GM Volt Forum banner
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This might be the incorrect forum so I apologize in advance if it is. I'm looking at 2012-2014 Volts because they are low mileage (30k) and they are cheap $12-15k.

But here's my dilemma. I live in an apartment that does not have a garage but covered parking. As such there's no electrical outlet to charge my car. I have a 35 mile (one way) commute to college. They do have charging facilities but only about 4 of them and they are often full even though there's a 4hr time limit.

Of my commute, 30 miles is highway driving at varying speeds. If I'm lucky 15-20 miles is at highway speeds or at least between 45-65mph.

I assume driving on the gas motor to charge the electric is not ideal and I may be better off with a Prius? Given my 70 mile commute 3 times per week and my situation as outlined above do you think the Volt is a right choice for me?
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
8,680 Posts
This might be the incorrect forum so I apologize in advance if it is. I'm looking at 2012-2014 Volts because they are low mileage (30k) and they are cheap $12-15k.

But here's my dilemma. I live in an apartment that does not have a garage but covered parking. As such there's no electrical outlet to charge my car. I have a 35 mile (one way) commute to college. They do have charging facilities but only about 4 of them and they are often full even though there's a 4hr time limit.

Of my commute, 30 miles is highway driving at varying speeds. If I'm lucky 15-20 miles is at highway speeds or at least between 45-65mph.

I assume driving on the gas motor to charge the electric is not ideal and I may be better off with a Prius? Given my 70 mile commute 3 times per week and my situation as outlined above do you think the Volt is a right choice for me?
The Volt is perfectly happy to run on gas only - in fact, some of the GE fleet cars were run on gas only for the whole three year period (because GE gave drivers a gas card paid by corporate, but didn't reimburse electricity.)

Having said that, if you don't expect to be in a position to charge the car regularly at any point in your ownership period, then most of the 400 pound battery pack is wasted for you. We may be somewhat biased, but I think most people here believe the Volt is a much better car to drive than the Prius, even on Gas (tight handling/steering, better acceleration and response.) The Prius is larger on the inside, and I'm not sure how the used prices line up these days.

I'd suggest driving both, and deciding what suits you. Plugging in is certainly a big part of the Volt value equation, but not necessary.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,801 Posts
I assume driving on the gas motor to charge the electric is not ideal and I may be better off with a Prius? Given my 70 mile commute 3 times per week and my situation as outlined above do you think the Volt is a right choice for me?
Driving on a dead battery is called CS or Charge Sustaining. It does not charge the battery but uses the gas engine as a generator to supply electricity for the propulsion motors. Driving a Volt on gas only is better in just about every way than driving a Prius.
There are some that drive a Volt on gas only all the time without any issues. However I would not recommend getting a Volt if you have no chance to plug it in, as driving on battery power only is the best part of the car.
Maybe you could talk to the apartment management to see if they would allow you to install an outlet in the parking lot (at your expense).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,942 Posts
Prius is the way to go......


Assuming you don't want any relations with women.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,405 Posts
This might be the incorrect forum so I apologize in advance if it is. I'm looking at 2012-2014 Volts because they are low mileage (30k) and they are cheap $12-15k.

But here's my dilemma. I live in an apartment that does not have a garage but covered parking. As such there's no electrical outlet to charge my car. I have a 35 mile (one way) commute to college. They do have charging facilities but only about 4 of them and they are often full even though there's a 4hr time limit.

Of my commute, 30 miles is highway driving at varying speeds. If I'm lucky 15-20 miles is at highway speeds or at least between 45-65mph.

I assume driving on the gas motor to charge the electric is not ideal and I may be better off with a Prius? Given my 70 mile commute 3 times per week and my situation as outlined above do you think the Volt is a right choice for me?
You might look for free charging using www.plugshare.com . Set the filter for FREE and J1772 and see what is around. It might be possible for you to charge your car in your area while studying or working.

My daughter goes to UCSB, and the same issue, there is charging, but it is often full, so she runs off gasoline 1/2 the time now.
She can charge at a free charger near the theater and shopping sometimes.

A Prius is going to use less gas, but it won't save a lot of money.

The Volt is a better handling and quicker car. Some say a sexier car ...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,468 Posts
To the OP, sounds like if you wanted to make a Volt work you have a lot of effort to deal with...If you arrive at college and it's full are you going to want to walk out to check the station every break? Also are you at school long enough to even get a full charge? Will you gain any benefit from a CA HOV single occupancy sticker?

I couldn't charge at home but my gym had a free Volta charging station so that was my primary means of charging which did work out assuming it was vacant (75% chance) and it was operational (did go down a few days a each month due to maintenance or vandalism <despite cameras, someone was routinely jamming a huge amount of what I assume was gum into the plug>)

Prius is the way to go......

Assuming you don't want any relations with women.
It's funny because it's not true...Most green cars don't get chicks, most girls would rather be seen is GM's own Corvette vs a Tesla Model S...

If one wants chicks, get below 10% body fat, abs get chicks...Even better if you can get a free charge while getting abs... :D
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
4,879 Posts
Remember, if you use your Volt for 25 miles all electric (worst case), and the other 45 miles are on gas at 38MPG, then you effectively get 60MPG. So you'll still use less gas than a Prius if you can commute one way on electricity. But I get that you may not be able to charge for either direction if the college chargers are all unavailable.

Still, I would go for the Volt and look for other places/options to charge on Plugshare, either near home or near college. Longer term, you'll save much more with the Volt than the Prius, and of course the Volt's performance and overall "cool factor" is much higher. ;)
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
8,680 Posts
You might look for free charging using www.plugshare.com . Set the filter for FREE and J1772 and see what is around. It might be possible for you to charge your car in your area while studying or working.
This is a really good suggestion. I think most colleges in CA offer free charging at some of their facilities these days.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This is a really good suggestion. I think most colleges in CA offer free charging at some of their facilities these days.
It's $2/hr at UCLA :( . In my city it looks like it's $1/hr. So if I do a full 4hr charge and I only get 35 miles range then the $4-8 it costs isn't really worth it then? I'd be better off running it on gas at $3/gallon. I'm not opposed to running it on gas but I would likely charge the battery primarily for in city use.

I did do a brief test drive and it seems like a steal at $12k but I'm just wondering how practical it will be for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,426 Posts
You can't fully charge the battery from the engine but you can partially charge it. If you use Mountain Mode when you are on the highway it will charge the battery enough to do 8 or 10 miles on electric, enough for you to drive around campus on the battery. The Volt is fine on it's engine especially on the highway where the tire noise drowns out the engine noise. At slow speeds it's a graceful ghost on the battery, practically silent, but if you use the engine it will sound like a regular ICE car at slow speed so Volt drivers really prefer using the battery on ordinary streets.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
425 Posts
Don;t forget that the Volt has an 8 year 100,000 mile power train warranty (including battery) - on a 2014 that would protect you thru 2021 and is a big advantage even if you have to run on gas quite ofter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,130 Posts
This might be the incorrect forum so I apologize in advance if it is. I'm looking at 2012-2014 Volts because they are low mileage (30k) and they are cheap $12-15k.

But here's my dilemma. I live in an apartment that does not have a garage but covered parking. As such there's no electrical outlet to charge my car. I have a 35 mile (one way) commute to college. They do have charging facilities but only about 4 of them and they are often full even though there's a 4hr time limit.

Of my commute, 30 miles is highway driving at varying speeds. If I'm lucky 15-20 miles is at highway speeds or at least between 45-65mph.

I assume driving on the gas motor to charge the electric is not ideal and I may be better off with a Prius? Given my 70 mile commute 3 times per week and my situation as outlined above do you think the Volt is a right choice for me?
I'd buy one even if they can't charge most of the time. Some volts are never charged and do just fine. These are very dependable vehicles and I wouldn't hesitate to have one of my children drive one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,181 Posts
You're in Cali, I'd guess and say the Prius will have lower operating costs. Before my '16 Volt, I owned a Lexus CT200h, which is a Prius but in Lexus form. It's a hair sportier, but still a slug, but I got 45mpg. I get great mileage in my Volt, 2/3rds on EV, but the difference after a year of driving, over 10k miles, is only $73. I pay $0.14/kWh, and get 4 miles/kWh. Gas was a little over $2 this past year. In Cali, electric rates and gas are higher, but I doubt you are on TUE rates, and you might have to pay for electricity, so your running costs are mostly going to be your gas cost. In that case, the Prius will be cheaper. Of course, there are other considerations.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,802 Posts
Most here will tell you the Volt is a nicer car. If you seldom/never plug the Volt in, you'll probably get average of 35 mpg like the GE corporate cars got give or take. Prius will likely do better. A simple way the look at the Volt is a full charge is roughly the same as a gallon of gas. So in decent weather you could do your half your commute would be gas free. Both ways if you manage to charge at school. The Prius uses gas from the start. Volt has a huge advantage if you can plug in. If not, the Prius beats the Volt on fuel use.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,464 Posts
Pros:
  • A Volt is a LOT better to drive than a Prius. More fun, more comfortable, better handling, etc.
  • Electric drive. Once you drive silent, vibration free, and fast accelerating electric drive, you never want to go back.
  • Hatchback is highly functional. You can haul a ton of stuff back there.
  • Makes a good camper for road trips. or other horizontal activities practiced out away from civilization.
  • Has a cool tech factor the Prius doesn't.
  • Reliability of Gen1 has proven to be absolutely rock solid.
  • Still gets ~35-40 MPG on gas.
  • The price is right. You get a lot for your money buying used.
  • HOV stickers!

Cons:
  • No place to change for free (even on 120V) kinda negates the whole electric car benefit.
  • When driven on gas, the engine revs out of sync with your speed and that sounds weird, especially in town at low speed.
  • Even at $1/hr charging, gas is still less expensive. Paying for charging is something many of us do to support the concept than we do out of necessity or financially benefit. You have better way to spend your cash than paid charging.
  • While the piece is right, A Volt may be harder to resell later (EV is still unknown to many buyers).

Bottom line, the Volt is a great car, super reliable, top 5 in fuel economy (even when driven 100% on gas), versatile, and provides the option for charging when you can. To me, it's all about the up front cost, TCO, and what you like most. Mazda 3, Subaru whatever, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Prius, Honda Civic... all would work. The Lexus CT200h is no speed daemon, but it's a Prius you can actually sit in for more than 5 minutes without your butt hurting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,285 Posts
Volt owners become masters of "opportunity charging." Become one, and learn what it's all about.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
438 Posts
It's $2/hr at UCLA :( . In my city it looks like it's $1/hr. So if I do a full 4hr charge and I only get 35 miles range then the $4-8 it costs isn't really worth it then? I'd be better off running it on gas at $3/gallon. I'm not opposed to running it on gas but I would likely charge the battery primarily for in city use.

I did do a brief test drive and it seems like a steal at $12k but I'm just wondering how practical it will be for me.
UCLA has both level 1&2 charge stations as well as outlets in their parking garages, assuming this is where you plan to park. I would survey the garages and find the outlets. This gives more ways of charging then just using the level 2 while in school and though it takes 10 hrs using a level 1 charger to fully charge. at least part of your commute will be on clean electrons, another bonus if just using outlets, you should not have to pay for electric which is a plus for any student. The other benefit, UCLA garages have and are installing solar arrays on their structures which means you will be using a renewable source of electricity to charge with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
902 Posts
If you are going to buy a Volt, I recommend that you obtain access to low-cost electricity first. Problems that I encountered include: 1] Homeowner's Association banned the charging of electric vehicles on premises; 2] employer authorized use of an electric outlet, but another agency cut the electricity to the outlet to prevent charging; 3] drove throughout the northern Rockies on a 4,000-mile vacation and found no location for over-night charging; 4] hike a half-mile every day to gain a half-charge at a free charging station for about 7 KwH of electricity to carry me 20 miles or half-gallon of gasoline equivalent for a savings of $1.00 per day; spent $30 last week on a shovel and salt to clear the ice and snow preventing me from using the charging station. My 2013 Premium Volt with 10,000 miles cost me $20,000; my 2007 Prius with 7,000 miles cost me $20,000. If the Prius plug-in increased the size of the battery pack, I would rather be driving my old Prius. My lifetime average with the Volt is 84 MPG; my lifetime average with the Prius was 48 MPG.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
322 Posts
But here's my dilemma. I live in an apartment that does not have a garage but covered parking. As such there's no electrical outlet to charge my car. I have a 35 mile (one way) commute to college.
Is there any way to reach an outlet with an extension cord (the owner's manual says not to, but plenty of people do it with high gauge cords, myself included)? You could buy the Volt now and look for a new apartment where charging would be possible when your lease is up.
I'd say go for the Volt, even if you can't charge that often. They drive and look better than a Prius.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,997 Posts
Some colleges have free charge stations. Consider charging at school. So reverse your thinking. In many cases people charge at work or school rather than home.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top