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http://theweek.com/articles/774519/middle-class-doesnt-need-teslas-needs-chevy-volts

Nice to see the Volt getting some love. Even if the author gets some of the details wrong. For instance:

"[The Volt and Clarity] use the electrical system first and run down the charge. Only after its depleted do they switch over to the gas tank."

That's true for the Volt, but if I remember correctly, the Clarity will turn the ICE on when needed for power, even if the battery is fully charged.
 
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http://theweek.com/articles/774519/middle-class-doesnt-need-teslas-needs-chevy-volts

Nice to see the Volt getting some love. Even if the author gets some of the details wrong. For instance:

"[The Volt and Clarity] use the electrical system first and run down the charge. Only after its depleted do they switch over to the gas tank."

That's true for the Volt, but if I remember correctly, the Clarity will turn the ICE on when needed for power, even if the battery is fully charged.
While that's true, I am somewhat willing to forgive the author for it as it's more true in the Honda Clarity than most PHEVs. I'd say it's a gloss over a minor detail that I can forgive, while the main point he makes is still true. If he had put the Prius Prime in the same article, I'd have some issues. Not getting into the details of the accelerator pedal detent on the Clarity in a short opinion piece is okay in my book.

The part I had a larger issue with was this:

"To charge a plug-in hybrid in a single night or work day, you'll often need a 240-volt outlet. Not all home garages come with these (the 120-volt outlets are more common) and they can be a hassle to install. If you live in an apartment or condo complex and park in a lot or big garage, you're completely out of luck. Same for parking at the office."

The problem, of course, is that this is simply not true, particularly given the premise of the article, that the average consumer needs around 40 miles of EV range with a buffer. It perpetuates a major myth that I think keeps people away from these cars. This is specifically the reason why I find a Volt or Clarity an easier sell to a first time EREV/PHEV/BEV buyer. There is truly no need for additional home electronic system upgrades for the great majority of users. It takes 13 hours to charge from empty to full, and most times, you're not starting on empty, so it's far less. Get home at 6:30pm, plug into your regular old, already in your garage 120V, 3 prong outlet, and you are ready to leave by 7:30am the next day. Even if you don't have the benefit of a full 13 hours, you will charge the battery to a point where 90%+ of your commute is electric.

As a recent Volt buyer, my investment in electrical upgrades has been $10.72 for a lockable weatherproof while in use outlet cover. This was only required because my home doesn't have a garage. I do not plan to make any upgrades to my home electrical system (unless we spring for solar - which I was looking at independently of the Volt) during my ownership of the Volt, and my experience of the vehicle is not suffering in the slightest.
 

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The Volt has always been the more pragmatic choice is a 'green' car:

Requires no infrastructure.
Has enough acceleration when fully loaded to be safe.
Good handling.
Affordable.
No range issues, ever. Not even in West Texas.
 

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While that's true, I am somewhat willing to forgive the author for it as it's more true in the Honda Clarity than most PHEVs. I'd say it's a gloss over a minor detail that I can forgive, while the main point he makes is still true. If he had put the Prius Prime in the same article, I'd have some issues. Not getting into the details of the accelerator pedal detent on the Clarity in a short opinion piece is okay in my book.

The part I had a larger issue with was this:

"To charge a plug-in hybrid in a single night or work day, you'll often need a 240-volt outlet. Not all home garages come with these (the 120-volt outlets are more common) and they can be a hassle to install. If you live in an apartment or condo complex and park in a lot or big garage, you're completely out of luck. Same for parking at the office."

The problem, of course, is that this is simply not true, particularly given the premise of the article, that the average consumer needs around 40 miles of EV range with a buffer. It perpetuates a major myth that I think keeps people away from these cars. This is specifically the reason why I find a Volt or Clarity an easier sell to a first time EREV/PHEV/BEV buyer. There is truly no need for additional home electronic system upgrades for the great majority of users. It takes 13 hours to charge from empty to full, and most times, you're not starting on empty, so it's far less. Get home at 6:30pm, plug into your regular old, already in your garage 120V, 3 prong outlet, and you are ready to leave by 7:30am the next day. Even if you don't have the benefit of a full 13 hours, you will charge the battery to a point where 90%+ of your commute is electric.

As a recent Volt buyer, my investment in electrical upgrades has been $10.72 for a lockable weatherproof while in use outlet cover. This was only required because my home doesn't have a garage. I do not plan to make any upgrades to my home electrical system (unless we spring for solar - which I was looking at independently of the Volt) during my ownership of the Volt, and my experience of the vehicle is not suffering in the slightest.
The investment in a level 2 EVSE isn't that great, I spent about a $1000 bucks on mine, $600 for the ClipperCreek and $375 to run a 240V line have have the CC installed. It's money well spent because it's so much more convenient to have a permanently install EVSE not to mention the faster charging times. My EVSE is installed on the side of my house next to th driveway, I don't have a garage either.
 

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While I lived with the 120V outlet in my garage for two years and had no issues charging my 2012 Volt, I did run into a problem (melted the outlet) will post photo when I get home, but it was dangerous and could have caused a fire. So I had it fixed but immediately got an estimate on a 240V/30amp dedicated circuit. I paid $518 to a union electrician to run 85 ft of 10/3, replace the breaker and then install a Clipper Creek LCS-25 I bought for $389. So my total was less than $900. Funny when fully depleted I can fully charge my 2017 Volt in a little over 4 hours. I have timed it several times and it averages 4hr and 10m. I know a Tesla will show how many "mph" it's charging at I wish the Volt would display the same info.

My three Volt's (all registered on VoltStats under Patty Wagen, BAZINGA and now Von Zipper) have been driven almost 65K miles as my DD and am averaging over 95% electric. The Volt has to be the best way for the average Joe to experience EV driving.
 
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The investment in a level 2 EVSE isn't that great, I spent about a $1000 bucks on mine, $600 for the ClipperCreek and $375 to run a 240V line have have the CC installed. It's money well spent because it's so much more convenient to have a permanently install EVSE not to mention the faster charging times. My EVSE is installed on the side of my house next to th driveway, I don't have a garage either.
I don't disagree. It's a great investment if you have the means. I think an L2 EVSE would be a good investment for a lot of people, and maybe one day I'll get one, too. But in an article that pitches an already complex car to the middle class based on price and practicality, it's not helpful to raise this relatively expensive non-issue as an obstacle to adoption.

It seems like the author was forced to create some kind of a downside argument, and did a quick search for problems with electric vehicles and threw this in there. The whole article is about comparison to Tesla, where you really DO need the 240V charging capability.
 

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I don't disagree. It's a great investment if you have the means. I think an L2 EVSE would be a good investment for a lot of people, and maybe one day I'll get one, too. But in an article that pitches an already complex car to the middle class based on price and practicality, it's not helpful to raise this relatively expensive non-issue as an obstacle to adoption.

It seems like the author was forced to create some kind of a downside argument, and did a quick search for problems with electric vehicles and threw this in there. The whole article is about comparison to Tesla, where you really DO need the 240V charging capability.
I dunno, if you are driving less than 40 miles per day it makes no difference whether you are driving a Volt or a Tesla. The time needed to replace the amount energy needed to travel 40 miles would be approximately the same. Sure, a full charge in the Tesla would be impractical at 120V but you always have the option of using L2 charging or even a Tesla SuperCharger assuming one is not located too far from your location. Every Tesla vehicle comes with a Tesla Mobile Connector. This is a Level 1 / Level 2 combination EVSE that can be used with a 120V 5-15 outlet or a 240V 14-50 receptacle for charging at 30 amps. Other power plug adapters are available.
 

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I dunno, if you are driving less than 40 miles per day it makes no difference whether you are driving a Volt or a Tesla.
This is a very key point about charging capability that most people don't seem to understand. Maybe it has to do with American excess. For example, we have huge hot water tanks sitting idle 80% of the time. Sure you need to be able to fill that big tub with water, but you don't do that 3 times/day. Usually you just take a shower with only a few gallons of hot water.

Even if you come home from a long trip with an empty Bolt and you can only fill it to 50 miles overnight, if you have a reasonable commute, over a couple of nights your car will be full again. When was the last time anyone went to the gas station every day to ensure their tank remained full???
 

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There is truly no need for additional home electronic system upgrades for the great majority of users.
I'm going to pick a small nit here.

All six people I personally know (seven if you count me) who has gone PHEV and used level one charging has eventually had to "upgrade" the electrical socket in their garage with something beefier just due to the sustained current draw.

Not a big deal and not very expensive, but one of those fine points that is fairly important because, well, FIRE! LOL.

Hence I wrote this PSA a while back... Primer: Level 1 Volt charging and your home electrical system

Having said that though, I do understand your point that a significant percentage of folks don't actually -need- lev 2 charging for a Volt.
 

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In the year I've owned my Volt I can count on two fingers (today will be the third time) where I would have benefited from a L2 charger at home. At this rate the payback on the L2 charger will never occur.
 

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Yes, Tesla is almost 8 years behind GM so far in offering a reasonably affordable, practical electric car.

Here up north the Volt never got caught up in political debate. It's just recognized for what it is: a good, practical electric car (with a back-up gas engine). Thus one out of every four of Canada's 57,000 plug-in vehicles is a Volt.
 

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In the year I've owned my Volt I can count on two fingers (today will be the third time) where I would have benefited from a L2 charger at home. At this rate the payback on the L2 charger will never occur.
Ditto. I think for me the total is still 2 for a year.

I may still eventually get one as a new toy. But there is definitely no hurry.
 
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I'm going to pick a small nit here.

All six people I personally know (seven if you count me) who has gone PHEV and used level one charging has eventually had to "upgrade" the electrical socket in their garage with something beefier just due to the sustained current draw.

Not a big deal and not very expensive, but one of those fine points that is fairly important because, well, FIRE! LOL.

Hence I wrote this PSA a while back... Primer: Level 1 Volt charging and your home electrical system

Having said that though, I do understand your point that a significant percentage of folks don't actually -need- lev 2 charging for a Volt.
As someone who has a relatively old house with somewhat hacked together wiring system in the basement, I think I'm going to make sure tonight that my outdoor outlet is on its own circuit rather than daisychained through 5 others. Luckily my commute is such that I can usually get by with 8A charging until I get this fully checked out. Other than copper wiring and an independent circuit, anything I should be looking for as far as wire gauge/thickness sufficient for 12A charging?

Of note, I have used 12A a few times without incident, but I'd rather not risk it until I'm sure we're in good shape.
 

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I'm going to pick a small nit here.

All six people I personally know (seven if you count me) who has gone PHEV and used level one charging has eventually had to "upgrade" the electrical socket in their garage with something beefier just due to the sustained current draw.

Not a big deal and not very expensive, but one of those fine points that is fairly important because, well, FIRE! LOL.

Hence I wrote this PSA a while back... Primer: Level 1 Volt charging and your home electrical system

Having said that though, I do understand your point that a significant percentage of folks don't actually -need- lev 2 charging for a Volt.
The configuration of my townhouse makes is impossible - or at least financially impractical - to try to add a dedicated metered line to my garage as required by the power company for discounted rates. I'm on an electric co-op and only pay about $.12kwh which they would discount 50% with a dedicated line. I would never save enough to pay for trying to get a line to the garage, so at first I lived with an existing gfci 15 amp circuit in the garage. It ran a little to warm at 12A even with a new heavy duty outlet, and since my bedroom is above the garage, I charged at the 8A setting.

Then I discovered that in my city the homeowner can do their own electrical work if they obtain a permit and have a city inspector sign off on the work. I added a dedicated 20A gfci circuit to the garage at a total cost of less than $70, and now charge at 12A. I don't have any immediate need for L2 charging, but did wire the outlet with 10/3 cable with the idea it could become a 240V outlet just by changing the breaker and outlet if needed in the future.

L1 charging adequately meets my needs and lifestyle. I just plug the car in when I come home and forget it. Like others, I doubt if I could have benefited from L2 more than a couple times this last year. I know there are threads that say I can use my L1 EVSE on 240 by using an adapter, but that seems a little shady to me - and like I say, I sleep upstairs!
 

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It was a good start to the article, but it kind of fell apart at the end with the charging discussion. With a 40-50 mile range vehicle, the advantage over the 300 mile range all electric is that you CAN charge overnight on 120V.

The Volt has been around long enough that I really wish this article would have talked about buying them on the used market. That's where you can get the benefit of going with a Volt, without the high costs. To buy a 3 year old car with 5 years of Voltec warranty and 2 years of powertrain left for 45% of the original price of the car is a great value. Add in fuel savings of about $50-$70 a month, and reduced maintenance costs, and it's an even better value. My electric range works for about 85-90% of my driving. With gas prices now averaging $3 a gallon in Michigan again, my used Volt feels like an even better choice.

Jonesy9020, with regard to your question, your wiring should be at least 14 gauge copper on a 15A circuit breaker for 12 amp charging, with no other loads on the receptacle. A 20A circuit breaker with 12 gauge wiring is fine too, and would allow you to have 4 amps (480 watts) of other loads on that circuit without potentially tripping the breaker. I would recommend a heavy duty or Hospital grade receptacle (it's just built better with more metal and better clamping on the plug) for the outlet. It means a $7-$10 duplex receptacle instead of a $1 one. My house is very old (1834), but I'm lucky in that my panel and wiring between the service and the garage/240V charging station are all less than 10 years old, and I have new GFCI/AFCI breakers on any older wiring in the house and AFCI breakers on all the new wiring.
 

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"The middle class doesn't need Teslas. It needs Chevy Volts."

The investment in a level 2 EVSE isn't that great, I spent about a $1000 bucks on mine, $600 for the ClipperCreek and $375 to run a 240V line have have the CC installed. It's money well spent because it's so much more convenient to have a permanently install EVSE not to mention the faster charging times. My EVSE is installed on the side of my house next to th driveway, I don't have a garage either.
Same here, no garage, but I spent about $1000 for two portable (similar style to the Oem GM) 16A EVSEs and running two 240 40 amp line outlets on the outside of my house about 15 feet from the driveway. I do have to hook them up via extension cords to our lockable outdoor shed to secure them, and that’s the one inconvenience I have in the set up, but it works to quickly recharge both of our volts. Not at all necessary, but I think it was worth it. Absolutely increased the flexibility in use and maximizes our Ev operations. Maybe someday I will figure out a better solution for exterior more “permanent” EVSEs. But it’s absolutely true that almost no one really would “need” to run a 240 line to properly charge the Volt for normal daily commuting usage.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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In the year I've owned my Volt I can count on two fingers (today will be the third time) where I would have benefited from a L2 charger at home. At this rate the payback on the L2 charger will never occur.
I've owned our Volt less than 3 weeks and there have already been multiple occasions where it would have been nice to have an L2 charger. We're a 3 driver household with 2 vehicles. Whether it would pay for itself in a reasonable amount of time is a different question but I'd suggest that the decision to buy a Volt in the first place isn't really about payback, it's about using electricity to get around rather than gas, but being able to use gas when the juice is gone. Still, I want to avoid using gas if I can !

If I had the financial means, I'd buy a Tesla or maybe a Bolt. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with the Volt. I like it a lot, but I'd prefer something with a less complex drivetrain and that had enough electric range that I didn't need to worry about extending it with a gas engine.

But that's what the article addresses, those people for whom an expensive all electric vehicle doesn't make financial sense. I bought a 6 year old Volt. A bargain I hope. Even a new Volt or Bolt costs more than I want to spend on a vehicle, let alone a new Tesla
 

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I was fine with L1 with my Gen 1, 3-year lease, but I elected to go L2 along with solar and a new Gen 2. None of that stands up to a detailed economic analysis, but for convenience (recharging during the day on week-ends, etc.) reduced gas consumption by 'topping' off in the garage and the joy of driving a state-of-the-art (Voltec) electric....priceless.
 
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As someone who has a relatively old house with somewhat hacked together wiring system in the basement, I think I'm going to make sure tonight that my outdoor outlet is on its own circuit rather than daisychained through 5 others. Luckily my commute is such that I can usually get by with 8A charging until I get this fully checked out. Other than copper wiring and an independent circuit, anything I should be looking for as far as wire gauge/thickness sufficient for 12A charging?

Of note, I have used 12A a few times without incident, but I'd rather not risk it until I'm sure we're in good shape.
My recommendation is to hire an electrician to come in and advise you. Given the potential fire hazard it is, IMO, money well spent. They may only charge you a trip charge which shouldn't be too much. IMO, well worth the peace of mind.
 

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It's a very interesting article. I agree with the overall sentiment. I think the overall key is that the price of batteries have to come down in order for plug in cars to be more widely adopted. It's not just about the cost to the buyer, the automakers need to be able to make money from them. As much money as they make from gas cars. I have also heard that the parts and service departments are important money makers for dealerships. EVs have less parts to go wrong on them. Take the Bolt for example. Nothing tells me that GM is all that interested in selling them. They start at $37,500. Other than the battery range, a Bolt is a $20,000 car. It's ugly and boxy, and it's interior is a ton of hard plastics. So, $37,500 is not appealing to buyers, and it's not appealing to GM from a profit standpoint. The Volt is different. It's a nicer looking car inside and out. But it's very small and nothing special. Again, too pricey to make sense for most people.

Tesla is different. As has been said, the $35,000 Model 3 was BS from the beginning. They can't make money selling the M3 for $35,000. I think they knew that, but saying you would get their beautiful, sexy M3 for $35,000 certainly worked. Got hundreds of thousands of people putting down deposits. They are selling as many as they can make now for $50,000.00. But that is still the luxury market.

I bought my used 2014 Leaf for $10,000. Because the range is so low, it's only viable as a second or third car. My family loves it. It has worked out great. We drive it first for every trip within it's range, which is most trips that we do. Even with expensive electricity here in CT, it was an excellent decision. We are a middle class family, educated on EVs. I got a Level 2 charger installed. Financially, to replace our next car, I still can't make a NEW EV work for us. The numbers don't add up.

I still see new EVs as a luxury. If the tax incentives go away, I'm not sure how anyone but Tesla will be able to sell many of them. That is until the price of batteries comes WAY down.
 
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