Ended up buying an electric car after being exposed to my son's leaf. The leaf was not considered as his is now 2 years old and he has already lost 20% of battery capacity. He has a 2013 which had the heat sensitive battery My least favorable experience was of course the buying experience. (How can they get you to pay more). Stickered at over $40000 as They had added $1700 for window tinting, plus car had navigation and premium bose sound system $995, premium trim package $1395 which included heated front seats, suede interior leather, rear center pass thru armrest, - crystal red tint coat $495, Cargo area cover $110 and cargo net $90. When I first saw the sticker i just told them i never pay for window tinting. So they came back with a new sticker of $38,800 (the $1700 for window tinting had disappeared). The end result was i got the car for $35000, about $3800 below the adjusted sticker of $38800. I probably would not have purchased this car had it not been eligible for the $7500 federal tax credit (which reduced my purchase price to about $27500.) I tried using the AAA buying service. He came back and said "you will pay at a minimum $35000 - they could not get a price lower than that". That being said, the volt is an impressive car. It was a good choice for us as the 45-47 mile range pretty much covers all of our trips. (factory estimate 38 mile range)- increase is due to 1) most of our driving is in ideal moderate weather 2) our driving is typically at 40-50 mph in suburban driving. 3) I also drive in "LOW". (This should be called economy as it's purpose is to provide much more battery charging when U let up on the gas. It has no impact on gearing. 4)There typically are no more than 2 people in the car and we are both under 160 lbs. - less weight-longer battery range. (UPDATE DEC 20 CHG SHOW 48 MILE RANGE AVAILABLE BEST EVER!!!) Now for more good news.The volt is an impressive car!!! I love the volt. It drives beautifully, is quick, quiet, and reliable(based on others comments plus our experience so far). We purchased the car in October and have 8700 miles on the car. We are averaging just at 300 mpg!!!! and have used 29 gallons of gas) I just also read an article indicating that going back to 2010 there has pretty much been no battery degradation due to 1.the cooling systems and 2.not allowing the battery fully discharge. A great feature for us is that you can preheat or cool the cabin while the car is plugged in - this saves battery by getting the car cabin to a comfortable temp before you drive. Their are only a few items that I dislike most of which are minor. 1. the cabin is small and confining - We of course knew that when we purchased it and we can live with that. 2) the cars air dam will often scrape the curb when you park so need to be careful when pulling in to a parking spot. (did not realize this initially) 3)car is very low and visibility is less than I would like but again we knew that when we purchased the car. 4) the car has 2 levels of 120 volt charging , 8amp and 12 amp, you may not be able to get a full charge overnight using the 8 amp setting - especially if you need the car early in the am. The 12 amp level must be manually set each time you charge as the car always resets to the 8 amp setting. 5) By far the one feature that to me is most serious is the console controls for heat, cooling,radio etc.-they are absolutely terrible. There are no buttons,indents, etc. that identify by touch where each item is controlled, just a place in the center of the dash between the driver and passenger seat where you touch. Which means u must take you eyes off the road to do pretty much anything just to find the correct place to push on the console. 6)The malls in our area have electric chg. stations but they do not fit the volt so often can not chg. when out and about. Also, as a side note some interesting items re. the volt. (At least interesting to me) 1(the cars operating systems are complex- for example, it has several cooling systems, the car will also automatically run (but only for a few minutes)the ice if you run exclusively on electric as that is needed to maintain the ice components. 2) Car is to be kept plugged in when not in use as that maintains the correct battery temperature. the car will automatically run one (or more?) of the cooling systems if parked in a hot Phx. garage - our garage will get to over 100degrees in the summer. IT will also run the battery heater in cold weather to maintain the correct battery temp. 3)As an side benefit , Our power company now has a time of day program where we can pay only $.06 per kilowatt if we charge at night so we will be switching to that this month. 4) Car charging can be set to automatically charge only on off peak hours. All I can think of for now as I am not in any way techi and am learning as I go. Overall a wonderful car!!!!
So far, I am very happy with my 2015 Volt. The Chevy dealer gave me a great deal - $3,700 off MSRP; add (or subtract!) the savings from the $7,500 federal tax credit, $2,500 grant from Texas, and my $2,100 in GM Card points and my final price is actually about $10,000 below MSRP. The car is loaded with every technological feature you can dream of including the Onstar phone app that lets you lock/unlock and start your car from anywhere. Also gives you complete charging and energy usage stats and a navigation feature to tell you where your car is! And did I mention it drives great? Put it in Sport Mode and you will be surprised at the quickness. Also handles very well and looks great!
While i would never buy one new, because lets face it i purchased mine with 12k miles for 16,995 and it was new at 41k bucks.. i don't recommend a new one.. But i will say.. WOW.. I am really generally amazed by this car.. Not only is it a blast to drive, it is incredibly cheap to run, and the fit and finish, and quality of the interior,.. build quality, it is frankly amazing.. After owning nothing but Toyota's until having a major issue with one, and writing that company off, i never thought another car could meet the quality.. While only time will tell if it holds up to a 200k mile life of driving without falling apart, i am completely satisfied by the car currently, which is more than i have been by Toyota of recent.. There are however a few things that i don't like.. But that is much like any car.. 1. I hate where the cup holders are located, they are in a bad place, and should be up close to the center console. 2. The car is entirely too low to the ground, i have had slammed civic's when i was a kid, this is lower. 3. the headlights are horrible.. At night, you would be better off guessing where things are.. Aside from these things though, the car is really amazing.. quiet, no rattles anywhere, good stereo, very comfortable, efficient, it costs me about 12.00 a month on .06 cents per kilowatt hour. This in English is a savings of over 300.00 a month on gas compared to my Toyota Sienna. While no where near as big,.. I can deal with it's size for what i save. Anyone looking at a Prius, or a Civic Hybrid should honestly look at this first.. While not as big as the Prius, it makes up for it in the driving dynamics and position.. It is also a much more solid feeling car than anything Honda makes.
I have had this car for 5 months (purchased new in May 15) and now and have 8000+ miles on it. So far the car has been mechanically flawless (software issues noted below). Only after owning a car like this, do you begin to understand all of the considerations that need to be taken into account when purchasing an EV. One of the most amazing things about the Volt that is overlooked, but is incredibly significant is the selection for the range of the battery. It isn't that more is better when it comes to battery range; in fact, what GM engineers nailed is the realization that a ~50 mile range battery hits a significant sweet spot, in that it can be fully charged overnight on 120V. This has the significant advantages that the battery life is maximized (by a slow charge rate) and that no special charging equipment is required to be installed into the home. If you are going to have only one EV, currently the Chevy Volt is it, there is nothing that comes close. As mentioned above, if you have only one EV the Chevy Volt should be it (unlimited range with gas, no special charger required, maximal battery life) but the other interesting point is that if you have two EV's one of them should be a Chevy Volt (the Volt becomes the long distance vehicle, freeing you to select a second battery only EV that matches your situation exactly). Clearly Chevy is intending to be the premium choice for the second EV as well, with the forthcoming Bolt EV. The combination of an unlimited range Volt, with a significant (~200 mile) range Bolt means that for 90% of the travel of a typical family can be electric only, with the Volt easily handling the typical cross country trips. Of course, at that point a Level 2 charger must be employed to charge the Bolt (but importantly, I would still charge the Volt on 120V in order to maximize battery life). When you consider that you can purchase a Volt + Bolt for less than the price of a Tesla Model S, it is clearly the way to get the majority of people doing the majority of their mileage with electric drive. OK, so that's the good news. As mentioned above there are a couple of software issues, one that will affect everyone and one that will only affect a very small number of people (probably in San Francisco only). The first issue is that when charging on 120V, you will almost certainly want to select 12amps rather than the default 8amps, otherwise a full charge cannot be achieved overnight. The problem is that you will need to select 12amps every time you charge, as there is no way to configure the software to default to 12amps. I charge 12amps every night and I have never had a circuit breaker trip, so I should be able to configure the default to 12amps as I know exactly what circuit I am on and that 12amps is fine for that circuit. This will affect pretty much everyone who charges at 120V (and everyone should even if a Level 2 charger is available). The second issue is an odd bug in the software that causes the Volt to underreport zero emission miles, for people who live right at the top of steep hills. I live at the top of a 1 mile long 16% grade hill and in the morning when the car is fully charged, when I go down the hill in 'L' (always, always drive in 'L' by the way) the software will incorrectly report gas operation, since the battery can not accept any more regen charge and will engage the ICE (internal combustion engine) without starting it, as a braking element. The engine is not burning fuel but only acting as a braking element, yet the software will count it as ICE mode operation since the clutch to the ICE is engaged. This is a silly bug that won't affect 99.9% of the people, unfortunately it affects me.
The car is indeed very economical, but you should mind that it uses only premium fuel, which is not so economical in money after all. It is electrifying fun to accelerate yet it does not invite you to drive fast. I would put it in sport mode and leave the traffic lights in front of everybody, but I was never compelled to go faster than the speed limits. The interior is really comfortable, but mind that it just takes 4 persons. The trunk space is reasonably big, considering it is a compact. But the controls for the audio, ventilation or navigation are really hard to use while driving. It is easy to mistype the buttons since they are capacitive and often I would touch them and there would be no response. Besides that since it has no tactile feedback, I would have to turn the attention away from road to do simple tasks.