When we first got the Volt, I wasn’t sure what it would be like to be plugging the car in every time we returned home. Would it be a hassle or a nuisance? Would we sometimes forget or would it be in any way difficult? I also wondered if I needed to do anything special in my home to accommodate plugging in a car as opposed to any other device we have around the house. After living with this for a few months now I have to say it’s been a very easy and seamless process no more inconvenient than plugging in my cell phone (which happens every time I get home).
Before taking delivery of the car I did a little legwork to be sure we’d be ready when it arrived. Specifically I wanted to know if I had to do anything special to prepare our home for charging the car on a daily basis. I was happy to learn that I really had nothing to do at all. The car can easily be charged from a standard 120V household electric outlet. I’ve got eight of those in my garage so no problem. One recommendation was to check the outlet you expect to use for charging to be sure it is in good condition. If it looks old or in any way damaged it’s a good idea to replace it with a new commercial quality receptacle available from any home improvement store for less than $5. Another recommendation was to check the existing outlet to see if the electrician that installed it used the push-in style connections or the screw-down style. Apparently the screw-down style connection will give a more reliable connection for the best possible transfer of power. It all checked out for me and no changes were needed.
Charging the car is simple and only takes a moment to take care of each time we return home. Read more
UPDATE: March 29, 2013, As our Chevy Volt is fast approaching 10,000 miles driven, our lifetime MPG has climbed to 240+mpg and about 85% of our total miles driven are in EV mode (unassisted by the on-board gasoline powered generator).
This week our Chevy Volt reached 5,000 miles driven and it seemed a good time for an update. This won’t be too hard since the relevant numbers are pretty round. At 5,000 miles driven, just over 4,000 of those miles (4,064 to be exact) have been all electric. That’s a little more than 80% or our driving on electricity instead of gasoline. So far we’ve burned a total of 25.0 gallons of gas which gives us an overall fuel efficiency right at 200mpg. That’s just simple math comparing gasoline burned to total miles driven. 200MPG!!
Wow, this car is really doing everything it promises and it’s doing it in style. One thing that has helped is that my wife now has a charging station available at her place of employment. Her commute with the Volt is roughly 23 miles each way. With a total round trip distance of 46 miles she could make the whole drive on battery provided electric IF she drives very efficiently. But since part of that commute is at highway speeds that’s not an easy thing to do. Highway speed is not the most efficient speed range for an electric car. But with the ability to charge during the day, making the whole trip and some occasional added side trips using electricity alone is no problem at all.
All that said though, it’s good to point out that the whole reason we opted to buy the Chevy Volt is because you don’t have to sweat any limits that the battery range gives you. If you need to go further than the battery can carry you the car simply kicks on the gasoline powered range extending engine and you just keep driving, just like any other car. But when you own the car it can become a game against yourself at times to see just how long you can go without burning any gasoline. Doesn’t hurt the pocketbook either!
So with 5,000 miles covered on 25 gallons of gasoline we are pretty happy so far. Icing on the cake is that it’s a really solid car that drives great and looks good doing it. But that’s just my opinion…
As soon as we decided we would own a Chevy Volt I knew I wanted to adorn it with some sort of unique license plate. In Tennessee there are lots and lots of options when you look at specialty plates, many of which benefit various causes. What you see above is what we came up with.
I told my young boys we could put a fun plate on the car and asked them for their ideas for what it might say. “SHHH” was quickly on the list because it’s striking how quiet this car is when it’s running. Some other ideas they came up with were “Zappy”, “Amps” and “Volty”. Remember, these are coming from young kids. When the plate finally came in it was “SHHH” that got the nod from the Tennessee DMV. We like it because it’s fun and fits the car.
The theme of this specialty plate is one related to wildlife. A portion of the additional fees for the plate are used to support the wildlife resources fund to be used for management, protection, propagation and conservation of fish and wildlife species and the protection and enhancement of their habitats. We like that and the boys just liked the bear face on the plate.
No sense in having such a unique car and not have a little fun with it as well!
We just turned over our first 2,000 miles in the Volt and the numbers speak for themselves. 2,000+ miles, 12.5 gallons of gasoline used, 160+mpg!
It’s sorta hard not to like this…
Well it has been one full month now with our new Chevy Volt and so far the experience has been first rate! The biggest thing about owning this car of course is fuel efficiency and it’s a star on that front! We’ve driven the car exactly 1,700 miles in these 30 days, 1,248 of those miles on pure battery power. “Burning electrons” I like to say. To cover the other 452 miles we burned 11.9 gallons of gasoline. So, depending on how you prefer to calculate your MPG we are averaging over 140MPG overall or roughly 38MPG during those times we were actually burning gas. Not bad at all on either front I would say!
The cost to run this car doesn’t stop with gasoline usage of course, after all you do plug it in and recharge that big battery every night. But charging up the 16.5kwh battery in this car isn’t as expensive as you might think. Based on our electric power rates I estimate that a full charge on the battery would cost us about $1.25. That’s pocket change! And that pocket change can take us 45-50 miles and more! Remember too that it doesn’t need a “full from empty” charge every single night. Based on our use over the last month it looks like it will cost about $25-$30 each month for the power to keep this car charged. If our utility company offered special “Time of Use” rates as many others do, our cost for charging would be even lower.
So, our electric bill will go up a bit but when you compare that to how much our gasoline bill will go down the benefit is obvious. Comparing to what we would have spent driving the car we replaced with this Volt (2002 Nissan Maxima) it looks like we saved more than $200 in fuel costs this month! I like that. Read more