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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

First I wanted to say that I have done a great deal of reading on the various forums here and am extremely impressed by how knowledgeable and active the members are! I test drove a Gen2 Volt this weekend and was extremely impressed with the car - both power and build quality. I am looking for something to use as a daily driver back and forth to the office that is comfortable, fun to drive, and efficient. What I cannot yet wrap my head around is whether the Volt fits the bill for the heavily highway biased commute that I have.

Some breakdown (all are round trip mileage values)
Route A:
Interstate: 51.4mi
Backroads including 55mph parkway: 35.2mi
Total:86.6mi

Route B:
Interstate: 64.8mi
Backroads: 20mi
Total: 84.8mi

Both routes have significant changes in elevation - I would say ~65% of the runs are flat, the remaining is assent or descent.

Charging: I would primarily charge at work (currently free, may become a pay service soon). Home charging is 16.7c/kwh with all the transmission fees etc added in.

The big question: How much range should I expect in a primarily highway commute? Vehicle is rated high enough that I should make it each way on a charge with a little left to spare but my reading has said range is a bit less for largely highway usage. Does this seem like a viable scenario and use case for a vehicle like this?
 

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You may make it each way on a fully charged battery, might be close with the elevation changes, highway speeds and winter temperatures in the Northeast however. Also, does your work have a level 2 charger? If not, you won't be able to get a full charge in a normal 8 to 10 hour workday.

What you could also consider doing is driving in Hold mode on your highway portion of your commute. You will get low/mid 40 MPG with the onboard ICE and if there is any traffic on the highway bringing speeds down below 50MPH, flip back to Normal mode. With the Guess O Meter and your NAV system, you can gauge and control how much battery you want to have left in reserve, if any, at the end of the trip you are on.

It doesn't necessarily have to be only electric, although that is always fun to be able to achieve. This is an EREV, so the range extending generator is there to be used when needed and that's OK. As you probably figured out by reading these boards, tastes vary as to whether or not to burn gas and part of the beauty of the Volt is you get to choose how you mix the battery power with the gas power depending on circumstances.
 

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If you charge both at home and at work you will probably NEVER use gas for your commute.

If work remains free charging, that means you would only pay for 40-some miles of electricity per day (say $1.50). (less if you only partial charge at home and fill-up at work)

I'm not sure what gas costs in CT, but it will be hard to find another car that will do your commute for $1.50 a day.

"comfortable, fun to drive, and efficient" - check, check and check.

Other than a Bolt (soon) or Model 3 (not soon) nothing in the Volt price category will come close.
 

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Steady cruise set to 70mph will deliver 45 miles on battery before engine start. If speeds slow, that range will increase. No matter how you carve up that commute, the VOLT will delivery far better running costs than most anything available today. You'll still burn less than a gallon each way. Even a prius will need 1.5 gal each way.
 

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Even with a full charge in both directions you probably won't make that return trip in the NE all year without burning some gas. That said, there is nothing else that will come close on the market, probably even with only an overnight charge. If fuel economy is your only concern you can't match a Volt unless your commute is about twice what you describe.

Changes in elevation won't affect you very much since the round trip will mostly cancel them out.
 

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Ok, I misread the OP, move along, nothing to see here. :)
 

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OP, at ~85 miles, your commute greatly exceeds the electric range of the Volt. Figure you get ~50 miles electric each way, that leaves ~35 on gas which will be under 2 gallons a day. You would want to use electric on the back roads and hold mode (to use gas) on the highway - for a good portion of the highway drive.

It is a great car, but certainly not enough for all electric for you.
His commute is 86 miles return, with a full charge in both directions, so it is possible if not certain in the winter months.
 

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With a charge both ways I'd expect the Volt to make it in EV mode for a decent part of the year. Would depend on what speeds your drive on the Interstate and highways, and how much you like the heat when it gets colder.

Really, if you're getting free fuel at work, it makes the Volt a good option. But given that you'd always be using a lot of charge, then you might want to look into time-of-use billing, which could lower your average cost per kWh and make charging at home a better option, and protect you in case your work place starts adding a substantial fee.

EDIT: A user on this forum reported a full charge of a Gen 2 Volt taking 15.7kWh. Do that 20 days per month and you've added 314kWh of charging that (assuming a typical work pattern) you'd be able to off-peak. Add in other errands and trips in it and you have a substantial skew of demand to off-peak.
 

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His commute is 86 miles return, with a full charge in both directions, so it is possible if not certain in the winter months.
well, now I completely misread that, didn't I?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the responses! If possible I would charge both at home and at work which I think would get me close on range. Home charging would be on L1 for starters, work L2.

Time of use billing only really saves me a few dollars a month - transmission fees are basically identical and the kwh change off peak vs standard charge. Standard is going to $.07874 and off-peak is $.07003. Yes, this can certainly still add up. Other option is pick a different generation company. Still researching if my electric company gives any special rate / incentive for an electric car that is charging.

My main goals are a fun and efficient car. If I do the math out on what it costs me / day to go to work in any of the other family vehicles I still come out ahead here - even running on gas for some portion of the journey. If the average (non-winter) expectation is that the vehicle will go ~50miles on a charge even on a highway than I may go for it.
 

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If you can stand 60 mph on the highway, your Volt will deliver. And don't forget the joy of mostly electric driving. Can't beat it.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If you can stand 60 mph on the highway, your Volt will deliver. And don't forget the joy of mostly electric driving. Can't beat it.
Thanks! For a portion of the highway leg that would work - for another portion I would be more of a hazard to myself and others than the few $ a month are worth :D
 

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Spuddy, I think you have a good understanding of what the Volt is capable of and my sense is that this is a good choice for you. You'll enjoy it and it will serve your purposes well. Even if you have to burn a little gas now and again, the Volt is quite efficient at doing that as well. Good luck with your decision!
 

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It sounds to me like the Volt checks all of your boxes. I envy your ability to charge at work (and for free!).
 
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