GM Volt Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone! I'm a newbie here :) I'm looking into leasing a Volt. I currently live in a rental with no garage so I'm trying to figure out if charging will work for me. We have a one car width driveway along the side of the house, with a gate to the backyard, the driveway continues past the gate into the yard. On the backyard side of the gate is the outlet I would use to charge. I am almost positive that the Volt is too wide to fit through the gate to park next to the outlet, and would have to be parked on the other side (front yard) of the gate to charge via extension cord. The gate is made of thick wood so I'm thinking of possibly trying to get the gate replaced by the owner, or paying to get a new gate that the car could fit through. If the owner vetoes that, would it be okay to charge via extension cord on a consistent basis? I've read other threads about using extension cords and am getting the impression that it would be OK to use an extension cord if it is the right size 14 and under, correct me if I'm wrong.

I would love to have a 240 unit installed at the house, but since it is a rental I think that probably will not go over well with the landlord (he's an ass).

If anyone has any input on the extension cord issue or convincing a landlord to instal the 240 charging unit please let me know!


Also - my employer said that charging units are 'in the works' so I could possibly get my charges at work 5 days a week and only use the extension cord set up at home during the weekends. I have a 6 mile commute. BUT they have no timeline as far as when the chargers will be installed or if they will cost money to use.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
8,680 Posts
Charging with an extension cord routinely is fine, as long as it's a suitably heavy cord (go to a home supply store like Home Depot or Lowe's and look for cards rated for 15 Amps continuous.) Because I don't like the box hanging from it's cord and I don't plan to permanently mount it, I've been charging on a 15' extension cord since I got the car.

As for 240V, where is the Dryer? If you have an electric dryer that is on that side of the house, you might be able to use one of the 240V chargers which plug in (like the EVSEUpgrade model I ordered or the SPX portable.) You'd have to unplug the dryer of course, and plug it in on laundry days. (Doubt it's worth it in a rental.)

Maybe you could persuade him to run a dedicated 240V line, either with a second dryer plug, or as a charger - tell him you'll pay for it and he's helping you save the planet?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
20,655 Posts
An extension cord with 12 gauge wire will be fine. Don't skimp by getting a 14 gauge wire. I've used a heavy duty 12 gauge extension cord with no issues. I now have a 50' one in a black duffle I throw in the Volt when I'm visiting a friend or relative for a few hours or more (I also pay them the going electric rate, which usually amount to a total of $0.50-$0.75 for the hours I'm charging). Consider a plastic box (with cord slot) to protect the charger and it's connection to the extension cord from rain/snow. I charged for 6 months using the 120v unit that came with the car as it will fully charge the car while you sleep. This is the least expensive solution for sure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
122 Posts
saghost, I just looked at that site you mentioned. Can they upgrade our 120volt chargers or only the leaf one?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,486 Posts
You can also charge 120V at lower-rate - 8Amps. This will make for longer overnight charges but doesn't overtax that circuit. If you can find the breaker switch on the switch panel for your outlet - look to see if it is 15A. If it is 20A, ask the landlord if you can switch the breaker to 15A so that you never overdraw on that circuit. In addition - you can replace the outside plug recepticle with a new one so the connection itself is stronger - get a GFCI receptical if possible.

Do you have a trade-in for this lease or are you coming off another lease?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,156 Posts
I really like Walter's idea of a 240V charger plugged into an outlet but, while a 240V charger is really nice to have, it's not strictly necessary with the Volt. The extension cord should be fine The only issue is how many outlets are on the circuit with the outside outlet you plan to use.

I use a 120V charger with the Volt and it's fine but I do have a 240V charger available. With a short 12 mile round trip commute you'll never need a long period to charge. It would probably be mostly useful on the weekend when you do multiple trips with in-between periods when you can charge. I wouldn't worry about a 20 amp circuit. In fact you may want one. The charger won't draw more power so a few extra amps on the wire will give you some leeway if there are outlets on the circuit.

If you do get a Volt be prepared for some serious fun! Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,694 Posts
Try getting a Volt test-drive for a day and try out the outlet to make sure it works with the 120V EVSE. You can also test to see if it fits through your gate.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
8,680 Posts
saghost, I just looked at that site you mentioned. Can they upgrade our 120volt chargers or only the leaf one?
At the moment they only upgrade the Leaf one - which works fine with Volts. So I bought an upgraded Leaf charger directly from them, and I'll be keeping the Volt one in the trunk for charging away from home.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
137 Posts
Hey JINX,
I'm in Atlanta, also. I used the provided charger with an extension cord for a few months and had no problems before upgrading to a 240v. I think MTN Ranger's idea of an overnight test drive of a Volt is a great idea to make sure the setup will work.

If you get the Volt, you will love driving around Atlanta in it.

Also, if you dont already have a dealer selected, I will be glad to provide you with the information for the dealership from which I leased my Volt. The salesperson was great and they can get a car transferred from any other dealership if they don't have the one you want in stock.

Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
442 Posts
If you don't know, you can download the Owner's manual in PDF from the Chevrolet website, and read the section regarding charging (I actually read the whole manual on my iphone prior to picking up the car while waiting in q-lines at Disney with the kids. My wife I asked what I was reading and when I told her, she just rolled her eyes).

I'll second buy a 12 gauge cord. (though the manual says you can use a 14 for certain lengths). If you buy a 12 gauge cord, you'll be able to use it a long time, for things other than the Volt too (most circular saws need a 12 gauge cord). It's only a little more money than a 14 gauge one. And get a good quality one that's nice and flexible. You'll regret a stiff vinyl one. Depending on where you live, theft may be a concern, so make sure you put it up.

With your 6 mile commute, 120V charging should be easy. I agree, the weekends you may want to charge faster, but if I had a rental, I wouldn't worry about it, and just use the gas if I ran out of juice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
For an extension cord, I would strongly recommend getting an extra heavy duty one such as the Home Depot Ridgid brand 8 gauge if you plan to charge with it for a permanant solution. This uber heavy duty one will pay for itself with the energy savings from less line resistance. Even with my 10 gauge heavy duty one, I can feel it warming up substantially, which equates to extra power use being disipated as heat. Even an 8 gauge 100 ft cord will only set you back about $120, which pales in comparison to the electricity saved. It is also far safer by avoiding any fire hazzard from resistance heating. One other thing to consider, is replacing the outlet recepticle with a high quality heavy duty one. These can be had for about 3 bucks at Lowes and about 15 mins of install time. Just my two cents worth.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
183 Posts
I use a 15-amp rated, 100-foot cord, off a dedicated plug on my 120V charger at 12-amp charge rate and it's working great. I'm going to move to a rental house soon and that garage will only be able to hold my racecar so my Volt won't be garaged anymore. I'm planning on getting those extension cord walk-over covers to keep from tripping on the outside charge cords.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Charging with an extension cord routinely is fine, as long as it's a suitably heavy cord (go to a home supply store like Home Depot or Lowe's and look for cards rated for 15 Amps continuous.) Because I don't like the box hanging from it's cord and I don't plan to permanently mount it, I've been charging on a 15' extension cord since I got the car.

As for 240V, where is the Dryer? If you have an electric dryer that is on that side of the house, you might be able to use one of the 240V chargers which plug in (like the EVSEUpgrade model I ordered or the SPX portable.) You'd have to unplug the dryer of course, and plug it in on laundry days. (Doubt it's worth it in a rental.)

Maybe you could persuade him to run a dedicated 240V line, either with a second dryer plug, or as a charger - tell him you'll pay for it and he's helping you save the planet?

Our dryer is on the opposite side of the house, inside our walk in closet, so that wouldn't really work I don't think.

I think I'll just get the best extension cord I can find and go with that.

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
You can also charge 120V at lower-rate - 8Amps. This will make for longer overnight charges but doesn't overtax that circuit. If you can find the breaker switch on the switch panel for your outlet - look to see if it is 15A. If it is 20A, ask the landlord if you can switch the breaker to 15A so that you never overdraw on that circuit. In addition - you can replace the outside plug recepticle with a new one so the connection itself is stronger - get a GFCI receptical if possible.

Do you have a trade-in for this lease or are you coming off another lease?

I have a vw gti that I own outright. I am planning on selling it and paying off some medical bills and using the rest towards my monthly payments on the volt. I don't make enough for the full tax credit so I think it makes more sense for me to do the lease option.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Try getting a Volt test-drive for a day and try out the outlet to make sure it works with the 120V EVSE. You can also test to see if it fits through your gate.
I've been thinking about doing this, I already test drove one at the dealer but I would like to be able to take it home for a day to see how feasible the charging situation is at our house. How do you convince the dealer to let you take it for a day?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hey JINX,
I'm in Atlanta, also. I used the provided charger with an extension cord for a few months and had no problems before upgrading to a 240v. I think MTN Ranger's idea of an overnight test drive of a Volt is a great idea to make sure the setup will work.

If you get the Volt, you will love driving around Atlanta in it.

Also, if you dont already have a dealer selected, I will be glad to provide you with the information for the dealership from which I leased my Volt. The salesperson was great and they can get a car transferred from any other dealership if they don't have the one you want in stock.

Good luck!
Greetings fellow Atlantan! Sending you a PM.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thank you for all the great advice everyone. I'm feeling a lot more confident that using an extension cord will be no big deal. Hopefully I'll be driving my volt soon !
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,694 Posts
I've been thinking about doing this, I already test drove one at the dealer but I would like to be able to take it home for a day to see how feasible the charging situation is at our house. How do you convince the dealer to let you take it for a day?
My dealer offered the overnight test drive. If you are serious about purchasing from them, they should let you have it. Tell them why you need to do it and also mention that it's a big purchase.
 
Joined
·
3,606 Posts
@JinxRemoving

Glad to hear you may be driving a Volt very soon! When using an extension cord to charge due to limited access to an outlet, the extension cord should be GFCI protected, 12 or 14 gage, 3 conductor, and rated for outdoor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Agree with all and....

I think you'll be fine with the 120V and a 12 Ga outdoor extension cord. testing to see if the charger will work on the plug you're thinking about is critical, so the test drive thing is a good idea. you'll need to see all steady green lights, and the car needs to charge for at least, say, 10 minutes so you know that the underlying electrical infrastructure is all good.

With a rental house, I can assume you don't want to spend a dime on it if you don't have to. With you not liking your landlord, chances of you being at this house the whole time of the lease seems rather low, so you'll have to consider the risk that even if this plug works for you, maybe the next one won't--what will you do then? Imagine spending $500 on a 240V charger and then having no place to plug it in? Finally, the idea of a box to protect the charger is a good one, but having a longer extension cord and just running the cord through the car's window(so the charger is inside the car) seems possible as well. I would imagine atlanta has a bit of rain, so you definitely don;t want it on the ground. Finally, i have been using the 120v charger for 4 months, i think its fine.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top