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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, folks -

I am looking to buy a Gen 1.

According to an article I can't link to (because I am too new to this site), it could be easier on the battery if I get a white or silver car:

"Silver and white cars are cooler, says study (Oct. 25, 2011) - The researchers had two cars in the sun for an hour, one black and the other silver, parked facing south, in Sacramento, California. The silver Honda Civic (shell SR 0.57) had a cabin air temperature of about 5-6°C (9-11°F) lower than an identical black car (shell SR 0.05). Overall, the numbers compiled in this car-color exercise found that using white or silver paint instead of black paint would raise fuel economy by 0.44 mpg (2.0 percent); would decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 1.9 percent, and reduce other automotive emissions by about 1 percent."

I may want to keep my Volt parked on my southwest-facing driveway so this could be an advantage. Since I am in coastal California, heat is more of an issue than cold. And I want to max my range as errands may push me into gas-using territory.

But boy, there sure are a lot of brownstone and grey Gen 1s on the market right now...I am waiting around for a white/silver with fairly low miles, good history and my desired options (safety 1, comfort 1/heated seats, safety 2 would be nice).

Any thoughts on how much of an impact this might make? If not much, maybe I will start looking at the darker cars.
 

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I don't think it will affect the battery's temperature much, since it is in a separate insulated compartment. However, I understand the impact on the A/C usage. I am surprised it is as significant as they say in the article (2% fuel efficiency). Unlike an ICE car, an EV does not get free heat in cold weather, so there is some offsetting of this effect depending on climate. If you are only concerned about warm weather efficiency, it probably makes sense to follow the recommendation in the article.

Personally, I prefer light colored cars for safety reasons. I feel like they are more visible to others, especially in low light conditions.
 

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Hi, folks -

I am looking to buy a Gen 1.

According to an article I can't link to (because I am too new to this site), it could be easier on the battery if I get a white or silver car:

"Silver and white cars are cooler, says study (Oct. 25, 2011) - The researchers had two cars in the sun for an hour, one black and the other silver, parked facing south, in Sacramento, California. The silver Honda Civic (shell SR 0.57) had a cabin air temperature of about 5-6°C (9-11°F) lower than an identical black car (shell SR 0.05). Overall, the numbers compiled in this car-color exercise found that using white or silver paint instead of black paint would raise fuel economy by 0.44 mpg (2.0 percent); would decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 1.9 percent, and reduce other automotive emissions by about 1 percent."

I may want to keep my Volt parked on my southwest-facing driveway so this could be an advantage. Since I am in coastal California, heat is more of an issue than cold. And I want to max my range as errands may push me into gas-using territory.

But boy, there sure are a lot of brownstone and grey Gen 1s on the market right now...I am waiting around for a white/silver with fairly low miles, good history and my desired options (safety 1, comfort 1/heated seats, safety 2 would be nice).

Any thoughts on how much of an impact this might make? If not much, maybe I will start looking at the darker cars.
Whatever color Volt you end up buying, if you are concerned about battery usage to run the AC consider tinting the windows. This can make a large difference in lowering the cabin temperature when the sun is shining directly on the vehicle. If you lived in the southwest or in one of the gulf coast states then tinting the Volt's windows would make a huge difference in the heat load on the AC system. Since SF has so many different, changing weather conditions throughout the bay area tinting the windows would not provide as much benefit in your area.

The things you can do to improve efficiency include lowering your speed, keeping tires properly inflated, keeping the Volt's exterior clean and removing any unnecessary tools and other heavy items from the vehicle. Keep the fuel tank at 1/3rd full (approx. 3 gallons) if you don't plan to regularly use any gas. Only fill the fuel tank when leaving on a longer distance road trip.
 

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Good point about the tinting. The windows probably let in much more solar energy than the painted surfaces (which are also insulated). Tinting can cut that by half or more. Tinting can also hold heat in during cold weather.

Another thing you will want to be aware of if you are concerned about car color, is that the 2011-2012 model year cars all have black roofs no matter what paint color they have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks, everyone, for the thoughtful comments. I will look into window tinting (if not already done), and plan to drive light, with proper EV tires properly inflated. Lowering my speed is going to be my biggest challenge and lifestyle change (teeth gritting emoji) as freeways around here average 75-80 mph speeds and I am often, in my old Accord V6, speeding to a work appointment and grousing about entitled slow drivers in the fast lane...Hopefully controlling the little green ball will become a replacement obsession.

It's good to hear the idea that this would not impact battery that much, given the separate compartment...that will allow me some leeway. But I appreciate that idea that a lighter car is more visible. That's particularly important with so many big SUVs and minivans on the roads.
 

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Get whatever color you like. The affect of the car paint color on the battery will be meaningless for all practical purposes. The tire pressure variations and your driving style will have a much much greater and more meaningful impact.
 

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I have a white 2012 and rarely had to use the A/C this past summer. My Silver Accord used to need A/C like crazy for some reason. The only thing I can think that separates the two cars are the seats and possibly slightly less glass in the Volt. The leather seats in the Volt for some reason just don't get blazing hot sitting in the sun. The Accord's leather seats would almost burn you. Maybe it's the perforations, maybe it's their design, or maybe the lower roof lines on the Volt didn't let in as much sun light to beat down on the seats.

For cooler weather the Volt's windshield let's in a lot of sunlight. During the day it doesn't require much, if any, actual heat for the cabin. Seat heaters are nice and provide almost all the heat your body needs. A heated steering wheel would really help this car but maybe I need to buy better gloves.
 

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BUT, which color hold in the heat better in the winter ?

Wonder if they waxed the cars for the color heat testing

My Volt is generally covered with Farm dust
 

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If you live in the deep south, where the sun is nearly directly overhead during the summer, lighter color cars are definitely cooler . . . . and when you drive a battery powered car with battery powered air conditioning, the car will go farther on a single charge than a black or dark colored car will

We have two Mitsubishi iMiEV's and a Volt . . . . all 3 are white primarily for that reason

Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If you live in the deep south, where the sun is nearly directly overhead during the summer, lighter color cars are definitely cooler . . . . and when you drive a battery powered car with battery powered air conditioning, the car will go farther on a single charge than a black or dark colored car will

We have two Mitsubishi iMiEV's and a Volt . . . . all 3 are white primarily for that reason

Don
Yes, this was what I was hypothesizing. For me, even a small impact could be helpful...
 

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...or are we discussing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Tinting will affect interior temps, hence cooling and battery usage but the colour, I would not be surprized to find it negligible compared to the other things that can affect battery usage.
 

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...or are we discussing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Tinting will affect interior temps, hence cooling and battery usage but the colour, I would not be surprized to find it negligible compared to the other things that can affect battery usage.
Las Vegas in July, 1975; 113F in the shade. I saw a cassette tape (remember those) all twisted and curled up like a strip of bacon on the dashboard of a car parked in a hotel parking lot. No doubt the color of the vehicle, especially the roof, can affect the temperature of the interior of a vehicle
 

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Las Vegas in July, 1975; 113F in the shade. I saw a cassette tape (remember those) all twisted and curled up like a strip of bacon on the dashboard of a car parked in a hotel parking lot. No doubt the color of the vehicle, especially the roof, can affect the temperature of the interior of a vehicle
Remember cassette tapes, lol, I remember 8 tracks (and how to tighten up the tape by giving it a yank and letting inertia tighten it up). Was that because of the sun coming in through the windshield/windows and the colour of car had nothing/little to do with it (ie. if it was a white car the cassette tape would have been twisted and curled up like strip of bacon on the dashboard of the car).
 

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Remember cassette tapes, lol, I remember 8 tracks (and how to tighten up the tape by giving it a yank and letting inertia tighten it up). Was that because of the sun coming in through the windshield/windows and the colour of car had nothing/little to do with it (ie. if it was a white car the cassette tape would have been twisted and curled up like strip of bacon on the dashboard of the car).
As I recall the color of the vehicle was red. This was before advanced window tinting technology had been developed, might have saved that Doobie Bros tape. In extreme conditions everything that you can do to keep the vehicle cool helps; mostly don't park in the direct sun.
 

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...or are we discussing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Tinting will affect interior temps, hence cooling and battery usage but the colour, I would not be surprized to find it negligible compared to the other things that can affect battery usage.
I can see how someone living in Canada might not understand that dark colored anything gets hotter sitting in the sun than lighter colors - You would probably welcome the warmth! :p

We had our first overnight temperature below 70 degrees in 180 days here last week (69) - Even in October, days above 90 aren't uncommon. In August, it's just plain brutal. We use the fold up sun screens across the windshield every time we park for about 10 months of the year. Worst part is parking in the sun for an hour and then using all that electricity to get the car cool enough to be comfortable in again. You can dance on a pin if you like, but if you drive black EV down here, you're going to lose about 5 miles of range vs driving a white one

Don
 
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