GM Volt Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
It has been almost a year since purchasing a 2014 demo Volt that had not been titled, essentially new. The car was pretty much loaded, with the diamond tri-coat paint job and seems to only missing the front sensors and accident avoidance system. I have been ball parking the cost per mile and resulting savings vs my wife’s car, but have now decided to do a proper job of calculating these costs. I started with the Volt Stats data and determined I use my Volt on electric 65% of the time and have a use weighted average mpg of 36.12 mpg when operating on premium gasoline.

First, I needed to determine my average miles per charge, including winter. I did this by weighting 32 miles per charge for winter use to 3 months and 44 miles per charge for summer use to 9 months arriving at an average of 41 miles per charge. Based on using 10 kwh’s of charge to yield the 41 miles, I received 4.1 miles per kwh. Applying the cost per kwh ($0.0498 supplier and $0.0562 for delivery) and adjusting for 10% loss during charging, I determined I was achieving $0.0284 per mile while on full electric.

I then needed to generate a weighted average of the cost for all miles driven on gasoline and electric for the Volt for comparison to my wife’s Lexus RX 350. In doing so I needed to factor in the fact that the Volt uses premium gasoline at $2.79 per gallon and the Lexus uses regular at $2.24 per gallon. We earlier determined (see above) the Volt achieves 36.12 mpg, while the Lexus for mixed driving achieves 21 mpg (actual usage). The result was the gasoline cost per mile for the Volt was $0.0772 vs $0.112 for the Lexus.

Lastly, applying a weighted average of all driving of the Volt at $0.0455 vs the Lexus, I determined a $0.0612 per mile savings or $458.67 annual savings based on 7,500 miles driven per year. The Lexus would need to achieve near 50 mpg to equal the Volt based on the current combined gas-electric usage of the Volt.

Some might argue that this is comparing apples and oranges since I am not including battery life and other maintenance as well as depreciation. Though I acknowledge these points, the net cost of my Volt was 59% less after rebate than the Lexus, the maintenance costs are substantially lower and so far battery degradation seems to be non-issue with the Chevy Volt. In closing, it is painfully obvious the best economy is generated using all electric mode. This tends to conflict with the occasional need of 500 and 1,000 mile round trips and the limited electric range of the volt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Hi edaniel,

That's a good analysis. I've found that the car has been basically paying for itself with the fuel savings compared to my old Honda Accord. I worked it out by putting a watt meter on the power point set to the tariff (19.60c/kwh), and running the fuel card report for the period I put the watt meter on. From 11/11/2015 to 11/11/2016 I used $400 exactly on electricity, and $310.45 on fuel. I forgot to write down the mileage from start to finish, but the service book had 41639km's on it for 31/8/2015 and we've got 75221km's on it today, so I'm thinking about 30,000km's for the year.

Comparatively, we were using about $5000 a year in fuel for the Accord, so the Volt has worked out nicely (I got a good trade on the accord and picked up a Volt demonstrator with only 203km's on it for almost $18k less than a new one, so I'm right in the pay off zone). I know its different for everyone, but it's certainly working for us. I'm disappointed that they didn't bring the next model out in Australia, as I would have bought a second one.

regards,

craby
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,556 Posts
When my volt was new, gas was at $3.50-4.00 per gallon and I was easily saving enough fuel to make a car payment comparing the volt to my old Deville. But when gas prices dropped, that formula stopped working.

I did keep meticulous spreadsheets during my first 2 years of ownership (but has since given up the practice as I stopped being OCD about it. In 26 months, my gasoline cost was $1005, where it would have been about $5400 had I driven those same miles with the Deville. Alas, I took a ton of short trips to the local grocery store that I would have combined had I had the old gas guzzler. So not exactly a perfect comparison.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
348 Posts
Honestly, the Volt doesn't do so well in TCO when compared to the Prius. However, the Volt isn't fully at the mercy of gas prices. Though no one buys a new car just to save money.

Interesting cost analysis though!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,556 Posts
Honestly, the Volt doesn't do so well in TCO when compared to the Prius. However, the Volt isn't fully at the mercy of gas prices. Though no one buys a new car just to save money.

Interesting cost analysis though!
I did. I was paying $250-350 per month in fuel costs alone driving a gas guzzler Deville. The cost analysis at the time was factoring in free car (no payments) plus fuel plus maintnenance costs (the car needed suspension work all around which wasn't cheap) vs. a new volt for a 50 mile per day commute. At that time, the volt won with what I knew at the time. Unfortunately, dropping gas prices compounded with several incidents with flying debris requiring body work, plus an insurance claim which demolished my low insurance rates ruined any savings I should have had. That said, The cost is probably a toss up between buying new and keeping the old Deville, but I'm doing my part to reduce my carbon footprint plus the upgrade to Bluetooth, heated seats, and fun factor taking pony cars off the line makes this worth it. The only thing we miss are the gargantuan back seats and trunk of the Deville. If only GM would build the perfect car to solve the shortcomings of the volt... basically a model S sized sedan for half the model S price would work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,359 Posts
Sean-a-Tron said: no one buys a new car just to save money.
I did. I was paying $250-350 per month in fuel costs alone driving a gas guzzler Deville.
Jeez I must be no-one as well. Went from commuting with a 97 Jeep Cherokee to driving the Volt because my average fuel cost was pushing $375/month.

Thankfully the free charging at work was part of the equation so my job is subsidizing 50% of my commuting cost.

As a result I have a new and reliable car and if you add up the car payments electricity cost, and subtract the Jeep fuel costs I'm still putting about $20 a month back in my pocket.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
208 Posts
I drive my 2015 volt premium back and forth to work
it is 8.4 miles to work one way
I charge my volt everyother day
I stay strictly in ev mode unless we go to tampa (120 miles)
my electric bill doesn't even notice my volt
and normally it cost's $15 to fill up my gas tank with 93 octane
a tank of gas usually lasts me 4 to 5 month's.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,018 Posts
edaniel's analysis is roughly correct, but a little optimistic IMHO.

The EPA rating for the Volt is 35 kWh per 100 miles, so 2.86 miles/kWh plugs-to-wheel . If you eek out 41 miles instead of the rated 38 that is a slightly better 3.09 miles/kWh (again, plug-to-wheel, so including the charge losses).

At the stated electrical costs of 10.5 c/kWh that means $0.034 per mile energy cost to drive the Volt electric. ($408/yea
At 36.12 MPG at $2.79/gallon the Volt costs $0.077 per mile to drive on premium gasoline.
The Lexus RX 350 is 21 MPG at $2.24, which is $0.107 per mile. But that is a hulking SUV so not a fair comparison.
At 48 MPG a Prius would be $0.047 per mile

I live in a mild California climate, where I get ~42 miles per charge in my 2013 Volt during summer days (EPA is 38). But on cold rainy winter days (like today) I get just 30. Since OH is a lot colder I suspect that the the true annual average of 41 MPG is too optimistic. In California my electric costs are way higher (17c/kWh effective), making electric driving less cost effective.

The cost argument to drive electric remains weak. At an average of 12K/year, the difference between driving the Volt electric vs on gasoline is only $500/year. That small compared to the depreciation and insurance costs. The difference with a comparably sized hybrid car is just $156. Given the higher depreciation of the Volt driving electric is a net negative.

Higher gasoline prices could change the equation. Still the most effective way to reduce costs it to drive a high MPG car. Its easy to cut cost in half by swapping a 20MPG SUV for 40MPG hybrid.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,556 Posts
edaniel's analysis is roughly correct, but a little optimistic IMHO.

The EPA rating for the Volt is 35 kWh per 100 miles, so 2.86 miles/kWh plugs-to-wheel . If you eek out 41 miles instead of the rated 38 that is a slightly better 3.09 miles/kWh (again, plug-to-wheel, so including the charge losses).

At the stated electrical costs of 10.5 c/kWh that means $0.034 per mile energy cost to drive the Volt electric. ($408/yea
At 36.12 MPG at $2.79/gallon the Volt costs $0.077 per mile to drive on premium gasoline.
The Lexus RX 350 is 21 MPG at $2.24, which is $0.107 per mile. But that is a hulking SUV so not a fair comparison.
At 48 MPG a Prius would be $0.047 per mile

I live in a mild California climate, where I get ~42 miles per charge in my 2013 Volt during summer days (EPA is 38). But on cold rainy winter days (like today) I get just 30. Since OH is a lot colder I suspect that the the true annual average of 41 MPG is too optimistic. In California my electric costs are way higher (17c/kWh effective), making electric driving less cost effective.

The cost argument to drive electric remains weak. At an average of 12K/year, the difference between driving the Volt electric vs on gasoline is only $500/year. That small compared to the depreciation and insurance costs. The difference with a comparably sized hybrid car is just $156. Given the higher depreciation of the Volt driving electric is a net negative.

Higher gasoline prices could change the equation. Still the most effective way to reduce costs it to drive a high MPG car. Its easy to cut cost in half by swapping a 20MPG SUV for 40MPG hybrid.
Yes, you would need to drive 40+ miles per day with $4 per gallon fuel and 8 cents per KWh electricity to make the formula work out (which is why I'm currently driving a volt). But with the artificially dropped prices by OPEC to make fracking cost ineffective, they are luring us away from doing things to clobber their bread and butter. If everyone replaced their ICE with an EV, we can make Eliminate OPEC's stronghold on fuel prices altogether. Who's with me... let's get everyone to start buying EV's despite the lack of a direct return on investment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
edaniel's analysis is roughly correct, but a little optimistic IMHO.

The EPA rating for the Volt is 35 kWh per 100 miles, so 2.86 miles/kWh plugs-to-wheel . If you eek out 41 miles instead of the rated 38 that is a slightly better 3.09 miles/kWh (again, plug-to-wheel, so including the charge losses).

At the stated electrical costs of 10.5 c/kWh that means $0.034 per mile energy cost to drive the Volt electric. ($408/yea
At 36.12 MPG at $2.79/gallon the Volt costs $0.077 per mile to drive on premium gasoline.
The Lexus RX 350 is 21 MPG at $2.24, which is $0.107 per mile. But that is a hulking SUV so not a fair comparison.
At 48 MPG a Prius would be $0.047 per mile

I live in a mild California climate, where I get ~42 miles per charge in my 2013 Volt during summer days (EPA is 38). But on cold rainy winter days (like today) I get just 30. Since OH is a lot colder I suspect that the the true annual average of 41 MPG is too optimistic. In California my electric costs are way higher (17c/kWh effective), making electric driving less cost effective.

The cost argument to drive electric remains weak. At an average of 12K/year, the difference between driving the Volt electric vs on gasoline is only $500/year. That small compared to the depreciation and insurance costs. The difference with a comparably sized hybrid car is just $156. Given the higher depreciation of the Volt driving electric is a net negative.

Higher gasoline prices could change the equation. Still the most effective way to reduce costs it to drive a high MPG car. Its easy to cut cost in half by swapping a 20MPG SUV for 40MPG hybrid.
Just a little clarification. My goal was not to compare to other efficient vehicles or tout the efficiency of the Volt or any other electric. It is what it is. In my summary and the numbers, the all electric mode is where the savings could be, but would require more range. One can get this with a Bolt, Leaf or others, but cannot drive from the East coast to the West coast without recharging and is not usable for an all round car. So with my Volt, one is left with $400-500 savings/year vs a more comfortable and capable 21mpg car, based on my usage and driving habits. Not too compelling for general all around use including travel.

In freezing temperatures, such as this AM, I had 33 on my estimator and found this has been roughly accurate (31-34) in winter (Dec-Feb, average high temps, low 40's, average low temps, low-mid 20's). In Spring through Fall the mileage usually shows around 44, once in a while 45, so I stand by my weighted average of 41 miles per charge. Otherwise your math is roughly correct. So the Volt works out to 50 mpg cost equivalent based on my historical usage or 78.78 mpg all electric cost equivalent at current gas prices. Using weighted average of 38.75 based on reducing summer to 41 works out to $450 annual savings and 74.45 all electric mpg equivalent at current gas prices.

Regarding the Lexus RX350, I have a choice, drive the Lexus or my Volt when around town when my wife and I are together, hence the comparison I would never trade the Lexus which we bought for travel and my wife uses around town, for a compact Prius or the like for 8-12 hour drives while traveling for 1 - 2 days at a time, loaded with bikes and gear which would never fit in or on a compact fuel efficient car. My previous car was a BMW Z3 also a 20 mpg car, again for use mostly around town, again a higher depreciation rate. My net cost on the Volt was about $21,000 while the Lexus was in the low 50's. A used Prius, 1.5 - 2.5 years old would be in the upper teens in my area, according to asking prices on TrueCar. Currently a similar Volt is a thousand or two less than the Prius, so depreciation for "used" is a moot point.

For my use, I like my Volt. It rides well since the Volt has a longer wheel base and is wider, is well appointed (Premium Edition) and has plenty of power in flat and mountainous terrain easily passing most 4 cylinder vehicles on the up-hill. I like that it is quiet and most times, I do not need to use a gas station, I simply plug it in every evening, and it charges itself as scheduled by 6:00 AM.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top