Clearly, there are several reason why people want a Chevy Volt. Aside from environmental concerns which are quite important, other leading motivators are to avoid oil and gas consumption. This to assuage security and cost factors. A lot of GM-Volt.com visitors also seem to be unhappy about giving money to the Middle East.
People are also troubled by the high and rising cost of oil and gas, and the coming (or already here) Peak Oil Crisis.We have been led to believe that the plug-in electric hybrid (PHEV) will go a long way to protect us from this financial burden. GM and others have been quoted as saying it will cost the equivalent of 60 cents/gallon to power the Volt from your home electricity, in particular if that electricity is delivered in the off-peak hours.
A recent study from Berkeley suggests using a PHEV might actually increase usage costs.
Aside from the potential upfront cost increase of buying a high-tech car with an expensive lithium-ion battery, I wondered how driving a Chevy Volt might affect my pocket. So, I decided to do some simple calculations, and post the result here.
First, the Chevy Volt battery pack is specified to be able to store 16 KWH of power.
Second, according to my electric bill, I pay 10.77 cents per KWH for electric supply plus 5.8 cents per KWH for electric delivery. This totals to 16.5 cents per KWH.
Next, to fully charge the Volt's 16 KWH battery, I will have to supply it with 16 KWH of energy. This will cost me 16.5 cents X 16 KWH = $2.64.
Thus, it will cost me $2.64 to fully charge the Volt's battery, that energy will allow the car to travel 40 miles.
So in conclusion, it will cost me $2.64 to travel 40 miles, which is roughly the cost of a gallon of gas, in a car that gets 40 mpg.
If gas prices stay the same or go lower, it seems driving a Volt will be a financial wash.
Keep in mind, I live in New York and use O&R for electricity. I placed a call to them and inquired about the situation. It turns out I do not have a time-cycled meter, but could get one installed for free. This more advanced meter would cost me an additional $8.00 per month. Once installed, I would have to pay only 1.16 cents per KWH in the hours from 1AM to 9AM for electric delivery as opposed to my current rate of 5.8 cents per KWH. I could charge the Volt overnight. Electric supply, however, would remain at 10.77 cents per KWH. O&R buys their electric direct from the grid and that 10.77 cents fluctuates per the supplier. It can be as low as 5 cents but has been as high as 12 cents per KWH. In my case the power is derived from the Atlantic Coast line.
Using these new numbers, my cost for 40 miles of electric driving would be 1.16 cents + 10.77 cents = 11.93 cents X 16 = $1.91 for 40 miles electric driving. That is a bit better than current gasoline, but not 60 cents equivalent.
Of course generating one's own power with solar and/or wind would be great, but there are high upfront costs too.
I suppose I may be paying some of the higher rates in the nation. It would be of great interest to hear from others.
Look at your most recent electric bill. Take the total of electric charges (do not include oil or gas). Divide that be the total KWH used in that billing cycle. Post that value along with your state and electric company in the forum here .
We'll tally it up and report back.
[UPDATE: GM tells us the battery will be discharged to 50% when the generator starts. Therefore it will only require 8 KWH to drive 40 miles, cutting all the above calculations in 1/2]