Chevy Volt Q&A

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by eric_n_dfw, Feb 5, 2015.

  1. eric_n_dfw macrumors 65816

    eric_n_dfw

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2002
    Location:
    DFW, TX, USA
    #1
    Moving a discussion that was heading off topic from http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=20599498&postcount=67 to here.

    In that thread, where the discussion of the just announced 2016 Chevy Volt and it's CarPlay integration was the topic, a question about remote-start capabilities prompted my reply and subsequent veering off topic to a general Chevy Volt conversation.

    As a former Volt driver for 2 years, I offer up myself for any questions about the Gen1 Volt and/or opinions about the forthcoming Gen2 and other EV related stuff I may or may not be knowledgable on.
     
  2. heehee macrumors 68020

    heehee

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2006
    Location:
    Same country as Santa Claus
    #2
    Do you charge your car every night?

    A little off-topic, I just got an invitation to test drive the P85D. :cool:
     
  3. eric_n_dfw thread starter macrumors 65816

    eric_n_dfw

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2002
    Location:
    DFW, TX, USA
    #3
    In reply to the last question from the prior thread:

    The in dash MPG would show actual MPG since the last full battery charge. For instance, if I left the house with 100% charge and drove to my work and back, a round trip total of about 60 miles, when I got to work it would show 250+ MPH (it's max) since I had used no gasoline to go the 30 miles there. On the return trip, the ICE would kick on at about 10 miles in, and the remaining 20 would be in series-hybrid mode which, more-or-less, always was about 40 MPG for me. So, when I arrived back home it would have consumed about 1/2 gallon of gas and, thus, would report 120 MPG for the day. (60 mi / .5 gal)

    This assumes no charging at the office or doing anything that changed the default behavior like running the freeway miles in "hold" mode (which forces the ICE to run and keep the battery at the same level of charge until you turn that mode off). People report that judicious use of the hold mode on the highway can get you more efficiency but since it saves the battery for the stop-and-go city driving at the ends of your commute, but my commute was pretty much all freeway so I never did it.

    In the winter and the hottest summer days (like 105+ degree days) the heater and AC can take a toll on the EV range - dropping it as much as 50% on REALLY cold days. Usually, I saw ~10 mile range loss when it was at the extremes though.

    All this is in past tense as I no longer have a Volt and I also now work from home so no more commute! (At lease end, I switched to a Ford Fusion Energi plugin-hybrid for more cabin room - at the expense of EV range and cargo space)

    ----------

    Yes, basically any time the car was in the garage it was plugged in to keep it topped off and to allow for cabin pre-conditioning (remote start) w/out draining the battery or the ICE coming on.

    The Tesla is a remarkable car but you are paying for that level of tech. Plus, where I live (DFW area) the EV charging infrastructure isn't mature enough for my range anxiety - even with the huge battery the Model S has. (besides, I'd have too much fun flooring that thing and probably only get about 100 miles per charge anyway!)
     
  4. ejb190 macrumors 65816

    ejb190

    #4
    My curiosity about the Volt (or any other electric car) is the durability/lifespan of the battery. Did you notice any fall off in range over the two years you had it?
     
  5. eric_n_dfw thread starter macrumors 65816

    eric_n_dfw

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2002
    Location:
    DFW, TX, USA
    #5
    I shared your concern and it's one of the reasons I did a lease, not to mention I believe EV technology is progressing fast enough that a lease makes some sense on it. (I normally do not lease vehicles - I buy late model used)

    As for my experience, though, I saw no loss or range at all. Two years, however, is a very short time to judge that. I believe GM guaranties at least 80% of the battery's original capacity up to 8 years (but I'd have to look that up to be sure - I know it's pretty high)

    The nice thing about the Volt over other some other plug-in's is that it's battery pack has an active, liquid temperature conditioning system that keeps the cells in the optimum range during both charge and discharge. I believe the same compressor that cools the cabin is used for that system. If you're in the garage when it's plugged in, you can hear it come on for time to time; (not loud enough to hear in the house or outside with closed garage door or anything.)

    I know some of the first Leaf's on the market had a lot of trouble in extreme conditions (like Phoenix summer's) wearing out much faster than anticipated due to their passive cooling battery system.

    My Fusion Energi also has an active cooling system, but I think it's air based and may actually just be a fan, no compressor or anything. You also can hear it turn on and off during charging. (just a guess about the compressor as I've not really researched it)

    Another interesting thing about the Voltec system is that when it says that the battery is depleted, there actually is about 20% (or so) charge still in it - it keeps that reserve both to prolong the life of the cells as well as to handle acceleration spikes where the ICE generator might not be spun up when you need it. When the battery range is depleted you are still be motivated my the electric traction motor(s) and the ICE comes on and off to keep that 20% reserve steady. If you happen to regenerate a lot or energy (by going downhill for a distance, for instance), the ICE may not even come back on for a while since it had built back up more battery power.

    Anyway, back to your question, on the gm-volt.com forums there's several threads discussing it, including the US Gov't lab tests:
     
  6. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #6
    ^^^ The battery will also only charge to 80% as well to help preserve the batteries life. So while the battery may be 16 Kw, you're only using about half it's capacity.
     
  7. eric_n_dfw thread starter macrumors 65816

    eric_n_dfw

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2002
    Location:
    DFW, TX, USA
    #7
    Sounds believable.

    I know the engineers were said to be very conservative with the usable battery capacity and that one of the reasons the Gen2 Volt is lighter and has more range is that they increased the percentage of the battery that is available for use per charge. (as they did for the Cadillac ELR)
     
  8. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #8
    Yeah 50 miles of EV range on a 13 Kw battery, which is smaller than the 17 Kw battery currently in the Volt( 2015 model got a bump from 16 to 17 Kw).
     
  9. eric_n_dfw thread starter macrumors 65816

    eric_n_dfw

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2002
    Location:
    DFW, TX, USA
    #9
    For the curious, here's the stats for the time I had my Volt: http://www.voltstats.net/Stats/Details/1907

    I turned it back in at lease end around the end of August, so any stats after that were car dealers/auctions/new owner until I actually called OnStar to take my name off the account. (Which is scary since I could still remote start/lock/unlock, etc via OnStar web site and app!)
     
  10. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #10
    My concern with owning something like a Prius is that it's substantially more expensive to purchase than a small gas powered cars (Fiat 500-40+ mpg highway, $19k purchase) which must be figured into gas savings, and about the 10 year point there is a large battery liability which I've heard is in the $2-3k range. That's a Prius. The Volt is in the high $30s to purchase. Maybe for that price range, spending $3k for battery replacement is no big deal, other than it would cut into your gas savings. FWI, generally speaking I'm for the idea of alternatively powered cars.

    Found this: http://cleantechnica.com/2013/12/21/true-cost-owning-chevy-volt-might-surprise/
     
  11. eric_n_dfw thread starter macrumors 65816

    eric_n_dfw

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2002
    Location:
    DFW, TX, USA
    #11
    Buying an EV or PHEV (or EREV as the Volt folks like to say) really isn't as much about the cost savings, especially with gas prices so low right now. I leased mine for that and it ended up being a wash with my prior 19MPG truck when you took everything into account over 30,000 miles - even without the tax credit.

    Most qualify for the $7500 tax credit (or effectively get in lease savings) so a base model Volt is about $27500 net. If I were to buy one, though, I'd probably look for a used 2013 or newer with 30,000 or so miles.

    For me it's not even really that much about the "greenness" of it either, I just love the way an EV drives. The Volt and the Prius (or even the Leaf) really cannot be compared when it comes to the way they drive. The Prius drives like an eco-cbox, as would any high MPG car. The Volt, while no sports car, has loads of torque from a standstill which makes it very fun to drive, especially for how heavy of a car it is. My wife misses our Volt terribly as the Fusion Energi, although it has the same 0-60 time, just doesn't have the peppy EV torque down low. (it needs the ICE to go that fast off the line)
     
  12. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #12
    Curious, why did you not get another Volt? Didn't want the exact same model? If your lease ended when the 2016 Volt becomes available, would you have gone that route? Or just wanted something different? It sounds like you were completely satisfied with the Volt.
     
  13. eric_n_dfw thread starter macrumors 65816

    eric_n_dfw

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2002
    Location:
    DFW, TX, USA
    #13
    Main reasons, loosely in order of importance:
    1. Cabin room - the Volt is a compact car with little rear legroom and my kids are not getting any smaller.
    2. For nearly 40k (before rebate) I want power seats - Fusion Energi has power seats with memory and my wife is a lot shorter than me. Adjusting seats and mirrors all of the time gets old (first world problem, I know)
    3. Lease deals on 2014 Fusion Energi's were much better than 2014/15 Volt's at the time.
    4. Fusion's interior is, IMO, nicer
    5. Fusion looks like an Aston Martin's little brother ;)
    6. Ford My-Touch > Chevy's system (IMO)
    7. For our driving habits, the 20mi AER on the Fusion is fine compared to the 40mi on the Volt so that was sort-of a wash.

    I'm disappointed with the rear seat room in the Gen2 Volt - if it weren't for that we'd probably go back to it when the Ford lease is up in 2.5 more years. But who knows, maybe they'll remedy that by then. (doubt it)

    The Fusion Energi, however, has a laughably small trunk due to the batteries taking up about 1/2 of that space. Our other vehicle is now an SUV (2012 Accadia) so we have that to use when we need cargo space. If it was my only car, the Volt, with it's big hatchback would have won.
     

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