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Old 10-10-2011, 06:00 PM   #1
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Chevy Volt ownership experience

Greetings

In this thread, I'll make posts from time to time about our Chevy Volt.

We haven't taken delivery of the car yet, so I'll start with the story thus far.

My wife and I were at an ALMS race at Road America (Elkhart Lake, WI) last August. She's been thinking about a new car to replace her Honda Element. Now that we have fewer large dogs that needs to be hauled around, there's no need for a big box on wheels with a rubber floor. She'd been looking at cars like the Mazda 3, Ford Focus, and the Chevy Cruze.

We were there at the Chevy exhibit at the track, looking at the Cruze. The wife looks across the exhibit and sees the Volt and is intrigued. She hadn't been that interested in it until she saw it in person. She talked to the Chevy rep for a while, sat in the car, and it moved to the top of her list of cars to check out.

After we returned home, we hit the Chevy dealership nearest the house on the next Saturday. They had a demo Volt, but it was locked up in a service bay for some reason, and they couldn't get to it for a test drive. The sales guy was very apologetic and told us to come back Monday and he'd have the car cleaned up and he'd let us take it home for a few days. We did so, and during the few days we had it, my wife used NO gasoline. Her round trip commute is 34 miles. When she got home at night, the car would show 4 miles remaining on battery power. The high temperature during the demo period was over 100? F most days.

If you haven't ever looked at a Volt close up, it's a nice car. Not nice for a Chevy, nice full stop. The demo car we had is a 2011, with the Dark Grey metallic paint. The interior is black leather, and it has the dark center stack and interior accents. In 2011, the only option package available was leather seats, so this car is loaded. I grew up in a BMW family, and this car is as nice as any of the BMWs we has growing up. It's nearly as nice as my 2001 M Coupe.

So, we are going to buy the demo car. The 2012 model has less stuff in it standard. To build a 2012 that's equivalent to a 2011, it ends up being a couple grand more expensive. The dealer has to keep the demo car for 6 months, but that time is up next week, so we'll go pick the car up 7 days from now.

While we've been waiting, I've been looking into home charging stations. The car comes with a 120VAC charger, but it turns out that the Dallas/Ft. Worth area is one of the areas where there is currently a DoE sponsored program, the upshot of which is we can get a free 240VAC charger, including installation. The electrician comes out to do the site survey tomorrow. It'll be a Blink charging station, and it's supposed to cut charge time from 9 to 4 hours.

So that's where we are so far. Once we get something to take pictures of, I'll post a few. Also, if you have questions, post 'em up and I'll answer them once we have the car, unless I already knew the answer from the demo.
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Old 10-10-2011, 06:09 PM   #2
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Re: Chevy Volt ownership experience

Congratulations on the new car. I had been looking at the Volt, and I thought it was a nice looking car, but its priced a bit more than I had budgeted for a new car.
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Old 10-10-2011, 09:14 PM   #3
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Re: Chevy Volt ownership experience

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Originally Posted by Jay2TheRescue View Post
Congratulations on the new car. I had been looking at the Volt, and I thought it was a nice looking car, but its priced a bit more than I had budgeted for a new car.
Jay,

Car and Driver magazine did a comparison between the Volt and the Cruze Eco in this month's issue. It's right up your alley. The Volt is a nicer car, but in a driving loop that contained some city driving, some regular commuting, and a long highway trip, it only averaged 3 mpg less than the Volt. In the commuting section, the lead-foot editors at C/D actually managed to get 47 mpg out of the Cruze. I'm not a Chevy guy, but that's impressive. And there's supposed to be a diesel Cruze for 2013.

dwiggins,

Congrats on the new car. It seems like you did your homework and found the most cost-effective way to purchase the Volt. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that I'm eager to see how this car does over the long haul. Be sure to take advantage of the tax incentive (I think it's $7,500!!!!) at the end of the year.
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Old 10-10-2011, 11:54 PM   #4
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Re: Chevy Volt ownership experience

This is great! Can't wait to read more about this car!!! Hope to own one myself someday!!!
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Old 10-11-2011, 03:56 AM   #5
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Re: Chevy Volt ownership experience

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Originally Posted by Fetch View Post
Car and Driver magazine did a comparison between the Volt and the Cruze Eco in this month's issue. It's right up your alley. The Volt is a nicer car, but in a driving loop that contained some city driving, some regular commuting, and a long highway trip, it only averaged 3 mpg less than the Volt.
Interesting. Compared to dwiggins' wife getting 34 miles per day with some juice leftover using no gas at all, I wonder what happened? Natural differences in route/driving style/etc seem most likely (a long test run without charging could make the difference), but that real world report makes me wonder if C&D had an agenda and stacked the test...
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Old 10-11-2011, 04:20 AM   #6
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Re: Chevy Volt ownership experience

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Interesting. Compared to dwiggins' wife getting 34 miles per day with some juice leftover using no gas at all, I wonder what happened? Natural differences in route/driving style/etc seem most likely (a long test run without charging could make the difference), but that real world report makes me wonder if C&D had an agenda and stacked the test...
The test ran a 43-mile city loop, a 42-mile "commuting" loop, and an 894-mile highway trip. The Volt used no gas during the city and commuting loops. I believe the magazine charged the car overnight at a hotel during the highway loop (it took them 4 hotels before they found one "suitable").

If you never drive more than 30-40 miles in a day, the Volt will be a much better choice. C/D is an enthusiast magazine, so I think their point was to measure what kind of mileage you can expect if you drive a lot. The Volt obtained 40 mpg over the highway loop, but the Cruze Eco got 42. The Cruze Eco also obtained 47 mpg on the "commuting" loop. I thought that was awesome.

I am wondering: If the Cruze Eco can put up those numbers without direct injection or other tweaks, what could they do with DI? What mileage figures should we expect for the diesel?
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Old 10-11-2011, 05:33 AM   #7
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Re: Chevy Volt ownership experience

Ah, that does make sense, and they got even more miles out of a charge than our real world example.

I wouldn't exactly say the Cruze Eco lacks "other tweaks", it's got a 1.4L turbocharged engine, probably with everything internal (valve timing, etc) optimized for FE...though I'm surprised that it lacks direct injection in this day and age.
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Old 10-11-2011, 08:32 AM   #8
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Re: Chevy Volt ownership experience

Currently I'm mulling over the idea of a Ford Escape Hybrid, as my truck requires more repairs than Its worth for a daily driver. The Escape Hybrid is the highest MPG 4WD available right now.
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Old 10-11-2011, 08:51 AM   #9
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Re: Chevy Volt ownership experience

Get it quick. It's about to be discontinued, if it has not already. The new Escape will debut soon. The V6 and Hybrid models are bye-bye. The V6 will be replaced by an Ecoboost 4-banger.

My aunt had a Tribute with the V6, and didn't have any problems until the ABS controller started leaking. The dealer told her it was worth more than the car (it was about 6 years old at the time), so she sold it.
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Old 10-11-2011, 09:54 AM   #10
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Re: Chevy Volt ownership experience

I'm looking at slightly used anyway, unless I can get a killer deal on a new one.
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