Originally Posted by Chiburbian
Very slight digression - how are you liking the volt?
I am considering it as a used daily someday when the prices come down. How does it drive? How much range are you getting out of it electric only?
Lets try this again:
Electric Range: Very weather dependent. The battery pack works best within a certain temperature range, in cold weather (northern winters) it uses battery power to heat the battery pack, in hot weather (desert heat) it uses battery power to cool the battery pack. In "normal" winter weather (25F to 35F) I am getting around 28 to 30 miles on battery power alone since I am willing to just use the electric heated seats instead of heating the air in the car. Using the heater reduces range substantially. In "warmer than average" winter weather (40F to 50F) I am getting around 32 to 36 miles on battery power alone. This is winter driving, on snow tires instead of the low rolling resistance stock tires. I purchased the car in November so I don't have summer driving ranges yet, but I speculate mid 30's to low 40's. These numbers are all based on my daily commute, round trip of 28 miles with 13 miles of that at 40 mph and the other 15 miles at 60 mph.
Fuel economy: After the battery is depleted, the car seamlessly transitions to the gasoline engine. I am not sure if the gasoline engine is noisy or it just seams that way after the silent operation of the electric only driving experience. You will notice that engine RPM has little relation to how fast you are going, and only a loose relationship with accelerator pedal changes. When going on a long highway trip at a steady 70 MPH I get about 38 mpg on the gasoline engine.
Things I don't like:
1. Rear visibility sucks *** when backing up. No problem with lane changes and daily driving, but backing into my car port parking spot at home is a bitch... the backup camera doesn't help much even if it is clean enough to provide a clear image. Normally (at least in winter) the backup camera is crudded up to the point of being useless.
2. In cold weather below 25F the car runs the gasoline engine for 1 to 2 miles out of every 10 miles traveled. They portray this as something needed to keep the engine healthy. This is a load of ****! Just like any other normal car, the car can sit un-used for a week at -10F without damage to the gasoline engine... so moving at the same temperature while not running the gasoline engine would not damage it. The real reason the gasoline engine is run periodically at low temperature is so people like me will run the heater. If the engine is going to run anyway, generating waste heat I may as well run the heater. This avoids having customers like me die of hypothermia because we refuse to run the electric heat
I personally would rather dress warm and not have the engine run at low temperatures... but I don't have this option.
3. The center console controls are all touch sensitive spots on the plastic rather than being real buttons and *****. This means that you can't operate anything with gloves on, and also that you can't operate anything by feel... you have to look away from the road to make even the simplest adjustment to the climate control or audio systems.
My only other complaint is not about the car itself, but at Chevrolet and how they market the car both as a company and down at the dealership level.
At the company level they have not clued in to the idea that almost every upgrade to the 1st generation volt (2011 to 2015) is a software upgrade. People like me would be perfectly willing to pay a fee to have upgrades like the new driving mode (hold mode, look up the differences in the features for different years) and even improved fuel economy out of the same engine in the newer cars with no physical changes. I am not going to pay a huge amount of money to trade in one used volt for another to get the upgraded software... but I would pay them a reasonable fee for something they can do at virtually zero cost to themselves.
At the dealership level they haven't figured out that you need to plug in an electric car! When I initially test drove my car, the battery was completely flat. One of the coolest features of the car is it's near silent operation, but I didn't get to see that on my first test drive. I had to make them plug the car in to their rapid charger while I went to lunch and then I came back for a second test drive. I was much more impressed with the electric car actually driving on the battery!
From completely dead to full charge takes 10 to 11 hours in the winter, not sure how much faster in summer that would be. I just have the standard 110 volt charging system, and the only time I wish I had the 240 volt charging system is if I need to run some errands after work. I can either use gasoline or do them on a day off. In the summer I can just run errands in the Miata.
So, overall I love it. After my recent long highway trip (150 miles round trip, the first 25 on the battery) my average fuel economy is 148 mpg. Before the recent long highway trip I was up well over 200 mpg. Since Nov 1st when I purchased the car I have taken two of these long highway trips, and have used a total of 17 gallons of gasoline in 4 and a half months. With no more long trips planned and no more below 25F weather expected, I don't expect to purchase any more gas until some time next winter, and to be averaging well over 500 mpg by then.
<edit>Mild weather range update! Temperature was 60F today and I was able to get 42.2 miles on the battery with 12 miles at 55 mph and 30 miles at 40 mph.</edit>