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I know the Volt Premier automatically comes with the new 7.2 kW onboard charger that can provide up to 22 miles per hour if charged with a 240-volt charging unit (once you get one installed at the house), but my question is this: what do they mean by "7.2 kW ONBOARD charger?" I pre-ordered a custom-built LT without the $750 fast charger because the dealer told me I can add it after I get the car for much less (I think he was referring to the charge station at home, which makes sense), but is the LT itself somehow different from the Premier in its ability to be quickly charged? I ask because of the wording "7.2 kW onboard charger," which implies it is something in the car itself (not the home charger) that makes it capable of fast charging, in which case my custom build needs to have that added to it rather than leaving it out (if I'm making any sense). The dealer said "Order without it and then get the faster charger after the fact for a lot less," but I'm worried that if I just get the LT without the add-on, it won't be fast-charging capable (clearly this is my first electric care, so thank you for being patient as I try to make sense of it all). Is the LT inherently different from the Premier when it comes to charging? I really wanted all the bells and whistles of the Premier without leather seats, but that's not an option with American cars, which sucks (they force you to get leather if you want a wireless cell phone charger, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams, for example, which makes no sense as those things have nothing to do with the seats). Sigh.. That's a story for another day. My main concern is the charging option. Do I need to add it to the custom build or is the dealer correct in suggesting I add it after the fact for a lot less?
 

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As far as we know, the dealer is flat wrong.

There's a thing that plugs into the car. That's the "Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment" (or EVSE) that some people refer to as "a charger". But it's not. It's basically an extension cord with some safety gizmos built in. You can update that at any time.

The real charger, which converts the 240V or 120V power to some voltage around 350 at an appropriate current flow for that point of charge in the battery is onboard the car. And you can't update that after the car is built (to the best of our knowledge). So no, if you want the "two hours to full charge" option, you need to order it with the car.

The EVSE will also have a maximum it will handle (the included EVSE's maximum is not very high) and the car will charge at whatever least maximum applies. So you WILL have to upgrade that to charge in ~2 hours at home, but that will ONLY work if you already spent the $750 for the faster on-board charger *at build time*.

So go change the order. And if they give you any crap about it, remind them forcefully that the earlier decision was made ON THEIR ADVICE.
 

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If you did not order the optional $750 7.2kW charging option you likely will not be able to charge at 7.2kW, ever.

There is no aftermarket upgrade short of maybe tearing out the unit that comes with the car (maybe you could sell it on ebay) and buying the 7.2kW unit (they will be in short supply if available = long wait) and having the dealer charge you $ for this Frankenstein operation on your new car. That's assuming the existing wiring harnesses, etc. are plug and play and no additional software programming is required.

My guess is buying the 7.2kW unit as a repair part will cost more than $750, and the dealer service department will likely charge you $100 or more for their time. I would not be surprised a swap like this costs $900-$1000 by the time you are out the door, again, assuming you can just swap in the new unit, plug & play.

Of course, if that is what you and your dealer decide to do, please post pictures! We'd love to see if this is possible. You'd be the first in the world.
 

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If you want your 2019 Volt to be able to fully recharge in 2 hours 20 minutes you will need the 7.2kW on-board charger option. This is a factory option on the 2019, standard on the Premier model and a $750 upgrade on the LT model. As far as anyone currently knows the on-board charger cannot be upgraded after the vehicle has been built. It is called an on-board charger because it is buried inside the Volt, next to the lithium battery pack behind the passenger side rear seat. The on-board charger is responsible for converting 120V and 208 - 240V AC voltage to ~400V DC voltage to recharge the Volt's lithium-ion battery pack. The on-board charger is liquid cooled so it connects to the Volt's electronics package coolant loop. Complicating any upgrade of the on-board charger after the Volt leaves the factory is this would require upgrading the wiring harness from the charging port to the on-board charger and also from the charger to the lithium-ion battery pack. The Volt's software would probably need to be updated to recognize the upgraded charger, no one knows if GM would ever allow the software upgrade in this scenario.

Do some thinking about whether you really need the 7.2kW on-board charger option. The standard 3.6kW on-board charger can fully re-charge the Volt in 4 hours 30 minutes. Do you not usually have 4 hours in the evening when the Volt is parked when you could be recharging the Volt using 3.6kW charging? There are probably a few user scenarios where faster recharging would save the day; using public Level 2 recharging facilities would be more cost effective if you pay by the hour to charge. If you were already buying a Volt Premier for the advanced safety and driving features such as adaptive cruise control then it would be one more reason to get the Premier model. At $750 to add the 7.2kW on-board charger as a factory option to the LT you would probably never be able to recover this cost of this option through any savings when using public charging facilities.
 

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To echo what others have said, you must get the 7.2 kW onboard charger to EVER have the option of charging at that rate. I imagine the cost to do it after the fact is probably $2k+, if it's even possible.

That said, 3.6 kW of charging is a bit pokey, but it's not that bad with the Volt. You'll never be stranded with the ICE onboard, and you honestly need to run the ICE at least once a ~month for maintenance. I actually prefer to run it a bit more often and really get it up to temp. In 8 months with my 2018, I finally just used up the last ~3 gallons of gas I had in my tank to top it off and get a fresh tank. So trying to maximize every inch of EV range is counter productive when you've got to run the ICE anyway for maintenance IMO.

Now some edge cases such as fully depleting the battery on a commute and then destination charging briefly could see a benefit from this, but I'm willing to bet it's <10% of all 2G Volt owners that would see a marked difference with a faster charge rate.

So would I like 7.2 kW charging? You bet ya. Would I pay $750 to add it to my 2018 LT if I were buying it again today - absolutely not.



This kinda gets into my pet peeve of Tesla owners who buy their cars to "save money on gas," then pay $2k+ to install a home 80+ Amp 240V circuit to support the really fast L2 charging rate of the dual charger Model S and X cars. Then they usually charge the thing at like 7.2 kW anyway, because it's just flat out unnecessary 99.99% of the time. Not quite on the same scale, but come on, $750 for an onboard charger upgrade in a PHEV is crazy...
 

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Bottom line is you need to get the 7.2kw charger in the car oem from factory. To charge that fast at home, you will also need a 240 vac 7.2 kw capable EVSE. I don't know if I really need to charge that fast at home, but it would make stops at public chargers more worthwhile.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you ALL so much for clarifying this. I will contact the dealer tomorrow to either update the existing order or place a new one (I REALLY REALLY want the Premier for the adaptive cruise control, etc., but I really REALLY do NOT want leather seats. Don't see a way around just getting the LT and living without all the perks for the premier... sigh..)
 

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What type of EVSE will I need to charge at the 7.2kw rate? We are building a new house and the builder is including a 240V/50 amp NEMA 14-50 outlet in our garage for free.
 

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Thank you ALL so much for clarifying this. I will contact the dealer tomorrow to either update the existing order or place a new one (I REALLY REALLY want the Premier for the adaptive cruise control, etc., but I really REALLY do NOT want leather seats. Don't see a way around just getting the LT and living without all the perks for the premier... sigh..)
First, the salesperson you talked with during the order process is confused. You are asking about the onboard charger, and they are giving you an answer about the EVSE. Rare is the salesperson who really understands the Volt.

Second, have you considered changing the seat cover material as an after-market upgrade? Any car upholstery shop will be happy to remove the leather and put on whatever fabric you desire. Don't forget that in addition to the other safety related upgrades standard or available with the Premier, it also comes with a power driver's seat, which is not available on the LT.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
...have you considered changing the seat cover material as an after-market upgrade? Any car upholstery shop will be happy to remove the leather and put on whatever fabric you desire.
I had no idea this was an option. Hmm...
 

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Bottom line is you need to get the 7.2kw charger in the car oem from factory. To charge that fast at home, you will also need a 240 vac 7.2 kw capable EVSE. I don't know if I really need to charge that fast at home, but it would make stops at public chargers more worthwhile.
Does public charging make financial sense? Given the Volt has an electric range of 53 miles and obtains 44 MPG gas cost, assuming $3.00/gal, would be $3.61 for 53 miles. While I have not investigated public charging options it appears public charging doesn't make much sense unless it's free.
 

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Second, have you considered changing the seat cover material as an after-market upgrade? Any car upholstery shop will be happy to remove the leather and put on whatever fabric you desire. Don't forget that in addition to the other safety related upgrades standard or available with the Premier, it also comes with a power driver's seat, which is not available on the LT.
I wonder if you have actually driven a Premiere with the leather seats? Like you, I generally prefer cloth (NOT vinyl) over leather, but I really wanted all the bells and whistles (and the Premiere has a LOT of them) especially ACC (I'll never buy another car without that) so I never gave getting an LT a second thought . . . . and it turns out I'm actually very happy with the leather in the car too - Like the rest of the car, it's very well done!

Don
 

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Discussion Starter #15
... I really wanted all the bells and whistles (and the Premiere has a LOT of them) especially ACC (I'll never buy another car without that) ...Don
Is Adaptice Cruise Control (ACC) available aftermarket anywhere?
 

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Is Adaptice Cruise Control (ACC) available aftermarket anywhere?
Installing adaptive cruise control would not be cost affective and I am not aware of any on the market. After market installations are always kludged anyway, regardless of the cost.
 

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It's not very hard to change the covers on at least the front seat. Rears might be a little more permanently install if they're like previous cars I've seen, but it'd still be possible. Most of the cover is held on with nylon channels that pop onto rods, so it doesn't even take a tool to remove them. Some parts are hog ringed in there, but not that hard to remove and replace with a small zip tie or another hog ring.

That said, I'm not aware of any car with ACC that would also have it on a trim level with cloth seats.
 

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Does public charging make financial sense? Given the Volt has an electric range of 53 miles and obtains 44 MPG gas cost, assuming $3.00/gal, would be $3.61 for 53 miles. While I have not investigated public charging options it appears public charging doesn't make much sense unless it's free.
It doesn't even come remotely close here in WA. Most places are 49 cents/kWh, so it doesn't even matter what your charge rate is, you're getting ripped off by paying about 5x the local residential electricity prices. I imagine it's similar in most areas, where at best your paying 2-3 times what your residential electricity price is. Comparing it to get, assuming you get an average of 3 miles/kWh delivered (which is closer to 3.7-3.8 miles/kWh in battery), you'd have to be paying $6.86/gal of gas for the 42 mpg rating of the 2G Volt. Even if you propose a much higher charging efficiency of 3.5 miles/kWh delivered, that still equates to $5.88/gal of gas (again at 42 mpg rating of the Volt).

I'm all for EV driving, but it doesn't make ANY sense for our cars to do paid public charging at any pricepoint I've seen. Free is great, but that seems to becoming a bit more rare as time goes on.
 

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What type of EVSE will I need to charge at the 7.2kw rate? We are building a new house and the builder is including a 240V/50 amp NEMA 14-50 outlet in our garage for free.
You have flexibility when you have a NEMA 14-50 outlet. You can connect an EVSE that is capable of up to 9.6kW (230/240V and 40 amps) but most plug-in vehicles (other than Tesla vehicles) are currently limited to Level 2 charging at a maximum of 230/240V and 32 amps (7.7kW). If the vehicle supports Level 3 charging, DC Fast Charging at 400 VDC, this level of charging is not yet available for home charging. In the ClipperCreek line of EVSE this would be the HCS series; either the HCS-40P (7.7kW) with the 14-50 plug of the HCS-50P (9.6kW) also with the 14-50 plug. The HCS-40 is slightly less expensive than the HCS-50.
 
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