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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone!

I am a highway monster.. I travel about 45 000km (±28K miles)/year and I am thinking about leaving 4x4 SUVs (please don't hate me for having them! :rolleyes:

I have always been a geek and I am quite attracted by the technologies found in the Volt and I think it is a great step forward. I am looking for comfort, reliability and get better (much better) milleage to decrease expenses. I intend to keep the car 4 years and then change again.

I understand the magic of it's electric capabilities stand in the form of daily commuting to take advantage of the "free mileage".

Apparently, the next gen version of the Volt would allow more 100% electric mileage by a fair margine, have a better fuel economy on it's generator engine and even be considerably less expensive. Could we expect less of a luxury feel and head towards a not as nimble and comfortable with other choices (lower quality) of materials in the car? Normally, we get what we pay for...

Anyhow, does anyone use their Volt for such high mileage purpose?
 

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I see no reason not to consider the Volt. While I don't drive anywhere near as many miles as you are each year, it works well even on gas. We've seen anywhere from 39 to 55 mpg while using only gas to supply the current, depending on the speed driven, temperature, etc. We love ours.
 

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There has been nothing from GM to indicate the next generation Volt will have more range, the focus will clearly be on cost reduction and if anything there might be reduced range as the Volts is 2X more range than any other serial hybrid on the market as is.
 

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The Volt is a GREAT car for almost anyone looking for a fun, sporty, 4-door coupe. The only folks who might question the Volt are those that have no easy way to charge it. In that case there may be other sporty, 4-door coupes to consider. But if you can charge it, and you like the form-factor, just get a Volt. You will be thrilled.
 

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I did 20,600 miles my first year. My lifetime MPG is 56. My driving pattern is short drives during the week and long drives on the weekends. About 1/3rd of my miles were counted as all electric. I'm very happy with my Volt and I find it to be a comfortable car for my long drives.
 

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My annual driving habit is similar to yours (roughly 25,000 miles per year) and had been very happy with my 2007 Chevrolet Suburban over the past several years.

About 4 months ago I bought a 2013 Volt, and now park the 'burb at home for those times when I 'need' it.

My daily commute is 36 miles round-trip, but I work in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage, so I may have an additional 1-100 miles of driving to do during any particular day. I have L2 chargers at home and work, but I view them both as a convenience, not a necessity.

My experience has been that I 'need' the bigger vehicle much less frequently than I had assumed, and that the Volt is a very capable and comfortable daily driver. I just ticked past 4,000 miles on the odometer, and am slightly above 200mpg. Over that same time period I have put about 500 miles on the Suburban (using a little more than twice as much gas).

Like the poster before me said, if you can charge the car daily you will not be disappointed...
 

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Hi everyone!

I am a highway monster.. I travel about ..(±28K miles)/year and I am thinking about leaving 4x4 SUVs ..
.. I am looking for comfort, reliability and get better (much better) milleage to decrease expenses. I intend to keep the car 4 years and then change again.

..
... Could we expect less of a luxury feel and head towards a not as nimble and comfortable with other choices (lower quality) of materials in the car? Normally, we get what we pay for...

Anyhow, does anyone use their Volt for such high mileage purpose?
I don't drive as much as you do, but since you are considering a big switch from an SUV, with a fairly upright, "command of the road" driving position, to a comfortable, sporty sedan; I recommend that you rent one of each of of the cars you are considering for a week. Whether you buy a Volt or a Camry or an A4, it will be a very different experinece for you, down lower in traffic, looking under tractor trailers and up at pickups... I rented a volt for a week from a local enterprise before I bought it. I drove 900 miles in that week, (it was a lot for me) and used 7 gallons of gas. I spend $240 on the rental, but saved $140 on gas that week! I'm 6'4" and needed to be sure I would be comfortable for long stretches in a car before I bought it. I recommend the same. and I find the volt to be very comfortable.

as to the specifics-
there are 3 things I would think about:
1- if your' number one consideration is reducing fuel usage, and you are driving a volt more than 60% on the range extender, you should look seriously at one of the very high highway mileage pure ICE cars. The mileage and total fuel/electricity costs tradeoff crosses over at about that level. Others here can provide specifics and spreadsheet tools if you like to be precise.


2- But the Volt is a much more comfortable and "sportier" car than most very high mileage cars. Perhaps the mini is an exception to this- try it too, along with one of the TDI cars. If you find that you want more space, there are great mid size sedans available (yes, look at the impala..) but nothing beats the "no gas used today" smile that the Volt provides.


3- the range extender has a sound level that some consider harsh-( I thought the CMax energi was harsher) so be sure to test drive a long time after the battery is depleted, both on the highway and around town. some have been surpriced to have the range extender running at high output while waiting at a stop light. Most of us are not bothered by this, I'm not, but be sure you get to experience it before buying.

TMI?
 

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The Volt is perfectly comfortable in the environment you describe. I'm not sure it's the ideal car for you, though it is generally an awesome car and I doubt you'd regret owning one.

If most of your miles come in big lumps with no breaks to charge in between, you're going to be spending a lot of time driving on the engine in a Volt or other PHEV. That means that how the car drives on the engine and how efficiently will be a big part of your experience. The more efficient engine of a Ford Fusion Energi or Honda Accord Hybrid (preferably the PHEV, but it's only for sale in California right now,) might be worth more than the Volt's extra electric range/power.

If you're thinking about the next generation Volt because of the rumors about a 200 mile battery, I wouldn't bank on it - I'm pretty sure those rumors are bunk. The second generation Volt will probably bring a little more power, a little more range (50 EPA?), a dedicated range extender (45 mpg?) and a lower MSRP.

As a dark horse option, if there is going to be a Supercharger near your routes anytime soon, the Tesla might actually be cheaper to own than anything, once you factor in all the free electricity. But like the rest of this, it depends very much on how far you drive at a time (and whether the superchargers are in the right place for you.)
 

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Frank, I had a lot to tell you, but PaulActon and saghost pretty much said it all. I would only add that if you can plug in at work it would probably work really well. If you can't plug in at work, a Prius, though boring, might actually work fairly well if you want to save money.
I love my Volt but it isn't right for everyone, and once you get past 24,000 miles a year, plugging in both at home and at work makes a lot of sense.

I don't drive as much as you do, but since you are considering a big switch from an SUV, with a fairly upright, "command of the road" driving position, to a comfortable, sporty sedan; I recommend that you rent one of each of of the cars you are considering for a week. Whether you buy a Volt or a Camry or an A4, it will be a very different experinece for you, down lower in traffic, looking under tractor trailers and up at pickups... I rented a volt for a week from a local enterprise before I bought it. I drove 900 miles in that week, (it was a lot for me) and used 7 gallons of gas. I spend $240 on the rental, but saved $140 on gas that week! I'm 6'4" and needed to be sure I would be comfortable for long stretches in a car before I bought it. I recommend the same. and I find the volt to be very comfortable.

as to the specifics-
there are 3 things I would think about:
1- if your' number one consideration is reducing fuel usage, and you are driving a volt more than 60% on the range extender, you should look seriously at one of the very high highway mileage pure ICE cars. The mileage and total fuel/electricity costs tradeoff crosses over at about that level. Others here can provide specifics and spreadsheet tools if you like to be precise.


2- But the Volt is a much more comfortable and "sportier" car than most very high mileage cars. Perhaps the mini is an exception to this- try it too, along with one of the TDI cars. If you find that you want more space, there are great mid size sedans available (yes, look at the impala..) but nothing beats the "no gas used today" smile that the Volt provides.


3- the range extender has a sound level that some consider harsh-( I thought the CMax energi was harsher) so be sure to test drive a long time after the battery is depleted, both on the highway and around town. some have been surpriced to have the range extender running at high output while waiting at a stop light. Most of us are not bothered by this, I'm not, but be sure you get to experience it before buying.

TMI?
 

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If you're not in too much of a hurry to swap the SUV for a Volt, I might consider waiting to see what the Gen 2 offers. But there's a big question mark surrounding exactly when it will be available. It could be a MY2016 available in 2015 or a MY2017 available in 2016. I don't think anyone outside GM knows for sure.

Regardless of exactly when it's released, there will be many months during which you will be able to buy the new model year or the old model year. So if Gen2 Volt is "cheapened" in any way that offends your tastes, you will still be able to buy a Gen1 Volt. The only caveat is that you won't be able to custom order a Gen1 with every single option that you want. You'll have to pick from existing dealer inventory.


Also, in regards to the previous comment that the Gen2 might have less EV range than Gen1... I'd be willing to bet most of my life savings against that proposition. Doing so would be a marketing disaster for GM and the Volt, and it runs counter to what we've heard from GM on the topic. There are plenty of other areas to do cost reduction before shrinking the battery. And shaving the battery capacity by 20% or so would have a relatively small impact on cost anyway.

If Chevy really wants to sell a cheaper PHEV or EREV with a 20-35 mile range, they can just make a plug-in version of the Cruze to go up against the Plug-In Prius and Ford Energi models.
 

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1- if your' number one consideration is reducing fuel usage, and you are driving a volt more than 60% on the range extender, you should look seriously at one of the very high highway mileage pure ICE cars. The mileage and total fuel/electricity costs tradeoff crosses over at about that level. Others here can provide specifics and spreadsheet tools if you like to be precise.
Yes to this. The Volt engine is relatively unsophisticated. At 65 mph, I can get 42ish mpg, but that drops to 37ish at 75 mph. Quite a few ICE, diesel, or hybrid cars will do better. As long as the "charged" miles are greater than a quarter or so of your "engine" miles, you'll still beat most of the others. The best Volt alternative is probably the 2014 (not '13 or earlier!) Honda Accord Hybrid (or the plug-in version when/if that comes along). It has a very Volt-like drivetrain, but a better ICE.

http://www.greencarreports.com/news...orts-best-car-to-buy-2014-honda-accord-hybrid
 

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My driving conditions right now are very similar to what the OP described. I am currently driving ~ 45,000 miles a year, and I typically can only charge once per day. My average mileage under those circumstances is ~ 60 MPG (42-44 MPG on ICE only).

To me, you need to ask yourself if you are just looking for better mileage. If so, their *might* be better options for you, but my guess is that you will be less than wowed by them. If you are a technophile (as you said), the Volt should probably be very high on your list. Even including Tesla's Model S, the Volt is the only electric vehicle that ANY car owner could switch to right now with no compromises. Can't charge? No big deal; there is a built in generator. Live outside the range of Tesla's Supercharger network? Also no big deal.

Basically, the Volt is the perfect gateway vehicle to electric cars. Some people buy the Volt and realize that they really could live with a battery only electric vehicle. Others buy the Volt and realize that they couldn't own an electric vehicle that doesn't have a range extender.

Also, letting that be a nice segue, you might also consider the BMW i3, though I'm not sure of it's exact release date.
 

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Go with the Tesla, it's better for your lifestyle. Then in 4 yrs, I'll buy it off you. :D Honestly, while I love my Volt, I think you'd be better off with a diesel, will prob get better mileage. A nice BMW would be sporty and comfortable.
 

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Hi everyone!

I am a highway monster.. I travel about 45 000km (±28K miles)/year and I am thinking about leaving 4x4 SUVs (please don't hate me for having them! :rolleyes:

I have always been a geek and I am quite attracted by the technologies found in the Volt and I think it is a great step forward. I am looking for comfort, reliability and get better (much better) milleage to decrease expenses. I intend to keep the car 4 years and then change again.

I understand the magic of it's electric capabilities stand in the form of daily commuting to take advantage of the "free mileage".

Apparently, the next gen version of the Volt would allow more 100% electric mileage by a fair margine, have a better fuel economy on it's generator engine and even be considerably less expensive. Could we expect less of a luxury feel and head towards a not as nimble and comfortable with other choices (lower quality) of materials in the car? Normally, we get what we pay for...

Anyhow, does anyone use their Volt for such high mileage purpose?
Greetings,

And welcome to the forum. We're not the road warrior that you are but we did manage to put 21K miles on our Volt in the first 12 months of ownership. Of that, 6K were put on during our summer vacation. Not one moment of fatigue to report. I have heard some complain about their comfort in the cloth seats but since we opted for the leather, I think the consensus is that they're more comfortable seats.

You've probably done this already but one thing we did before making our purchase was to access what our typical usage was before switching vehicles. I married the "Only Daughter" so elder care is part of our lives. They travel with us from time to time but mostly to destinations of their choosing - except for doctor visits. Other than that, we have no kids to haul around. It's just the two of us - and we have another vehicle that I use to commute since I drive fewer miles for work than my wife.

Looking at another factor that we've realized is that with our low electricity rates, our EV driving cost less than 3 cent/mile - so we tend to shift non-time-sensitive errands to our Volt.

Below you can see in graphic form how our daily driving breaks down - which you may want to examine against your own habits to see if you'd get a high or low EV percentage from your existing driving needs. Keep in mind that we've found that not all of our daily needs involve not coming back home between errands (thus offering additional charging opportunities.) Work charging is not an option available to us and public charging is quite available but unattractive to us. The public chargers (120 of them here in San Antonio) are just not in places we frequent or wish to spend any time.

Miles and Smiles.
Your results may vary.

Histogram.JPG
 

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I don't think you need to worry about most of the members here hating you for having a larger vehicle. Most of us still own one or more of them too. Personally, I own an extended cab diesel Silverado that does a great job pulling my Bobcat around on a gooseneck trailer. That's a mission that my Volt simply can't perform. I drive the Volt as much as possible and drive the truck when I need to. They are complimentary vehicles, not competitive. I figure the fuel saved by driving the Volt means I can drive the truck without feeling bad about destroying the planet.

I drove the Volt just under 20,000 miles in the first year of owning it with 18,000 being electric. This was possible by having many short local trips with time to do L2 charging between trips. It's not uncommon for me to drive 80 miles per day on electricity only. I've done as much as 120. I find the zen of electric driving to be very relaxing. It's a bit unsettling for me when the engine is running because I've been spoiled with the silent electric drive. You should spend a few days in one before deciding if it's the way to go for you. Nobody on an internet forum is qualified to make that decision for you. We love to see new Volt owners, but I like even more for people to have a vehicle they are comfortable with and it fits their mission profile.
 

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Just a quick note on the Model S. The Tesla equation is not as favorable in Canada and it's getting worse as the USD gains strength. For the OPs use he'd want the 85 kWh model and it starts at $88,500. There are no Superchargers yet.

I gotta say, there aren't many other enthusiast forums where you're going to get such objective advice including suggestions of competing vehicles. Nice work everyone.
 

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I'm SuperCommuter to your Highway Monster and I drive about the same as you do - ~ 175 miles RT a day from home to work and back. And I do a fair portion of it on the I-405 through West LA, which is one of California's most congested highways - and I cover 3 mountain passes over the length of my commute with an altitude change of from 2200' up to 3300' and then down to 25' ASL (or vice versa if I'm going home). And I can only charge at home - no charging at work. With all that as constaints, my average economy for all those miles is 63 mpg (which includes numerous trips where I could not charge along the way - like from LA to Vegas). See if you can get that kind of economy reliably in anything else on the road (actually, if I'm not commuting to work I tend to average more like 150-175 mpg - the work commute is the killer). And a Tesla, unless it has the largest most expensive battery pack is not an option for me (not enough power stored to make a RT to work - hill climbing really drains a battery). All that said, I love the car, the seats are comfortable for long commutes or trips of any length and the ability to gas and go when you exhaust the battery is just perfect. Now, all that said - if you are routinely covering more than 200 miles a day, look into a Prius - you'll get marginally better economy. Anything less than that distance and the Volt is the better vehicle (actually, it's better in any case - more comfortable, better handling, way better built, and a Nav system that works - the Prius Nav drives me up a wall!) Oh, and not to mention, bloody cheap to keep - maintenance on my car, in 60K miles, has been one oil change, replaced the engine air filter, and bought a new set of tires - other than that my only maintenance costs have been for tire rotations - You'll pay a ton more in maintenance for any primarily ICE based PHEV, Hybrid, or diesel. So don't forget to add in those costs to the ownership equation (most people overlook this but it's really significant here). And with the gas engine averaging 37+ mpg, even your fuel costs will be seriously reduced over your SUV. Then there's the joy of "sport" mode (no, don't go there, you'll only have too much fun and maybe attract "official" - gumball style - attention. But it really is fun to drive that way). I've had my Volt for 19 months now and can't recommend it enough (in case you can't guess). Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thank you everybody!!

A lot of very good answers in there! I wish I could afford the Tesla and have access to Superchargers but is not the case yet.

I am actually just back from a test drive with a Volt. Here are my thoughts:

- I test drove a 2013 with the leather package; security upgrade 1, polished aluminum wheels and standard audio system.
- Assembly quality seems to be very good and the choices of material is right on.
-I knew the car is based on the Cruze platform but I had no idea that the cabin car would feel so small. Then again, I am use to be in a rather large SUV.
-The dash and doors had white color inserts and it looked very classy and contemporary.
-The acceleration from a complete stop is particular.. as if something holds you back and then it starts moving. Realy feels like a slow CVT tranny. Then again, as opposed to my SUV, the Volt's pupose is towards fuel economy.
- Once I got between 50 and 60 mph I could not help but to notice how quite the cabine is.. I love this feature.
-The information screen is distracting.. I could not help but to look at the fuel consumption drop, it is addictive! :)
- I did not find all the buttons as disturbing as I have read from professional auto critics. A few buttons are odly placed but nothing that I can't get accustomed to.
- Electric steering is well configured, not too lose, not to hard.

Juste as I got back to the dealer, the check engine light lit up.. and I started earing a high pitch sound.. similar to a worn out alternator. It may be something that is a mere detail but it just ended weirdly...

So, with all that said, I have no clue as to what I am going to do about it. The car did not disapoint me but did not thrill me or excite me to the point of what I read from other owners. I probably need to get use to it.


Again, thank you all for your input, they are appreciated!
 

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Loan it for a weekend or a week. You won't want to return it :)

In 1.5 years, I've done 38.000+km, Lifetime consumption is at 0.65/100km. On the highway trip to Muenchen Germany and back (850km), fully charging at start and before going back, driving 130+km/h on autobahn 99% of the trip, fully loaded with 3 persons and luggage, driving over Alps with full autobahn speeds, we averaged 5.1l/100km.

Speed and navigation:


Trip back:


Overall cunsumption:
 
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