GM Volt Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm considering buying a PHEV to save gas money for my daily commute:
My drive is 21.7 miles, 18.0 miles of which is on a fairly-flat 65mph highway (75mph average speed). I have access to a level-2 charger at work for 3-hours max/day.

Despite searching multiple forums and websites, I can't seem to find many real-world experiences for both level-2 charging times (from both nearly-empty and completely empty to full) and high-speed battery-only range for >70F areas.

I found three people on this forum that state about 4hrs to 4h10min for charging, and one comment section on a website that stated 4 hours, whereas MetroPlugIn states 3.2hrs. All these numbers don't really make sense at capped-3.6kW for 18.4kWh battery capacity.

While the Chevrolet Volt advertises a longer battery-only and combined range than the Honda Clarity (53 vs 47), I found one person who claims their Clarity takes only 2.5 hours compared to his co-worker's 4 hours. I can't charge at home, so this could potentially be a make-or-break issue for me (>3hr charge time), especially considering the various space differences (trunk and rear seats -- i.e. an actual 5th seat -- and the cramped driver's seat footwell of the Volt: left foot rest way too shallow for a 6' person). I really want to only ever use gas for any traveling aside from my commute.

Your personal experiences, or links to databases with this information, would be very much appreciated.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
20,794 Posts
The Gen 2 battery is 18.4 kWh, with 14 kWh of that usable. Therein lies the answer.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Raymond2017Volt

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,675 Posts
The Gen 2 battery is 18.4 kWh, with 14 kWh of that usable. Therein lies the answer.
All I know is on my Clipper Creek LCS-25 EVSE on a 240V 30 amp circuit charges my 2017 Volt from empty to full in 4 hours and 10 minutes. It can take more or less time depending on the OAT the Volt is being exposed to during charging as some of the electricity could be used to condition the battery while charging. But in perfect conditions 4 hours and 5 per 10 minutes seem my norm.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,854 Posts
For the Gen 2 Volt you can fully recharge in ~4.5 hours (this assumes you are charging at Level 2 (240V and 15 - 16 amps.) Be aware that commercial Level 2 charging is frequently ~208V due to commercial power being 3-phase versus home power being split phase.) The lower voltage (208V versus 240V) means that charging will a bit take longer, add 30 - 45 minutes to the 240V charging time.

The Clarity comes with a 6.6 kW on-board charger while the Gen 2 Volt is limited to 3.6 kW, that explains the shorter charging time for the Clarity.

You should be able to commute solely on electricity by using the Level 2 charging capability at your workplace however charging at work, for only 3 hours, will not be enough time to fully recharge. Is there any way you can charge for longer than 3 hours, i.e. charge for 3 hours, come back at the end of the day and continue charging for an additional 1-2 hours? In moderate weather your EV range will probably be very close to the Volt's rated 53 miles, the 22 mile trip will use less than 50% of the battery. You did not state where you are located, in winter the Volt's range will drop perhaps ~20% and that is assuming you don't use much electric heat (the Volt's heated seats and steering wheel do not use much power and will not measurably affect your EV range.) Worst case, in winter, you might need to use a little gas (less than 1 Starbucks Venti cup worth of gas) when making the return trip to work the next morning. Is there any way you can charge at home using a regular 110V outlet?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Raymond2017Volt

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,417 Posts
I have a very similar situation. 24.8 miles each way and 4 hours of level 2 charging at work. The bulk of my commute is also on a 65 MPH posted (75 MPH actual) highway. The biggest difference is I can charge at home (I use L1 @12 amps). In the past 13 months I've only had to burn gas three times.

In your case you would get about 11.5 KWh of charge each day and your commute will need 11 to 12 KWh each day for your commute in the summer and closer to 14-15 in the winter.

Do you have access to a standard 120V house plug - even at 8 amps the overnight charging would give you the additional EV range you're looking for.

Also, don't forget that the Volt will pull in 45+ MPG at 65 MPH.
 
G

·
I'm considering buying a PHEV to save gas money for my daily commute:
My drive is 21.7 miles, 18.0 miles of which is on a fairly-flat 65mph highway (75mph average speed). I have access to a level-2 charger at work for 3-hours max/day.

Despite searching multiple forums and websites, I can't seem to find many real-world experiences for both level-2 charging times (from both nearly-empty and completely empty to full) and high-speed battery-only range for >70F areas.

I found three people on this forum that state about 4hrs to 4h10min for charging, and one comment section on a website that stated 4 hours, whereas MetroPlugIn states 3.2hrs. All these numbers don't really make sense at capped-3.6kW for 18.4kWh battery capacity.

While the Chevrolet Volt advertises a longer battery-only and combined range than the Honda Clarity (53 vs 47), I found one person who claims their Clarity takes only 2.5 hours compared to his co-worker's 4 hours. I can't charge at home, so this could potentially be a make-or-break issue for me (>3hr charge time), especially considering the various space differences (trunk and rear seats -- i.e. an actual 5th seat -- and the cramped driver's seat footwell of the Volt: left foot rest way too shallow for a 6' person). I really want to only ever use gas for any traveling aside from my commute.

Your personal experiences, or links to databases with this information, would be very much appreciated.
Edited prior response as I somehow missed a lot in there.

Is your Level 2 charging at work free? If not, the pricing structure is often exorbitant compared to home electric rates and even compared to gas. We recently had a topic where we basically showed that an electric charging station was 20% more expensive than just running the car on gas for one particular forum member, while home electric rates can be about half the price or less than running on gas.

If the L2 charging is actually free, it is a great option to have, and will cover all or most (around 90%+ of your round trip commute). What you have to look at is not charge time from empty, but charge from your current state of charge when plugging in based on your commute. Generally, it takes about 4 hours to charge from "empty" to "full" (14.0 kWh).

As Steve noted, the actual "usable capacity" of the battery is 14.0 kWh, and there are buffers on either end of the battery to prevent it from ever completely discharging -- one of the features Chevy built in from day 1 to preserve battery life/range over time.

While I see you can't charge at home, make sure this is true. If you live in the city with 90% street parking, then yeah, charging at home really isn't an option. But if you have a regular protected 110V outdoor outlet, it's more than able to handle at-home top-offs. Based on your commute, if you leave home with a full charge, you will arrive at work with about ~31 miles left to go. While I haven't tested this exact scenario, you will easily be able to replenish the used ~40% of the battery in your three hours at work.

If you want to or can only charge at work, you'll start at ~36-40 miles when leaving work at night, and be down to empty when arriving the next day. In the 3 hours you have to charge, you will replenish about 40 miles. If you live in a cold area, you will often run out of battery range in the wintertime, but only for a few miles at the end of your commute.

One often misunderstood feature of the Volt by first time buyers is 120V (standard outlet) charge times. People gawk when they hear 12 hours and say it's impractical. Well, if you plug it in with a 50% full battery, and it only takes 6 hours to charge to full, you will wake up the next morning with a full battery. Also, if you run out of battery a mile or so from home, you've got the gas engine that will burn like a tenth of a gallon of gas to cover the difference.

In my experience, comparing charge times for plug in hybrid vehicles is vastly overemphasized. Drive the car to work, plug it in when you get home, go to bed, and wake up to a fully charged car. If you have free charging available anywhere along the way, utilize it as much as you can. If you have to burn a half gallon of gas every 1000 miles or so, so be it -- that's why you got a PHEV rather than a Tesla or Bolt in the first place. However, in your case, the Clarity might really be a better option. That's not to say the Volt is not feasible -- you will still cover 90% of your commute in electric only, but you'll have to go 2-3 miles on the gas engine on the highway each round trip.

If you like the Volt better (or can't stand the Clarity's looks) and can afford to wait for 2019 models, there have been rumors of an upgrade to a 6.6 or 7.2 charger. Still rumors, and might not happen, but would be a great feature for people like you.

While the Volt's interior is smaller than the Clarity, as a 6-foot driver, I do not find the driver's seat cramped at all. There is a lot of travel in the seat and I fit well. The tilt and telescope steering wheel also helps. However, I would not want to have anyone taller than 5'5" or so sitting behind me. As a commuter car that is either me alone or me and 1 passenger 95% of the time, it works well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
675 Posts
My data for gen2 full charges at 240v/3.6kw varies from 4 hours 13 minutes to 4 hours 30 minutes, averaging 4 hours 21 minutes. During the hot summer months, battery TMS (thermal management cooling system) adds extra time/power to the time for a full charge, plus battery kwh capacity is slightly lower in the cooler months.

The gen2 Volt charging speed is about 12 miles per hour, so 3 hours/day is good for about 36 miles. Of course, this average depends heavily on driving speed and conditions.

If you're only charging at work for 3 hours a day then the Clarity's faster charging speed might make be a significant advantage for you, especially if you fully drain the Clarity battery fairly often. But if you rarely go over 36 miles two days in a row, than theoretically the gen2 Volt wins with its slightly bigger battery.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Wow everyone, thank you for your amazing responses!

I live in Southern California, so that handles the cold-weather question; and I will find out today the specifics of the commercial charger.

Part of me also is holding out for the 2019 Order Guide, in hope there will be any improvement of the on-board charger.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,854 Posts
My data for gen2 full charges at 240v/3.6kw varies from 4 hours 13 minutes to 4 hours 30 minutes, averaging 4 hours 21 minutes. During the hot summer months, battery TMS (thermal management cooling system) adds extra time/power to the time for a full charge, plus battery kwh capacity is slightly lower in the cooler months.

The gen2 Volt charging speed is about 12 miles per hour, so 3 hours/day is good for about 36 miles. Of course, this average depends heavily on driving speed and conditions.

If you're only charging at work for 3 hours a day then the Clarity's faster charging speed might make be a significant advantage for you, especially if you fully drain the Clarity battery fairly often. But if you rarely go over 36 miles two days in a row, than theoretically the gen2 Volt wins with its slightly bigger battery.
The 12 miles per of EV range per hour of charging assumes you are using Level 2 charging at 240V. At work locations and most commercial charging locations have commercial power (3 phase), you don't have 240V only 208V. The net is at 208V you will recover just ~10.5 miles of range per hour of charging not 12 miles. At 208V it will take an additional 20 - 25 minutes for a half charge, up to 50 minutes additional time for a full charge as compared with 240V. In my experience to fully charge a Gen 2 Volt at 208V and 15 -16 amps takes ~ 5.5 hours. If the at work voltage is down a bit, say ~200V then it can take even longer.

This is not a Volt limitation, it is a limitation of the Level 2 commercial charging infrastructure that is usually limited to 208V and 30 amps. I have seen Tesla vehicles charge at 6.2 kW (adding ~ 20 miles per hour of charging) parked right next to my Volt as it charges at 3.1 kW (adding ~10 miles per hour of charging.)
 
G

·
A couple things not mentioned or lightly mentioned. Charged times quoted are often for empty battery meaning they usually burnt some gas to get to the "empty" position at arrival. My "commute" typically is half a battery so my charge time is typically 1.5 to 2 hours depending how much "running around" I do in town. The car requires use of gas engine at least once every six weeks for maintenance (warm up/recirculate oil, etc.) so burning gas every now and then isn't a bad thing. Gas has to be burned off once a year which is usually done by the odd "trip" outside of normal commutes as well as short filling so you aren't lugging around a tank full of gas for nothing and adding small bits of gas now and then. Back seats in Volt meant for small kids or occasional passengers. If you regularly carry four people the Clarity has a distinct advantage. As for trunk space, hatchback usually are bigger in total than a regular trunk. My wife's walker (she has balance problems from being hit by a truck years ago) fits in the Volt so it past that test. Remember driving on gas isn't that much different (in normal or hold mode) than electric as the engine is quiet, rpm not high, only slight vibration felt at steering wheel, tire noise is louder than anything else at highway speed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
675 Posts
My data for gen2 full charges at 240v/3.6kw ... averaging 4 hours 21 minutes.
For 3-phase power at 208v, you do get 16amps, 3.325kw vs 3.60kwh, so figure about 4 hours 50 minutes or 11 miles/hour
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,854 Posts
For 3-phase power at 208v, you do get 16amps, 3.325kw vs 3.60kwh, so figure about 4 hours 50 minutes or 11 miles/hour
Maybe the commercial charging locations I use are running below 208V; I regularly see the EVSE display 3066 W when charging. I feel lucky if I get 10 miles/hour of charging.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
I, too, have a 240V 30 amp circuit at home but some people here forget (or do not know) that the Volt is capped to only charge at 15 amps. I go from 0 to 18.3 kWh in 4 hours, 15 minutes average.

Most public L2 chargers - including ones at my job site - are actually 208V, 15A or 30A circuits and my charge time is closer to 5 hours. You should go check out and see what your specific one is.

You may be better off getting a car that is able to charge at a level higher than 15A.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
444 Posts
On the commercial 208V charger, you're going to see about 8-11 miles of range per hour. 11 miles during the warmer months and maybe a little lower average speed than you go (I see that with an average speed around 45 mph), 8 in winter with average climate control usage and the additional thermal management of the battery. Really hot summer months will drop down a bit off the 11 mi/hr level due to AC compressor usage.

That said, sounds like you'd just cover your commuting with workplace charging during summer, would likely cover about 80% of it during the winter. If you could just do the occasional top up at home via 120V, you'd be set. You'd only need a charge once or twice a week.

BTW, if you never charge at home, you're going to use some gas in a PHEV during the weekend unless you never drive it outside of M-F commuting. This isn't that bad of a thing, the Volt has a gas engine for a reason, so you don't have to worry about range. Who really cares if you burn 2 gallons of gas a month vs. a quart? It's still basically as "zero" as you're getting without going full BEV and all the limitations that choice entails.

If you're really freaking out over minor gas usage, I'd recommend a BEV.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,488 Posts
I have heard, don't know if this is true, but the 2019 Volt will have 7.2 KWH charge rate, probably GM's way to beat the Honda Clarity Plug in's rate of 6.6 KWH. If this is true I would hold off buying a 2018 Volt and wait for the 19 Volt with the higher charge rate as long as I can still get the $7,500 Fed. Tax Credit as well....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,854 Posts
I have heard, don't know if this is true, but the 2019 Volt will have 7.2 KWH charge rate, probably GM's way to beat the Honda Clarity Plug in's rate of 6.6 KWH. If this is true I would hold off buying a 2018 Volt and wait for the 19 Volt with the higher charge rate as long as I can still get the $7,500 Fed. Tax Credit as well....
I don't think exceeding the Clarity's charging capability would be an important consideration for putting a 7.2kW on-board charger in the 2019 Volt. If the 2019 Volt does get 7.2kW onboard charging capability it would likely be because the Bolt already has a 7.2kW charger. There would be supply chain savings associated with ordering and building these and future GM EV/PHEV vehicles using the 7.2kW charger.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well, I have confirmed that 3 hours max per day is allowed.

However, commuting speeds appear to be WAY lower than expected: averaged 30mph over 43 miles today in a Fiat 500e I borrowed. I used 46% of the battery, which will apparently take 1h56m to recharge at 240V (10h26m @ 120V). Clearly I haven't yet figured out how to drive economically in an EV.

I am definitely hopeful that the 2019 Volt has a better on-board charger. I've bookmarked the "2019 order guides?" thread, so...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
444 Posts
Can you not charge on 120V? You’d only need a little bit of top up to do your whole commute via EV with 3 HRs a day of 208V charging.

Also, you’ll need 120V charging to keep your EV percentage up with any PHEV. The Volt even has more capacity than the Clarity so that will keep your EV percentage up. The Volt can also accelerate hard in EV mode without triggering the engine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
485 Posts
Can you not charge on 120V? You’d only need a little bit of top up to do your whole commute via EV with 3 HRs a day of 208V charging.

Also, you’ll need 120V charging to keep your EV percentage up with any PHEV. The Volt even has more capacity than the Clarity so that will keep your EV percentage up. The Volt can also accelerate hard in EV mode without triggering the engine.
The 120V charging is important and something people overlook. Do you have a regular outdoor outlet at home? I asked this in an earlier post as to why you believe charging at home was not an option (under a username I cannot log into for some reason). If you have street parking in the city, it really isn't. If you just don't want/can't afford a level 2 station, this is not a problem with the Volt. A standard outlet will suffice.

You seem to have narrowed down your choices to 2 vehicles, so the way I'd look at it is a list of questions/pros and cons.

1) Are the looks of the Clarity a dealbreaker? If so, get the Volt.
2) If the reason that you can't charge at home is that you are parking on the street, is the size of the Clarity going to be a problem in terms of finding parallel parking spaces? I would quickly trade ~5 miles of gas operation for 30 minutes/day looking for parking.
3) If you can charge at home (even just a little bit), and you like the car better, I see no reason not to get the Volt.
4) If you anticipate having regular back seat passengers, I see no reason not to get the Clarity.

Your experience with the Fiat 500e is similar to the charging experience you will have with the Clarity. They both have a 6.6kW charger. An important note: you cannot think about charge times in terms of percentages/time to full the way you do with phones. You have to think of it in miles added per hour. The Fiat goes almost twice as far on a charge as the Clarity, and has a much larger battery. Expecting a full recharge in the same time doesn't make sense.

And there is no reason that you have to get a full charge every time you stop. You have to get enough to cover your commute. Both the Fiat 500e and the Clarity have essentially the same internal charger. So the Clarity should also add 43 miles (90% of full range) in the 2 hours you saw on the Clarity. It will completely charge in 2.5.

The Volt will be slower to charge than both of them. Period. You will add about 36 miles in the 3 hours you have at work. If you do not have an immediate need, I highly recommend waiting to see what charger is on the Volt. If you do have an immediate need, go through the above.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Acentur,welcome to the world of real world experience. I have a 2017 Volt which now has 22K miles since new. I have a 34 mile one way commute. I am also 6-3 with size 14 feet. I have no problem with the Volt driver seat positioning, it actually can go farther back than I prefer. I also make use of the regenerative braking paddle on the steering wheel so there is much less foot moverment overall.

As to charging, about 4 hours from depleated is correct (a little bit over 4 typically, but not much) at Stage 2. The Volt has a sophisticated battery management system which is designed to maximize long term battery life. The battery is never fully depleated, the vehicle switches to hybrid after about 80% of capacity has been used (which is why 4x3.6=14.4kWh is a full charge). Chevy also does not slam the electrons in either, which is why charging is limited to 3.6kW regardless of the Stage 2 charger capacity.

As to range, I am in the DC area with cold winters and hot summers. Cold sucks, with EV range dropping into the 45 +/- mile range. In warmer weather I get 55-65 mile EV range. There is a HUGE difference between local roads (~50-~63 travel speed with traffic and lights) and freeway (65-75 moving). I have basically a choice of three routes to work: local roads, freeway with sucky traffic,and high speed freeway. In my case, the local route is speed slower but several miles shorter, I would think at 75 your range will be in the mid to upper 40’s for your temps, depending on how you drive. I would expect that if you backed off on the highway just 5 mph to 70 you would have a big range difference. You 18 miles @ 75 takes 14.4minutes. 18 miles @ 65 takes 16.6 minutes (2.2 minutes longer). I don’t think the world would end if you went 65 and took 2 minutes longer to work, plus you would not have to worry about being “that guy” who gets nabbed by the Smokey today.

I think you would find the Volt, even with “only” 3 hours of Stage two, would save a lot in fuel costs, You probably really need ~4 hours of charging so you would be running 75% of your commute as EV (~110eMPG) and 25% as hybrind (~45MPG). Good luck with your decision making.

PS: I occasionally have access to a Stage 2 charger at the office park of one of my clients. I signed up for their “semi private” access (you need to register, no charge) via SemaConnect. The cost at the office park is $0.20/kWH which makes in competitive with gasoline, maybe a little better right now. The mall pricing is $1.00/hour so we skip that, and WholeFoods is free.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top