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Something snuck into the garage overnight

Post in 'The Green Room' started by begreen, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Picked up a new Volt over the weekend replacing the Prius. This is our first experience with an electric car and first American car in 42 yrs, though our truck is a Ford. Well, that is it's mostly American. It's assembled in the US, but the electric drive components come from Japan, some parts from Korea and 45% of parts are from US/Canada . So far 90 miles on it, all on electrons. It's a pretty big adjustment, but we're getting used to it. The car is lots of fun to drive.Handles like a champ and has lots of power.

    IMAG0103web.jpg

    Right now I'm charging it on 120V using the provided charge cord. I will be wiring the garage for a dedicated 240V charger soon. Then the 120V charge connection can travel with the car. This is a remarkable machine. I'm glad Chevy went all the way and put it into production. It's quite an amazing vehicle.

    In another thread Highbeam asked about costs. At sticker I would have passed on the car. But now that the 2013 model year is half over, GM is incentivising the car by $4K. I suspect the recent drop in the Nissan Leaf's price has a lot to do with this. Our car is pretty tricked out so the sticker value is $42.6K. Base model is about $39K. The final negotiated price before the fed tax credit ended up as $35.5K, after credit - $28K which is not bad for a well appointed sedan. That's pretty close to what we paid for the well equipped Prius in 2006.

    The Volt doesn't need gas if your normal driving range is within 40 miles, though this can be extended by using the right foot judiciously and taking advantage of regenerative braking. That covers about 80% of all our normal driving. I can do all our local driving and a round trip to Seattle in that range. We have a charge station at work so I can easily stay on battery.

    So far the generator has not kicked on. I'll be taking a trip up north which will take me out of range so I'll get a chance to let the motor kick on and charge up the system a bit. Based on my experience with the dealer test drives the switchover is very smooth because the engine just quietly comes on and start generating power for the electric drive.

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  2. WellSeasoned

    WellSeasoned Guest

    Sounds pretty cool. So no emissions right? Are the engines quieter than a gas engine? I don't know much about electric cars. How long until you see return in fuel savings compared to the somewhat high (imho) sticker price? I'm surprised these car manufactures haven't installed solar panels as a source of power.... Nice car!
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    No emissions if the generator doesn't come on. Electric motors are virtually silent. What you hear is tire noise mostly. The solar energy collected on a car would be trivial compared to the energy consumed to make it go. You might be able to run the fans on it, but not much more. There isn't enough surface area and cars weigh too much. But we have that covered.

    IMG_0708web.jpg

    There often isn't an ROI on a new car unless your prior vehicle is a horrible gas guzzler and the new one is very fuel efficient. Usually there is a pretty big loss in depreciation the first year. We did well in that way with the Prius holding value (gas was $2/gal) and I think we'll do ok with the Volt. Our final price was within the range of several other cars we looked at. In the meantime we'll save a lot on gas, especially if it goes up over the next 5 years (never happen right?). But in truth, I wanted an electric car to experience it. I'm getting older and there won't be a lot more new cars in my future. I like the connection between providing my own fuel (via solar), low emissions and the quiet cruising with the car. And it's a hoot to drive! Chevy stuck it's neck out with the Volt and I'm glad to show them support with my purchase. It takes momentum to build up critical mass and I'm happy to contribute.
  4. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Congrats. I saw one up close the other day and it's quite snazzy.
  5. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Can that be used as a generator in the case of a power outage?
  6. WellSeasoned

    WellSeasoned Guest

    Covered- very nice.
  7. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    So the 120V charger simply uses a regular duplex wall plug?
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Not easily. But I've read that you could plugin up to an 1800w 12v inverter and let the car handle it.

    Yes, on 120v the car defaults to an 8.4 amp load to avoid breaker tripping. You can set it to 12 amp if the circuit can handle it. The charger is actually built into the car. The EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment) is really a safety device with fault detection circuits, car communications and GFCI. There is an open source project that has the schematics and parts available for DIY. I may go that route for the 240v EVSE. Otherwise they start at about $500. We're in no rush. With our normal driving we could go back and forth to town several times, so an overnight charge is totally sufficient. Hills reduce range a little, but what goes uphill must come down where regen kicks in.
  9. firebroad

    firebroad Minister of Fire

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    If it is not too personal, I hope you will update us on next month's electric bill.:)
    PapaDave likes this.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    No problem. But note that don't just charge at home.
  11. Freeheat

    Freeheat Minister of Fire

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    Had a chance to drive one over the weekend and the transitions from electric to gas is seemless , very cool car

    JIM
  12. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    Sweet! Here I thought I was going to see a diesel Cruze in the garage.
    Hope it's as reliable for you as the Prius was. Why'd you get rid of the Pruis anyway? Just get tired of it?
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    We liked a lot of things about the Prius, but the 2006 seats are not great. They feel like someone has a knee in your back. Not good when you have a sore back already. I've wanted to have an electric car for years and this may be my last chance. I'll be retiring soon so who knows if I'll ever get a new car again. I wanted one with comfortable seats that was fun to drive. So far it's doing fine.
    Jags likes this.
  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I like the Cruze's design, look and interior better. But the diesel sounded straight out of the 70's. We travel most of the summer with the windows open and rarely use the A/C so this was a turn off and in direct contrast to the near silent drive of the Volt. To be fair we were comparing it to the VW TDI sportswagon which was a strong contender and is remarkably quiet for a diesel.
  15. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    On one hand it is good that they are using a time tested diesel design with the cruze. Time tested is a clever way to say old and dependable but noisy.

    I am jealous of your volt BG, the price tag is too high for most of the population at this time but I hope that this changes as time goes on just like any of the new tech.
  16. wazzu

    wazzu Member

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    At that price I don't see how enough people could ever afford one of those electric cars in order to actually make a difference in pollution. It sure seems like it is expensive to be "green". For that matter it's expensive to pay for $4.00 gas too. I guess I am screwed either way.
  17. firebroad

    firebroad Minister of Fire

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    Hopefully, prices will come down. Lightbulbs, even the incandescent ones, were once terribly expensive. I paid $6 for the compact florescent ones about ten years ago, and they were junk. In 2007, I was able to buy some for around two bucks, and I have yet to change one.:)
  18. Vic99

    Vic99 Minister of Fire

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    I agree cost is still too high to make a difference for general pop.

    Currently in Romania visiting family. Gas is 6.55/gal, diesel is just over 7/gal. Standard of living is much lower here and the economy has taken a bigger hit than U.S. Crazy prices especially considering the economy.

    We are considering a volt, probably next year. My second vehicle is a truck that gets 16-17 mpg. When weighing all factors with a home PVC system and 3.50/ gal, driving 80% on electric, break even is about 5 yrs. faster than gas saved from not commuting in a truck and buying a Prius instead.

    Hopefully price will drop soon.
  19. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Just curious BG, but what is the realistic lifespan of the batteries in that car? From what I've heard (I've not done any research) replacing the batteries is an astronomical cost in that car. How does that affect the long term depreciation value of the car? I will say one thing, they are a sharp looking car, and a very cool idea with the hybrid technology......
  20. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    Life of the vehicle likely. Hybrids, plug-in hybrids & full electrics all protect the battery by controlling the charge & discharge levels giving vastly improved life over batteries in things like cell phones that are fully discharged.
    From wikipedia:
    "The Volt's battery is guaranteed by General Motors for eight years or 100,000 miles (160,000 km), and will cover all 161 battery components.[73][74] GM estimates that the Volt batteries will degrade by 10 to 30% after 8 years or 100,000 miles.[75] GM has applied for a patent that may allow technicians to quickly and cheaply recover some of the performance of degraded battery packs.[76] The Volt’s battery management system runs more than 500 diagnostics at 10 times per second, allowing it to keep track of the Volt’s battery pack in real-time, 85% of which ensure the battery pack is operating safely and 15% monitor battery performance and life.[73]"
    ScotO likes this.
  21. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    BG I'm envious. I've had only tool-stealing sons, mice, snakes, and skunks sneaking into my garage; the latter unfortunately while I was trapped in there.
    We've had a Volt at work for about a year. Everyone that drives it raves about what a great ride it is.
    Wish I had one and the PV to charge it ...maybe one day.
    firebroad likes this.
  22. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Folks had astronomical estimates for replacing the batteries when we bought the Prius. It was nonsense. Same thing with battery life. They are rated conservatively and not allowed to use a large percent of their capacity. Like the Prius the batteries are warranted for 8yr/100000 miles. Many Prius taxis have gone well over 200000 miles on their batteries and replacing them is now less than $2K. I suspect if I need to replace the Volt's batteries in 8-10 yrs there will be some interesting changes in tech that will make them both more affordable and longer lived.
    firebroad and ScotO like this.
  23. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It'll happen. We had a rat infested garage for 20 yrs and didn't replace it until last year. And I have been dreaming of having an electric car for a couple decades. Good things come to those who wait.
  24. Vic99

    Vic99 Minister of Fire

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    Did you find haggling for the car any different, BG?

    On one hand it seems like sales were dropping off a bit, although I can see arguments for how you can frame that monthly, quarterly, etc. On the other hand, maybe this is still the early adopter stage and they figure if you want it you'll pay.
  25. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yes, the fact that there was haggling at all was different. I usually get a fixed price on the phone and just pick up the car. This time things were different because I wanted my wife to try the car. We show up and the sales mgr. starts teasing with some high offers for our Prius. We said we'd think on it. When I went to pick up the car he reneged on the trade-in offer and upped the car price. I walked out of the place, told them to stick it. A few days later another sales assoc. called, apologized multiple times and said he would speak to the owner and get it fixed up. He did and we hit an agreed price. It was a good deal and far below sticker. The actual salesperson was a nice guy and pleasant to deal with, but the experience was far from the great treatment I got when I bought the Prius. I bought that car by email, no haggle, no hassle. Flew down to Portland, they met me at the airport and had it ready to go for me.

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