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3,262 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I was doing my Saturday 'hang out' ritual at my Chevy dealer this weekend (I steal the Saturday lunch) and decided to swipe a Volt for a bit of a extendo road test.

Not my cup of tea, but a rather slick setup.
IMO and I think a engineer will agree, the Volt is the first 'True' hybrid.
Like a diesel electric locomotive, the engine is not directly attached to the spins a generator.
The difference is, a locomotive has no battery....its engine only spins a generator and that current, through a reostat, powers the electric motors at the wheels.....a true hybrid.
In the case of the Volt, a battery sends current to the motor at the wheels and the engine comes into play only when the battery is low or, and this is slick, it will directly power the wheels through a sprag type setup if additional power is needed, like climbing a steep hill.

All the other so called hybrids use a stator and rotor attached to the engine and act as a assist....the engine is directly attached to the transaxle and must be running to move the vehicle.

Anyways, hows it drive?
Well, my first thought is this thing is the fastest golf cart in the world!
A few silent runups on the tollway to 80 mph....kinda shocking....a bit of wind noise, a bit of tire noise, and thats it.
Very strange to not feel a shift of any just builds speed, and rather rapidly I might add.

When I left the dealer it was not fully was showing a potental range of 30, uh, gas pedal? games knocked that down to about 15 miles at which point the engine started.....this is shown on the instrunent panel and can be heard while stopped.
Kinda strange though.....runs at the same RPM standing still or cruising because it is only charging the battery.

A whole bunch of different inputs to get used to.

I really think G.M. is on the right track for the green crowd out there....maybe for those that hate to buy gasoline as well.
Truth be told, with a 40 mile range before engine startup, most folks, me included, wouldn't buy fuel for who knows how long.
The computer will run the engine from time to time with the intention of excercising the fuel system, oiling the engine internals, drying out the exaust etc.
Obviously I don't know what it would do for the electric bill with a nightly charge but I suspect there would be a savings.
Regarding charging, a fully depleted battery requires a 12 hour charge at 110 volts but if you buck up and have a 220v charger installed at your home that time is reduced to four hours.

The odds are, however, the regular commuter type driver likely only puts 30 miles a day or less on it so the charging time would be less.

Factoid, the computer will ask permission to run the engine and make every attempt to burn one tank of fuel per year.....

A couple of things I found kindof neat.
Because the heat and A/C is electric, you can program the car to pre heat or pre cool the interior prior to you entering it.
You can also program it to only accept charge during the 'low price' per kilowatt hour nightime rate.

Just felt like talking about it to you all.....I think this is the direction of the 'commuter' vehicle but this one can be used for a coast to coast trip.

I was rather impressed.....I'll let someone else buy it though......that way, there is more fuel for my various gas hogs, LOL!


Super Moderator
15,103 Posts
Robby, here is an email I received recently:

The cost to operate a Chevy Volt :

Eric Bolling at Fox New test drove a Chevy Volt at the invitation of General Motors. For four days in a row the fully charged battery lasted only 25 miles before the Volt switched to the reserve gasoline engine. He calculated the car got 30 mpg including the 25 miles it ran on the battery. So, the range including the 9 gallon gas tank and the 16 kwh battery is approximately 270 miles. It will take a person 4 1/2 hours to drive 270 miles at 60 mph. Then add 10 hours to charge the battery and you have a total trip time of 14.5 hours.

According to General Motors, the Volt battery holds 16 kwh of electricity. It takes a full 10 hours to charge a drained battery. The cost for the electricity to charge the Volt is never mentioned so I looked up what I pay for electricity. (The cost to buy a new battery when the old one is exhausted is not mentioned either.)

I pay approximately (it varies with amount used and the seasons) $1.16 per kwh. 16 kwh x $1.16 per kwh = $18.56 to charge the battery. $18.56 per charge divided by 25 miles = $0.74 per mile to operate the Volt using the battery. Compare this to a similar size car with a gasoline engine that gets 32 mpg. $3.19 per gallon divided by 32 mpg = $0.10 per mile. The gasoline powered car costs at purchase about $20,000 while the Volt costs $46,000. So the Obama goverment wants us to pay at least twice as much for a Government Motors car that costs more that 7 times as much to run and takes 3 times as long to drive across country.

P.S. I checked the Chevy Volt specs released by GM; it acknowledges only the 16Kwh lithium battery, but does not tell how far or how fast the car will run.

3,262 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I did a similar cost analysis and had similar results.....thats why I prefaced my musings with the 'this may be a good vehice for the green crowd'

One of the dealer mechanics has a relative in Washington state that he refers to as 'A hyper greenie'
She is his aunt and has just purchassed her second Volt.
She was one of the first operators when G.M. introduced the car so it was a little over a year old.
She traded it in showing over 80k.....had no issues with it whatsoever.
In her case, she charges it using solar panels....I guess she powers her entire home that rather than buy fuel and electricity over time you just spend a small fortune in panels and hope they hold up I suppose.
But, charging it solar is a rather bright (ha ha) idea and changes the equasion just a bit.

BTW, i did my comparison using a Volt (base....39000.00) versus a Cruze Eco.
Nice little car, uses a 1.4 turbo 4 banger and one of the nicest front drive 6 speeds I've ever operated.
Has a 42 mpg rating.

I'm going by memory here, but I used 4.00 per gallon and 30 mpg as my model.....I think I ended up with a amatorized value occuring around 170000 miles on the Cruze.

So, from a dollar and cents point of view there obviously is no savings......just something there for the electric car will save the world crowd.

You inadvertanly struck a nerve by forwarding that email and I think I'll take this opportunity to air my laundry for a few minutes.

This 'Government Motors' thing is just making my blood boil.

It is, IMO undeserved and shortsighted and, no, I don't work for G.M.

How quickly everyone forgot the days following 9/11/01
Does anyone remember the term 'The CNN Effect?'
Well, that is what was happening every day after the attack.....everyone was going home and watching TV, wondering what is going to happen next, me included.
No planes were flying, the streets were weirdly quiet, kids weren't out playing, and most of all, no one was shopping.
Especially for cars.....that was the last thing on our minds.

So, in an effort to wake up the country and Get America Moving, G.M. and only G.M. introduced 0% financing.....something that had never been done before.
Using the money from G.M.A.C. specifically the mortgage side of the corporation, G.M. used its incredible financial power to literally 'blow' people out of their homes and into car dealers.....while they were out, they stopped at other stores as well.....literally jump starting the economy after the tragedy.
The other domestics had to follow suit.....the imports, never even tried......don't forget, the import manufacturers chose not to participate.

It wasn't any real reckless problems within G.M. that caused the cash flow issue, it wasn't the unions, it wasn't the retirements.....sure, these all added to the cash flow problem, but the real cause of G.M.- Ford- Chrysler's cash flow problems was caused by each using their mortgage profits to cover the 0% financing that G.M. invented.

Do I need to remind all the readers what happened to the mortgage market?

So, every time I hear someone say Government Motors, they get the same song and dance I've just gone through here.....mind you, I have simplified it a bunch but you get the drift.
Our auto companies, the literal manufacturing arm of our nation, the ones that built aircraft and tanks and ships during World War II and the following wars and put their core business aside during those times, don't need the abuse of name calling.

Off my soapbox.....for now,


392 Posts
I wonder if the "hyper greenie" knows how much energy is used and how much pollution is caused to build the Volt and the battery that goes with it.

As for your "Government Motors" comments I see where you're coming from but I disagree some and have a different take because of where I live. Around here GM wasn't the only one doing the 0% financing. They may have been the first but only by a few days. I saw Chrysler and Toyota dealerships following suit very shortly after. Unfortunately GMAC's "blowing people out of their homes" was just as short sighted as the automotive side's handling of their business affairs. They took money they didn't have to lower interest rates for people to buy cars with money they didn't have. A vicious cycle later perpetuated by the government's "Cash for Clunkers" program. GMAC then needed a bailout from the government and then I believe was bought out by another bank. GM got got not one but two loans, to which they claim they have paid back, and still had to go through a bankruptcy restructuring. This restructuring not only eliminated product lines like Pontiac, Saturn, and Hummer but also allowed GM to wipe out the millions they owed to their suppliers, one of which my father has worked at for almost 40 years. So while GM and Chrysler got billion dollar bailouts the "little guy" the politicians were so eager to help were not only left out in the cold but those that survived were almost forced to go back to doing business with the people that just screwed them. The government also took a controlling interest in both companies and turned around and basically handed a lot of shares of GM to the union and essentially sold Chrysler to Fiat. Again, I understand where you are coming from but please forgive me if I am extremely bitter and, on occasion, refer to them as Government Motors.

3,262 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Don't kid yourself....I'm bitter too and am aware of the many suppliers that got screwed on that deal.
Hell, every taxpayer took it in the shorts to some degree.

If you are a student of financial history you actually can forsee this eventual failure starting with Jimmy Carters fair housing act of 1977.
This was the beginning of our government forcing lenders to open up lending practices....evidently far to wide.
Those looking into the future back then were saying the methodology would fail and some even predicted about 40 years maximum before a crash.

BTW....G.M.A.C. is now called Ally (I think I missed a letter there) Chrysler Credit is now T.D. Finance.
Both operations had to be restructured and renamed as part of the agreement.

This particular period in history has roots so far back and so diverse it is hard to point the finger at any one player......well, one.......our shortsighted know, those people we hire and rehire come voting time, the ones that have never had a real job.

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