Someone Else's Problem: Brought home a new Volt

NecroJoe

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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.

Take a look at the Prius and the Prius V (if you can avoid gagging). The Prius V is not much diferent that a standard Prius, except for the roofline (granetd, it's also slightly heavier...but not much)...and it suffers a 15% penalty in MP(US)G. (7 less in the city, 8 less on the hwy)

Until someone discovers something better, or a better way of doing it...you're stuck what that sort of shape if the automaker wants the most aerodynamic car, whilst enclosing the most interior volume.
 

Merc63

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better pictures from today, from my favorite photo location...

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While similar, I think it looks MUCH better than a Prius. And I think the Ampera in Europe looks even better. And of course, as I said, the interior is quite a nice place to be with the premium leather.
 

Quiky

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Welcome to the cult of Volt!
 

thomas

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While similar, I think it looks MUCH better than a Prius.
No doubt about that. The Prius is so fucking ugly, I wouldn't touch it with a stick.

And I think the Ampera in Europe looks even better.
To be honest, I think the Volt looks a bit better. I have seen both IRL, funny enough the Volt, here in germany, earlier than the Ampera, and I think I like the Volt-looks more.

But still it has this srsly high rearend which I really dislike. Either make it a sedan or fastback you actually can see out of, or make it an actual hatchback.. but stop this half-way-split-window-crap, please!
 
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mpicco

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Take a look at the Prius and the Prius V (if you can avoid gagging). The Prius V is not much diferent that a standard Prius, except for the roofline (granetd, it's also slightly heavier...but not much)...and it suffers a 15% penalty in MP(US)G. (7 less in the city, 8 less on the hwy)

Until someone discovers something better, or a better way of doing it...you're stuck what that sort of shape if the automaker wants the most aerodynamic car, whilst enclosing the most interior volume.

I'm sorry but the Polos get mileage compared to Priuses and other hybrids and are not an assault on the eyes.
 

Merc63

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I'm sorry but the Polos get mileage compared to Priuses and other hybrids and are not an assault on the eyes.

Polos don't match the Volt for mileage, not by a long shot. I can commute all month and not use a drop of gas, and only add about $20 to my monthly electric bill.
 

mpicco

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I would then gladly pay 30 or 40 from my electric bill due to the loss of aerodynamics if it got me a good looking car :p

Anyway, I'm happy you're happy with your purchase. I just think it looks a bit off, and what's worse, it seems to be the "trend for the future" of these hybrids.
 

Merc63

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4000 mile update... No gas used for the last two months, but a 1500 mile road trip to Hartford, CT and back, as well as a week up there two months ago. Lifetime MPG over 100 mpg, while average daily MPG is infinite.

So far the monthly electric bill has only gone up $8, not the expected $20, even though I plug it in every night. I don't hypermile it, and tend to do jackrabbit starts and use the throttle for fun, and I still only use about 1.2kWh to go to work. Most I've got is 50 miles from a charge, and if I hypermiled it i could get 60. It's very comfy and quick and I like the silent luxury of it. Makes me really want a Tesla S to use electricity all the time. Also made the Vauxhall Astra I rented in Scotland two weeks ago feel really really crude in comparison (hell it makes any car powered by exploding dinosaurs feel crude by comparison...)
 

Ilpav

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The problem I have with fully electric cars is that you can't take them on a long trip (as depicted on TG with the Nissan Leaf and that Peugeot). The Volt on the other hand can use just electricity on your commute just like a fully electric car, but it has a backup generator powered by gas so you don't have to worry about running out of juice in the middle of nowhere. It's basically a hydrogen car, but it's using gas because it's more readily available at this point in time.
 

NecroJoe

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In my mind's eye of the future, I see a separate meter for taxation purposes on car chargers. Not sure how they would charge anybody just using a 110/120.
 

Viper007Bond

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The problem I have with fully electric cars is that you can't take them on a long trip (as depicted on TG with the Nissan Leaf and that Peugeot). The Volt on the other hand can use just electricity on your commute just like a fully electric car, but it has a backup generator powered by gas so you don't have to worry about running out of juice in the middle of nowhere. It's basically a hydrogen car, but it's using gas because it's more readily available at this point in time.

Exactly. If I had a daily commute, I'd buy a Volt in a heartbeat. All electric for daily usage but infinite range when I need it.
 

Quiky

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In my mind's eye of the future, I see a separate meter for taxation purposes on car chargers. Not sure how they would charge anybody just using a 110/120.

Some power companies do that- you have a second meter installed, and they give a different rate/TOU billing.
 

Merc63

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One year, 12k miles later, I still love it. It has taken another trip up to CT from here in Baltimore and over Thanksgiving, took another trip up to Maine and back. Other than the couple long trips over the year, it has used barely one tank of gas. I've spent in total over the 12k miles, $120 in electricity (approx $10 a month) and $160 in gasoline (that covered local use as well as the 4 total long trips).

There have been zero maintenance costs (the oil life meter still shows about 78% left, so it may still be a while before I do an oil change). There was one Check Engine light come on for the charge port door, and one recall for the charging system, all done quickly and I was well taken care of by my dealer.

I drive with the trans in Low and with Sport mode engaged for better throttle tip in and agressive regen "braking" when you let off the throttle. The EV thrust is smooth and quiet and actually feels like a big engine luxury car (much like my 740iL). If you drive in D and in normal mode, it feels completely different, as there is little regen and it will coast forever, and you also have to use more throttle travel to make it accelerate quickly. Most people leave it in Normal and D for the test drive. Salesmen don't usually even know that there are other modes. You can use L gear all the way up to 100 mph, as it's not really another gear ratio, it just mimics the engine braking of a lower gear ratio by making regen aggressive. It's aggressive enough that I've been able to add a couple miles of range to the car just coming off an offramp of the highway and letting low gear slow the car and put energy back into the battery.

I find the premium leather seats to be more comfortable, and in my case, the Pebble Beige gives suede inserts on the seats and door panels (the black leather interior has no suede and the door panel inserts are smooth plastic.). The base interior is cloth, and it feels kind of cheap, to me. I'd definitely spring for one of the premium interiors. Also, there is a choice, with the black or base interiors, to have the center stack and instrument binnacle to be glossy white plastic or charcoal grey. I prefer the charcoal grey.

Hold mode , like I said in the OP, allows you to use the gas generator when it's most efficient, and the pure EV modes for when they are most efficient. By using hold mode, the generator runs to "hold" the battery charge at whatever level it was on when you changed modes. It'll actually build charge and then shut the engine down while you are driving, as the engine is not used to drive the wheels, until you are doing close to 100 mph (I've had it over 80 mph in normal and sport modes and the engine never fires up...). By using Hold mode, you can improve engine efficiency on the highway to get closer to 60 mpg (lowest I've seen if 45 mpg). The car is rated at 37 mpg because the EPA tested it in normal mode and let the engine run after the battery was depleted, at which point you're using it to not only maintain the battery charge, but run at low speeds in town where it's just not as efficient.

Battery range has increased as the weather warms up. I've gone the equivalent of 60 miles on a charge (used 5 kWh to go 30 miles), and gone the 8 miles one way to work on an indicated 2 miles of range, and I don't hypermile. I just drive it like a normal car.

Battery range is also affected by using the climate control settings. Fan only is what it says, and runs only the fans. Not bad most of the time, and uses very little power, so you maximize range. Eco is a setting that allows limited heating and AC (it uses electric heat and AC powered by the main battery pack), and works well to maintain temps even at local extremes (I've driven the car in as low as 15 degrees and as warm as 100 degrees since I've had it). Comfort is the max setting and will reduce range by a couple miles, but cools nicely in 95-100 degree heat (I use it to get it to temp in the cabin, then switch to Eco to maintain). In the winter, using the seat heaters will do wonders for improving range vs using the cabin heater. I just wish it had a heated steering wheel.

The Volt does not drive the wheels with the gas engine EXCEPT in certain rare instances which I've never experienced.

I charge the car every night with the stock 120V charger. It's habit to pull in, pop the cover and plug in. Takes about 10 seconds to do. There are two charge modes on 120v (and one 240V mode if you have a Level 2 charger). On basic charge (8 amp draw) it'll take about 10 hours to charge. On the high draw charge (12 amp draw) it'll take about 6 hours to charge fully. But since I rarely use more than half the range in daily use (I only go 15-25 miles per day in commuting and errand running) I usually charge in 4 hours with the 120v charger even on the 8a draw. So far since I got the car in February, my electric bill hasn't changed at all vs the same time last year.

If you guys test drive one, make sure of two things:
1) make sure the car is charged (so many aren't) and then
2) drive for a bit in normal mode (default) and D. Then put it in Sport mode and Low gear (they drive all the way up to 100 mph in low gear). Feel the difference in torque delivery for throttle position, and engine braking in Low. Punch it repeatedly from about 15-20 mph. Giggle a bunch. Seriously.

Some of the negative things...

The flexible air dam is quite low and scrapes on everything.

I wish it had a heated steering wheel.

I wish it retained sport mode when you shut it off, instead of having to select it every time I start the car up.

On those lines, I wish it retained the charge mode every time, in stead of having to select 12a charging every time I shut the car off before I plug it in. Normally I leave it in 8a mode as I don't need it charged until late, but if I could leave it in 12a mode, that would be cool.

Rear legroom is kind of tight. I never need 5 passenger seating, so 4 seats is fine, but a 6 footer doesn't fit well in back for longer trips.

Lastly, the A pillars are huge and do interfere a bit with blind left turns, as the driver's side pillar tends to block a lot of what's coming at you and can make it harder to place the car in faster twisties or parking lots. This is a problem I've seen in a lot of new cars, though, in trying to make rollover protection better.

Only other cost had nothing to do with the car, and that was that a couple weeks ago someone hit my driver's side rear door and quarter panel and took off leaving no note. So I had a $250 deductible on the repairs (which were done to a high standard by a local high end bodyshop)

Before:

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After:

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narf

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So... 43MP$? That's quite an epic figure, converts to about 150MPG at your current prices.
Do you have the consumption figures in kWh and gallons/litres?
 

TC

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I have to say, this car does make an excellent case for itself. Getting 60 miles on a charge is impressive. That could really work for me, since my daily commute is 50 miles round trip.
 

Quiky

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If you don't mind a minimal drop in range, you can get a "shorter" air dam installed by your Chevy dealer. I was scraping on anything resembling a bump on NoVA roads...
 

Merc63

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7 YEAR update... since the pictures went away, here's the pics of the day I brought it home:

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7 years later, I have 45k miles on it and since we brought a 2020 Bolt home as my wife's car and our errand runner, I decided to undertake an upgrade program for the Volt.

To that end I’ve added 20” forged TSW Geneva wheels and Toyo Extensis HP tires 225/35-20. It also got a set of Eibach Pro-kit lowering springs. A little firmer but still comfortable and it handles so much better. I also painted the lower bodywork in body color. And finally, I just had installed a Webasto Hollandia 300 power sunroof, something the car should have had all along.

My commute pre-Covid was only 16 miles round trip (I telework exclusively these days) so the minor hit to the range was not important (besides we have the Bolt for extensive errand running and day trips). And in 40 years of driving custom cars, and sports cars, I’ve never hit a pothole or even curbed a wheel. Damn, I might have jinxed myself there! LOL! I just wanted to make something unique and fun and I think this car fits the bill.

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Voltsunroof01.jpg


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