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Can the Volt be driven like a normal car and still be efficient? I like the idea of the Volt and would geek out over the data and hyper mile it for great efficiency (I’m an engineer) where my wife on the other hand is just going to jump in it and expect it to do what her normal ICE cars have done. She’ll drive it normal (as an ICE vehicle) , crank up the HVAC (we live in Michigan) to stay warm and not be entertained by the gizmos of the electric car experience. With this in mind I’m wondering if the volt will work for us or not as she’ll be the primary driver with a 40 mile round trip commute. She's interested in a volt. Info would be appreciated.
 

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The short answer is yes, it will be fine for that. You don't have to drive it in any special way. You just described my wife perfectly. She gets probably 15-20% less electric range than I do, but it still works fine for her and is overall still much more efficient than an ICE vehicle. The Volt is also a good option for people like that vs. a BEV, since she will never run out of range. Driving like that could probably get someone into a situation in a BEV.

The only real question is will she bother to plug it in every day. If not, then you will lose out on most of the benefit of the vehicle. But if she does, then it will be great.
 

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That's actually exactly what GM had in mind. A bunch of the decisions they made in the layout and operation of the car are entirely to ensure it seems natural that way and can be driven like a "normal" car - and still deliver great efficiency. That's actually the only reason is has a traditional gear shifter, for instance (aside from mechanically engaging the parking pawl, the shifter only tells the computers how to run the motors.)

Of course, if you want to obsess and get another 10 of 15% better efficiency, that's on you, but the car will support it. :)
 

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I’m in the same situation; I’m an engineer and love driving this car, but I told my wife “just get in and drive it, it will take care of the technology itself. She has, and enjoys it very much as well. It is, after all an entertaining care to drive.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

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My wife is afraid of my Volt and refuses to drive it. She avoids new tech with a passion. She just bought a Rav4 that came with radar cruise control and after a year, has never used it. She only uses the cruise when I'm a passenger and nag her "you're driving down an empty 6 lane road and not using cruise control?!?"
 

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Can the Volt be driven like a normal car and still be efficient? I like the idea of the Volt and would geek out over the data and hyper mile it for great efficiency (I’m an engineer) where my wife on the other hand is just going to jump in it and expect it to do what her normal ICE cars have done. She’ll drive it normal (as an ICE vehicle) , crank up the HVAC (we live in Michigan) to stay warm and not be entertained by the gizmos of the electric car experience. With this in mind I’m wondering if the volt will work for us or not as she’ll be the primary driver with a 40 mile round trip commute. She's interested in a volt. Info would be appreciated.
The Volt is designed to be driven the same as any other modern automobile. In Michigan you may want to put 4 snow tires on the Volt for winter driving. If you normally perform the vehicle maintenance for your autos then the Volt would be no different; check tire pressure, check fluid levels under the hood, fill with 87 octane regular gas. The only difference is that someone should remember to plug in the Volt each evening so the battery is charged by morning.

Once you get comfortable with the basics you will want to explore the Volt's other comfort and convenience features. The Volt provides 5 ways to stay warm in winter: heated seats and optional heated steering wheel, electric heat, engine assist heat starting at 35F, preconditioning the cabin (preferably while the Volt is plugged in.) When you do use gas in the Volt, either because you have depleted the battery's charge or you have chosen to use Hold mode to save the battery charge for later driving the Volt uses waste heat from the gas engine to warm the cabin. If you forget to charge the Volt, the entire 40 mile commute would use less than 1 gallon of gas.

Since your wife's commute is only 40 miles and Engine Assist Heat uses very little gas it is not an exaggeration to say that you may only need to fill the Volt's ~8.9 gallon fuel tank once a month or even longer between fill ups.
 

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I drive mine like any car. I have no interest in hyper miling and regularly take off in a "spirited" fashion. I always get about 56 miles per charge and end up returning home with some battery left every time so I see no point in hyper miling. I've used less than a tank of gas in a year.

Mike
 

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Another YES.......Engineer here as well. I have a 120 miles round trip commute and can charge at work so it made sense for my daily driver. I enjoy dicking around with the modes, tracking efficiency, etc..... My wife could care less about any of that crap, yet she steals my car any time I'm not planning on driving it to work. All of the evening/weekend running around, shopping trips, going out to dinner, it all gets done in the Volt. She was apprehensive about driving it at first, but once she found out that she could just drive it and ignore all of the behind the scenes techno gadgetry, she was 100% on board. If they made something with this drivetrain that was AWD and larger, we would replace our V8 Grand Cherokee in a heartbeat. I did have to walk her through putting gas in it last week (which side the fuel cap was on and how to unlock it). She has been driving it several times a week over the past 2+ years and we realized it was the first time she has ever had to put gas in it. Not bad considering I'm about to hit 63k miles on it.
 

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My wife is afraid of my Volt and refuses to drive it. She avoids new tech with a passion. She just bought a Rav4 that came with radar cruise control and after a year, has never used it. She only uses the cruise when I'm a passenger and nag her "you're driving down an empty 6 lane road and not using cruise control?!?"
My wife exactly. She drives our 2005 LS430 and loves it. The ride, the quietness, the room. She loves it.. I had her get in my Volt to drive it and after starting the car (didn't like the push button) she saw the displays and said "Nope, I'm good with my car..."

So, I drive the Volt and she enjoys our Luxury Barge...
 

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It's not AWD, but the Pacifica Hybrid is actually pretty similar to the Volt drivetrain (to the point I was thinking it was a licensed copy when they announced it, though later information makes that less likely.)
 

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It's not AWD, but the Pacifica Hybrid is actually pretty similar to the Volt drivetrain (to the point I was thinking it was a licensed copy when they announced it, though later information makes that less likely.)
The Pacifica Hybrid is a vastly underappreciated car. 84 MPGe for a 7 passenger, 5000 pound vehicle is simply excellent, and the car requires very few compromises other than giving up Stow & Go seats. That efficiency is extremely close to what the Ford Fusion Energi was getting a few years ago.
 

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It's not AWD, but the Pacifica Hybrid is actually pretty similar to the Volt drivetrain (to the point I was thinking it was a licensed copy when they announced it, though later information makes that less likely.)
While it may not be licensed, I suspect GM is receiving payment from FCA on every Pacifica Hybrid sold in the form of patent royalties.
 

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The genius of the Volt is that other than remembering to plug in each night, it's a regular car. The on-board computers are very, very good at keeping the car running as an EV and then very smoothly switch to gas when the battery is depleted. It's absolutley amazing how liberating it is to no have to go the gas station every week or two.
 

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It's not AWD, but the Pacifica Hybrid is actually pretty similar to the Volt drivetrain (to the point I was thinking it was a licensed copy when they announced it, though later information makes that less likely.)
Let me rephrase that......If they made something with this drivetrain that was AWD, larger, resembled anything other than a mini van, and isn't manufactured by Chrysler/Fiat, we would replace our V8 Grand Cherokee in a heartbeat. We have owned 2 Jeeps. The build quality on both is horrendous.
 

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The switch between the battery and the ICE is seamless so you don't have to think about it if you don't want to. The car is FWD so it needs snow tires in the winter but as long as you get a set it's fine in the snow. I try and use the heated seats and steering wheel and avoid the heater unless the windows are fogging up but if you don't care about battery range then you can just use the heater, in really cold weather I use the engine because heat is free with an ICE.

It seems everyone who has responded to this thread is an engineer, so am I, is there anyone in this group who isn't an engineer? I bought the Volt because I'm an engineer. I'm not a tree hugger and when I went car shopping in 2016 I had no thought about buying a hybrid let alone an EV, my previous car had a hemi. I test drove a Volt out of curiosity but when I did that I was blown away by how much better it was than a conventional car. It was immediately clear to me that internal combustion engines were obsolete and that electric motors were better in every way. As an engineer I also appreciated the compromises that GM's engineers had made in the Volt so that it would be a fully practical car when the current battery technology wasn't good enough to built a really long range purely electric car at anything like a reasonable price and when there isn't a decent charging network available. The Volt is just fine on gasoline alone, I get 45MPG, and GM put in a mode, called Mountain Mode, which keeps the battery at 20% full which allows you to get the full performance benefits of electric drive even if you have no access to charging. In August I took the Volt to Prince Edward Island Canada, that was a 2000 mile round trip on gasoline alone. Even though I couldn't plug it in on that trip I used Mountain Mode to keep enough electricity in my battery so that I could rocket around logging trucks when I needed to. In the US we have real highways so I don't do anything special, I just drive it normally because the performance is good enough even when the battery is empty.
 

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Can the Volt be driven like a normal car and still be efficient?
Short answer is yes. I like to fool around with the many Volt options and watch things like battery pack voltage, current and temperatures with my phone. My wife felt intimidated by all this activity so I told her, don't worry about all that, just jump in, turn it on, put it in drive and go. The only thing that is any different on our 2014 Volt from the car she normally drives is using Premium fuel, but this isn't and issue on the newer gen 2 Volts which use regular fuel. So before she drives it I remind her to put in premium fuel, but she loves to drive it too, and has specifically requested it for some of her trips.

bjrosen - is there anyone in this group who isn't an engineer?
Yeah, I'm an engineer too, but I think the concern is way more generic than this as most people especially women that I know seem to be intimidated by cars in general, and this just adds to their stress because it is something new. And of course I made things way worse because I am focused on some of the technical aspects of the vehicle.
 

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Agree with all the others, drive it like a normal car. ENJOY THE ACCELERATION! Use the energy gadgets if it's your thing.

BUT... you have to plan on charging every night or every day at work to make it worthwhile. The first question I get from people is "how long does it take to charge" and they're turned off when I say 4-6 hours depending on where I'm plugged in. The 2019 is faster but still hours. It will not refill the battery when you're driving on gas.

My wife loves it, doesn't know a kilowatt from a killer-what? She leaves it almost empty for me to charge at work. On weekends we charge overnight. If we need more capacity or go on a trip, we drive on gas. 1200 miles so far and still on my first tank.

If you don't plan on charging almost daily (standard outlet with good extension cord is fine overnight), then I think there are other 40mpg cars in every price range worth a look.
 

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Agree with all the others, drive it like a normal car. ENJOY THE ACCELERATION! Use the energy gadgets if it's your thing.

BUT... you have to plan on charging every night or every day at work to make it worthwhile. The first question I get from people is "how long does it take to charge" and they're turned off when I say 4-6 hours depending on where I'm plugged in. The 2019 is faster but still hours. It will not refill the battery when you're driving on gas.

My wife loves it, doesn't know a kilowatt from a killer-what? She leaves it almost empty for me to charge at work. On weekends we charge overnight. If we need more capacity or go on a trip, we drive on gas. 1200 miles so far and still on my first tank.

If you don't plan on charging almost daily (standard outlet with good extension cord is fine overnight), then I think there are other 40mpg cars in every price range worth a look.
The problem is how they're thinking about it.

The answer I usually give is ten seconds. Five to plug in when I get home, five more to unplug when I leave. How much of the time the car spends sitting there plugged in is spent charging is completely irrelevant to my life.

Another good approach would be to compare to your smartphone. Do they know how long the phone charges after they plug it in at night? Do they care, as long as it's ready the next day?
 

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If you don't plan on charging almost daily (standard outlet with good extension cord is fine overnight), then I think there are other 40mpg cars in every price range worth a look.
This is basically correct. While the Volt is a great car, if you are not going to charge it every night, then you have lots of other options in the 40mpg range that may be more to your liking.

But...NO, you should not be using an extension cord for your regular charging. If you don't have good access to an outlet on a circuit that's not overloaded, then you have to get an electrician to create this, or look at a different car.
 

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This is basically correct. While the Volt is a great car, if you are not going to charge it every night, then you have lots of other options in the 40mpg range that may be more to your liking.

But...NO, you should not be using an extension cord for your regular charging. If you don't have good access to an outlet on a circuit that's not overloaded, then you have to get an electrician to create this, or look at a different car.
If you buy an EV should should install a Level 2 EVSE, they aren't that expensive. A 32A Clipper Creek EVSE costs $600, there are cheaper models available including a bargain brand from ClipperCreek that's been discussed in another thread. I paid an electrician $375 to run a new 240V line and install by EVSE so all in less than $1000. When you consider that a Volt Premier stickers for $40K then an additional 1K is nothing. The advantage of a permanent EVSE, vs the cord that comes with the car, is that it's incredibly convenient. You pull into your driveway or garage, get out of the car and plug it in, takes a couple of seconds. With Level 2 the 2019 Volt will fully charge in 2 1/4th hours, the earlier models take 4 1/2 hours. The 4.5 hours is completely fine, from the time that you get home to the time that you leave in the morning there are at least 12 hours. In the summer I'm getting around 72 miles of range on my Volt, in the winter it's in the 40s because the snow tires take off 10% and the heater takes off a lot more. The point is that for ordinary use like commuting or shopping the Volt will be running on electricity without having to resort to using it's gas engine. For long trips it's the best performing hybrid, good MPG, I generally get 45 in the summer, and more importantly it still has electric performance. A Prius gets better MPG but it's frighteningly slow, the Volt is as quick as anyone needs a car to be and it still gets good gas mileage when you go long distances but for local driving it's a pure EV.
 
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