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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
2015 And 2016 Volts On The Same Trip. The Performance Differences Were Dramatic.

We took our two Volts, 2015 and 2016, on a 250 mile loop trip from Durango, through Silverton, Ouray, Ridgeway and Telluride and back to Durango. It took 7 1/2 hours with many stops for sightseeing as we crossed over four passes, Coal Bank, Molas, Red Mountain and Lizard head, with big and repeated elevation changes between 6,500 and 11,000 feet.

Speed ranged from 15 MPH on some switchbacks to 65 MPH on a few open stretches. Both Volts had two passengers and travelled at the same speed. Both are stock except the 2015 has Bridgestone DriveGuard run flats. The 2016 tire pressure was 36 and the 2015 was 38. The 2015 has about 11,000 miles and the 2016 has about 5,000 miles. Both cars were in Mountain Mode until close to the end when they used up their remaining battery power. Both cars had the climate control set on auto, comfort (Max in the 2016), 70 degrees. The outside temperatures ranged from 40 to 78 degrees.

And here is how they performed:

2015 Battery - 31.6 miles, 10.5 KwH used, resulting in 3 m/KwH
2016 Battery - 52.2 miles, 14.7 KwH used, resulting in 3.5 m/KwH

2015 Gas - 218 miles, 5.55 gallons, resulting in 39.27 mpg
2016 Gas - 194.7 miles, 3.83 gallons, resulting in 50.83 mpg

2015 - Combined gas and battery - 44.9 mpg
2016 - Combined gas and battery - 64.9 mpg

(Note; there is a three mile difference between the cars because one took a little side trip to a store before coming home.)

The performance difference between the two cars is significant. Some of it can be attributed to the DriveGuards, which I have previously determined extracted about a 10% mileage penalty over the 2015 stock Goodyears. But that can only explain part of the difference. The 2016 got 16% more miles/KwH and 29% higher mpg over the 2015.

That is amazing. Apart from the tires, some can be attributed to the lower weight of the 2016 and maybe aerodynamics, but clearly the battery and electric motors in the 2016 are more efficient and the gas engine is dramatically more efficient.

Way to go Chevy. You took a great car and made it better in every way.
 

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An interesting single point of comparison. This is the sort of thing that makes me wish I had the time/finances et-al to repeat it multiple times and see if the results hold consistent.
 

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Excellent comparison! Thank you.

So the question I have regards a long trip like this. Some say that over 200 miles, it is more efficient to use a 50 mpg hybrid than the Volt. Would you agree?
 

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who was following who?

The gen1 volt (and probably gen2) drafts very well. On a highway, I have been able to increase gas mileage over 25% by following a tractor trailer or box truck at a safe distance (2 second rule).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Excellent comparison! Thank you.

So the question I have regards a long trip like this. Some say that over 200 miles, it is more efficient to use a 50 mpg hybrid than the Volt. Would you agree?
Nope. The 2015 got 44.9 MPG combined and the 2016 got 64.9 MPG combined. The only reason the 2015 was less than 50 MPG was the DriveGuards, which cost about 5 MPG combined on that trip. (They are on my wife's car and she loves them, both the quiet, handling, and security in the event to a flat.)
 

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Excellent comparison! Thank you.

So the question I have regards a long trip like this. Some say that over 200 miles, it is more efficient to use a 50 mpg hybrid than the Volt. Would you agree?
In my experiences, a Gen 3 Prius NEVER got even close to EPA MPG when traveling at interstate/highway speeds in Texas (75 MPH - 80 MPH). The best I could get was in the lower 40's. Perhaps the Gen 4 might be better, but the Volt is very close and has the benefit of ~50 miles gas-free. When you look at lifetime MPG for most Volt drivers, a Volt is 2x to 5x better.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
who was following who?

The gen1 volt (and probably gen2) drafts very well. On a highway, I have been able to increase gas mileage over 25% by following a tractor trailer or box truck at a safe distance (2 second rule).
There was no drafting. Cars were usually a couple hundred feet apart and different cars led at different times.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
An interesting single point of comparison. This is the sort of thing that makes me wish I had the time/finances et-al to repeat it multiple times and see if the results hold consistent.

I don't think the relative differences between the cars' performance would change from one trip to another but it is a trip worth repeating since it is one of the most scenic and spellbinding drives in the country. I've probably taken it ten times.
 

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Excellent comparison! Thank you.

So the question I have regards a long trip like this. Some say that over 200 miles, it is more efficient to use a 50 mpg hybrid than the Volt. Would you agree?
When the Gen 2 Volt was getting 50mpg? Huh, let me do the math...
 

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Part of the difference for your trip was the weight difference. With all those elevation changes vehicle weight becomes much more of a factor than it is on level ground. Thanks for the data! I love seeing posts like this :)

Keith
 

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Would be interesting if you could get as many variables as close as possible and repeat next time you're going to go.

E.g.
-swap passengers to get the weight the same, or redistribute some cargo (I'm talking additional weight on top of the car base weight, not overall weight)
-get the same run flats for the 2016 (or if you still have the LRR tires for the 15, use those) - seems like you like them on the 15 and may decide to get them for the 16 one day as well?
-stop your measurement at the same point for both (that extra side trip for one could have been the worst leg of the trip, or the best, for all we know)

Not much scientific data, but interesting comparison nonetheless. Thanks for sharing :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Would be interesting if you could get as many variables as close as possible and repeat next time you're going to go.

E.g.
-swap passengers to get the weight the same, or redistribute some cargo (I'm talking additional weight on top of the car base weight, not overall weight)
-get the same run flats for the 2016 (or if you still have the LRR tires for the 15, use those) - seems like you like them on the 15 and may decide to get them for the 16 one day as well?
-stop your measurement at the same point for both (that extra side trip for one could have been the worst leg of the trip, or the best, for all we know)

Not much scientific data, but interesting comparison nonetheless. Thanks for sharing :)
There was no cargo. Passenger weights were approximately the same. The 2015 side trip was three miles on the flat. Any differences are immaterial.

And I've measured the run flats against the Assurances. I have data for the 2015 with and without them. As I said it is approximately a 10% penalty, gas and battery, summer and winter. Of course the 2016 has Michelins.
 

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Gary,

Could part of the performance difference be attributable to differences in that other 't', driving technique? Did you and your wife swap cars at some point? Swap leader vs follower? Were both driven in D or both in L? Does one of you have a heavier foot than the other?

Thanks for posting your experiences.

KNS
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Gary,

Could part of the performance difference be attributable to differences in that other 't', driving technique? Did you and your wife swap cars at some point? Swap leader vs follower? Were both driven in D or both in L? Does one of you have a heavier foot than the other?

Thanks for posting your experiences.

KNS
No, we stayed close, but a safe driving distance, from each other. We never lost sight of each other. The driving technique was the same and we alternated cars. Each car was driven by at least two different drivers.
 

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No no no. The Gen2 Volt was doing 50.83, almost 51 mpg. :p

So if the other car is a 50 mpg hybrid...
Almost 51mpg is almost 20% better than the Volt's EPA rating, so if he was driving a hybrid rated at 50mpg then chances are he'd be getting almost 60mpg in it. So yeah, the hybrid would probably save gas overall on very long trips. But you can't really justify having a hybrid as a second car for those kinds of trips because the difference in gas costs are tiny compared to the cost of the car and its insurance, etc.
 

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Almost 51mpg is almost 20% better than the Volt's EPA rating, so if he was driving a hybrid rated at 50mpg then chances are he'd be getting almost 60mpg in it. So yeah, the hybrid would probably save gas overall on very long trips. But you can't really justify having a hybrid as a second car for those kinds of trips because the difference in gas costs are tiny compared to the cost of the car and its insurance, etc.
You're gonna have to go and get all serious on us, huh? :)

While the intent was clear, the quote says a 50 mpg hybrid, rather than a hybrid with a 50 mpg EPA rating...
 

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That is amazing. Apart from the tires, some can be attributed to the lower weight of the 2016 and maybe aerodynamics, but clearly the battery and electric motors in the 2016 are more efficient and the gas engine is dramatically more efficient.
I find that part interesting, because I remember reading some initial data that resulted in the opposite conclusion. The Gen 1 Volt's larger, more powerful primary motor should also be more efficient. It would be very difficult to just isolate the motor, though, because as you said, the Gen 1 is vastly improved in terms of battery chemistry and overall weight.

I know driving characteristics and conditions are different for us, but I've never gotten less than 3.5 miles/kWh in normal driving. The only times I've broken that barrier are high-speed freeway (> 70 mph) and significant grades (> 5%).
 

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Excellent comparison! Thank you.

So the question I have regards a long trip like this. Some say that over 200 miles, it is more efficient to use a 50 mpg hybrid than the Volt. Would you agree?
No. I just completed a hilly 220 mile trip and averaged over 50 mpg in a 2014 Volt and only used 3/4 battery. Driving in D with 38 psi tires. A/c in comfort. I see no advantage in a Prius.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I find that part interesting, because I remember reading some initial data that resulted in the opposite conclusion. The Gen 1 Volt's larger, more powerful primary motor should also be more efficient. It would be very difficult to just isolate the motor, though, because as you said, the Gen 1 is vastly improved in terms of battery chemistry and overall weight.

I know driving characteristics and conditions are different for us, but I've never gotten less than 3.5 miles/kWh in normal driving. The only times I've broken that barrier are high-speed freeway (> 70 mph) and significant grades (> 5%).
The 2016 got 3.5 m/kwh on this trip but in normal driving around Durango in the last month I've been getting 4.9 to 5.1. This trip involved steep mountain roads.
 
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