg. Also shown in figure 3 is the standard Prius mileage as well as the EPA ratings for both cars.

Volt                                                                      Prius

Figure 2 2012 Volt vs. Prius PHV EPA Window Stickers

 

Figure 3 Volt vs. Prius PHV ‘Average’ Comparison (mpg$ & mpge) at $3.60 per gallon

We notice the Prius starts at a higher value at ~116 mpge while the Volt is close to its EPA value of 93 mpge. My guess is that this difference is probably due to the Prius’ lighter weight. The short distance cross-over occurs at around 16 miles. Beyond this the Volt dominates until we reach the long distance cross-over point of 75 miles. Figure 4 shows a map of where Volt & Prius dominate the mileage comparison. My guess is that the Volt was designed to dominate in the middle region (16 to 75 miles) where most driving miles are accumulated.

A note about the EPA mileage rating (figure 2):

The EPA mpge rating is a composite of five simulated driving cycles. Therefore, for the purposes of this article, it is difficult to compare the EPA mileage with those reported here.

Figure 4 Mileage Comparison Map

Figure 5 shows a comparison of the long distance cross-over as a function of gas price. At today’s gas price of roughly $3.60/gal there is a significant difference between the cost based & energy based long distance cross-over. However, as gas prices rise this gap narrows until at a price of $6.00/gal the energy & cost based comparisons are equivalent. This suggests the true cost of gasoline is higher than it is today.

 

Figure 5 Cross-over Distances vs. Cost of Gasoline

 

The assumptions used to generate figures 3 – 5 are listed below in table 1.

Table 1 Volt vs. Prius Comparison Assumptions


1)     Average EPA rated gasoline mileage

2)     EPA electric range

3)     Volt owner’s manual

4)     Battery Size/Electric Range

5)     Ssee figure 1 which is based on average driving data from my volt between 11/18/11 and 2/16/12

6)     Average Prius mileage between 9/18/10 and 3/5/12 ~ 49.5 mpg

7)     Reported by various media sources & Toyota

8)     Recent price of 89 octane gasoline in my locality

9)     Based on recent utility electric bills

10)  Data averaged from several websites

11)  ‘Best’ electric range (reported in HybridCars.com)

12)  ‘Best’ electric mileage = battery size/’best’ electric range = 4.4/15 = 0.293

13)  Electric mileage reported by EPA

Conclusions:

1. Based on this analysis and assumptions, there appear to be distinct regions where either the Volt or Prius will dominate the mileage comparison (figure 4).
2. The criterion upon which a comparison can be made between the performance of the Volt and Prius is technically straightforward. On average, if we use as a criterion the amount of energy consumed, the Volt shows a long distance cross-over of 75 miles. Whereas, if we use the cost of the energy consumed at today’s price, the long distance cross-over falls to about 55 miles (figure 3).
3. A clear implication here is that as gas prices rise relative to the electric rate, the dollar based long distance cross-over will increase approaching that of the energy based long distance cross-over.
4. The electric rate and gas price are both relative to the local market in which the comparison is made and are important parameters in the comparison.
5. The time-of-year and temperature are additional variables that will affect the comparisons.

This entry was posted on Monday, March 12th, 2012 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: 63


  1. 1
    nasaman

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (6:35 am)

    As in both prior articles by Ray Iannuzzelli, there appears to be some reluctance by the author to offer any simplified overall conclusions. As an engineer (& physicist) myself, I appreciate the resulting feeling of fairness and objectivity from this approach. And his analytical skills are certainly commendable. However, as after a careful study of both prior articles, many if not most readers will be left wondering if a blizzard of numbers and charts was simply an exercise lacking conclusions.

    I’ll offer a couple of suggestions as well as a conclusion. I suggest readers focus on Figure 2 (the EPA Stickers) and Fig 4 (the Mileage Comparison Map). First, note in Fig 2 that the EPA says (just below the Driving Range) that the Toyota’s all electric range is 6 miles. Second, note in Fig 4 that the Toyota’s much smaller battery (4.4KWh vs 16KWh in the Volt), presumably combined with its lighter weight, gives it an advantage below trips of 16 miles. Also in Fig 4, note that the Volt’s larger battery gives it an advantage above trips of 75 miles.

    My conclusion: The extremely-high EV percentage usage numerous Volt owners are achieving (see voltstats.net) are a practical impossibility with the PHV Toyota —unless most trips are less then 6 miles both ways. In other words, the possibility of achieving extremely low gasoline usage such as countless Volt owners achieve routinely (example: Jay Leno’s 10,000+ miles in <1 tank of gas) is simply not a realistic possibility for owners of a PHV Toyota.


  2. 2
    nasaman

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (7:16 am)

    /Please note the clarification in bold of my last paragraph above:

    “My conclusion: The extremely-high EV percentage usage numerous Volt owners are achieving (see voltstats.net) are a practical impossibility with the PHV Toyota —unless most trips are less than 6 miles both ways (i.e., a TOTAL of 6 miles out & back, or 3 miles each way between battery charges). In other words, the possibility of achieving extremely low gasoline usage such as countless Volt owners achieve routinely (example: Jay Leno’s 10,000+ miles with <1 tank of gas) —is simply not a realistic possibility for owners of a PHV Toyota."


  3. 3
    Bruce Embry

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (7:25 am)

    Hi All,
    I think its time for the goverment to review the requirements for $7500 tax credit. They should set a minimum for All Electric Range. The PHV Toyota should not qualified for the tax credit at 6 miles range.


  4. 4
    Jim I

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (7:31 am)

    So after all the words and graphs, the Volt is doing exactly what it was designed, engineered, and manufactured to do.

    Use almost no gasoline for those 80% of people driving around 40 miles per day.

    Is that about it? OK, sound good to me!!!!

    :)

    C-5277


  5. 5
    Koz

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (7:58 am)

    EPA ratings get a lot of criticism but since 2008 they have been pretty accurate for moderate driving but the side by side comparison of the PiP and Volt labels shows how they are lacking for this new paradigm of vehicles. There is only one all electric number. There should be city and highway numbers just there are for MPG. If there there are legal driving conditions in which the all electric functionality is circumvented, situations which will turn on the engine with CS battery energy remaining, the should be noted in the fine print. For example, cold temps for the Volt, speeds above 62mph for PiP, acceleration above a certain amount for PiP.

    If a PiP accelerates a pace greater than the 60kw motor can provide, then the engine kicks in but for how long on the first start? For a commute that is 1 mile city, then 5 miles highway at 70mph, the PiP won’t get anything close to its EPA rating. The much more limited all electric operation for the PiP reduces the usefulness of the EPA label significantly.


  6. 6
    Kup

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (8:24 am)

    Bruce Embry: Hi All,I think its time for the goverment to review the requirements for $7500 tax credit. They should set a minimum for All Electric Range. The PHV Toyota should not qualified for the tax credit at 6 miles range.

    The government effectively does exactly what you suggest. The size of the tax credit is dependent upon the size of the battery and the size of the battery strongly correlates with the AER. The Volt’s battery is large enough to receive the full tax credit of $7,500. A quick internet search confirms that the PiP will receive only a $2,500 federal tax credit.


  7. 7
    Roy_H

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (8:26 am)

    The graph is flawed as nasaman pointed out. It assumes 13 miles AER of the PiP and this is just not true. Even the 6 mile AER on the EPA is with a very light foot and no driving above 60mph. Ray starts off with a chart showing average electrical use by the Volt at 0.305 kw/mi measured and then uses 0.36 in his following charts and graphs, while assuming 0.29 for the Prius which is also supposed to be the average between his listed 0.29 best to 0.4 worst for the PiP. The Average cannot be coincidental with the best. If you make adjustments for these errors, then the PiP is equal to the Volt for the first 6 miles(with light foot), the Volt is superior up to 76 miles.

    Of course this does not address the Volt’s superior luxury.


  8. 8
    DrInnovaiton

     

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (8:52 am)

    I don’t see how they goet 116MPGe for a Prius since the Prius PHV starts off at 95mpge by EPA as it says on the sticker. The 116MPGe must be based on some earlier hypothesis (like the 13 miles).


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    joe

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (8:56 am)

    Bruce Embry:
    Hi All,
    I think its time for the goverment to review the requirements for $7500 tax credit.They should set a minimum for All Electric Range.The PHV Toyotashould not qualified for the tax credit at 6 miles range.

    In my opinion, tax credits should be given only to American vehicles. I think we all know the reverse would never happen in those other countries. I just don’t like the idea giving my tax dollars to foreign competition knowing this.


  10. 10
    dg

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (9:13 am)

    After all that work to get a valid EPA rating sticker for EV’s, this is an EPIC FAIL. Toyota must be very very very happy with that sticker.

    If I were Toyota, I would simply advertise these two stickers side by side – according to this the PRIUS beats the VOLT in every category – printed out in big bold 140 point fonts.


  11. 11
    Loboc

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (9:32 am)

    dg: according to this the PRIUS beats the VOLT in every category

    Except:

    Handling
    Performance
    Styling

    If you’re buying a butt-ugly Prius, you probably only care about one thing: Gas mileage. All other considerations are secondary.


  12. 12
    ClarksonCote

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (9:51 am)

    Pro Volt here, but the graphs are accurate. The battery in the Prius has enough plug in power to go 13 miles, give or take. The 6 miles AER is because of the nature of the EPA tests, with some hill in there. Regardless of when the Prius’s engine turns on, over a drive it is capable of 13 miles of electric range by nature of the amount of energy stored in the battery.

    Though I do agree that it is unlikely that many 13 mile commutes will result in full gas-free operation. I would say that, ON AVERAGE, most people’s driving habits (average distance per trip) fall within the Volt’s sweet spot, making it the ideal choice.

    Now that I’ve argued a point then contradicted myself, I guess I’ll just end with YMMV. One graph can’t tell the whole picture with the Prius or the Volt, nor can one EPA sticker.

    join thE REVolution


  13. 13
    Nelson

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (10:22 am)

    I live 2 miles away from the 16E entrance to the NJ Turnpike. My wife and I occasionally shop at mall called Jersey Gardens off of exit 13A on the NJ Turnpike (approximately 34 mile round trip). In our Volt we use no gas on this trip. In a Prius plug-in we would use gas. My daily commute to work is 4 miles local roads 14 miles highway (round trip). In my Volt I use no gas, in a Prius plug-in I would. That’s the end of my comparison. No gas 90% of the time for me.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


  14. 14
    HaroldC

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (10:29 am)

    Loboc,

    If you look quickly at the two pics above they really aren’t that much different……l and a lot of people l have questioned on the looks don’t find the Prius…”butt-ugly”..their silhouettes are not that different…..
    Actually l would love to own either one of these two , although l prefer a Volt…but here in Canada l cannot even buy a Volt ’cause they are so sparse..Maybe next year l’ve been told by two dealers…
    HaroldC


  15. 15
    DonC

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (10:38 am)

    dg: If I were Toyota, I would simply advertise these two stickers side by side – according to this the PRIUS beats the VOLT in every category – printed out in big bold 140 point fonts.

    Pretty odd conclusion. As the author of the piece points out “My guess is that the Volt was designed to dominate in the middle region (16 to 75 miles) where most driving miles are accumulated.” So for “most driving” the Volt is superior on this criterion.

    But this is based on the EPA numbers not real world driving. In the real world, the PIP provides an EV experience until you accelerate. Then it’s gone. In fact, one of those who tested the PIP early on had the gas engine kick on whenever he left the parking garage (the up ramp is equivalent to an acceleration strong enough to require the gas engine). It would be interesting and illuminating to have a PIPstat like Voltstats rather than the unrealistically mild EPA cycles.

    Not that I’m consumed by costs, but the fact is that the cost comparison is based on average gas prices. In CA where most people who would buy these two cars live, gas is closer to $5/gallon than to $4/gallon, making the Volt the clear winner based on dollars.

    Basically I don’t see the PIP adding anything to the basic Prius. For the extra money you get virtually no benefit.


  16. 16
    ziv

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (10:40 am)

    Harold, I agree with you now, I wouldn’t have agreed with you 2 years ago. Toyota has done a good job of minimizing the chubby look the Prius used to have. It still handles like a crippled mule, but it looks moderately good.
    The amazing thing to me is that if you look at the Volt and the Prius from the side at a distance, the overall shape is similar, form follows function. But when you see two within a few minutes of each other, the Volt impresses and the Prius is ok looking. (Big ‘but’ here, 50 mpg is VERY impressive, so the Prius is no loser, it just isn’t quite as good as a Volt in my book)
    All in all, the Volt has always been fairly sporty looking, and the Prius is less ugly that it used to be.

    HaroldC:
    Loboc,

    If you look quickly at the two pics above they really aren’t that much different……l and a lot of people l have questioned on the looks don’t find the Prius…”butt-ugly”..their silhouettes are not that different…..Actually l would love to own either one of these two , although l prefer a Volt…but here in Canada l cannot even buy a Volt ’cause they are so sparse..Maybe next year l’ve been told by two dealers…
    HaroldC


  17. 17
    DonC

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (10:48 am)

    HaroldC: If you look quickly at the two pics above they really aren’t that much different

    Pictures can be deceiving. In person they look very different. The Volt has a much wider stance while the Prius comes off as narrow and high. The one place they do look the same is from the back, where both have Kammbacks and translucent black areas.

    The big difference however is on the inside. Friends who have the Prius are completely blown away by the ride, the handling, and, above all, how quiet the Volt is. No comparison. I think the Prius is a great choice if you can’t afford a Volt, and, let’s face it, not everyone can afford a compact car that costs a minimum of $32K. On the other hand, if you can, I don’t see the point in looking at the PIP since it’s almost as much and delivers far less.


  18. 18
    flmark

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (10:55 am)

    Comparing other factors- stepping on the accelerator and FUN?

    So, the comparison is being made of getting on a highway during Prius alleged AER and reality kicks in. How about driving in a 50 mph zone and zipping/passing around some slower cars? In Volt Sport Mode, you step on the accelerator, you SILENTLY zip around other cars like some hi tech sci fi stealth mode craft. In Prius, you step on accelerator and gas engine comes on- no fun, no excitement, no stealth. No comparison.


  19. 19
    Steven

     

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (11:33 am)

    flmark: Comparing other factors- stepping on the accelerator and FUN?…In Prius, you step on accelerator and gas engine comes on- no fun, no excitement, no stealth. No comparison.

    Probably why a sports car with a loud revving engine is more fun than a Prius, too. Get-up-and-go! Fun? Yes. Cost effective? No. Why do people buy a sports car? There’s an entertainment factor in there somewhere. Volt has a new type of get-up-and-go.


  20. 20
    George S. Bower

     

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (11:33 am)

    Ray,
    I appreciate the effort you put into this. It is definitely an engineering oriented comparison. However, there is so much data there that most people can not see the forest for the trees.

    My comments about this presentation are:

    1) The whole concept of the Volt is MPG GAS…ie how much GAS are you burning……and you did not present these numbers.

    2) please stop showing comparisons with an electric cost of 17 cents/kwh it is not representative of what most people pay for electricity.


  21. 21
    BLIND GUY

     

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (11:45 am)

    We currently own a 2010 Prius package 5. Before that, we owned a 07 Prius and before that we owned a 2003 Civic hybrid. We do like our current car; especially the LED headlamps, heated seats, JBL sound and ample passenger & storage space w/ donut spare. I definatly don’t like the low-profile tires the package 5 comes with JMO. Our last 2 Prius have been very reliable and a good value, however we want to step up to the next level when we won’t take a hit on our trade. I have considered the PIP, but feel that it is over-priced IMO and would like to have LED headlamps again without buying the 39K+ model just to get them. Because of the large tax incentive; the Volt is still on my consideration list, although I wish it had Led headlamps and a donut spare. In the meantime; it gives us more time to save up more money and have more choices to choose from. Like many others; we will probably catch the second wave of EVS.


  22. 22
    Ray Iannuzzelli

     

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (12:23 pm)

    George S. Bower,

    I am working on a comparison using US averaged gasoline & electric rates to produce $/mile and KWh/mile metrics.


  23. 23
    pjkPA

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (12:26 pm)

    nasaman: As in both prior articles by Ray Iannuzzelli, there appears to be some reluctance by the author to offer any simplified overall conclusions. As an engineer (& physicist) myself, I appreciate the resulting feeling of fairness and objectivity from this approach. And his analytical skills are certainly commendable. However, as after a careful study of both prior articles, many if not most readers will be left wondering if a blizzard of numbers and charts was simply an exercise lacking conclusions.I’ll offer a couple of suggestions as well as a conclusion. I suggest readers focus on Figure 2 (the EPA Stickers) and Fig 4 (the Mileage Comparison Map). First, note in Fig 2 that the EPA says (just below the Driving Range) that the Toyota’s all electric range is 6 miles. Second, note in Fig 4 that the Toyota’s much smaller battery (4.4KWh vs 16KWh in the Volt), presumably combined with its lighter weight, gives it an advantage below trips of 16 miles. Also in Fig 4, note that the Volt’s larger battery gives it an advantage above trips of 75 miles.My conclusion: The extremely-high EV percentage usage numerous Volt owners are achieving (see voltstats.net) are a practical impossibility with the PHV Toyota —unless most trips are less then 6 miles both ways. In other words, the possibility of achieving extremely low gasoline usage such as countless Volt owners achieve routinely (example: Jay Leno’s 10,000+ miles in <1 tank of gas) is simply not a realistic possibility for owners of a PHV Toyota.

    I AGREE…. it would be nice to see a lot of real world numbers instead of “figures” and estimates… what is the car REALLY doing.. and how many of these “estimates” have been blown out of the water by the REAL WORLD.
    I heard one real world estimate to be 1,000 miles per tank for the majority of Volt owners… that’s about 140 mpg… why isn’t this on ABC NBC and CBS?


  24. 24
    bobbydrake75

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (12:30 pm)

    If they drop the Volt price to 32-34K before rebate and I get a new job next year and I’m in! The Volt is a better commuter car for anyone that lives in the cities and drives more than a couple miles. Usually that means highway for part of the trip.


  25. 25
    Kent

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (12:44 pm)

    pjkPA: I heard one real world estimate to be 1,000 miles per tank for the majority of Volt owners…

    1,000 miles per tank?? Pathetic! (j/k). I regularly get over 2,000 miles per tank. Personal best is 2,400+.


  26. 26
    Fluke

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (12:53 pm)

    Kent: 1,000 miles per tank?? Pathetic! (j/k). I regularly get over 2,000 miles per tank. Personal best is 2,400+.

    Now that’s pathetic – I’m at 9,200 miles on 3.5 gallons. ;)


  27. 27
    Kent

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (12:59 pm)

    Fluke,

    I bow to you…


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    Fluke

     

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (1:09 pm)

    Kent,

    No bowing, please. I may have add to the gas tank sometime next fall. What’s the price of gas these days?


  29. 29
    tjc

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (1:25 pm)

    Exactly.
    I’m a social sciences major and this is all interesting, and, admittedly, a bit baffling, but one thing I know is that my commute with the Volt means no gas consumed. I haven’t had to use gas for the last 14 months of commuting – with some consumption on weekend errands (but not much). With the Prius I would use gas for the same routine. That about sums it up and I don’t really need to know much more – it’s why I purchased the Volt.

    Volt #327


  30. 30
    Jim I

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (1:29 pm)

    Fluke: Now that’s pathetic – I’m at 9,200 miles on 3.5 gallons.

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

    These numbers make us poor souls that have to buy 8 gallons every other month seem like gas hogs!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ;)

    C-5277


  31. 31
    Fluke

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (1:41 pm)

    Jim I: ================================These numbers make us poor souls that have to buy 8 gallons every other month seem like gas hogs!!!!!!!!!!!!! C-5277

    Having the Volt for the better part of a year has shown me that I could easily live within the bounds of the current crop of BEV’s. We’ll be keeping the Volt because it is a fantastic car that will cover the occasional longer trip, but will be adding to the fleet with a BEV. If GM gets to market with a BEV, they will be at the top of my list because they have the driving experience nailed.


  32. 32
    Kent

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (2:23 pm)

    Fluke:
    Kent,

    No bowing, please.I may have add to the gas tank sometime next fall.What’s the price of gas these days?

    Here in the SF Bay Area, the cost of the good stuff is $4.59/gal.


  33. 33
    Prius PIP is pretty good

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (2:36 pm)

    Excellent analysis (only 2 flaws I can find) by R.I. Notice that you’ve used both EPA numbers and real tests from hybridcars.com (reputable green site), and not from the fanboys here. That’s the way to do it.

    Thank you.

    It’s difficult to stay neutral in this sort of analysis, because, this is a fansite after all, and if you are to say, Prius Plug-in is a better alternative than the Volt in most situation – boy, you are going to get your ears full of…

    So the 1st flaw is – this analysis gets re-posted in a fan site, and the result is going for the Prius Plug-in as the better choice for “overall” vehicle usage. OK, this is NOT a flaw of the test.

    The real flaw here is that you’ve used Octane 89 as choice of fuel. This may look like, “let’s take the ‘middle’ when PiP only needs 87 and Volt needs 91.” But this is wrong in terms of scientific analysis, as you’ve stick with everything based on the books, but fuel choice isn’t. Here’s the problem: 87 octane price is decided by gasoline company. That’s it. Both 89 and 91 are decided by gasoline owner (my relative works as a manger for a Chevron gas station, and this is from him). Thus, you are looking at a potential swing of 30 cents to 50 cents, or more, between the 2 vehicles. What will this do? Affects both Figure 3 and Figure 4, to the term that Prius’ domination will be even greater (i.e. instead of going to the 55 mi figure – or 75 mi figure, Prius domination again will restart at a number lower than those).

    Again, this analysis points to the fact that Prius Plug-in does its job the way it’s supposed to, making the Volt advantage to be a very narrow gap that cost some $7000 more.


  34. 34
    George S. Bower

     

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (3:16 pm)

    Ray,

    Actually, I think your figure 4 is pretty good and simplifies things for folks considering these 2 cars. Actually though I think you could push the right side of the envelope out to a little over 80 miles range.

    As I have said before the main reason people like the Volt is because they want the EV experience and they want to minimize the amount of gas they burn.

    At 80 miles the volt will still return 80 MPG GAS and that’s pretty darn good. Most people don’t care too much about MPGe.


  35. 35
    Chris C.

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (3:18 pm)

    “4. The electric rate and gas price are both relative to the local market in which the comparison is made and are important parameters in the comparison.”

    NO KIDDING. The electric rate you used is THREE TIMES what I’m paying. Also, you are STILL using non-premium gas in your analysis. I politely pointed out these errors last time, but now I’m getting annoyed :) Looking forward to the fourth rewrite of this article …

    Finally, a major “error” that bears repeating: I find it a bit frustrating that people compare the Volt and the Prius on efficiency alone. The Volt BLOWS AWAY the Prius on performance (e.g. acceleration). A Volt has as much torque as a Mustang! On the basis of “fun to drive” the cars are in completely different segments. Plus there are the aesthetic issues, such as quality of interior and general sporty appearance of the car. I really think ANY analysis that compares the two cars should make these points loud and clear — the Volt is certainly more fun to drive than a Prius and STILL beats it on most typical driving scenarios. As Dan Akerson says, I wouldn’t be caught dead in a Prius!

    Up to nearly 3000 miles on one tank in my Volt,

    Chris C., PE


  36. 36
    George S. Bower

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (3:45 pm)

    Chris C.:

    I politely pointed out these errors last time, but now I’m getting annoyed Looking forward to the fourth rewrite of this article …

    Chris C., PE

    That’s the ChrisC we know and love. ….please note the correct usage of apostrophe in that’s :)


  37. 37
    BeechBoy

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (3:47 pm)

    Prius PIP is pretty good,

    That is a point of view. If the Prius dominates so much as you think, you will be seeing droves of Volt owners lining up to buy PIPs. But it is not happening.

    Go test drive a Volt. You will understand why it is a superior product.


  38. 38
    Larry

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (4:21 pm)

    The EPA stickers only point out the differences in short-term $dolllar$ economy of gas-vs-electricity.

    Prius is well-engineered to deliver optimum dollar economy. It still uses gas occasionally even for short trips.

    ** Volt is well-engineered to reduce global climate change and reduce $dollar$ sent to the middle east by totally eliminating gas usage for the majority of all trips made. This more-important goal is just more expensive than short-term economy.


  39. 39
    Loboc

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (4:28 pm)

    Chris C.: The electric rate you used is THREE TIMES what I’m paying.

    It is approximately 3 times what I pay as well (5.8c/kwh). This includes electric delivery and taxes. I believe that 11/12c is the national average.

    With these high efficiency cars, it really doesn’t matter the price/gallon since Volt owners are buying ~8-gallons every 1,000 miles. At $7/ gallon that’s still less than $700 PER YEAR. Even IF premium is 50 cents higher (I have never seen this much difference!), that’s the price of a few cups of coffee. Easily within one’s budget that can own such a car.

    The only thing that really matters is: Do you want an HEV? If so, this places your purchase decision within the 3% club. Plug-ins are even more rare. Arguing between a PiP and a Volt is a rounding error to the global view. Y’all are arguing over pennies in a multi-billion dollar budget.

    Other than a cursory look to make sure it’s not outrageous, MPG is not in the top 10 things on my checklist. If I decide on a Volt, it will be for her other attributes and I’m certainly not paying over $30k.

    ——
    2005 Magnum Hemi RT (16-17mpg on midgrade. 6.1sec 0-60. I pay to play.)
    2009 Impala 3.5 V-6 (I-don’t-care mpg. I-don’t-care 0-60. Both are ‘good enough’.)

    /Plus, I’m not driving a butt-ugly Prius. The wife’s Impala is bad enough!


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    Mar 12th, 2012 (4:37 pm)

    BeechBoy: If the Prius dominates so much as you think, you will be seeing droves of Volt owners lining up to buy PIPs.

    Are we seeing droves of *any* drivers buying PiPs? Since they are totaled all together in the ‘Prius’ bucket, can we even tell?

    /How many is a ‘drove’ anyway?


  41. 41
    Noel Park

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (4:40 pm)

    Chris C.: As Dan Akerson says, I wouldn’t be caught dead in a Prius!

    #35

    Damn, you beat me to it, LOL. +1 Or any Toyota, come to that.

    “Buy American, the job you save may be your own”

    Next case!


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    Mar 12th, 2012 (4:42 pm)

    Larry: ** Volt is well-engineered to reduce global climate change and reduce $dollar$ sent to the middle east by totally eliminating gas usage for the majority of all trips made. This more-important goal is just more expensive than short-term economy.

    #38

    Amen! +1


  43. 43
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    Mar 12th, 2012 (4:45 pm)

    Loboc: /How many is a ‘drove’ anyway?

    #40

    It’s a “herd”. Or maybe a “flock”. “Gaggle”? So I think it can vary somewhat, but it’s a LOT.

    “When all at once a mighty herd

    Of red eyed cows he saw

    A-Plowing through the ragged sky

    And up the cloudy draw”


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    Mar 12th, 2012 (5:00 pm)

    I still want to know how they get the same $1000 annual fuel costs for both cars.


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    Mar 12th, 2012 (5:19 pm)

    Loboc: /Plus, I’m not driving a butt-ugly Prius. The wife’s Impala is bad enough!

    My rental cars this week in FL were a 2012 Ford Focus (only had 1500 miles on it) and a 2012 Chevy Malibu (had 2000 miles on it). Both impressed me. The Malibu even had polished wheels similiar to the Volt’s and it had remote start.

    (I’ve never been much of an Impala person, and I think they are still trying to figure it out at GM as it changes so much each year)


  46. 46
    Jim I

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (5:35 pm)

    kdawg:
    I still want to know how they get the same $1000 annual fuel costs for both cars.

    Start by overestimating the AER range and mpg of the PIP, underestimating the AER range and mpg of the Volt. Add in a really high cost of electric, which the Volt uses more, and also jack up the estimated price of Premium fuel, just for good measure. Then make sure you run at least 80-90 miles per day. That should just about do it…………..

    All I know is, it cost me about $1850.00 last year for gasoline. With no changes to driving patterns, I expect to pay less than $500.00 this year for both electricity ($25.00/month) and gasoline (48 gal @$4.00/gal). I can live with that!!!!!

    C-5277


  47. 47
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    Mar 12th, 2012 (5:42 pm)

    Surprised that Volts are not available in #s in Canada? geez GM start the plant and ship them to Canada! Cant think of a reason why supply is not just tight but barely exists as per the comments from folks N of the border. Seems same is true for Volts demand in Europe. What gives GM!


  48. 48
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    Mar 12th, 2012 (5:46 pm)

    kdawg: Impala person

    That’s the car she wanted, so, what mamma wants mamma gets :)

    It’s not really a bad car for pre-owned-by-a-rental-agency. It has remote start, keyless entry, a decent stereo and pretty much anything you’d want on a plain-jane daily driver. Very smooth ride. A little less handling than I like, but good enough. Cold, cold A/C. Which is good in Texas.

    $13k for a one-year-old full size certified car ain’t bad. I probably beat most of these high-efficiency, high-dollar cars in TCO.


  49. 49
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    Mar 12th, 2012 (6:13 pm)

    COMEDIC BREAK:
    “The Chevy Volt, Bill O’Reilly And The Postman’s Butt”, today’s Forbes online, by Bob Lutz

    Among the “gems” in this short Forbes article Lutz says, “…the loony right has its jaws sunk into the Volt with all the stupid determination of a terrier who has locked his teeth into the mailman’s butt. And with the same result: painful, but without any useful purpose.”

    “So, if this continues, will we see the Republican presidential campaign centered on the Volt, with catchy slogans like “Vote Republican! Kill the Volt before it kills you!”?

    Lutz also says, “Meanwhile, the dastardly, communist Volt’s rebadged sister car, the Opel Ampera, was just selected as European Car of the Year by 59 of Europe’s leading automotive journalists.
    But what do they know? They’re only Europeans! (Incidentally, it’s the first time in history that an American-engineered and produced car has won European Car of the Year [My emphasis]. A source of national pride? No … according to the Right-heads, a reason for shame!”)

    /Note for those who may not know: Bob Lutz, an icon of the car industry who was key in creating the Volt as GM’s Vice Chairman, has said the Volt is the most important car he ever helped create.
    //The complete article is at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/boblutz/2012/03/12/the-chevy-volt-bill-oreilly-and-the-postmans-butt/


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    Mar 12th, 2012 (6:50 pm)

    pat:
    Surprised that Volts are not available in #sin Canada? geez GM start the plant and ship them to Canada!Cant think of a reason why supply is not just tight but barely exists as per the comments from folks N of the border.Seems same is true for Volts demand in Europe.What gives GM!

    #47

    Second the motion! And I live in CA, LOL. +1


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    Mar 12th, 2012 (6:54 pm)

    nasaman: “…the loony right has its jaws sunk into the Volt with all the stupid determination of a terrier who has locked his teeth into the mailman’s butt. And with the same result: painful, but without any useful purpose.”

    #49

    Huh. I wonder if Bob knows my dog? Maybe not. With my terrier it’s the UPS man.

    Great stuff though. Bob’s a pretty die hard Republican. So, if they can turn even Bob off……………………………

    Edit: I did read the article. I’ve not been a big fan of Bob Lutz in many ways, but his stock is sure going up with me at the moment. You go Bob!

    Thanks for the link nasaman.


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    Mar 12th, 2012 (7:14 pm)

    Another comedic break; from the Chevy Volt FB page.

    Funny or Die
    http://www.thefutureiselectric.com/2012/03/funny-or-die-goes-volting/


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    Mar 12th, 2012 (7:46 pm)

    Ray Iannuzzelli: I am working on a comparison using US averaged gasoline & electric rates to produce $/mile and KWh/mile metrics.

    Even the national average will probably overstate the cost because many utilities have special EV rates. In my case the lowest rate per kWh is nominally about $.14, but because we have an EV we can use a special time of use rate that drives the price down to something in the vicinity of $.04/kWh.

    Even if your benchmark is the Prius, that’s the equivalent of fifty cent per gallon gasoline. Hard to beat that.


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    Mar 12th, 2012 (9:13 pm)

    This link that Nasaman posted is probably the best rebuttal to all the political BS so far.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/boblutz/2012/03/12/the-chevy-volt-bill-oreilly-and-the-postmans-butt/

    It is from our MAN Bob Lutz. The father of the Volt….and a conservative.

    please read


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    Mar 12th, 2012 (9:50 pm)

    dg:
    After all that work to get a valid EPA rating sticker for EV’s,this is an EPIC FAIL.Toyota must be very very very happy with that sticker.

    If I were Toyota,I would simply advertise these two stickers side by side – according to this the PRIUS beats the VOLT in every category – printed out in big bold 140 point fonts.

    Agree. It’s a [bad] joke.


  56. 56
    HaroldC

     

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (9:50 pm)

    l think that the most truthful comment l’ve seen today is that a Volt is the only car that can run on electricity (gasless) for as long as a Volt owner wants to…..period.!!
    Amen….


  57. 57
    CorvetteGuy

     

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (10:17 pm)

    Chris C.: Finally, a major “error” that bears repeating: I find it a bit frustrating that people compare the Volt and the Prius on efficiency alone. The Volt BLOWS AWAY the Prius on performance (e.g. acceleration). A Volt has as much torque as a Mustang! On the basis of “fun to drive” the cars are in completely different segments. Plus there are the aesthetic issues, such as quality of interior and general sporty appearance of the car. I really think ANY analysis that compares the two cars should make these points loud and clear — the Volt is certainly more fun to drive than a Prius and STILL beats it on most typical driving scenarios. As Dan Akerson says, I wouldn’t be caught dead in a Prius!

    Well said! :)


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    Koz

     

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    Mar 12th, 2012 (10:54 pm)

    nasaman:
    COMEDIC BREAK:
    “The Chevy Volt, Bill O’Reilly And The Postman’s Butt”, today’s Forbes online, by Bob Lutz

    Among the “gems” in this short Forbes article Lutz says, “…the loony right has its jaws sunk into the Volt with all the stupid determination of a terrier who has locked his teeth into the mailman’s butt. And with the same result: painful, but without any useful purpose.”

    “So, if this continues, will we see the Republican presidential campaign centered on the Volt, with catchy slogans like “Vote Republican! Kill the Volt before it kills you!”?

    Lutz also says, “Meanwhile, the dastardly, communist Volt’s rebadged sister car, the Opel Ampera, was just selected as European Car of the Year by 59 of Europe’s leading automotive journalists.
    But what do they know? They’re only Europeans! (Incidentally, it’s the first time in history that an American-engineered and produced car has won European Car of the Year [My emphasis]. A source of national pride? No … according to the Right-heads, a reason for shame!”)

    /Note for those who may not know: Bob Lutz, an icon of the car industry who was key in creating the Volt as GM’s Vice Chairman, has said the Volt is the most important car he ever helped create.
    //The complete article is at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/boblutz/2012/03/12/the-chevy-volt-bill-oreilly-and-the-postmans-butt/

    Nice find NASAMAN. Love him, hate him, or both you have to adnire his ability to speak his mind convincingly. Too bad GM can’t figure out how to do that too when it comes to defending and promoting the Volt. Perhaps they should hire Bob and Jay Leno to do a commercial together and all that needs to be said is the first hand truth from both of them, along with a screen shot of Jay’s lifetime Volt stats.


  59. 59
    Jeff

     

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    Mar 13th, 2012 (6:15 pm)

    DrInnovaiton: 116

    He could have gotten 116 MPGe by converting only the electric portion of the energy used in the first 11 miles and ignoring the 0.2 gallons of gas.

    [33.7 kwh/gallon of gas] / [0.29 kwh/mile] = 116.2 MPGe

    However, it would be wrong to use this number since it ignores the gasoline used in the first 11 miles.

    If this assumption about the analysis is correct, then it has to be redone This would make the Volt look a lot better in comparison.


  60. 60
    Mitch

     

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    Mar 14th, 2012 (9:22 pm)

    DonC,

    I strongly agree there is a major difference in the two vehicle. I owna 2012 Volt and my wife a 2010 Prius. The prius does not compare to volt. I traded by 2007 Prius in on a Volt after one 5 mile test drive. The Volt is truely an amazing vehicle to drive.


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    Mitch

     

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    Mar 14th, 2012 (9:26 pm)

    flmark,

    I agree, I own both vehicles and there is no comparison for the fun and pleasure of driving a Volt….


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    Mitch

     

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    Mar 14th, 2012 (9:33 pm)

    BLIND GUY,

    I can understand the way you feel. My wife has a 2010 Prius and I owned a 2007 prius, both topped out. I traded my Prius for the Volt after a 5 mile test drive and really love this vehicle. I got the topped out model with the LED lights and leather heated seats and find myself running errands just to drive my car…love it….


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