Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Since makin my own Volt was so much fun, I had to see how it compares to the real thing... Sooo, I dropped by the Chevy dealer and inquired if they had one available. Turns out they had ten! Also turns out they were so eager to deal that I got basically a "do-over" offer that would take the i-MiEV off my hands like it had never happened and start over with a loaded Volt at below MSRP! OF course, that would only mean that I have twice the tax credits waiting to be audited, and an additional $10k of debt, so at this point, I don't think it's worthwhile. If we didn't need more than four seats for a road-trip car (nearby grandparents that no longer drive highways, I'd be all for retiring the minivan and getting more Voltage). The Volt drives very nicely. It certainly accelerates better than an iMiev, though may not be quite as responsive as a Leaf... it's been a while. They've done an awesome job of eliminating wind noise, though if you only lower one rear window at practically any speed, the buffeting could pop an eardrum!
I drove it hard for 33.2 miles,consuming 10.1 kwh over 26.8 all-electric miles (for an average 373 watt-hours per mile (after 423 wh/mile during my first very spirited run), and in range-extending mode, an apparent 24.6 mpg. Consuming only 10.1 kwh from the 16 kwh pack before the charge was depleted could have been troubling, but this Volt only had 4 miles on the clock, and had been sitting for quite some time. The onboard display is reading August 25, 2011! I'll check the door jamb sticker to see if that's the build date, or maybe that's when the house battery last ran out of juice! IN the meantime, I'll enjoy a few more miles on this overnight test drive, and hope that the wife doesn't read this posting while she works the graveyard tonight.... Won't Mommy be surprised when she gets home in the morning!!!


Jon said...

I've been following the sale of your miev for some time now. I wanted to buy one but I want to wait until there is some more competition in the subcompact ev market. The leaf is too big and the miev is too limited on the freeway (as soon as I by a city ev, Boeing will send up to Everett 20+ miles away). I thought that you actually traded in your i for a volt but I guess you didn't. The volt might be right if I don't have a stable commute.

Jay Donnaway said...

Thanks Jon,
You might be waiting a while for more competition in the subcompact EV market, that is; as long as you want something capable of carrying four adults. EVerything else that has been announced for 2013 is significantly more expensive, like the Focus and the Fit bumping on $40k. 20+ miles ain't nuthin for an i. My worst-case scenario was over 45 miles, which would allow you to fully load the car, crank up the heat and speed up I-5 (as if that were possible) ;-).
EVen the pitiful OEM EVSE (8amp, 120V) allows you to recover 3 miles of range per hour of charge, or 24 miles over an 8-hour shift. I finagled access to a 120V 20A circuit from my employer, which allows a full 16 amps on my portable SPX universal input Level II charger, or better than 6 miles of recovered range per hour of charge. My minimum acceptable range was one round trip commute without charging, and if that matches your needs, then an i would seem to too.