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Discussion Starter #1
I've been lurking on this forum for a while but now finally own a 2017 Volt. I held off on buying a Volt until the new body style came out but was not blessed to live in one of the "CARB" states so I had to wait for the 2017's. I also held off a little longer until it could be built with adaptive cruise control. I have had it for about 3 weeks and am very happy---both about the car itself and the information I have obtained from this forum. I joined so I could share any insight I have about this new vehicle that might benefit others and hopefully add to the base of knowledge already here.

About me, I have owned many hybrids and BEV's over the years. Hybrids started with an original Gen 1 Prius that led to owning 4 more over the years. Also owned a 2006 Honda Insight. As far as BEV's are concerned I have owned a Grumman Kurbwatt postal vehicle, three Chevrolet S10-E pickups (one lead-acid, two NiMH), a 2002 Toyota Rav4-EV, two Nissan LEAF's, two Mitsubishi I-MiEV's and finally a Tesla Model S. I also drive CNG powered vehicles and have owned several over the years. I actually traded in the Model S for a 2015 CNG Impala and the 2017 Volt which are the two cars I currently drive. I like the technology and have watched (and driven) the improvements over the years which are now allowing hybrids and BEV's to become mainstream vehicles. Every one is an improvement over the previous generation and that's great. Thanks for allowing me to join into your community!
 

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I've been lurking on this forum for a while but now finally own a 2017 Volt. I held off on buying a Volt until the new body style came out but was not blessed to live in one of the "CARB" states so I had to wait for the 2017's. I also held off a little longer until it could be built with adaptive cruise control. I have had it for about 3 weeks and am very happy---both about the car itself and the information I have obtained from this forum. I joined so I could share any insight I have about this new vehicle that might benefit others and hopefully add to the base of knowledge already here.

About me, I have owned many hybrids and BEV's over the years. Hybrids started with an original Gen 1 Prius that led to owning 4 more over the years. Also owned a 2006 Honda Insight. As far as BEV's are concerned I have owned a Grumman Kurbwatt postal vehicle, three Chevrolet S10-E pickups (one lead-acid, two NiMH), a 2002 Toyota Rav4-EV, two Nissan LEAF's, two Mitsubishi I-MiEV's and finally a Tesla Model S. I also drive CNG powered vehicles and have owned several over the years. I actually traded in the Model S for a 2015 CNG Impala and the 2017 Volt which are the two cars I currently drive. I like the technology and have watched (and driven) the improvements over the years which are now allowing hybrids and BEV's to become mainstream vehicles. Every one is an improvement over the previous generation and that's great. Thanks for allowing me to join into your community!
Wow you have so much knowledge and actual experiences to share! Welcome! I am on my third Volt already, the other two Volts were given to my daughter (MY 2011) and son (MY 2013) so that I can have the latest 2017 model :). I have owned Toyota Sienna, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Camry, Plymouth Voyager, Nissan, Hyundai, Chevy Cruze, Volvo, Ford Ranger Truck... All I can say that American Engineering has now surpassed the imports at least with the Volt since 2011.
 

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I've been lurking on this forum for a while but now finally own a 2017 Volt. I held off on buying a Volt until the new body style came out but was not blessed to live in one of the "CARB" states so I had to wait for the 2017's. I also held off a little longer until it could be built with adaptive cruise control. I have had it for about 3 weeks and am very happy---both about the car itself and the information I have obtained from this forum. I joined so I could share any insight I have about this new vehicle that might benefit others and hopefully add to the base of knowledge already here.

About me, I have owned many hybrids and BEV's over the years. Hybrids started with an original Gen 1 Prius that led to owning 4 more over the years. Also owned a 2006 Honda Insight. As far as BEV's are concerned I have owned a Grumman Kurbwatt postal vehicle, three Chevrolet S10-E pickups (one lead-acid, two NiMH), a 2002 Toyota Rav4-EV, two Nissan LEAF's, two Mitsubishi I-MiEV's and finally a Tesla Model S. I also drive CNG powered vehicles and have owned several over the years. I actually traded in the Model S for a 2015 CNG Impala and the 2017 Volt which are the two cars I currently drive. I like the technology and have watched (and driven) the improvements over the years which are now allowing hybrids and BEV's to become mainstream vehicles. Every one is an improvement over the previous generation and that's great. Thanks for allowing me to join into your community!
Welcome to the forum. Just my $0.02 but you have made a good choice waiting for the MY17 with ACC.

Being that you've owned many other plug in vehicles, how you would you compare the 2017 Volt? How is it better or worse than the others you've owned?
 

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About me, I have owned many hybrids and BEV's over the years. Hybrids started with an original Gen 1 Prius that led to owning 4 more over the years. Also owned a 2006 Honda Insight. As far as BEV's are concerned I have owned a Grumman Kurbwatt postal vehicle, three Chevrolet S10-E pickups (one lead-acid, two NiMH), a 2002 Toyota Rav4-EV, two Nissan LEAF's, two Mitsubishi I-MiEV's and finally a Tesla Model S. I also drive CNG powered vehicles and have owned several over the years. I actually traded in the Model S for a 2015 CNG Impala and the 2017 Volt which are the two cars I currently drive. I like the technology and have watched (and driven) the improvements over the years which are now allowing hybrids and BEV's to become mainstream vehicles. Every one is an improvement over the previous generation and that's great. Thanks for allowing me to join into your community!
Welcome to the forum! I'd say welcome to Volt ownership too, but I'm not there yet myself!

Given that most of these cars must have been in the past 15 years or so, you obviously don't keep cars very long!? (My wife and I collectively have owned 6 in that time frame). But that's okay, this forum could definitely benefit from your insight into your new Volt as compared to these other vehicles!
 

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Welcome to the forum, you will continue to find different ways to enjoy your new Volt
 

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Discussion Starter #7
In response to member realdb2 about how I felt about the 2017 Volt compared to other plug ins I have owned I guess I would have to say this is the first "plug in" or "extended range" vehicle I have owned. All the rest have been either gasoline fueled hybrids or pure battery electric vehicles. I would say the reason I wanted the new Volt was to experience the resulting combination of the two vehicle types in one vehicle. Ever since I bought the first Prius (which was a wrecked 2001 bought in the same year to disassemble to see how it worked) I have been fascinated about the ability to recover waste energy from vehicle braking and/or recovering energy while driving in hilly terrain. Having owned both the Prius with the power split device approach they used and the simpler Honda IMA (integrated Motor Assist) solution I was able to evaluate the benefits of each approach. I owned electric's well before the hybrids starting with lead-acid, brushed DC motor drive systems. I always wanted a EV-1 but like almost everyone else in the world could not get one. The next best thing was the Chevrolet S10-E which used the front wheel drive system out of the EV-1. I got my hands on one 1997 with lead-acid batteries and two 1998's with the then "new" NiMH batteries. Those were start for me toward a practical EV. Next came the first really complete EV which was a 2002 Rav4-EV. There were about 330 sold or leased to the public in 2002 and early 2003 mostly in California. As 2005 rolled around I knew many would be coming off lease and Toyota allowed leaseholders to buy them. Most did as they brought a lot higher price on the used market than the lease residual. I was able to snag one by trading my brand new Prius plus cash for one. For its time, the Rav4-EV with it's Panasonic EV-95 NiMH batteries was the only truly viable EV out there. It had all the things you would expect on a normal vehicle, it was a crossover SUV so it could carry passengers and/or cargo and it had a range that is just now being surpassed by current BEV's. 100 miles on a charge at highway speeds with the A/C blasting was not a problem. Although it was running perfectly, I was worried about maintenance and spare parts. Toyota did a wonderful job keeping them on the road by taking lease returns that did not sell and using them to maintain a parts inventory. But I sold it back to California and bought my first of two LEAF's. It was another step up from the Rav4 in every way except range and I finally got away from the GM Magnachargers that were on the S10's and the Rav4. If you think the new 1772 SAE EVSE connectors are a pain, try GMs large paddle or small paddle inductive chargers or the IR or RF communication systems. Nothing talked to nothing else and the EVSE (you know the little brick you plug in) was as big as a house and portable if you had a hand cart with you. At least the LEAF uses 1772 for AC charging and CHAdeMO for level 3 DC charging. Then there was the two I-MiEVs that I bought because after the tax credits they were almost free. Fun little car, 60 mile range if driven in the city but never found its niche. Named one of the 10 worst cars ever, it really wasn't. It was very well built, reliable, fun to drive but misunderstood by most people as to what it was intended for. Then finally, the Tesla model S. What can I say---it is the benchmark for the electric car. If they can pull off the Model 3 and keep it priced right, they will make it bigtime. If not, they will remain a luxury car builder selling into the high end market. And yes, I really traded in my Model S on the new Volt (and I got a CNG Impala in the deal).

So, today, the question about the 2017 Volt. To me it is culmination of all the cars I have owned. It is blend (in the best way) of the hybrid drive systems and a battery electric vehicle. The EV range of 53 miles (EPA) is far more useful than the 60 mile or 75 mile range on the I-MiEV or LEAF because you can drive to the rated range and not worry about a miscalculation causing you to push the car the last few hundred feet to a charger. People question the reasoning behind adding the weight of the range extending engine in the Volt instead of adding more batteries. I ask them why more batteries if you are just going to travel 50 miles a day anyway--what's the difference if your extra battery (weight) is a generator? To me, I prefer a bi-fuel vehicle that gives me the choice of what I want to use to drive the vehicle instead of being locked into either electricity or gasoline. I like hybrids for their energy recovery. I like EV's for the smooth, quiet ride they give and the linear power delivery from the electric motor. I like a quality vehicle like the Tesla that surrounds you with safety and convenience features. The paint, fit and finish and basic quality of the new Volt is outstanding. It gives you all the things the other cars did in one car and the Volt does this at a great price point. Some small points not to take away from the Gen 1 Volts (or their owners) but I never liked the engine in the Gen 1. It's requirement for premium gasoline, weight and low fuel economy begged for a better solution like the new DFI engine in the Gen 2. The Gen 2 also gave the engineers time to package the Voltec drive system better. I do think that GM missed the mark by not offering a 6 KW charger or larger in the Gen 2. I know they said they had their reasons but it doesn't make sense. A couple of points--limited time charging opportunities are missed, chargers are tied up longer than needed. Another point is that in a pre-heat situation, the power from the onboard charger will not provide enough power to fully run the HVAC system without using some battery power. Other than that (and maybe were is the Homelink?) its a home run. It will be interesting to see other adaptions of the Voltec drive such as the Hybrid Malibu with its awesome fuel economy. Or the upcoming Bolt for those seeking a compact SUV type vehicle. Good times ahead.
 

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Congratulations and welcome! Based on your experience I would say you have one of the most varied and experienced backgrounds surrounding alternative fueled vehicles. While I consider myself an automotive enthusiast I was not necessarily an EV or hybrid one - I purchased my Volt about a month ago and it was a bit of a whim purchase - now that I've experienced it - I'm sold. I love the quiet drive, the instant torque, it really promotes "point and squirt" driving which I probably take too much advantage of.

I'm curious - you mentioned owning CNG powered vehicles - what are your thoughts on those? What are your thoughts on hydrogen power vehicles? I'm literally in awe of the potential advances in electric vehicles that I can't quite grasp the appeal of CNG or Hydrogen powered vehicles.

I'm going to test drive a 2017 this weekend - I won't be buying one anytime soon but I'd love to compare it with my 2013.

Thanks - and welcome again.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
To answer member DZD's question about CNG vehicles, a short background then what I think. I got interested in CNG when gasoline prices were sky high and before shale production in the US and Canada effectively (for the near future) crushed OPEC's control of crude oil pricing. Regardless of the price or availability of gasoline, the bulk the natural gas in the US comes from either this country or Canada. Therefore, when using CNG, I am not supporting people who want to kill me. When the government wanted to increase the amount of alternative fuel vehicles being produced, they required federal agencies to buy a percentage of their vehicles that would run on an alternative fuel. This led to production by the "big 3" of factory equipped CNG cars and trucks. More to the point of this forum it also led GM to produce the S10-E electric pickup which furthered the development of the then state of the art NiMH battery and that knowledge and engineering staff then led to the possibility of the future Volt. GM built some great factory (built on the assembly line) CNG vehicles culminating with the '03 and '04 Eco-Tec engine equipped Cavaliers and the later 6 liter engine light trucks. Both of these were fuel injected which was a change from the old fumigation CNG and propane systems used in the past. Honda also built the Civic which continued in production until this year. The death of all of this development (alternative fuels in general including EV's and PHEV's) happened when the ethanol lobby stepped in and said hey we are an alternative fuel so E-85 capable vehicles should qualify. So, because E-85 vehicles were cheap to make and you didn't have to do anything but put fuel in it regardless if it was E-85 or not, the government only bought E-85 vehicles to meet the mandate and everything else in development or production stopped. I have owned several CNG vehicles made by GM over the years. Most of the early ones came from government auctions and were Cavaliers and Vans. I also owed a CNG Civic and a late model (2013) Silverado pickup. I currently own a 2015 CNG Impala which I bought as a demo for far less than a standard Impala because nobody wanted them. End of the line.

My opinion about CNG and it's future is this. Because of costs and ROI for passenger cars and light trucks it's a dead end. A couple of things are causing this and I have also expressed my opinion on the cngchat.com forum where I am a member. First, like early electric vehicles, is the lack of fueling (charging) infrastructure. This was being addressed to some degree until fuel prices dropped. At this point in time you need a bi-fuel (CNG and gasoline) vehicle to make sure you could get to your destination. All my vehicles were bi-fuel which leads to the next problem--vehicle cost. The CNG system costs a lot of money to build. The high pressure storage tank is expensive, heavy and it's design cannot be changed from a cylinder shape so it is hard to put in a car or light truck without taking up useful cargo space. The option cost for the Impala and the pickup raised the price nearly $10,000 over a non CNG vehicle. To make it viable, the extra cost in the system must be offset by something else which would be lower operational costs. Currently this is not the case, in fact it is almost the opposite. Natural gas prices are fairly stable and are usually controlled by various states public utility commissions. This is good when there is volatility in the market but not so when the competitive fuel is in free fall. CNG on the road costs the same or more than an equivalent amount of gasoline (CNG is sold in GGE's--gasoline gallon equivalent--based on BTU content). One last thing, where CNG might be still useful, like in fueling heavy class 7 or 8 trucks, LNG not CNG is the preferred fuel. LNG (liquefied natural gas) works well as the amount of volume to store the same BTU's of energy as a liquid is much, much smaller. The problem for a light vehicle user using LNG is that it is stored a very low temperatures and will boil off if not used before the temperature rises. Not so much of a problem for fleets that can plan their fuel loads for each vehicle but a big problem for someone who may or may not drive a certain distance and use the fuel.

Another long post but a lot of ground to cover. I guess the success of the BEV, or in the case of the Volt which is in reality a PHEV, has led to the demise of other contenders which don't offer the benefits of the electric drive experience or the ease of refueling. The other contenders don't have someone like Elon Musk and Tesla out there changing the entire image of the product you are trying to sell. Say what you will about Tesla but it has forever changed the perception of EV's from one of silly looking overpriced golf carts to something you would really consider buying and driving. Nissan and the LEAF and those that came before helped by raising the bar but Tesla pushed it over the top. Now, all the world's automakers are building or will be building PHEV's or BEV's unless they want to lose some of their customer base. The money will flow into charging infrastructure, battery design and vehicle development. It will not flow into other alternatives including hydrogen fuel cells except as something to appease a lobbying group. I remember a comment by a professor regarding hydrogen for automotive use. He said "Hydrogen will be a future fuel--always." I guess that is my feeling. Battery development will proceed and charging infrastructure increase until the range issue is reduced or eliminated. A hydrogen fuel cell car is really just a Volt with a range extending fuel cell stack instead of an IC engine. Hey, if they can get the cost of the stack down along with solving the problem of carrying hydrogen at 10,000 psi in the vehicle and put a refueling station every few miles because there is very little energy in a cubic foot of hydrogen then more power to them. By the time they solve all of that, Musk will be driving Tesla's on Mars.
 

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Thanks for the info - it was very informative. It is surprising to me to see some OEM's pursuing Hydrogen - I would think updating our infrastructure to allow for more solar panels or roads and bridges that capture kinetic energy and return electricity to the grid would further the cause and reduce the cost of electricity production making it the de facto choice in alternative fuels. Of course, with our crazy laws and lobbyists - there are probably some under the table incentives to push specific causes along. Let's hope we move towards simplicity and common sense.

Thanks again - enjoy the Volt!
 
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