Monday, April 03, 2017

Look at a Chevy Volt hybrid a different way, mathmatically. It's a loser.

Eric test drove the Chevy Volt at the invitation of General Motors... and he writes... For four days in a row, the fully charged battery lasted only 25 miles before the Volt switched to the reserve gasoline engine.

Eric calculated the car got 30 mpg including the 25 miles it ran on the battery. So, the range including the 9 gallon gas tank and the 16 kWh battery is approximately 270 miles.

It will take you 4 1/2 hours to drive 270 miles at 60 mph. Then add 10 hours to charge the battery and you have a total trip time of 14.5 hours. In a typical road trip your average speed (including charging time) would be 20 mph.

According to General Motors, the Volt battery holds 16 kWh of electricity. It takes a full 10 hours to charge a drained battery on a 120V system, less on a 240V system.

 The cost for the electricity to charge the Volt is never mentioned so I looked up what I pay for electricity. I pay approximately (it varies with amount used and the seasons) $1.16 per kWh. 16 kWh x $1.16 per kWh = $18.56 to charge the battery.

If electricity cost 1/2 as much, it would cost $9.28 to charge, and still cost nearly 4 times as much as gas. $9.28 per charge divided by 25 miles = $0.37 per mile to operate the Volt using the battery.

$18.56 per charge divided by 25 miles = $0.74 per mile to operate the Volt using the battery. Compare this to a similar size car with a gasoline engine that gets only 32 mpg. $3.19 per gallon divided by 32 mpg = $0.10 per mile.

The gasoline powered car costs about $15,000 while the Volt costs $46,000.........So the American Government wants proud and loyal Americans not to do the math, but simply pay 3 times as much for a car, that costs more than 7 times as much to run, and takes 3 times longer to drive across the country..."

In February 2012, Eric Bolling did test drive a Chevy Volt and report on his experience for Fox News, noting (among other factors) that the Volt took 12 hours to charge and ran for only about 25 miles before discharging the battery and switching over to the gasoline engine, aspects he found particularly disappointing for an automobile that cost $46,500 and was heavily subsidized with taxpayer money

For petes sake read all the comments and my responses before leaving another, I'm up to here with the response on this article from Mr Woolery (who the hell takes themselves so damn serious as to call themselves a name in the 3rd person?) 


  1. So, are you agreeing or disagreeing with Bolling? Just curious - both the Snopes and C&D links you posted dispel many of the points Bolling made.

    Three times as much for a car? No! MSRP on a loaded (Premier) 2017 Volt is $37,570

    Seven times as much to run? Who pays $1.16/KWH? Here are the rates nationwide as of 2015:

  2. Hit the enter key mid-type (fat fingers...)

    Three times longer to drive across the country? No! There is no stopping to recharge - though you can recharge via 110/220V plug-in, the ICE recharges the battery pack when it runs.

    1. HA! I thought for a second you were telling me that I hit the enter key and have fat fingers... nah... just both of us, at different times.
      Am I agreeing or disagreeing? Oh heck Mike, I'm sorta agreeing, and pointing out that Snopes was out of line in it's abuse of his article in my opinion.

      Maybe his was a smear campaign, maybe it was his honest mistake on a decimal place on the cost of electricity, or maybe he's getting raped by a vendor charging station on what they charge to the public... unlike what cheap rates you might get in your own garage.
      He made a good point though, that I think no one wants to address once they get upset about the whole thing
      If everyone is charging their cars overnight, will that overload the neighborhood? Yup, I think it might. Most neighborhoods were wired a long time ago, and not for all the electrity we use with multiple computers, laptops and cell phones and tables getting charged, and more tvs on at home and bigger washing machines, and the damn microwaves that also hadn't been invented yet, and heck... several houses I've lived in had 2 prong outlets, they were that old, they didn't have wall outlets that allowed you to plug in a normal fridge, vacuum, computer, etc etc 3 prong power cord.
      MSRP on the local Chevy dealership has the prices from 35 thou to 40 thou So, prices vary. Twice as much as a Chevy Eco I bought in 2010, that got 42 mpg... with a turbo and overdrive. So, why pay twice that for a Volt? has the Cruze at 19 thou. See? Now, are those the Eco model? Maybe not. But hell, you know I'm not a new car guy Mike
      I'm just a car guy, and that is all I am.
      Well, one with a blog.
      Anyway, those nationwide rates, do they apply to charging stations conveinently placed for travelers? Also, like I pointed out in the post, if electricity costs half what he said, it's still 4 times the cost of gas. Which is also cheaper now than in 2012 or 2011 when he wrote that.
      There is no stopping to recharge... well, in his scenario he ran out of gas, as he was doing 80 mph (so do I) and got bad gas mileage, and then went to the battery to run it down, and BINGO he had to wait for it to charge. Worst case scenario, and I give him probably too much benefit of the doubt, but so did Car and Driver, and they are reasonalbly intelligent and responsible journalists, who had an editor approve that article for some reason.
      So... I posted that, and the Snopes, and let readers get an idea that MAYBE things are wrong, and that they MAYBE should not waste twice the money on a car that isn't worth it as it's not able to get them to Vegas, or Pheonix, or LA if they aren't already there.
      I am not omnipotent, or omniscient, I'm JUST a car guy, and put the stuff on my blog I think I want to share with others.
      It's not a slam dunk easy to pin down science as it seems, and *ahem* it's not as easy as it looks to always err on the side of caution, or take an extra long time to perfect and edit the article to get it right
      I've wasted 2 damn hours repsonding to the replies that a 10 minute post created.

  3. Geez, where to start here?
    First, I would suggest that you fully read the Snopes article which you linked, as it partially dismantles the very math you've posted.
    Electricity doesn't cost $1.16 per kWh for starters. It's more like $0.116 per kWh, based on average cost of electricity in the US. My personal electric bill (SoCal Edison) shows my tier 1 rate at $0.08291 per kWh, so let's round that to 8 cents...a significant difference from the erroneously expensive rate you posted. Fully charging a Volt (at least a first gen one) doesn't take 16kWh to charge, as the battery charging "window" (energy actually used) is only around 10kWh. So that basically means it costs less than a dollar to fully charge a Volt.
    Eric also drove the car under the worst circumstances, and in the most inefficient way possible to get only 25 miles on a charge before the ICE engine kicked in...I usually get between 40-45 miles per charge under regular real world driving conditions. ANY car can be driven in a manner to reduce range as much as possible to skew the MPG results from manufacturer claims. I get less than 10mpg out of cars that are supposed to get over 30mpg when I drive them aggressively on the track.
    Even once the Volt switches over to engine power, the MPG for regular driving should be between 30-34mpg on engine power alone (discounting any EV driving).

    My PRACTICAL experience in using the Volt in cross country driving has yielded a tank-full range of ~320 miles (with ~40 miles of that being EV). And there's nothing stopping you to force a recharge once you run out of gas. Just refuel and get ~34mpg until you DO have a chance to recharge.

    The Volt was designed to be an EV for daily city commuting of ~40 miles. Charge it overnight, drive it to work and back, recharge it, and you don't burn gas. You also end up with a car that's costing cents on the dollar in comparison to a gas powered commuter car. This is the niche that the Volt was designed for, and writing a piece designed to downplay this and exagerate all the downsides makes for a smear piece that should be easily recognized by automotive enthusiasts.

    1. Where to start? Well, just say the math is off, and you disagree. Leave it at that. I'm no expert, we agree on that, right? And this is my site to post my opinions, the news I want to share, etc... right? Then figure, hell, Jesse messed this up, and move along.
      Simple. Don't have heart burn over what I do. I am not calling your wife, daughter, or mother names am I? Nope.
      Then let it go.
      I did read the Snopes article, and holy shit, proved it, and linked to it.

      Did you read where I wrote that the price of electricity (which is subjective in so many ways, and by the way, good for you to have cheap electricity.... not everyone does)
      So, for starters, I'm not the guy paying 1.16 for a kWh. The guy who wrote the article was, and you really ought to beat him up about it, not me.
      I just share some info so other people can be more well read on a topic.
      Geeez! Lighten up.
      According to the Snopes article, YOU are wrong on the charging of a Volt battery. 2 to 3 bits is wasted, and 9 or 10 are stored. So...
      back to dollars and cents.

      You sure it costs a dollar to charge one? OK, prove it. Take your Volt ANYWHERE but your own garage, and see what they charge you to fill the battery with electricity. Yes, because the point is the car is DRIVEN somewhere other than around the block. That is the POINT!
      It's a car, it is supposed to get you from here to there, and the point of this post was to be wary of the claims of big companies and propaganda that are only out to get you to spend money the way THEY see fit.
      OF... oh for fucks sake, I'm just irritated with you at this point.

      Look, are you a moron? No, correct? Then for gods sake think about what you are writing, as you most certainly are telling me to do that before I psot something that pisses you off, right?

      Then why the fuck would the article writer NOT take the worst circumstances to test a car.... WE DON'T all live in UNICORN COUNTRY!

      The WORST circumstances are when we DO NOT get the results promised by the car maker.... who is on record as selling Chevys with that ignition key fault that KILLED PEOPLE.

    2. Right? They have only one function, to SELL a car to someone, not to sell the safest best car. And when they are FORCED to make hybrid cars, and sell them for TWICE the price of a good mileage getting gas car, they aren't going to tell you just what a bad experience that might be.

      BUT I AM. SO, todays post was to point out that things are not so unicorn fart smelling awesome as Chevy wants you to believe.

      Good for you, you have cheap electricity, and perfect conditions to get perfectly fantastic mpg.

      NOT EVERYONE DOES. Some people live where it is very hilly, and then they only seem to be driving up the damn hills, and the mileage sucks. Or they are stuck in traffic.

      Congrats on having a race car for the track too. I bet we'd get along famously if you weren't pissed at my post, and I wasn't pissed at your response.

      IF YOU want to make a perfectly reasonable article on the Volt, then my goodness do so. Then you will finally do the one thing no one else ever will, give a shit about the Volt's real world costs and do something to contradict the article Eric wrote.

      Make the math reasonable, and get someone who is unbiased to help you keep it real. You've drank the kool aid, and already are under it's spell. If someone has to drive a Volt across country, they will deal with some bad conditions, and have to get it charged somewhere that will make a profit off the charging station, and they will have to wait 9 to 16 hours for it to charge... true? Yes. Then they will have to keep driving to reach their destination.

      Results will vary according to where they are, the prices of everything, availability of things like gas stations, hotels, and charging ports.

      That you seem to be missing the point, that the cost per mile might be, will be, or is (How would I know? I don't drive hybrids) higher than simple gas cars that Chevy also makes (Cruze Eco, turbo, stick shift with overdrive gets 42mpg) is something I want to post.

      Because people need to know, and know the worst possible scenario, so THEY can judge for themselves if it's something they want to tackle.

      You can tell them it's a cold lizard, or they can be told it's a poisonous vicious snake that also will strangle their baby if it gets loose. See how both might be true to different people, depending how it's treated, and whats available? One's in a food stupor and big old secure glass cage, the other is hot, hungry, and pissed off. Both descriptions can be accurate, or neither. It's subjective just like using a car.

      Results may vary. Yes, I'm sure the Volt was designed to be only useful to commuters who live a couple miles from work, never need to visit the next major city, and don't ever stomp on the accelerator.

      But it's a car. And it's not the perfect hypothetical situation you imagine, for every owner, every day, in every climate. The owner might have lead footed kids, in snow drifts, or whatever might occur with a 2nd owner long after the advertising golden unicorn voices are finished singing it's praises during the Super Bowl commercials have went away, and no one remmebers what the hell it's original designed purpose was.

    3. In your own words "that should be easily recognized by automotive enthusiasts" I can be assured then that you have taken a measure of me, and before reading this post already "easily recognized" as you are quite the "automotive enthusiast" regardless of buying a Volt... and therefore you knew that I AM NOT A HYBRID FAN.

      I have posted about them before, and I don't remember ever having any post about them be happy happy joy joy love love a hybrid. Except the 1911 Porsche Lorning... or whatever that cool old car was. I don't like the ridiculous cost, short drive restricitions that prevent any ordinary person from buying one (lucky you, to have a house, garage, charging station, short drive to work, race car, and all in Southern California) unlike the majority of poor people living in apartment buildings with NO CHARGING port in the garage they don't have, with jobs that are farther away and pay less than yours.

      Serious, I compliment you and am wishing you the best, as you have achieved more, and better, than most people I know.

      But you are jaded it seems to me, and forget that most people can't afford to waste the 45 thou for a car that isn't half as useful as the gas powered vehicle they must get to have a long distance useful car that CAN drive to Disney land every couple of years when they scratch together the little money they can save to bring the kids some happy time at the mouse house.

      Lets go back a moment to something else you said... you got 40-45 mpg. And in a Volt. Edmunds has them listed at 35 thou, to 40 thou. About twice what the Chevy Eco cost (I bought one in 2010 for 21 thou, roughly) and it got 42 mpg.


      Just quit getting irritated at what I do. Think about it... I'm not going to be convinced I'm wrong, as normally, I have lots more thought about what I post than what I have time to write out, and, I don't waste time with all that writing so that you readers will be bored to death about it. Like this response. It's a waste of time, that doesn't change your mind, and took up too much of my time.

      But there was a point to doing so. Telling you what, why, and when... and to quit pissing me off. "Easily recognized by automotive enthusiasts" indeed... the Volt isn't a car for enthusiasts, and it's twice the cost of a Chevy Cruze Eco.

  4. Not irritated on this end, Jesse, and not meaning to make you feel attacked. I guess the gist of my original post was pretty much as you suggested "Well, just say the math is off, and you disagree".

    The math was off, and I disagree. I just got a bit verbose in trying to state the why of it as it pertains to my personal experience with the car.

    Nothing personal against you.

    1. Cool. Bygones then, moving on. There are Camaro stripe options to post!

  5. I think all we have to do is watch the Grant Tour episode where they have May in that horrible looking BMW EV and look at the results there... EV's are not practical.