Chevy Volt

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by FastEddieB, Aug 22, 2018.

  1. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    Now that I’ve been educamated on the difference between the Bolt and the Volt...

    Karen and I looked at a Volt at a Knoxville Chevy dealer, Beatty Chevrolet, and I went for a short test drive.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In suburban Knoxville traffic, felt surprisingly normal in its all-electric mode, which is good for a claimed 50 miles or so. When that’s gone, a small gas engine kicks in to run a generator to keep the battery charged, for a total range approaching 400 miles. There’s a nice display in front of the driver showing electric and total miles remaining. Apple CarPlay is a plus.

    Plugged into 120v it takes 13 hours to charge fully. 240v only 4.5 hours. 13 hours sounds like a long time, but unless the battery was at 0%, overnight should do it most of the time.

    Our current stable:

    2011 Ford Flex bought used which serves as a tow vehicle for our travel trailer

    2005 Honda Element bought new with 200,000 miles as an all around knock-around vehicle

    2006 Honda Ridgeline with 185,000 miles bought used recently as an airport truck for our TN property.

    The Volt would replace the Element.

    There is still a $7,500 tax credit on the Volt. If we do this, it would makes sense to do in in 2018. Most years we have little or no tax liability, but in 2018 we have substantial capital gains, and could use the full credit, effectively reducing the $34k price of the entry level Volt. The 2019’s are arriving soon, so we might be able to negotiate some savings on a 2018.

    Or, we could just tamp down the new car fever and try to get a few more years out of the Element. That might mean losing the tax benefits, but should expand the field of hybrids available.

    As an aside, we’re sitting on 100 shares of Tesla stock, which is mentally earmarked to pay for our next car. Current value is around $32k. The price of TSLA going forward may influence our decision.

    Open to any input, pro or con.
     
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  2. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    I bought a new car to take advantage of a tax credit, but that was because my old one was (after 14 years and Odin knows how many miles) trailing white smoke out the exhaust, a bad sign. From what I now know about Toyota engines from that era, it was a good call.

    Says me if the old car works I'd just keep it. Your tax credit will cost you $34K, the Honda is free. If it breaks, well the electrics and hybrids aren't going anywhere.
     
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  3. jmp470

    jmp470 Line Up and Wait

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    Depending on your capital gain tax amount, I would buy the car. I had a similar situation in 2016, I ended up doing solar on the house for a 30% write off. But, in my situation I spent $40K to save $12K in capital gains.

    But, going solar or cheap on gas car is great! It will potentially save you monthly operating costs. I know it has saved me a ton on electricity, at least a $150 - $200 per month.
     
  4. bflynn

    bflynn En-Route

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    Double check the value of the tax credit. The value is computed based on the size of the battery and I haven't seen any hybrids that get the full credit - usually closer to $3,500. The value is $417 for each kw of battery size above 5. At 16kw, that's only $4587. And keep in mind that's a tax credit which allows you to lower your net income. The actual value of it is the credit * your marginal tax rate - so say maybe $4587 * .28 or $1284, barely an AMU.

    Otherwise, hybrids are great - the wife loves her Prius. I'm waiting to test drive a Bolt myself and have my next car narrowed down to the Bolt, the Leaf or an old VW Bug.
     
  5. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie Pattern Altitude

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    The Volt battery is big enough to qualify for the full tax credit. I bought a plug in Fusion four years ago, the credit on that car was $4007. And it is a credit, not a deduction, every dollar of the credit reduces your tax bill by a dollar.

    If your Federal tax liability is less that $7500 in the year you buy the car, then you would not get to use all of it.
     
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  6. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I don’t think a tax credit affects capital gains the same way a tax deduction does. Credits are not offset by gains.
     
  7. tspear

    tspear Pattern Altitude

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    With the age/millage of the Honda Element, you are likely to replace to replace the car in a year or two. You have a tax advantage this year and you also have a timing advantage where you are not under pressure to replace the daily driver.
    Based on the information provided, I would go ahead with the Volt, or I would plan on driving either the airport car or tow car once the Element dies until the timing matches again.

    Tim
     
  8. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    I think you’re wrong on that second part. It’s not a tax deduction, like you’re describing, but a tax credit that is subtracted from your tax liability, nor your income.
     
  9. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach

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  10. bflynn

    bflynn En-Route

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    Right, got credit/deduction mixed up...

    What's the size of the battery? I read 16 kw and I've never seen a hybrid get the full amount, which is why I raised the question.

    This site shows the amounts and for the Volt it is clearly $7500. With such a small battery I don't understand how. https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/taxevb.shtml
     
  11. Matthew K

    Matthew K Line Up and Wait

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    Since your using Tesla stock to pay for the new car, it only makes sense to use it to buy one of Tesla's cars ;)
     
  12. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    That was the original plan.

    Still nervous about all-electric given where we live and our typical “mission”. Not many places to charge in the boonies, nor nearby Tesla dealers.

    Still keeping an open mind, though.
     
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  13. FormerHangie

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    What's your driving environment like? Will you be on the battery most of the time?

    I've been driving a Fusion plug in for the last 4.5 years. It works very well for me, but i'm in an almost urban environment. My drive home tonight will be 12 miles and features 23 traffic lights. The Fusion has a small battery, it started off with about 19 miles of range and is now at 17, but that's enough to get me to and from work on battery, since I can charge at work. In stop and go traffic, the EV drivetrain is stellar. Response to the accelerator is flawless, and the quiet and smooth is just the thing for dealing with traffic. The car works very well in hybrid mode as well, typically returning around 42 mpg in city/suburban conditions. I don't get much of a chance to drive on rural backroads, but it appears that the car gets extremely good fuel economy there. Out on the highway I expect 37 mpg with the cruise set on 75. The Volt is a little smaller and should do a little better.

    One thing I really do like is that I can select whether I want to be in EV or hybrid mode. This is very useful if you have some highway driving to do, but some low speed driving getting to and from the highway. For the low speed stuff, I use EV, and switch to hybrid on the highway. Another time I'll use hybrid mode is if it is less than 40 degrees. The Fusion does not have reverse cycle heating, and using the battery to heat the cabin isn't very energy efficient, so I switch to hybrid mode and use the waste heat from the engine to stay warm.

    If you'll be able to use EV mode on most of your trips I'd say it's worthwhile, otherwise I'd wait until the Element is at end of life and replace it with a hybrid, unless most of your driving is expressway. In that case the hybrid will save you around 20% on fuel, which may not be worth the upfront expense.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
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  14. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I have a 2014 Volt (bought it new). Some misconceptions. Unless you're in mountain mode, the gas engine only transiently charges the battery. The current that goes into the battery is pretty much limited to that recovered by the regenerative braking.

    You should be able to get a faster charge even on 120V. Note that the default mode on the charge circuit is to only run 8A rather than 12. It's inane that Chevy on the later volts puts this feature on the CAR rather than on the EVSE which is where it belongs (and was on the earlier models). It resetting to 8 every time you take the car out is a pain in the butt.
     
  15. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach

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  16. tspear

    tspear Pattern Altitude

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    I know Chevy made changes to the Volt, I thought it was for the 2016 model, but not positive. Originally it was designed a series hybrid with the generator only powering the battery and power train.
    The newer models, the gas engine powers the wheels directly and does minimal recharging of the generator. Same Toyota has done for years in the Prius....

    Tim
     
  17. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Nope Tim. That's not true of any Volt. The Volt has always had two MGs and a gasoline engine. The gasoline engine does get clutched into the drivetrain at higher speeds (it's more efficient that way). However, even neglecting that, the gasoline engine never really "charges" the battery, it just powers one or both of the MGs. The only way juice gets back into the battery is during regen braking (or while connected to the charger). It's incorrect to say the "gas motor charges the battery," really with one exception. The VOLT has a drive mode called "Mountain." To get maximum torque for the steep grades, the thing tries to maintain about 50% of a battery charge. If you engage that, the gas motor will indeed run and charge up the battery to that point even if there is charge in the battery to keep the power reserve up.
     
  18. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    So I calculated how long it would take to burn enough gasoline to pay the difference between an electric car and Mrs. Steingar's Honda fit. I think the break even point was in 2040. We'll stick to the gas cars for the nonce.
     
  19. jmp470

    jmp470 Line Up and Wait

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    That’s the break even at today’s price, what happens if it gets to $4? In San Antonio we are at $2.50 right now.
     
  20. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    I think I calculated the price at $4/gallon and the break even point was 2035. Of course, the last time gas hit $4/gallon the economy nearly imploded.
     
  21. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach

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    No doubt I’d never buy new when it comes to EVs. That’s why a used gen1 Volt made perfect sense. They’ve deprecated to the point where they’re only a few grand above a competitor like the Fit. Since I prefer the styling and driving experience of the Volt over other comparable cars, I’ll pay a few grand more. New? Nah, not worth the extra cash in my opinion.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
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  22. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    Yeah, I have been thinking about a 1G Leaf to drag behind the Winnebago. You can pick them up really cheap.
     
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  23. RudyP

    RudyP Line Up and Wait

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    I think you need something a little faster than that to justify your nickname since you went from the Cirrus to the LSA.
     
  24. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie Pattern Altitude

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    1: I'm finding I'm saving around $950 per year on fuel. At the time I bought the car there was about $6000 difference between the plug in and a conventional Fusion Titanium. The Feds picked up $4000 of that, so I'm already money ahead. The price difference has come down quite a bit since then.

    2: When I was shopping for this car, I wasn't sure that I would have been willing to spend the money if no tax incentive had been available. Having driven it for the last four years, I can now say I would. It's that much better of a driving experience.

    3: You have an airplane and your wife drives a Fit? Duuuuude, srslry?
     
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  25. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    When I first bought my car I computed that the 40 miles or so I ran on electric was roughly about the same as a gallon of gas. It cost me about 70 cents to make that charge, and the co2 output of the powerplant was about a quarter of that of a gallon of gas.
     
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  26. Jamie Kirk

    Jamie Kirk Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I have a 2012 Volt, I haven’t got gas this year. No problems in 6 years, oil change every 2-3 years.
     
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  27. 3393RP

    3393RP Pattern Altitude

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    At the risk of starting a 10 page long mud slinging contest, anyone owning Tesla shares had better seriously consider the wisdom of that.

    The SEC doesn't issue subpoenas for fun.
     
  28. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yeah, and I got a neighbor who was a former GM employee and has a bunch of shares of that company which are today just about the finest outhouse wallpaper you've ever seen.
     
  29. jmp470

    jmp470 Line Up and Wait

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    Not long ago the Sec and FBI raided CAT’s HQ. the stock went on to a 52 week high.

    Don’t believe everything that you hear.
     
  30. tspear

    tspear Pattern Altitude

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    You need to drive more :D
    Payback for a co-worker who goes 60 miles each way was less than two years when comparing the Chevy Bolt to a new Civic he was considering, even with New England energy prices.
    Based on the fact I am doing around 8K miles a year now, and my Subaru is paid off, and only has about 50K miles on it, the payback is probably never.

    Tim
     
  31. Jamie Kirk

    Jamie Kirk Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I drive 1,000-1,500 miles a month.

    Gas here is $3.79 gallon, also have very high electric rates. We have solar and I charge my car for free. Been 95*+ the last 2 months here and my AC has been set to 70* all day every day and my electric bills have been under $2. Have not spent a dollar on gas and less than $20 on electric bills all year long.

    1,000 miles at 30 miles a gallon is roughly 34 gallons x $3.79 gallon is $128.86 month I save. So for 6 years I've saved over $9,000. I paid $17,000 out the door for the car so it's almost paid for itself.
     
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  32. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach

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    3FED77E1-E7D5-4DD3-8969-7E25FD22A6C5.jpeg 45.2 miles on a charge today. Not bad for an early Gen1. ;)
     
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  33. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    Cool!

    How would it be on an extended road trip that would be primarily using gas?
     
  34. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It was about 36 miles from my house to my hangar at CJR. I found if I kept my speed down, I could make it on the electric. If I got up to 60-65 on Route 29, I'd run dry a few miles short of the airport.

    I'd then pull the plane out, plug the car in, and go away for the weekend and have enough juice to hopefully make it home.
     
  35. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You're thinking like someone who hasn't driven one yet. ;)

    The nearest Supercharger to you is ~70 miles away in Chattanooga, well within the range of any Tesla.

    How far is your nearest gas station? Wouldn't it be nice if you left your house with a full tank every day?

    My "gateway drug" to electric driving was the Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, which I leased for 3 years at a lower price than the non-plug-in Fusion Hybrid would have been. I quickly got to the point where the gas engine kicking really irked me - Electric driving is just so nice, smooth, and quiet.

    When the lease ended on that, I did a lease takeover on a BMW i3, which I'll have until late October. It was a deal I couldn't refuse, and the car has been fun. While it's only got a 114-mile range and is thus a commuter and not a road trip car, I used it for most trips to a recent client about 90 miles away from my house. I would just either park it at a nearby company that had AeroVironment workplace chargers for the day, or stop at the Lake Forest Oasis on my way out and plug in there while I grabbed a quick bite to eat. The car was always done before I was.

    I'm still undecided on the Tesla Model 3. I have a reservation, but when I configure it the way I want it, it's beyond my comfort zone for a car purchase. So, the i3 may give way to a Volt. I'm definitely sold on electric driving, tax credit(s) or no.
     
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  36. Tfoster100

    Tfoster100 Pre-Flight

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    I’ve had a Volt for 3 years. Love it. I got the $7,500 credit plus state credit of $2,500. I buy gas about once every 4 months. Charge for free at work. Really like the overall drive and convenience. Motor backup if you drive more than 42 miles.
     
  37. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach

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    I average 37 miles on a charge. Once that’s depleted, which technically is never depleted (about 22 % batt) then it goes to extended range. On extended range, it becomes a typical hybrid with the gas engine running and the battery coming on at various times to assist. In extended range, I get about 37 MPG. A new Gen2 should easily top 50 miles on electric though.

    Really, like a plane, it comes down to what type of driving you’ll be doing. A Volt can be driven like an all EV Bolt depending on your daily driving. I drive 31 Highway miles to work on electric. Plug it in, 12 hrs later drive home on all electric. That about $1.30 to drive 62 miles. The Volt works perfect for my “mission.”
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2018
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  38. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    Unfortunately many states are changing from fuel taxes to mileage taxes. That cuts savings on a EV a lot.
     
  39. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Virginia just surcharges your registration, but they relented on "hybrids" (which they consider the Volt to be) and I got a refund on that.
     
  40. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    Thanks for all the input so far.

    Random thoughts...

    There's not much question that buying used is often the more rational choice. Let someone else take the hit of initial depreciation. Especially true if one upgrades often. But our Element was bought new in 2005, so we've gotten 13 years of use for the $20k or so it cost. Prior to that our daily driver was a 1991 Toyota Previa, also bought new. Keeping a car for more than a decade helps a lot to make depreciation less of a factor.

    Interesting how the gas motor kicks in mostly after the battery is depleted. Our use case is changing and fluid. Lots of 100 mile trips back and forth between homes, with lots of local driving in and around both homes. Once we finish our TN home, probably spend longer at each place and so make more use of the battery-only portion. But it sounds like it would still be an efficient highway car for the occasional impromptu trips to FL, IN, the beach or wherever.

    One surprise on the test drive was when I went to adjust the driver's seat. Being so high tech, it seemed odd that it has manual seat adjustment. But it makes sense - all the motors and switches would not only draw power but would add weight. But just a hint that though it's fancy on the outside, underneath things are kept pretty basic.

    Minor, but definite upgrades coming with the 2019 model, mainly faster charging: https://electrek.co/2018/06/28/2019-chevy-volt/. Seems worthwhile to go with a 2019, if we do go that way.

    Anyway, I'd like to take a longer test drive one day. Still keeping an open mind
     
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