Posted on Tuesday, 19th November 2013 by Michael

It has been some time since I have written a blog post for my security forum. I got to first apologize but sometimes time is scarce and lately I find I have less and less of it. I have recently taken a position for a new company located much further from my house. To get to this new job I decided to rely on myself and not Amtrak as after several years of their lack of customer service and reliability while working at a pass job I decided I did not want to do that again. The other thing the cost to do this was about the same as purchasing a fuel efficient vehicle.

There are many forms of fuel efficient vehicles out there. There are pure electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S and the new Ford C-Max. The issue is that the Nissan and Ford both have limited range of below 100 miles (Nissan 75 miles and Ford around 90). The Tesla pushes over 250 miles solely on electric, with their mid model. Though with a price tag of 87,000 +/- with the features I want it was out of the price range I could afford right now.

Then there are hybrid cars that give you ranges between 30 to 50 miles on gas. These cars are sufficient but while researching them I came across the best of both worlds. The Chevy volt gives you an electric range of 30 to 50 miles depending on a multitude of factors such as temperature, driving habits, terrain, and heating / AC. In most likely hood expect around 37 to 38. Though the electric range is lower than the Leaf or C-Max it has something neither has, it is able to use an internal combustion engine to create power and continue driving as if it was a standard car with between a 40 +/- miles per gallon rating, so basically I will not be stranded once the juice runs out. The one problem you will notice in these numbers it is almost impossible to figure it out as I stated earlier. The one thing I can tell you I have driven over 500 miles so far and used less than 1 gallon of gas.

Let me start off with some negatives and wants!

First not having the 5th seat is a blessing and curse. It is nice that my kids have a place to store their stuff while in the car but it makes any addition to the family or bringing the mother in-law along a problem. It would have been nice to have that center console as a fold up revealing an extra seat.  Next I find having the charge door on the driver’s side a pain in the butt but I understand why it was done. I have on street parking at my house and running a cord to charge the car becomes tricky. Next if all these manufactures out there have the technology to increase the battery and EV range of their cars why can’t Chevy tap that technology to add a longer EV range along with the ICE fall back? Can you imagine 75 to 125 miles on EV before needing the ICE to run? The last gripe I have about the car itself is the lack of being able to do text messages on the system. My wife’s Ford escape can do it but my volt cannot.

I will end the negative section with a huge issue for all EV owners that are not Leaf or Tesla owners. This issue is that of lack of EV charge points and dealerships not supporting the EV’s they sell such as many of the local GM dealerships. Most Nissan dealerships have EV stations for Leaf owners and some are nice enough to allow us Volt owners to charge as well.  Those that can afford Tesla’s have a large network of support thanks to the great leadership behind that car.



So here are the positive!

The car is loaded like a luxury car at a fraction of the price. There are many people who have owned high end cars and find themselves loving the Volt more. The ride is super smooth and very comfortable. When traveling I do not need to worry about running out of electric I just switch over to gas automatically and continue the trip. The display in the car along with the safety features teaches you to become a safer more efficient driver. I find myself competing with myself to drive more efficiently and get more range on the EV. The OnStar remote app is great tool allowing me to see the charge of my car and control some of the cars functions from anywhere with my smart phone, that combined with the free 3 years from OnStar is sweet. The electronics in the car is mine blowing and the setup is very high tech. I drive long distances in the car and I am 5 10 and about 250 and I have plenty of room in the car. The seats are very comfortable and the car handles like a dream. I find it to be very responsive and the sport mode on the highway allows me to reach high speeds with ease.

The financial positives were that even though this car lists for 45k new with all the discounts and tax credits it is almost attainable by anyone. GM will offer 7k off right away on 2013 and older models. Then USAA will give 750 towards the car if you had family in the military and you sign up. Thanks Grandpa! If you belong to a credit union you get about another 1900 off as well.  With all those right off the back you are getting 9,650 off the car and then add any haggling or other incentives from the dealership. Though the savings don’t stop there, since the Volt’s battery is 16kwh and it uses max 10.2 kwh it qualifies it for the full federal tax credit of 7,500 (at the time of writing this). Then my state offers a refund check of $3,000 for this vehicle as well. When I buy a level 2 charger I will also receive credit for 30% back from the state on the purchase and installation of it. So all together you are looking at close to 20k + in saving and incentives to purchase the vehicle.

There is still a lot of learning to do with this car and as I drive it more I will post some updates. For those that are new to this vehicle I suggest checking out YouTube for videos on it and There are so much tips and tricks on these sites.


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