March 07, 2012
It's been a mixed bag for Volt lovers in recent days. The good news is that our former long-term greenmobile (which is sold in Europe as the Opel Ampera) was named "European Car of the Year" earlier this week at the Geneva Auto Show. The voting committee called the Volt/Ampera "a mature product, after years of development and perfectioning [sic] by General Motors, and the first example of an electric vehicle with extended range." Okay, then -- thanks.
The not-so-good news concerns GM's announcement last week that it plans to halt Volt production for five weeks. GM has attributed the temporary suspension to inventory concerns.
Can't win 'em all, apparently.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor
February 08, 2012
The eBay auction on our 2011 Chevrolet Volt ended last night and while we got eight bids, none were high enough to meet the reserve. We started the bidding at $27,500 and after a few days it had gone up to $30,001.99. With about a day left in the auction, we slightly lowered the reserve and the "buy it now," price, hoping it would generate some last- minute bidding.
The top bidder had e-mailed us to ask what our reserve price was. This was like asking someone to show their hand in poker. That's not information you reveal to your opponent in cards, or in this case, a potential buyer in an auction.
The top bidder told us he had wanted a Volt ever since it was announced back in 2007, and added that his Prius was getting old. But the bids never moved from $30K. That seemed to be the most that he -- and other bidders-- were willing to pay for our Volt.
It's a shame we couldn't sell the car to this guy. He wanted the car so bad that he was willing to put $10K on a credit card, $10K in cash, and pay the rest via wire transfer. Much like giving away a pet you care about, you want your car to go to a new owner who will appreciate it and take good care of it. But that three-pronged payment would have been a big hassle for us. And, more to the point, there's a check waiting for us at Carmax for $2,000 more.
If eBay bidders are only willing to pay $30K for a 2011 Volt with 15,000 miles, Carmax is going to have a tough time selling it. My guess is that Carmax probably will list it for $35,000. I'll head to Carmax later today to finalize the transaction.
I'm really going to miss the Volt. Unlike many of my colleagues, I'm more of a green-car enthusiast than a performance enthusiast, so the Volt was right up my alley. It was my favorite long-term car and it helped me change my outlook on EVs and PHEVs.
Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate @ 15,063 miles
February 07, 2012
We've had two electric cars in our fleet, a Mini E and a Nissan Leaf. Accumulating miles on the two plug-ins was difficult due to their limited range. Neither could venture very far from home. After 12-months we had only driven the Mini 7,683 miles and the Leaf only covered 3,551 miles during its 6-month stay with us.
Our Chevy Volt, however, has proven itself to be much more useful. Much more of a real car than those pure electrics. Despite very few "road trips" (I think the furthest it has traveled from our Santa Monica office is San Francisco) the plug-in hybrid has covered 15,002 miles since we bought it 13-months ago.
Heck, just yesterday I drove our Volt 140 miles from Santa Monica to Oxnard, CA and back on the picturesque Pacific Coast Highway. A trip both the Mini E and the Leaf are incapable of making without a very long stop for charging.
In the Volt, the first 39.7 miles of the trip were on pure electric, then I was burning the black gold.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief
February 06, 2012
The Chevrolet Volt, and to a greater extent, plug-in hybrids, remind me of the combo VHS/DVD players from over a decade ago. Back then, many people were invested in their VHS tape collection and were hesitant to embrace the better, but more expensive DVD technology. The electronics companies noted this slow adoption rate, and released these VHS/DVD hybrids as a stop-gap measure. They offered the best of both worlds.
One day, we'll look back on plug-in hybrids as the automotive equivalent of the combo media player. We'll tell our grandkids, that back in the day, some people were afraid that their electric car would leave them stranded, so they bought cars with a back-up gas engine to extend the range.
Some people are quick to dismiss the Volt for not being more a pure EV. But the truth is that not everyone is willing to go all-electric. I wonder if having a gas station on every corner is the equivalent of having a big VHS collection -- it reinforces a fear of taking a risk on a new format.
We need stop-gap technology like the Volt to bridge the gap until we have a more extensive charging infrastructure -- or until more people can get past their range anxiety.
What are your thoughts on the future of plug-in hybrids and EVs?
Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate
February 03, 2012
Our 2011 Chevrolet Volt is up for sale now and we decided it would make a great car to offer on eBayMotors. It's only a five-day auction, ending next Tuesday night, so get your bid in quickly. Here's a link to the auction page.
Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 14,900 miles
February 03, 2012
We're trying to sell our 2011 Chevy Volt. But before it goes to a new home we wanted to put it up on our 2-post Rotary Lift . Go to the next page to get a detailed look at its bottom.
February 03, 2012
The last time we took our 2011 Chevrolet Volt for an appraisal at Carmax, the used-car superstore offered us $32,000. It was a solid price, but at the time we just wanted to get an idea of what the car was worth. That was about two months ago and we've put 2,000 more miles on it since. Now we are going to move forward with selling the car and this quote will serve as a reference point for our listing price.
This is the first time that weve taken a car for a second appraisal at Carmax and we weren't sure what to expect. Would it drop in price? Would it keep its value? Would the price go up?
"I'm going to have to do some research on this one," the Carmax appraiser said. "This is only the second Volt I've done."
"That other one was ours," I responded. "We brought it a couple of months ago."
My guess was $31,000 and I was right on the money -- for about five minutes. The $31K was the price on screen when the Carmax representative showed me the offer. But when he brought back the printout, he said the appraiser had made a mistake, and that the actual offer was $32,000.
The Volt held its value despite the added miles and recent negative publicity. But I wonder if this had more to do with the lack of a sample size of comparable vehicles than the retained value.
We're going to see if we can improve on the $32K and we have seven days to do so.
What would you do? Take the $32K or sell it on your own?
Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate @ 14,860 Miles
February 02, 2012
Last week, we took our long term 2011 Chevrolet Volt to fix its cracked shifter. There isn't a Chevrolet dealership in Santa Monica and the Infiniti dealer we usually go to (which used to be a Chevy dealer but still works on the cars) cannot perform warranty work. Our next option was to take it to a nearby Cadillac/GMC dealer that works on all GM models.
Our Volt was probably one of the first they had seen. I got a few "What's this car doing here?" looks from some of the employees and customers. While the service advisor was writing the repair order, he checked with his manager to verify if the cracked shifter would qualify for a warranty claim. The manager signed off on the repairs and the advisor said they would overnight the part.
January 30, 2012
The Chevrolet Volt has been caught in the crossfire recently, as representatives in the government began to question the car's safety and technology. But it wasn't that long ago, that the Volt represented a new direction for General Motors. I watched "Revenge of the Electric Car" this weekend. This documentary is a sequel to "Who Killed the Electric Car?" and gives a lot of background on the creation of the Chevrolet Volt, the Tesla Roadster and the Nissan Leaf. In the film, you get to see the approach and unique challenges that each automaker faced when trying to create an electric vehicle.
Chris Paine, the writer and director of the film, was given unprecedented access to backroom meetings with GM's Bob Lutz, Nissan's Carlos Ghosn and Tesla's Elon Musk. He was also allowed to film on GM's proving grounds. One particular image that stuck with me was seeing a previous generation Chevy Malibu with Volt parts underneath being used as a test mule.
Overall, I really enjoyed the documentary, but I dont think the title is that descriptive of what actually happens. Much like "Revenge of the Jedi," was renamed "Return of the Jedi" because George Lucas felt that it was out of character for a Jedi to take revenge, "Revenge of the Electric Car" would have been better named "Return of the Electric Car." EVs arent really taking revenge on gas cars or anyone else, but rather have returned to the market in different forms that give the consumer more choices.
"Revenge of the Electric Car" is out on video now and is also available on Netflix instant streaming. Take a look at the trailer below. Let us know if you've seen it or plan on watching it.
January 26, 2012
"This isn't just the car we wanted to build; it's the car America had to build. The extended-range electric Chevy Volt, from the heart of Detroit to the health of the country, Chevy runs deep."
The car America had to build? According to whom? Watch the thankfully-not-a-Super Bowl-ad after the jump and let us know if this one hits the mark or is a misguided attempt to convince a free market to buy a car they don't really want. (Though it is a car I personally want.)