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.
My wife, who was the more hesitant between the two of us on buying this car, was concerned that an “electric car” would be something of a tin can econobox experience. Well, she got over that worry in no time as it is anything but an econobox experience. Now we joust a bit from day to day to see who can come up with the more compelling reason to “need the Volt” for the next days driving. A phenomenon I understand is quite common among Volt owning couples.
It’s a heavy car so it feels solid under you. In spite of the weight though, the instant torque gives you a powerful and responsive driving experience. Even more so when you switch the car over to “Sport” mode! Calling for power through the throttle reminds me a bit of my old RX-7 (which I still own) with its rotary engine. I love that rotary engine and how it just keeps pulling strong and smooth all the way through to redline and beyond. With the Volt however, there is no shifting in the electronic drive system so it just keeps pulling smooooth. It is smoother to speed limits than the best auto transmission can be.
Outside the fuel cost savings and the driving experience I have to add that the treatment we have received as new buyers/owners has been top notch as well. As Volt buyers we were assigned a “Chevy Volt Advisor” who’s job is to make sure our experience buying, using and owning the Volt is as smooth as possible. I give more detail about this in my older post about it. The Volt Advisor was in touch with us before we even took delivery and has touched base with us since delivery to be sure any questions or concerns we have are being addressed. Similarly, our local Chevy salesman has done the very same. He’s kept in touch with us to see how we are doing and has sent me information I might find useful from time to time as well.
So far I can say we are blown away by this car and the total experience of buying and driving it. There may be a minor detail or two I would change in the car but those are truly minor and at least one could be handled in a future software update to the car, who knows. If you would have asked me several years ago, heck even just two years ago, if I would ever own a Chevy, I would have definitely said “No!” Look at me now…