Someone Else's Problem: Brought home a new Volt

Merc63

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Driving quietly into the future....

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Traded in my 2006 Mustang GT Convertible for it. The Mustang had become a daily driver/commuter, instead of the sunny day weekend driver it was supposed to be, and as such was only getting about 14-15 mpg on the commute, and wasn't much fun to drive when the weather wasn't nice.

Also, I tend to carry 2-3 other people (usually family) a couple times a week and getting them in and out of the back seat of the Mustang or my wife's MINI Cooper was comical and slightly cruel. Since I had equity in the Mustang, it was decided that it was the one that would go, and my wife would keep her MINI Cooper for the time being (though when it's lease is up, we may pick up another convertible to replace it).

I wanted something comfortable, practical, new, high tech, and economical to operate. Mostly I was looking at EVs and PHEVs. I've driven my coworker's Prius and hated it (as does he, but that's another story). I looked at the Fusion Energi, C Max Energi, Focus Electric, Leaf, and Spark EV. Pure electrics don't yet have enough range for me to use for the occasional longer trips I still make, though they would cover the commute and errand running quite well. The PHEVs don't have enough electric only range and the pricing, even with incentives was still too high. The Volt hit that sweet spot of electric range, long distance range, and cost ($41k list, but under $29k after incentives and credits), as well as practicality (big hatch area) and high tech.

The Volt is also a nice place to spend time. The Premium leather and suede seats are comfy and supportive, and I like the suede inserts in the door panels. It's actually fun to drive, having more punch around town than the MINI Cooper, and almost as much 5-40mph punch as my Mustang did. At least it feels like it the way the electric motor delivers torque and thrust (and it's deceptive, as there's little to no sound to accompany the rush of speed). It also handles quite well, given it's Goodyear Assurance low rolling resistance tires. The weight is carried low in the chassis for a decent CG, and the car has good roll control, so it corners fairly flat.

The 2013s add a "hold" mode to the drive choices. This mode allows you to switch the gas generator on and "hold" the electric range for later use. What this means is that if I'm going to take a longer highway trip, I can use electric to get to the highway, then "hold" and go to the gas generator (which is still only charging the batteries, not driving the car) for the highway where the gas engine is more efficient, then go back to EV when you get to your destination and are off the highway. I can get upwards of 60-70 total mpg this way, something the previous Volts couldn't really do.

I've had the car for a month and 1100 miles so far, and except for the trip to southern VA and one down to DC, I've yet to use the gas engine. My electric bill has only gone up by $20 over the same time last year... All in all I'm quite happy with the choice, and in three years when the lease is up, well see if there are higher tech choices on the market (or an improved version of the Volt platform. I'd love to see a CUV based on this platform). Maybe the Teslas will have come down in price a bit by then, too...
 
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Punisher Bass

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Oh no, they're multiplying, soon there's going to be a Final Gear Sit In, I just know it. :p

I'd love to see a CUV based on this platform.

Not gonna happen, it's a modified Delta II which is for compact cars only, the closest to a CUV it gets is the Chevy Orlando and that's more like a minivan.
 

Wizegui

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Oh no, they're multiplying, soon there's going to be a Final Gear Sit In, I just know it. :p



Not gonna happen, it's a modified Delta II which is for compact cars only, the closest to a CUV it gets is the Chevy Orlando and that's more like a minivan.

It would be interesting to see if they could make a CUV with the volt drivetrain and more room for batteries. I would imagine it'd be expensive as hell though with the Volt at $29k after subsidies. I suppose GM could just do what Subaru did with the XV and jack up the Volt.
 

Merc63

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there was a CUV already shown on the Volt platform:

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Punisher Bass

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Looks like just a slightly tweaked Orlando, which again to me looks closer to a minivan than a CUV.

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Viper007Bond

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Nice! Good color too.
 

DanRoM

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Nice car! It's always nice to have more "beta testers" driving EVs. :D Nah, just kidding. Have fun and keep us informed how it holds up, reliability- and economy-wise.

There's a chap near me with a Vauxhall Ampera. First time I met it, I was nearly run over as I was crossing a blind junction and didn't hear him coming. :(
You're supposed to watch out for oncoming vehicles. Electric cars are not the only ones running silently. :p
 

Merc63

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Hahaha. Yeah it's kind of fun sneaking up on people in parking lots. At road speeds, they still make tire noise, but at low speeds, they are very quiet. it has a special horn just for pedestrians.

Thanks for the compliments. I think it looks great, too. Much better than a Prius. ;) And the interior is a very nice place to be. Comfy for both short and long trips.
 

Merc63

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I don't dislike the car itself, but I am not a huge fan of this kind of hybrid in general. Also as a Mustangfan, I disapprove the trade totally :p

What do you mean this type of hybrid? It's the only of it's kind. ;) It's an electric car with a gas generator to go longer trips in. And yeah, I miss the Mustang, but I don't miss the commute with it, the 15 mpg, on the commute, and the lack of carrying capacity.
 

Wizegui

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What do you mean this type of hybrid? It's the only of it's kind. ;) It's an electric car with a gas generator to go longer trips in.

You mean... its an electric car with a battery in charge? Also for the Voltlando, I really wish they made it. I reckon the car actually looks better with the volt styling cues and they could house bigger batteries into it. If I had a Volt for my commutes, I reckon I wouldn't have to buy gas for months.
 

CAPT_Howdy

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What do you mean this type of hybrid? It's the only of it's kind. ;) It's an electric car with a gas generator to go longer trips in. And yeah, I miss the Mustang, but I don't miss the commute with it, the 15 mpg, on the commute, and the lack of carrying capacity.

Except for the Ford Fusion Energi, Ford C-Max Energi, Toyota Prius PHV and Fisker Karma, sure - it's the only one of its kind. :p

Although it looks better than most of the others - except the Fisker and possibly the Fusion.
 

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CAPT_Howdy

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No, the Fisker has a petrol engine that charges the batteries when they get low, just like the Volt. Fisker calls the petrol engine a "range extender".

Wikipedia said:
Series hybrids use an internal combustion engine (ICE) to turn a generator, which in turn supplies current to an electric motor, which then rotates the vehicle?s drive wheels. A battery or supercapacitor pack, or a combination of the two, can be used to store excess charge. Examples of series hybrids vehicles include the Chevrolet Volt, Fisker Karma, Renault Kangoo, Elect'Road, Toyota's Japan-only Coaster light-duty passenger bus, Daimler AG's hybrid Orion bus, Opel Flextreme concept car, Swissauto REX VW Polo prototype and many diesel-electric locomotives. With an appropriate balance of components this type can operate over a substantial distance with its full range of power without engaging the ICE. As is the case for other architectures, series hybrids can operate without recharging as long as there is liquid fuel in the tank.
 

mpicco

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Congrats on the new car, very good MPG, but I have to ask... is it a requirement for an electric/hybrid car to have a tremendously ugly back end? Many hybrids go with that tall, prius-esque rear end which was and continues to be awful.

No, the Fisker has a petrol engine that charges the batteries when they get low, just like the Volt. Fisker calls the petrol engine a "range extender".

And don't forget the HammerHead i Eagle Thrust
 
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Merc63

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Except for the Ford Fusion Energi, Ford C-Max Energi, Toyota Prius PHV and Fisker Karma, sure - it's the only one of its kind. :p

Although it looks better than most of the others - except the Fisker and possibly the Fusion.

Actually other than the Fisker, the others are standard hybrids with a bit more battery range (about 20 miles). The gas engines do drive the wheels when they kick on (and they won't go highway speeds on pure battery). The Volt and Fisker do not, and the Fisker, being very expensive, doesn't really count as being in the same class as the Volt. As I said in the OP, i looked into all of them before choosing the Volt.

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Congrats on the new car, very good MPG, but I have to ask... is it a requirement for an electric/hybrid car to have a tremendously ugly back end? Many hybrids go with that tall, prius-esque rear end which was and continues to be awful.

That's part of the kamm-effect body language that is great for aerodynamics. And they ARE hatchbacks, which kind of require them to be fairly tall in the rear.
 
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