Is Model 3 worth $15,000 more than a new Gen 2 Volt Premium?
This is my latest iteration of my questioning. I'd love more of y'all's honest opinions. You guys are probably a little biased towards Volt on this forum. Maybe I'll post this on Model 3 Owners forum as well. That should be a hoot.
So, as I think it through some more, and analyze my commute a little more, and went and looked at a 2018 Volt and Model 3 in the flesh last weekend, I actually have a hard time understanding why folks are willing to spend so much more for Model 3.
I guess for comparison:
long-range battery and premium interior (cheapest possible configuration currently available -- and likely cheapest to also have a chance at the $7500 federal tax credit before it phases out). After that tax credit (assuming you're OK with the basic black paint and standard wheels) --> $41,500.
2018 Volt Premium
, after tax credit --> $26,000.
(I don't have a state incentive in my case).
So let's call it a $15,000 difference.
What do you get for that $15,000?
(?) OK, I probably just don't get it. Model 3 does overall seem a little nicer/sleeker inside and out, but not $15k-worth IMHO. People say, "oh, compare this to compact luxury vehicles like BMW 3 series", etc. Then others say BMW's are way nicer. I have no idea as I don't have a sense of that stuff - nicest cars ever for me were my '12 Volt (base) and an '08 Odyssey EX-L. All I know is the Gen 2 Volt Premium interior seemed almost as nice as Model 3 overall to me. Model 3 had the cool AC vent and 15" Ipad screen. Chevy has the 8" Ipad screen, but also has the 2nd screen behind the wheel which is nice. AC is just as cold
. Model 3 is clearly quicker, but not enough for me to care. Some will care about this. Volt's still better than any "common man" ICE car I've ever had. I care about this when I need to zip out of someone's way when they're not looking and about to side-swipe me or something. Volt gets it done.
. M3's 5th seat is a little more realistic. I'm 6'2". I sat in the Model 3 rear middle seat for about 3 minutes straight, and did the same in the Gen 2 Volt. I could sit in either for hours if needed and don't think it'd be a big deal (much better than economy air travel seating IMHO), but certainly my legs had a real space in the Model 3 and my hair was touching the glass roof, but I didn't have to bend my head down a bit as I did in the Volt.
would likely be lower than Volt for most owners...but not $0 for either. See my real-world comparison below...very little difference.
. Model 3 will probably age more elegantly (maybe)...minimalist interior should age well. 310 miles will be plenty for most anyone even when they come out with 400 and 500 mile range EV's in the next several years. Also, autopilot and self-driving capability can be purchased later, but at a hefty price (currently that'd be I think $10,000 more to add on both later). Also, Tesla has those over-the-air updates. It seems whenever those get significant buzz, it's because they've improved autopilot...other changes seem to be just window dressing.
--Model 3 has more trunk space overall.
. 310 mile range and SuperCharger network should handle all long-range needs OK, and my family does enjoy the SuperCharger road trip experience for it's novelty and futuristic feel. However, let's face it, a trip from Southern CA to Grand Canyon could be about 10 hours in a Volt and would be over 12 hours in a Model 3. SuperCharging simply takes longer. I don't think most will mind too much as a nice break to stretch and walk a little is a welcome respite in my opinion, but some will. And anytime your getting sleepy or in a rush to get somewhere, you'll be annoyed (I have been at times).
will be more for Tesla I'd think. Other than the battery/motor, I'd be comfortable taking Volt to any ASE-certified mechanic specializing in Chevy. Tesla not so much. Body work also costlier for Tesla from what I've heard due to many aluminum parts (although Model 3 has some steel).
probably a wash. Tesla should have low overall maintenance costs. Volt historically also super-low cost. I've had my 2012 for 3 years, bought it used non-CPO with 65,000 miles on it, appeared it hadn't been charged for months. Record showed clear title and an oil change 5 months prior. Since then I've spent $13 for another oil change (had a coupon), $300 for a recent scheduled maintenance that included checking battery coolant (probably a rip-off but I didn't want to blow off battery coolant), and I replaced the Delco battery for like $170. So call it $500 in 3 years.
Fuel cost comparison (and my real-life scenario)
...Model 3 near $0, Gen 2 Volt $200/year.
My commute is up to higher elevation one way, back down the other. 1-2 days/week it'll be 35 miles each way, and I almost make it uphill on my '12 Volt getting typically about 30 miles battery-only range, then burn about 0.2 gal gas. In the Gen 2 Volt I'll get there all electric. I charge all day at work on just a 120 volt charger, usually get around 26 miles battery range, and always make it back all-electric. The other 3-4 days/week it's about 50 miles each way. On the uphill, I use 30 miles battery range, then burn about 2/3 gal of gas. Back down with my 26 miles of re-charge, I burn about another 1/4 gallon in my 2012 Volt. I think the Gen 2 Volt will make it all the way there all electric, but then I expect I'd still only get 26 miles of charge while at work (same 120v outlet scenario), so I'll still probably burn that 1/4 gallon. Still I go from burning about 4 gallons/week to 1 gallon/week. For simplicity, let's say gas is $4/gal. In a year that's 52 gal/$208 rather than 208 gal/$832. I save over $600/year...likely more with evening/weekend driving.
We are blessed to have rooftop solar, so Volt or Model 3, home charging cost is negligible for me now. Any road-tripping, Tesla charges 0.26/kWh to charge, which may get you 3 miles, so about 0.09 cents/mile. Gen 2 Volt at $4/gal goes about 40+ miles, so say 0.10 cents/mile. Leaving the environmental arguments aside, not much difference in cost and folks have argued you should consider the time savings -- gas fueling is still way faster let's be honest. SuperChargers also sometimes have a line (OK gas stations do sometimes too, but less often in my experience)...and you don't always get the fastest SuperCharging rate - it's common knowledge if sharing a SuperCharger you may only get a rate in the 70's kW rather than the ideal 120kW. Also, with SuperChargers that last 20% or so of charging slows way down to protect the battery, so when you get to about 250 mile range you're usually better off time-wise just stopping at that point. Also with any EV you need to give yourself at least 10% buffer on the lower so as not to get stranded, so you'll want to keep your Model 3 range between about 30 miles and 250 miles range, so really only driving 220. Also driving highway speeds will burn battery range faster, as will cold weather, etc. So Model 3 you'll want to stop at least every 200-250 miles or so. For non-Telsa EV chargers, I seem to always see 0.50 to $1.00 per kW - total rip off. Gassing up my Volt is way cheaper!
Say Model 3 saves me $300/year in fuel costs to be super-generous...but it's $15k more to buy. Hmmm, I break even in 50 years(?) Wow!
Both have 5 star ratings. Maybe no significance overall, but I noticed Gen 2 Volt has 10 airbags, Model 3 actually only has 8. Gen 2 Volt Premium seems to have overall about the same level of safety features as Model 3 (without $5k autopilot).
I compared insurance costs on USAA. Almost exactly the same - both super-cheap...actually both LESS than my 2012 Volt!
Other specs seem pretty close.
Not sure it's worth it but even better numbers with used 2016 Volt Premium. No tax rebate, but can be easily found for $23,000. So now you're paying over $18k more for a Model 3. Get a Volt LT with an extra couple features for as low $21k.
BMW i3 REx also seems it'd fit my commute pretty well and used 72 mile battery range seem to start around $15k, but Volt's handle road-trips with no compromises. BMW i3 seem to have unique challenges outside ~150 mile trip. Probably not worth the hassle to me.