By on November 24, 2010

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31 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Chevy Volt Gets An EPA Label Edition...”


  • avatar
    86er

    4 hours charging time @ 240V… so, RV plug required then?

  • avatar
    Bytor

    MPGe is useless. It would have been better to give City/Highway range and City/Highway real MPG.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      @Bytor, as already discussed ad infinitum, the “MPG” varies massively depending on individual driving patterns (ie do you travel only within the all-electric range).  Posting the two numbers individually is probably the best thing EPA can do given that they are stuck on the “MPG” metric.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      th009

      along with the ost of charging throughout the US.
      It’s very differecnt around the country.

      It seems the standard rate or average has been accepted, somehow.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I think that this sticker actually spells it out pretty clearly. It shows how different driving patterns affect the overall mileage pretty concisely.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    What’s wrong with this picture?
     
    Nothing.  The EPA has done a good job explaining the Volt’s performance.
     
    But someone over at GM is rending their clothes since the Leaf got a 99 mpg rating.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Nothing. It seems to do a reasonable job in explaining to potential customers what they can expect from electric and gas powered driving.

  • avatar
    MrDot

    They should have the charge time at 120v, assuming you can charge it from a normal outlet.

    • 0 avatar

      trust me, the guys from Nissan vetoed your idea. At 120V, the Volt’s charge time should still be a reasonable 8-hours, which one can easily do overnight. The Leaf would roughly take 16 hours at 110V which would not look good.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      In addition, charging @ 110V is considerably less efficient than @ 240V (lower conversion efficiency of the charging circuit), which would require a separate (higher) “cost per year if run in all electric” entry.

  • avatar
    Tree Trunk

    Seems fair to have a double sticker for a car with two power modes.
     
    But how significant does the alternative cycle have to be in order to deserve the second sticker?
     
    The new Prius can go a mile or so on electric should it get a second sticker?

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    35 miles on the battery? Oops, there goes 4 years of marketing.

    • 0 avatar
      HoldenSSVSE

      What do you mean?  The target was 40 and many reviewers have achieved 40 miles and more.
       
      The Leaf was targeted at 100 miles, EPA rated – 73 miles – do the math, the Leaf is far further off the mark they marketed.  Also, reviewers have concluded that the only way to get 100 miles from a Leaf is via hypermiling, and pretty hardcore hypermiling.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    The costs per year for energy are based on 15,000 miles.  That is 41 miles a day. Pretty hard to do it all on electricity, when the car has a maximum range of 35 miles on a charge. Were you to build your life around charging your car twice a day, you could save $700 a year with the government’s model. What is it about buying $23K worth of capabiliy and luxury for $41K in order to POTENTIALLY BUT UNREALISTICALLY save $700 a year that makes this a car for people who can’t do math? This still ignores things like the time value of money, the cost of setting up a charger and a differentiating power meter to avoid having your electric bill go into the stratosphere in California where most of the idiots who will buy these live, and all the other liabilities that go hand in hand with being an early GM product or technology adopter. Car of the Year!

  • avatar
    JimC

    @gslippy and carguy, both of you pretty much summed it up.  Any more information on the sticker or any less, they’d confuse and annoy more people.  This format is as good as it gets and it actually does a decent job of presenting just the right amount of data.

  • avatar
    Greg Locock

    The sticker does a reasonable job of describing a complex (and ever changing) situation. A graph might have made more sense, but people aren’t very good at reading graphs.

    My biggest beef is with mpge but that is not a Volt specific problem.

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    I’m glad the EPA came up with a pretty good label. Especially considering all the rumors on how they would handle EVs. GM likely is mad since their 230 mpg claim isn’t anywhere on the label :-)
     
    Some room for improvement:
    - add “mileage” for both modes in city/highway. I’d like to know how much worse electric mode is on highway compared to city. I assume city is better due to lower speed. Same for gasoline, where I assume city will be worse.
    - good to add the charging time. but since 120 V plus is the standards equipment (240 V afaik is an expensive options) they should list charging time with the equipment that comes with the car.
     
    I got another charging concern. How do they make sure I leave my garage without forgetting to unplug the car? I can imagine people pulling that plug behind them. In our fire stations the trucks and medical vehicles are on a charger too (for the batteries in the equipment). but they have plugs that automatically unplug when the truck pulls out. (assuming fire fighters and paramedics don’t have time to unplug the truck when leaving for a call). I consider myself to pay attention, but can imagine when I leave in the morning to forget to unplug. Especially if I alternate between IC and EV vehicle.
     
     
     

    • 0 avatar
      Crabspirits

      Supposedly if it’s unplugged with the doors locked, the alarm will sound, so it knows when it’s plugged in. Even modern golf carts won’t drive if the charger is still plugged in.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I think the label pretty accurately describes how the Volt works.  You can expect to spend between $600 and $1300/year in “fueling” your car for 15000 miles.  Realistically, it will be closer to $600, I’d assume, but this at least gives some people some reasonable numbers to do some math.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Why on earth would it be realistic to think your energy cost will be close to the low estimate if you actually drive 15,000 miles a year? You’d need to charge more than once a day to do that mileage. You’d need to drive in chunks of 35 miles or less, at several hour intervals. You’d need to ignore that the car will run its engine periodically to prevent damage from stagnation and that the car will burn off a tank of fuel once a year to keep the fuel reasonably fresh if you do stick to the electric use cycle. Realistically, you’ll take a few long long trips which will all be at the unexceptional gasolince consumption rate. If you live in one of the markets where they will push this car, chances are you are paying far over the national average for electicity. Ask me how I know. Realistically, you can probably hit a number in the middle. For which you are paying an $18,000 premium over a comparable car that will probably cost you no more than $500 additionally a year in energy. That car will weigh a thousands pounds less and probably save you $300 a year in tires and a comparable amount on insurance.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC

      CJinSD, $300/year on tires?  Savings, not gross expenditures?  Tires must be pretty expensive in SD! :)
       
      I agree with your logic on the rest of your points though.  Gasoline in Cali costs about 50% more than the national average but electricity is closer to double.  Whether each customer is near the high or low EPA estimate depends on… each customer.  The old cliché, “Your mileage may vary.”  The sticker still does a decent job of giving shoppers useful comparison data.
       
      (Of course it won’t be long now before a vocal few scream bloody murder when they get only 20 miles out of their Volt or Leaf battery- just remember the same kinds of people get angry and confused when their hybrids didn’t deliver 50+ mpg in bumper-to-bumper 5mph-80mph-5mph-80mph rush hour traffic…)

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      It will be closer to $600 than $1300, I’d guess.  $899 is closer to $600 than $1300. ;)  Seems reasonable to me.
       
      Trust me, I’m no Volt apologist.  Even at $600/year (i.e. ideal conditions), you’re saving a whopping $300/year over fueling a Prius at $3/gal gas.  In my driving cycles (very short commute, lots of long weekend trips), you are looking at closer to a 19 year payback period versus a Prius… not including depreciation.  I just think the label gives you a high and low number to run the calcs and see if it makes sense.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      That should be $949 instead of $899.  It has been a long week.  My basic math is suffering.  haha

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Jim C,

      These cars are HEAVY. They’re several hundred pounds heavier than comparable sedans. In an effort to maximize range, they use special low rolling resistance tires. In the case of the first generation US Prius, the result was the need to use a special XL load range tire in an otherwise common size. The special tires lasted about 17,500 miles and cost twice as much as tires of similar grip levels and two to three times the lifespan. Using any other tire the same size would put you in a tough spot if one failed due to you exceeding its load capacities, a very real possibility when the Prius was the size of an Echo and the weight of a Camry. The Volt takes this theme to another place entirely. Chances are buyers will learn that they are spending more on tires than they saved on gasoline, much as the first Prius drivers did. Unless they decide to cheap out on tires, in which case they’ll lose fuel efficiency at the least.  The Volt’s P215/55R17 Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max tires are about $150 a piece before mounting and balancing. A conventionaly sedan of the Volt’s size would use P205/55R16s, and you’d have a wealth of choices for 2 or 3 hundred less a set, many of which have longer tread life.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC

      CJ, I have to say I did not know that.  The tires on my (not mine anymore) late model Civic Hybrid were low rolling resistance Dunlop SP60s special for that car but the price and treadlife were average.  Those cars aren’t particularly heavy though (under 3,000lbs curb weight).  I know only one person with a Prius II (nothing special comes to mind about the tires) but no one with a Prius I.
       
      The Volt’s tires as you describe them sound like they’ll make the owner/lessee experience, ahem, interesting.  Oops!  Well at least I heard it here first.
       
      Hey, maybe Dunlop will come out with a 17″ version of their SP60… in a special heavy car version… never mind.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      That’s an interesting thing about the tires for the Prius.  Is this a first generation Prius thing only?  My hybrid (Altima) has Continental Contact 215s..60s IIRC.  Almost 20K on them and they still have a good amount of life left.  I guess that tire choice maybe why I only get 33 MPG and the Toyota does much better.  Still, I think I have a better compromise, as least for me.  You bring out a good example of hidden costs that surprise the end user.  Buying tires every 16,000 miles is acceptable on a high-performance ride.  Not so on a vehicle that is touted as saving resources…

      I actually think the EPA sticker is a success. I would like to see both a 120 and a 240 volt mode rating as well as a small chart for cost of electricity, like the way you will find on an appliance sticker. By the way, a 240 volt receptacle is not a big deal. All houses have two legs in their panel. Some folks make this out to be a real deal-breaker. It must suck to be held hostage to the Men in the Blue Van!!

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    If it’s like the EV1, the car will not shift out of Park if it’s plugged in. 

    I think the sticker is an excellent compromise and explains things clearly.  Consider the Volt hauling around the extra weight of the backup charging system, 93 MPGe vs. 99 for the Leaf seems pretty darned good.  I assume that this is some calculation of kilowatts of energy used to propel the car a given distance, so it equalizes for different sized battery packs between different makes of EV. 

  • avatar
    carve

    Wow!  36 kwh/100mi   /   93 mpge is phenomonal, considering it’s hauling around a whole 2nd drive train.  Of course, I guess that’s in lieu of enough batteries to go 3-4x as far.  Still- the electric efficiency is almost as good as the Leaf’s

    And DOUBLE WOW (double wow- all the way)- the sticker also gives gallons per 100 miles! That’s a much more practical way to compare vehicle efficiency at the wallet than mpg. Great way to transition this measure to all cars.

    Never thought I’d say it, but way to go, EPA! You DO need to have city/hwy for both fuels though.

  • avatar

    Uh-oh – someone at EPA screwed up:

    Nissan Leaf: “Cost estimates are based on 15,000 miles per year at 12 cents per kW-hr.”
    Chevy Volt: “Cost estimates are based on 15,000 miles per year at $3.20 per gallon and 11 cents per kW-hr.”

    I hope that’s not blatant favouritism…

  • avatar
    segfault

    What’s wrong with the picture?  It doesn’t get a 230-MPG rating as promised.


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