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dogma
XYZ
Premium
join:2002-08-15
Boulder City, NV
kudos:1

Chevy Volt justification

In my ongoing efforts to completely eliminate the shackles of energy bondage, fuel price fluctuations and gouging, and to get off the "Reservation" (free of external & commercial gas, oil, power as I am also very adamant about personal responsibility of minimizing use of imported oil). I am now considering the acquisition of a Chevy Volt.




What we have now:
• 2006 Mercedes 320CDI Diesel (runs on B50/50% biofuel - 33MPG combined)
• 2008 Saturn Outlook (gasoline - 19MPG combined)
• 2004 Ford F250 4x4 FX4 Lariat 6.0L TURBO DIESEL (runs on 100% recycled waste vegetable oil, rarely used -11MPG combined)

Also of note, we have Solar panels that produce an excess of power over the year.

Normally I would never entertain leasing anything, have been a cash buyer for quite a while. BUT...GM has recently been offering the Volt for lease at almost gimmie per Month prices. Last Month they had a 24 Month lease for $199/Month @15,000 miles/yr with $2500 down. Currently, it's about $250/Mo. for a 36 Month lease.

The numbers are:
• Wife drives 32 miles each way to work 90% open highway.
• Outlook gets about 21MPG
• Gas is about $3.75/Gal

So each Month, including both work and other driving, she drives about 1700 miles. Uses about 85 Gallons of gas = $318.75/Month.

Her driving profile fits the Volt almost perfectly as the volt gets about 40 Miles on battery before switching to gas. Her workplace will allow her to charge during the day. She can effectively drive 100% of the time all electric for $20/Month vs. $319/Mo.

The per kW hour cost equate out to a little less than $1/day as her employer will charge her (no pun) for the power she consumes at work which would be an 8-hour charge on 120V AC - regular plug.

So this roughly pencils out to a break-even: $250 + tax + $69 (amortized down payment over 36 months) + $20 in energy cost. There is an intangible maintenance expense cost on future repairs of the Outlook considering it has 120,000 miles and is out of warranty...So I estimate this to be $85/Month, this I balance out against the mileage overage cost on the lease.

One obvious issue is long term expense. The Volt seems to be a economically justifiable candidate, but only for the 36 Months. Then we are back at square one again.

Other options were:
Nissan Leaf - All electric with a 80 Mile range @ $289/Month, but an all-electric simply doesn't make sense for us.

2013 Ford Fusion Energi Plug-in Hybrid - Not enough battery range (about 22 miles) + undetermined price and not yet available.

Another very high MPG Mid Size car like a Jetta/Passant TDi. There is the 2014 Chevy diesel Cruze, which may get 40MPG, but may not be out until mid/late 2013. In any case here, using any NEW gas/diesel powered vehicle has diminishing economic returns. A used high MPG car would need to be new enough to minimize maintenance cost.

So with all that, what are your thoughts? Am I missing anything?


Archivis
Your Daddy
Premium
join:2001-11-26
Earth
kudos:19

Why not consider another diesel? You're already making the fuel, so why not give her one?

Other than that, your research looks solid. I had a similar discussion with someone else where they didn't know about bio-diesel and they wanted to acquire a Volt. The big issue is that repairs are probably going to be costly and mechanics trained to work on them are going to be hard to find. With the warranty period, you're covered and the lease is a solid choice as you'll probably lose a ton of value on this vehicle long-term.
--
A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have. -MLK



Archivis
Your Daddy
Premium
join:2001-11-26
Earth
kudos:19

Another question, does your car smell like french fries like my father-in-law's Jetta does on bio diesel?



dogma
XYZ
Premium
join:2002-08-15
Boulder City, NV
kudos:1

1 recommendation

The Lariat has more of a Kung Pao Chicken aroma...



bobrk
You kids get offa my lawn
Premium
join:2000-02-02
San Jose, CA
reply to dogma

If it's only for commuting, and she is not driving far and can charge at work, it sounds like you'd be better off with a Leaf or Ford Focus Electric and have to buy no gas at all!


Beezel

join:2008-12-15
Las Vegas, NV
reply to dogma

Don't most auto leases have a mileage limit per year? At the end of the lease are you going to buy it, or get another?



dogma
XYZ
Premium
join:2002-08-15
Boulder City, NV
kudos:1

said by bobrk:

If it's only for commuting, and she is not driving far and can charge at work, it sounds like you'd be better off with a Leaf or Ford Focus Electric and have to buy no gas at all!

The main issue with an all electric is absolute range limitation. With 2 or 3 other cars it shouldn't be a issue, in that one plans longer trips in other vehicles. But I just can't get my arms around ignoring the potential of being stranded.

said by Beezel:

Don't most auto leases have a mileage limit per year? At the end of the lease are you going to buy it, or get another?

Good questions.

I stated that this lease includes 15,000 mile/year, which was actually negotiated from 12,000 miles. The overage is 20¢/Mile - which I pointed out I was balancing that amount against the predicted maintenance cost of the old vehicle.

I have not considered what to do at the end of such lease.

So, since you asked ...I have. What you bring up is very important because If we were to keep the Volt, a purchase scenario may be a better model:

A 60 Month Purchase of the Volt works out to:
5 year purchase finance (using $32,500 which includes tax incentive) - $540.33/Mo
Cost of gas – 0 gallons/Month = $0
Cost of electricity - $35/Month
Total cost of ownership $540.33 + $35 = $575.33 - $318.75 (current expense) = $221.58 - $85 (projected monthly maintenance expense) = $136.58/Mo. more than she is spending now…but wheeling around in a brand new car.

Assuming:
A.) Wife has the exact same driving patterns for the next 10 years
B.) Fuel prices stay the same and do not drop dramatically
C.) Volt life expectancy of 10 years
D.) All based on a $318.74/Mo TCO vehicle expense budget
E.) Outlook not traded in

$8194.80 effective TCO during the 5 year finance period, /$318.74 (current expense basis) = about 26 Months after the Volt is paid off to break even, so a 7.1 year ROI

The life expectancy of the Volt is undetermined at this point so the ROI us up in the air. **but the battery for the 2012 Volt has a 10 year, 100,000 mile warranty. The battery for the 2013 Volt will have a 10 year, 150,000 mile warranty. Considering that the gas engine may have 10K miles on it in 10 years? And since every Volt made is currently under warranty, GM has not disclosed the retail price of a replacement battery. But should be about $8,000 - $10,000 in a repair situation. In 10 years, battery technology will be exponentially more advanced, and a replacement battery, even at the same price as today’s, would like provide 4x – 6x the distance.

A lot to consider.


THZNDUP
Deorum Offensa Diis Curae
Premium
join:2003-09-18
Lard
kudos:2

You may also want to factor insurance into your 'TCO'.



dogma
XYZ
Premium
join:2002-08-15
Boulder City, NV
kudos:1

1 recommendation

Click for full size
An all-electric vehicle my wife would drive
Click for full size
I would too...
Click for full size
I figured insurance was a wash. I did get a quote for Insurance on the volt and it wasn't any different than Insurance on the Outlook. I would more than likely "retire" one of the other vehicles until my daughter gets her license in a few.

Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
reply to dogma

While the electric Audi TT does look cool, I would imagine the Volt is more practical and possibly more reliable unless Audi has gotten their act together.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports


Beezel

join:2008-12-15
Las Vegas, NV
reply to dogma

My fault I read the post to fast and missed the millage limit.



I AM
Premium
join:2010-04-11
Ephrata, PA
kudos:4
reply to dogma

If they actually made eletric cars look nice AND affordable more people would drive it. But they make them look like the Volt and Nissan Leaf....


guppy_fish
Premium
join:2003-12-09
Lakeland, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to dogma

I would recommend you post and read over here »gm-volt.com/

These questions are posted all the time and can give you feedback from owners.

You can also look for real-time stats at »www.voltstats.net/

It a great car that has unfortunately been the target of a large politically motivated group in a negative light, I recommend these two sites so you can get honest information and make an informed decisions

On costs, Electric is about 1/4 the cost of gas in most locations, and its seamless the transition between the modes, 2013 models average close to 50 miles EV before using the on board generator

On leases, you just turn it in, and if you like the car lease another

Expand your moderator at work


bobrk
You kids get offa my lawn
Premium
join:2000-02-02
San Jose, CA
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
reply to dogma

Re: Chevy Volt justification

said by dogma:

said by bobrk:

If it's only for commuting, and she is not driving far and can charge at work, it sounds like you'd be better off with a Leaf or Ford Focus Electric and have to buy no gas at all!

The main issue with an all electric is absolute range limitation. With 2 or 3 other cars it shouldn't be a issue, in that one plans longer trips in other vehicles. But I just can't get my arms around ignoring the potential of being stranded.

You said there are chargers at work. She can top up every day, and still have 75-100 miles to work with every day.

I guess I don't get the long range stuff. I was riding a motorcycle and a scooter for a while, and neither got anywhere near 200 miles to a tank.


dogma
XYZ
Premium
join:2002-08-15
Boulder City, NV
kudos:1
reply to guppy_fish

said by guppy_fish:

I would recommend you post and read over here »gm-volt.com/ .. »www.voltstats.net/

Thanks! Lot's of great info already.

Why this car is a political issue at all simply demonstrates the simple mindedness of some.
said by bobrk:

I guess I don't get the long range stuff.

You're right...it is completely illogical to consider range of an all electric when it isn't a consideration in ones normal driving profile.


bobrk
You kids get offa my lawn
Premium
join:2000-02-02
San Jose, CA
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET

said by dogma:

said by bobrk:

I guess I don't get the long range stuff.

You're right...it is completely illogical to consider range of an all electric when it isn't a consideration in ones normal driving profile.

If you examine Nissan's advertising, you can see it's something they're trying to fix.


Dragasoni
We're All Mad Here
Premium
join:2001-12-14
Palm Bay, FL

1 recommendation

reply to dogma

All the money you save with an electric car is spent when you replace the battery. They're pointless. Plus electricity isn't clean energy; most in the US is generated from coal or natural gas. Why put more strain on an already taxed electrical grid?

Gasoline and diesel are by far the best options we have for personal transportation. Just one gallon of gasoline is equivalent to 500 hours of human labor, and it's only $3.23. I think it's an excellent value if you look at it that way.

-Dragasoni-



nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Reviews:
·Charter
·voip.ms
·surpasshosting
reply to dogma

The "electric" portion of these vehicles is overhyped. Unless you live in an area where gas is really expensive and electricity is dirt cheap, it probably won't equalize.

You could get a Honda Civic or a VW Jetta TDI and probably come out ahead in operating expenses and lower upfront cost.

You'll pretty much have to figure out the MPG vs M/kWh for your corner of the world.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.



Anonuser

join:2003-01-03
Milwaukee, WI

1 edit
reply to dogma

I drive a 100% electric car to work (I run Wisconsin's first Electric Car Dealership).

If I drive my Nissan Xterra 3.3L To work & home: $3/day round trip. 18mpg
If I drive my Nissan Cube To work & home: $1.50/day round trip. 30-42mpg
If I drive my Electric Alfa Romeo to work & home: $0.15-0.17/day round trip, free this winter when I plug into neighbor's christmas lights (joke). 5.3 Miles per Kilowatt Hour.

Drive is approx 16miles. My Electric range is up to 50 miles on a full charge. So at my maximum, it costs approx $0.50 for full charge.

Personally, with the Leaf VS Volt, I liked the performance, features, and overall feel of the Leaf compared to the volt, however, if you have "extended range" driving, and need to exceed a batteries capacity for range, go with the Volt.



Irun Man
Spartan up
Premium
join:2002-10-18
Walden, NY
reply to dogma

there's another choice

I leased a 2012 Toyota Prius PHV (Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle) two months ago. Granted the battery range is less than half the Volt's, HOWEVER it gets better overall fuel economy in mixed EV/hybrid driving. When I was plugging it in at home and work (a 45 mile round trip commute) I was getting about 72 MPG. Also, the PHV charges in 2.5 hours on a 110V, 15 amp circuit... that's not really an option with the Volt which requires 220.

Leasing offers are on par with the Volt.
--
I turned on my computer for this?


guppy_fish
Premium
join:2003-12-09
Lakeland, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

said by Irun Man:

Granted the battery range is less than half the Volt's

that's not really an option with the Volt which requires 220.

The Volt is 38 miles to the Pip 11 EPA electric range

The Volt Charges just fine on 120V as that's the charge cord that comes with the car

My lifetime average mpg is in the 220mpg range as I only use gas when I drive to see family and hour away, otherwise its all EV 100% of the time.


Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
·Cogeco Cable
reply to dogma

Re: Chevy Volt justification

I suspect the reference was to 240V providing a more usable charge time on the Volt.

Time to charge on 120V for the Volt is somewhat more leisurely at 10.5 hours.

»www.insideline.com/chevrolet/vol···mpg.html
--
The talented hawk speaks French.



stev32k
Premium
join:2000-04-27
Mobile, AL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Mediacom
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reply to dogma

I realize this is an old thread, but one thing I didn't see in the analysis is the cost of batteries.

How many charge cycles are they good for? What is the cost of replacement? And finally as they get older and start to wear out what happens to the travel range? Instead of 50 miles per charge do they now get 40, or 25 miles? That could be a real bummer if you got stranded. I don't know if AAA can deliver a few KWs to get you home.


guppy_fish
Premium
join:2003-12-09
Lakeland, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

The Volt is battery is warranted for 100K , 8 years with no reduction of range.

The Actual capacity of the battery's is 16kw, but the car only uses 11kw ( computer controlled on the range ), the rest is a buffer for both optimum life and as the battery range declines over-time, the range the user sees is constant due to the buffer

CA cars are warranted for 150K miles , 10 years

Cost for replacement pack from GM is listed as $3,000

You never get "stranded" in the Volt, when the battery is depleted, the engine/generator seamlessly takes over producing electricity. In 20 years, even if the battery is minimal range, you still have a car that gets 37MPG


Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27

said by guppy_fish:

....
You never get "stranded" in the Volt, when the battery is depleted, the engine/generator seamlessly takes over producing electricity. In 20 years, even if the battery is minimal range, you still have a car that gets 37MPG

From my experience with GM cars, in a few years nothing in that car will be "seamless".

And as far as the warranty goes, who cares if the battery itself is covered for 8 years, what about the electric systems surrounding it? Those computers are probably ten times more expensive than the battery, and considering how "popular" the car is, it's not like you'll be able to pick up parts from a junk yard in a few years.

And on a side note, will the car's computer even allow the car to operate fully if the battery craps out?

guppy_fish
Premium
join:2003-12-09
Lakeland, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

The Volt has the highest owner satisfaction of an car being produced, its number 1. You can choose to poo-poo, I choose to drive it and enjoy

All power train electronics are 100K / 5 years and one is free to purchase an extended warranty, just like any other modern car which is full of computers and other electronics.

I'd like to see some hard figures that the electronics are any more expensive than any other 40K vehicle. No one will be repairing cars themselves like the old days and junk yard hunting for parts, only dealers have the tools for diagnostics and the Volt is far from alone in this regard.

Lets meet in 10 years and compare notes ... its all guess what will happen then


Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27

said by guppy_fish:

The Volt has the highest owner satisfaction of an car being produced, its number 1. You can choose to poo-poo, I choose to drive it and enjoy

Out of 13,497 sales (as of 9/1/2012) of a heavily rebated and subsidized car. Yeah people are happy because they feel like they got a great deal, since GM is just short of blowing customers and dealerships to move this.

said by guppy_fish:

I'd like to see some hard figures that the electronics are any more expensive than any other 40K vehicle. No one will be repairing cars themselves like the old days and junk yard hunting for parts, only dealers have the tools for diagnostics and the Volt is far from alone in this regard.

Lets meet in 10 years and compare notes ... its all guess what will happen then

We don't have to wait 10 years, your statement proves my point. "Only dealers have the tools". For most cars good local shops have the tools to deal with popular cars. A diagnostic shop not far from where I live has dealer computers for most popular cars. Seeing how they'll probably never encounter a Volt, I doubt they'll buy any specific hardware / software for it.

Local shops labor rate is about 60% of the dealer. Parts are discounted vs dealer, and you have an option for aftermarket parts, but again seeing how well the Volt is selling, i doubt there will be a lot of those, and if there will be they'll all be special order (as in you'll see you are in a week or 3)

guppy_fish
Premium
join:2003-12-09
Lakeland, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

1 recommendation

The sales are interesting, certain groups and media like to claim the Volt is a failure for its sales, which are over 20K now for the year, while it handily beats more that 50% of the cars on the market in sales

»www.forbes.com/sites/jimgorzelan···failure/

Many vehicles get special government tax treatment, like all pickup and large SUV's that can take a 25K section 179 deduction because they are over 6000 lbs, yah for gas guzzlers

On dealer only parts and service, most cars are now that way unless they are in the top 10 list in sales. The days are numbered were independents have the tools are skills to work on any hybrid, or high end car like Audi, BMW, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. Need something for a Corvette?, no one is complaining that is no different than a Volt in regards to service. Want anything for the Prius or Honda Hydrids, factory only for that as well.

Its sad so many have such mis-informed opinions about a car the was design and is built in the US and is a leader in advanced technology. Its one of the few cars that the US exports, which is has over 7,000 this year to EU in both the Volt and Ampra badge


Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27

said by guppy_fish:

The sales are interesting, certain groups and media like to claim the Volt is a failure for its sales, which are over 20K now for the year, while it handily beats more that 50% of the cars on the market in sales

Did you see what it outsold? Luxury cars, sports cars, etc.. Most (if not all if you exclude Lexus performance hybrids), hybrids were selling better than volt, so that statistic means nothing and is just something GM wants to be out there.

said by guppy_fish:

On dealer only parts and service, most cars are now that way unless they are in the top 10 list in sales. The days are numbered were independents have the tools are skills to work on any hybrid, or high end car like Audi, BMW, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. Need something for a Corvette?, no one is complaining that is no different than a Volt in regards to service. Want anything for the Prius or Honda Hydrids, factory only for that as well.

This may be a regional thing, but in NYC, good / reputable shops can take care of most of these things. On the other hand, in NYC a car like volt is utterly useless since there is nowhere to charge it.

said by guppy_fish:

Its sad so many have such mis-informed opinions about a car the was design and is built in the US and is a leader in advanced technology. Its one of the few cars that the US exports, which is has over 7,000 this year to EU in both the Volt and Ampra badge

Built in the USA, great...so is my Nissan and half of Toyota fleet, whereas not counting volt most of GM is made in Mexico or Canada. As far as being a leader in advance technology, What technology? What is the volt doing that no other car is doing or they were the first to do?