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Volt Buying Advice

3090 Views 14 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  jard1s
Hi Everyone,

I am considering buying a model year 2013 Volt and have looked at several cars, but I'm having a hard time deciding if I should take the Volt plunge and I'm hoping advice from this forum can help me out. If this is not the best forum to place my questions, I appreciate any suggestions pointing me to appropriate forum. Here are my questions/concerns:

1. One thing I've been trying to figure out but cannot find any specific information about is whether winter temperatures affect the gas driving range in any significant fashion. I know there is a lot of talk about how cold weather decreases the battery range, but I occasionally travel for work up to 340 miles round trip, so exceeding the battery range is going to be a given. So my question is, should I expect a decrease in the ICE range in colder temps? If so, by how much?

2. Though I am in the market for a car now, I happen to live in a condo building and I do not have a dedicated parking space or access to an electrical outlet into which I could plug the Volt on a daily basis. I hope to move to a house in approximately 9 months and before the Winter of 2017-18, but the Volt will be parked on the street for possibly one winter and possibly two winters (if my planned move doesn't pan out). I do not drive to work on a daily basis, so I would only be able to charge the battery when I occasionally travel for work and park at a public charging station (approximately 2 to 5 times a month). I know that I will not get the best mileage possible or even as good of mileage as a Prius, but that is not my primary concern. Rather, I've read about how the Volt needs to condition the battery, which occurs even when the car is not running, and to do that requires electrical energy. That is not a problem if the Volt is plugged in, but I am concerned about what happens if the battery is empty and the Volt is not plugged in. Though I've read in some forums that the Volt need never be plugged in, I'm not sure that's the best course of action is a fairly hostile (Midwest) climate. And though I know about battery conditioning, there may be other systems the Volt needs power for while the car is not running for maintenance. Though this is kind of long winded, I guess my concern boils down to this: Is it a bad idea to buy a Volt when I have to park it on the street, throughout one and possibly two winters (and hot summers), without access to an electrical outlet? Am I just being foolish for thinking I can own a Volt in my current situation, and I should just settle for a (yawn) Prius? ;)

I am excited about the thought of buying a Volt and joining a community of informed and passionate owners, but I'm not confident the Volt is the right car for me at this time and that I should turn my attention to more traditional hybrids. Thank you so much in advance for any input you may have.
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You do not seem to be an optimal Volt customer because your long-distance travels merely will cause you to carry around hundreds of pounds of batteries that add little to your fuel efficiency. Furthermore, you do not have adequate infrastructure to support the battery pack. Also, the Volt has a poor heating system at below-freezing temperatures. I also live in a condominium. The Homeowners Association is hostile to electric vehicles and banned me from plugging-in at the 110-volt outlets in the parking area. I must hike across my village to use a free charging facility. You should check on whether there is a free charging station in your vicinity, but that is unlikely in Illinois. Colorado has a slightly higher registration fee for electric vehicles which funds a grant program to encourage the installation of free charging stations at many public parking areas. Check the ChargePoint or Department of Energy sites for the locations of charging stations across the United States. I owned a 2007 Prius for eight years. Never a problem. 48 MPG. I considered a Prius plug-in, but the Toyota staff convinced me that Toyota was discontinuing the line. I bought a 2013 Volt for the same cost as I had purchased my Prius, both with around 10,000 miles on the odometer. Lifetime costs are similar. The up-side is the Volt is a great design for the future. I get the electricity for my daily commute free. The down-side is the inconvenience of hiking a half-mile to the charging station every night after two hours of charging. This is the fact the marketing team ignore when they tell you that you will be able to pass gas stations. You will skip the weekly trip to a gas station in exchange for the nuisance of plugging-in every night to an electric supply. The first year with the Volt, my average was 160 MPG. Then, I took a 4,000-mile trip with no access to electricity and burned 98 gallons of gasoline. Now, my lifetime average is 80 MPG. I really liked my Prius, enjoyed it for 8 years. I am not sure how many years I will keep the Volt. I may trade for upgraded technology. I may trade for a more aggressive adventure vehicle if a plug-in hybrid model comes along that can handle the boulders and potholes in any Forest Service road. Prius and Volt are extremely competitive in my mind. I would enjoy driving either.
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