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I am still looking to replace my Corolla, but need to be able to justify the cost. So I found a government web site that creates a chart for you called the "Vehicle Cost Calculator".
I put in the 2013 Toyota Corolla, 2012 and 2013 Chevy Volt and the chart shows I will never pass under the Corolla even after 15 years! Is the chart wrong? Is it calculating electrical costs too high? Is there a better chart out there?

gov-chart.jpg
 

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Now compare the Corolla with a motorcycle. My guess: The Corolla will never pass under the motorcycle in 15 years!

Now compare the Corolla with a BMW 3 series (which is more like a Volt in many ways), and what's the result?

You can drive a Corolla or a Volt. I don't need a chart to make my decision. If you want the cheapest car, buy a 5-year old used car. That will beat the Corolla.

I have no idea how this chart was generated (or where), the parameters used etc. How many miles is your daily commute?
 

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They show a very favorable comparison for fuel/electric cost with the Corolla, but the annual operating cost is the fuel/electric cost plus $2419 for the 2013 Volt. I'm not sure where the rest of the operating cost comes from, since the Volt needs no routine maintenance for the first two years, except tire rotation. Maybe they are saying that is a year's worth of depreciation. Really, the Volt is in a whole different class from a Corolla, so comparing price that way isn't very meaningful. People that are happy with econoboxes will not buy a nice car with a comfortable ride like the Volt.
 

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I agree with Steverino. I did a bunch of cost analysis prior to purchasing, but the fact is you can probably save money by getting a different car. Many here will agree that buying a volt is not about the total $ savings. The dollars saved on gas help offset the higher cost of the car vrs a similar size car but don't make up for it 100%. Diving on electric is worth the extra money. Test drive it for a day or a couple of days and you will be hooked. There are many additional benefits not included in your chart. Low maintenance costs and time spend doing(going to the shop) the maintenance. Oil change every 2 years break pads don't wear as fast with regen breaking etc. Standard features in the Volt are upgrades in a typical car. Overall it's just a better car. Try doing a cost analysis on a Ford Fiesta vrs a Cadillac Escalade and let me know how that one works out.
 

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it has $800+ for yearly electric cost...I'm estimating that this yr my electric cost will actually be a little under $400 (so for this yr I'm running $27-33 per month for electricity...

if your going to use something like that i think you really need to be able to customize it to your exact circumstances otherwise you're comparing apples to pineapples...and I just don't like pineapples... lol the volt and corrolla are just not in the same class..IMHO...
 

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I did extensive analysis for cars I was interested in using Excel. The economic benefit of the Volt depends on many factors, and you get the most benefit if you have a cheap electric rate at home (or free at a workplace) and can limit VOLT driving to mostly 40-50 mile electric commutes.

As Steverino said, the Volt is not the cheapest overall- motorcycles are cheaper, cheap used cars that get 30mpg are cheaper, etc.

I graphed how the Volt compared to other NEW commuters I liked (BMW, Volvo, Subaru Impreza/Legacy, Fusion Hybrid, Honda Civ Hybrid) including their purchase price. Using only EV driving (@8c/kwh) and paying the cheapest for a new volt, the cost of driving the Volt became cheaper or comparable to the others (except the Honda Civic Hy, and the Corolla would probably be cheaper as well) after 150,000 or so which is a lot. Happy to send my analysis to you. I don't know how to post files here.

In the end, I was willing to pay a little more for the 2013 Volt I bought last month because I wanted a new reliable car, premium/"luxury" attributes, great mileage, good EV range (bigger battery than Ford Energi), capable of using gas, and a "cool techy factor." I also wanted to take avantage of GM's $3000 financing discount, Pennsylvania's $3000 rebate, and the $7500 Fed tax rebate (hopefully they all will come to pass...).
 

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If you are cost-concious, buying a new car is not the way to save money. Keeping a healthy used car that is paid for is surely a far better way to save money.

Now, if you are buying new and have choices to make, then you can factor in cost of ownership choosing between various new cars. But Volt owners who are leasing 2011 models will be giving them up soon after 3 years and you will have a good opportunity to buy well-cared-for used 2011 Volts for under $25K, perhaps as low as $20K. Used Leafs are even lower. So, if you want lower operating costs - you want a used and well cared for EV. Buying new includes things like state sales taxes and other dealer fees as well as people wanting you to buy extending warranties and so on. Without things like GM Card earnings and bonus earnings and my state's (now expired) 3500 rebate for buying EVs, I wouldn't have bought my 2011 Volt in July of 2012. It just doesn't make too much economic sense. But I'm glad I did buy it - it's been a great personal education process and that's the value of the purchase which is being part of a new trend in autos. People buying Priuses and Honda Insights back 10 years ago experienced this.

Actually, buying a new Cruze base model is well cheaper economically than a Volt or even a new Prius even though the Prius gets slightly better gas mileage. In June, price breaks for 2012 and 2013 Volts should be pretty heavy. 6-7K under MSRP is expected. However, I think 2014 Volt MSRP will decrease somewhat. It better or they'll continue to get hurt by the competition.
 

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it has $800+ for yearly electric cost...I'm estimating that this yr my electric cost will actually be a little under $400
The $808 in the chart for the 2013 Volt is under the column heading, "Yearly fuel/elec cost". It is combined cost of fuel and electricity, and it looks pretty accurate to me for $0.10/kWh electric rates. I think it is based on 15,000 miles per year, judging from the costs given and the EPA estimates. I still want to know what the big extra operating cost they are adding in is. It doesn't seem right for depreciation, it's too much for insurance, there isn't any routine maintenance in the first year, and the routine maintenance over the first five years should be pretty cheap.
 

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There are a lot of assumptions implicit in this chart that I don't see spelled out anywhere. After a little math, it looks like they assume 15k per year, and figure the Volt as about 2/3 electric.

There must be a big depreciation number in the background somewhere, because the Volt direct operating costs are far above the fuel costs. Speaking of fuel, it aopears to assume current prices forever...
 

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I just went to the sight, and put in the information for my situation. They don't seem give you the ability to edit enough of the
parameters for an apples to apples comparison. MyVolt shows that I generally get between 150 and 170 MPGe. I am on time of
use at 4.4 cents per kilowatt. The chart shows that my cost would be $600 a year, my calculations show mine to be under $200
a year. The site also shows 72 gallons of gasoline used. I have put 6K miles on my 2012 Volt, and, other than the drive from
Houston to Las Vegas, which took 41 gallons, I have not used any fuel since December ( approximately 5K miles ).
You also are paying about half as much for the Corolla you are for the Volt. The site also mentions the tax credit, but, I
don't think that it is added in. I was at a task force meeting at Nevada Energy in February promoting roll out of public charging
stations for local businesses. One of the flyers compared a Nissan Leaf to a Nissan Versa. 10 year cost of ownership. 10K miles
per year. THIS flyer factored in oil changes, but, not sure about what else ( brakes, filters, etc. ), and, it showed the Versa as
having a $41K cost over 10 years, and, the Leaf as having $33K cost. You can get a better comparison by doing a cost of
ownership for different vehicles. Here are Motor Trend cost of ownership comparisons for the Corolla VS the Volt.
http://www.motortrend.com/cars/2013/chevrolet/volt/cost_of_ownership/
http://www.motortrend.com/cars/2012/toyota/corolla/cost_of_ownership/
The difference seems to be about the same as the original cost between the two cars. Not sure if tax credit is figured in here
either. There is no comparison between the two cars as far as quality of life while driving.
 

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Again I ask, what's your daily commute miles to work and back? 30? 40? 10? 150? The answer makes a difference in the analysis. Can you plug in at work?

As others have pointed out, in two years I've spent $0 on maintenance. The brake pads will likely last 10 years. And what price to you put on the ride which is superb?
 

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The chart is too generic...need to put in your personal real-world data. try this cool Chevy Volt Cost Calculator to compare whatever gas vehicle you might also consider:
http://www.digifixpix.com/volt/volt_calc.asp

I only pay ~$350 a year for "fuel", electric+gas, and that's for $20k miles...but my employer "subsidizes" half my commute by allowing me to charge from an outlet.

Also, if you lease, the Volt would likely beat a new Corolla purchase handily in terms of actual monthly operating costs, depending upon your miles driven (I almost did an 18K least for $340/mo, but decide to purchase instead).

Finally, let's not forget two important points:

1) Your hard earned $ is going almost entirely for US technology and US fuel (as opposed to foreign+foreign) if you care about that

2) A Corolla is no Volt (I drove a Corrolla, Yaris, Prius still for years) Drive a Volt and you will see it's on par in many ways with Acura, Audi, BMW, Mercedes, etc. That has value to most people.
 

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The assumptions in this calculator are at this link. Based on the costs they came up with, it seems like they are using the 5.38 cents per mile tires + maintenance cost for generic cars, rather than the 4.10 cents per mile EV tires + maintenance cost. Lumping the Volt in with every other car for maintenance cost is just bogus. You need to use another calculator. A spreadsheet with your own calculations will give you the most accurate picture.
 

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The assumptions in this calculator are at this link. Based on the costs they came up with, it seems like they are using the 5.38 cents per mile tires + maintenance cost for generic cars, rather than the 4.10 cents per mile EV tires + maintenance cost. Lumping the Volt in with every other car for maintenance cost is just bogus. You need to use another calculator. A spreadsheet with your own calculations will give you the most accurate picture.
I noticed that as well. The annual costs include insurance and registration, as well as $663 for tires. I don't know about you, but I don't need new tires every year...
I put my situation in and it's also assuming $.20/kWh while Im paying about $.13
 

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Volt vs a Corolla? way to apples to oranges here.

You should consider the Cruze to Compare to the Corolla.

Compare a Volt to a 3 series BMW.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Again I ask, what's your daily commute miles to work and back? 30? 40? 10? 150? The answer makes a difference in the analysis. Can you plug in at work?QUOTE]

My daily commute is 32 miles.
No outside plugs at work, but I bet I can find a way. My boss said he didn't care if I did.
 

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All of the griping about comparing a Volt to a Corolla instead of 3-series is a valid point, but also overblown IMO. Most car buyers are not looking for a luxury vehicle and would not even consider buying a BMW, so for them it makes much more sense to compare the costs of buying and operating a 4-door sedan Volt to another 4-door sedan that they might actually buy.

Apart from that editorializing... I do agree that this website is a bit too unfriendly in its assumptions towards EREV's. And the assumed 6% interest rate on a 5-year loan is unrealistic given the current loan rates available for the Volt, and it makes the comparison even worse for the more-expensive Volt.

Also, why is the 2013 Volt on this chart showing up as ~$8000 worse than the 2012? Was the federal tax credit included for the 2012 but not the 2013?
 

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There are a lot of factors missing from that. I suggest you run your own numbers. Even so, my numbers showed that it would take about 10 years for the Volt to "pay for itself". but that's not why I bought the car. If you just want to make the numbers work, buy a 5 year old Civic or Corolla and enjoy.

I pay about $30/mo in electricity and so far about $30/mo in gas. That's down from $350/mo for gas in my old truck. However, I still have the car itself to pay for. Fortunately you can typically get $5000+ off MSRP plus there is a $7500 tax credit, so the car shouldn't really cost you more than $30K unless you pick the most expensive options.
Also find out what your real electricity rates are (study your electric bill) and contact your local utility to see if you can get TOU billing - Time Of Use, typically much cheaper rates at night (but more can be more expensive during peak daytime hours).

Since my house heats with natural gas and A/C is just window units, and mainly at night in the summer, I can make a big impact on my electric bill changing to TOU rates and adjusting the way we cool the house in the summer (pre-cool the house in the early mornings and leave the A/C on low during the afternoon)

Plus, DRIVE THE CAR - it is leaps and bounds above a Corolla or Prius. They aren't even in the same class.
 

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All of the griping about comparing a Volt to a Corolla instead of 3-series is a valid point, but also overblown IMO. Most car buyers are not looking for a luxury vehicle and would not even consider buying a BMW, so for them it makes much more sense to compare the costs of buying and operating a 4-door sedan Volt to another 4-door sedan that they might actually buy.

QUOTE]

The car I was acutally comparing it against was a Cadillac ATS. I would not buy Foreign so the 3 series never had a chance with me.

But the class of the car I would definelty put it into the Sports Sedan type. It may be taughted as a ECO car, but after years of developing Ride and Handling systems, IMO this car competes with some of the best Sports Sedan class cars on the market.

The attributes of; 270ftlbs of torque, P215/55R17 wheels, ZF Sensotronic Steering, direct acting stabilizer, Unsprung weight reduction (lower control arm, knuckle: aluminum components, stabilizer links: Plastic), 4 wheel disk brakes, lightweight forged aluminum wheels (also unsprung weight reduction), etc... are not usually seen on economy or luxury cars. These are cost adders that are usually seen on Sports Sedan, and performance vehicles.

Also after BMW got there hands on one of these they felt it was a big enough threat to them that they hired the Project Manager of the Volt Program.

Excerpt: "But it wasn't only the independent and experienced automotive journalists who were impressed by how well the Chevrolet Volt performed -- the competition was, too. BMW in particular.
The top brass at BMW got their hands on a Volt and after test-driving it, they concluded that if they were unable to match the superior performance of the Chevy Volt, over time they would be creamed in the market. So what to do? BMW needed access to GM's secret sauce for this revolutionary powertrain."

http://www.thestreet.com/story/11451833/1/how-the-chevy-volt-became-a-bmw.html
 
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