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Posted on Mon, May 7, 2012 : 5:53 a.m.

A year in the life of a Chevy Volt owner: 'It's so fun to drive'

By Laura Blodgett


Mark Hildebrandt says he's only taken his Chevy Volt to the gas station three times in the past year.

Laura Blodgett | For

It’s been a year since Mark Hildebrandt and his wife, Lorna, picked up their Chevy Volt — the very first Volt sold in Washtenaw County.

His verdict? It’s been an amazing ride.

“It’s so unlike your typical ride —so silky smooth, so fun to drive,” says Mark Hildebrandt, who admits he was taken back at first by how eerily quiet the car is to drive. “People think of electric vehicles like golf carts and it’s not at all like that.”

The Hildebrandts only took the Volt to the gas station three times over the past year for a grand total of 29.7 gallons of gas. “My wife really appreciates that — especially at $4 a gallon,” says Hildebrandt.

Because of its instant torque without the ramp-up of a gas engine, acceleration has not been an issue, says Hildebrandt. He drives the Volt at regular highway speeds with no problem accelerating into traffic on entrance ramps or passing other vehicles.

To date, General Motors has sold more than 11,000 Volts, said GM spokeswoman Michelle Malcho. The vehicle had its best month yet in March with over 2,300 Volts sold nationwide.

Michigan is one of the top five states for Volt sales, with California leading the pack, thanks to high sales in San Francisco and Los Angeles.


Hildebrandt says it costs 25 cents or less of electricity to fully charge the car.

“Our owners have driven more than 25 million (electric vehicle) miles,” says Malcho. “Our owners are driving more than 900 miles in between visits to the gas station.''

She adds that Volt owners tend to be early adopters who want the "latest and greatest" in technology.

Hildebrandt, who bought his vehicle from Bill Crispin Chevrolet in Saline, embraces alternative energy as a way of life.

He sells solar electric systems through his business Sunventrix Solar Co., and is 100 percent solar-powered at home. Therefore, solar is powering the car as well. Last year, the cost to charge his car was $517 for the entire year, including electricity, gas and solar electricity costs.

The range-extending gasoline engine on the Chevy Volt — which kicks in after the driver has exhausted the battery range of roughly 40 miles — means Hildebrandt has never worried about getting stranded. On the occasions when he goes into Detroit to visit a client, which is a 120-mile round trip, he can make it there and back without having to stop and charge somewhere. The extended range of this hybrid element has been a “perfect blend, a great bridge technology,” says Hildebrandt.

“I want to use as much electricity as possible, but there are times when that’s not totally possible,” he says. “You hardly even know the gas engine kicks on. The only reason you know is that you are so used to hearing nothing and then you hear a regular gas engine.”

Sometimes when he is driving a longer distance, such as visiting his parents, he will plug in his charger once he arrives at their house to maximize his electricity use for the trip back. “We’re talking about 25 cents or less of electricity to fully charge a car,” says Hildebrandt.

Although he hasn’t had to make much use of them, there are charging stations in downtown Ann Arbor, as well as Saline, Dexter and Chelsea. “The one at DTE (in downtown Ann Arbor) is great after-hours,” says Hildebrandt. “If you’re going out to eat or doing some shopping, by the time you get back it’s charged and ready to go.”

Although the couple tries to use the Volt as much as possible due to the gas savings, they still use their other car —a GMC Acadia — when they travel up north with their fully loaded car. “We have two kids, golf clubs, and for us as a family, everything can’t fit into the Chevy Volt.” he says.

Otherwise, the hybrid works well for his lifestyle as he works out of a home office and usually drives less than 40 miles a day. Each day, he plugs the car into a 220-volt charger in the garage, which fully charges the car in about three and a half hours.

Weather does affect the battery’s efficiency and therefore its range, says Hildebrandt.

“Batteries are like humans; they like temperatures in the 70s. In 20-degree weather, we get 20 miles in the electric range, while during the summer it is more like 42 to 44 miles,” he says.

Hildebrandt and his wife put 13,480 miles on their Volt this year — 12,495 of them electric. That is a whopping 454 mpg, according to Hildebrandt. They still have 65 percent of oil left in the engine, another cost savings.

Although he is not surprised that “early adopters” like Hildebrandt are thrilled with the Volt, Brett Smith, an auto industry analyst at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, says overall, reality is setting in for the electric car market after its initial hype.

“All the reports from owners are that they are extremely happy with their vehicles; however, this is a group that pursued this technology because they like it a ton.'' Smith says. "The reality is that there is a long way to go before the car is cost-effective.”

Smith is quick to add that the Volt and Nissan Leaf “are really wonderful vehicles” but says they remain too pricey for most buyers.

“When you can go into a Chevy dealer and the Volt is $40,000, give or take, and the Chevy Cruze is $20,000, it becomes a pretty darn hard sales pitch for most people,” says Smith. “Then add in the uncertainty of the technology. It’s really about redefining the automobile and that’s a really tough job. It’s not an easy task to replace the internal combustion engine.”

The important lesson with these electric cars, Smith says, is that they are a huge step in the right direction.

“So much has been made of this political football (about reducing dependence on foreign oil) but the good thing here is that technology is getting pushed,'' he says. "Both the Volt and the Leaf are pushing the industry to show that, yes, it can be done, but it may not be as easy as some people think.”



Tue, May 8, 2012 : 5:12 p.m.

A Chevy Volt is "fun to drive" like a washing machine is fun to use.

farris khan

Wed, May 9, 2012 : 9:09 p.m.

I am guessing that you have never driven a Volt... or you are washing machine sales consultant.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 3:48 p.m.

GM has fielded a FUNCTIONAL automobile that uses very little gasoline. Yes, they are expensive. They'll get cheaper. Sling all the arrows you want, but it's people like Mark Hildebrandt that gamble on leading edge technology that will then get better over time. Batteries (and even electricity) will get cheaper over time. Oil won't. Ever.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

Chariots of Fire? To add to the bad public perception this car has had, there are reports of battery fires in collision tests and fires starting during battery charge, hence the nick name "chariots of fire" Actual users of the car have reported as little as 25 miles on a full 12 hour charge before it switched over to the gas drive. Really nothing to brag about when you pay that much for a car. Someone said perhaps the reason to buy a Volt is to do something good for the planet rather than buy a good product Read more:


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 3:33 p.m.

@Walker101, Yes there were battery fires in tests; apparently if a battery that had experienced an enormous impact is left alone, unattended for days, a fire can happen. This is all the more shocking because riding around in a vehicle full of petroleum has never led to a fire of any kind... oh, wait...

farris khan

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.

There were a few days that my Chevy Volt had less than 25 mile range. However, even on those days, I could get well over 100MPG if I stayed within 40 miles. Overall I get exactly what the EPA estimates: 35 miles to a charge. I get 88MPG and save so much gas, it offsets the higher payment. As for "Chariots of Fire"... there are 200,000 car-b-ques per year. There are ZERO reports of Chevy Volt car crash fires. In NHTSA testing, there was exactly ONE fire that occurred 3 Weeks after the test due to a procedural error (battery was NOT drained... as gasoline always is). Car and Driver estimated that a driver who gets into a crash in Chicago exactly like the extreme test that NHTSA did and did not drain the battery (as Onstar automatically does), would be able to walk to Memphis before worrying about the car catching on fire (10 hours per day, 3 MPH, 14 hours of rest per day). Common sense: A battery is safer is than 16 gallons of combustible gasoline.

Las Paled

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

I read your article. It was written by someone with a biased opinion but lets look at some facts. It's true, in cold weather the Volt does seem to get as few as 25 miles per day on electric. Well, you always have to drive the first 25 before you drive the 50 a day. Let's do the math for a year supposing you replace a vehicle getting 25 mpg with the Volt and drive 50 miles per day on average: Your old car cost would take 730 Gallons to fuel @ $4.00 per gallon = $2920 The Volt which gets 40 MPG in Gas mode would take 228 Gallons to fuel @ $4.00 per gallon = $912 + $365 in electricty or a total fuel cost of $1277 or a fuel savings of $1640 per year $1640 * 8 years of battery warranty = $13,120 in fuel savings So even if the best you got was 25 miles a day and that was only half of what you drove then this would be what you could expect in fuel savings. Even at this rate an arguement could be made that this is a smart way to spend your money if you want to send less money to Foreign Oil producing countries. The reality is that my Volt gets 40 miles pretty much on every charge and I have a 17 mile round trip commute to work. The dealer filled the tank up and I havent been to a gas station since. My average miles per day is right at 30 and if I continue my driving habits and do a trip to California I will use 55 gallons of gas in 12,000 miles vs my old habit of 550 gallons. One of the fires you have referenced was caused by leaking batteries... that were punctured in a crash test.... and not properly drained... and sat abandoned for 3 weeks before they caught fire. I have a feeling if you are in an accident in a Volt and are sitting in your car waiting for 3 weeks for them to catch fire you are already dead. Chevrolet has recalled some chargers due to consumer complaints. None have caused a fire. In fact the chargers have a mechanism where they detect the outlet is not properly grounded. Good Read. Bear in mind the oil industry certainly wants to kill this.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 2:31 a.m.

@Mick52 The oil industry is one of the most heavily subsidized in the US. IF you use The Google, you'll find numerous reports that detail the tax breaks and subsidies that amount to BILLIONS each year. Heck, a 2005 report by the Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan fact-reporting office for Congress, showed that capital investments in oil are taxed at a lower rate than any other industry. There's also direct subsidies for exploration, and breaks on leases to drill on government lands. Another example: the Deepwater Horizon rig that blew up in the Gulf was taking advantage of a tax break to let BP write off 70 percent of the rent for the lease. And then there's the Seventh Fleet. IT's the job of the US -- and US taxpayers -- to make sure the oil flows through the Persian Gulf. We do this for FREE for all other countries. Look up "US oil import premium."


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 12:43 a.m.

If you have a Volt and like it, good for you. My issue with it is the govt subsidizing its purchase, but not subsidizing the purchase of a much less expensive 30+ mpg car that many Americans can afford and is fuel efficient. You have to be so wealthy to buy a Volt you really do not need the federal assistance. If I could afford to buy a care for $40,000 plus, I can afford gas at whatever price it reaches so I will whatever car I like, fuel efficient or not. Also has GM restarted up building them? I know they stopped due to lack of sales, but it was supposed to be just a few months. For those of you who say the govt subsidizes oil companies, do you have any proof of that? I hear it all the time, but when I look for supporting stories all I find is that oil companies get tax breaks. A tax break is not a subsidy. Lots of corporations get tax breaks. I would like to see something that substantiates the claim that oil companies get paid by the govt. Something like Solyndra received.

Las Paled

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 1:04 a.m.

The basic definition of a "subsidy" is money paid to a business or a sector in order to assist that business or sector. When taxes are reconciled the intent is for the business to pay the tax and then the tax credit to be paid back to the business/sector. In practicality the computations are factored prior to reconciliation so the government doesn't "pay" anyone but the value of that payment is incorporated into the process. The bottom line is someone got a benefit or grant at some point in the process. I agree with you. Lots of companies get Tax breaks. But how many of these companies have a direct tie to foreign oil producing countries, many of who have governments or entities sympathetic to terrorist organizations. What's even more troubling is that the oil companies have long behaved poorly by trying to monopolize patents for alternative fuel and battery development. They have no interest, at least not yet, in developing these technolgies as much as they desire to supress development. Personally I am wealthy enough to affort a $35,000 car... but that was the end of my budget comfort. The $7500 went towards lowering my payment so that I didn't have to eat too much ramen over the next 3 years :)


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 11:55 p.m.

I grew up around Drag Racing and drag racers and have raced myself for years. I am 51. We lived by the axiom "theres no replacement for displacement" and high horsepower gas hogs rule. A top Fuel dragster calculates gallons per mile....not miles per gallon. lol That being said I think the GM Volt is pretty awesome. To a lesser extent the Prius and other electric or electro-fuel vehicles too. It's a nice looking car too and I think well priced. There are obviously a lot of cro-magnon nay bobs who hate this car and I think we all know why. But just wanted to add my thumbs up and wish the technicians good luck in developing even better long term battery power with the lithium ions and other sources. And you other guys? Get your heads out of the sand and out of Drudges hind end for five minutes. Ok?


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 10:30 p.m.

I want one. Period.

Mark Brooks

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 10:16 p.m.

I am always amazed at the comments posted in response to anything honest about the leaf or volt. Some of the comments are here are brutally dishonest, as if simply by shouting, one can drown out the real experiences of a volt owner ouner or shame another potential owner away from exercising his freedom of choice. I applaud mark for stepping forward to share his enthusiasm and experience, and can only hope that those spreading disinformation get the message, no one a listening to you. As of right now the volt is outselling many normal sedans in its price range, ( ie volvo and audis) and we can all look forward to bright future for the volt and other EVs.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 7:20 p.m.

I Just wish they could come up with an electric Motor Home...... I only get 8 mpg on mine... But if i drive @62 mph i get 9 mpg......75 gallon tank takes a few bucks to fill....... Maybe I'll get me one of those cute little cars to haul around on my rig.....that way when we set up camp, we'll have a little ride that 2 adults can ride around in...... Don't know if i could plug it into the campground electric hook-up to charge, though... then what would i do????


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 8:04 p.m.

I get 11 mpg in mine if I slow to 55 mpg. Can you imagine how big those batteries would be. I too am waiting patiently.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 7:02 p.m.

I have to admit that I really would like to buy a Volt even though past GM cars I've driven have nearly turned me off of that company completely. Alas, it is still a bit too expensive for me. Luckily I can take the bus so I only have to drive my car when I want to go places the bus doesn't go. Still, I hope these cars get popular enough that I can eventually buy one used.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 6:22 p.m.

I love that people are focused on reducing our dependency on foreign oil without any attention being paid to where the electricity comes from. Mostly it comes either coal burning plants which can generate a fair amount of pollution (scrubbers may remove much of the pollution from the air, but you still have to deal with the solid matter that comes out of the scrubbers) or nuclear plants which generate lots of radioactive waste which we seem to have trouble disposing of. Honestly, I'd prefer sticking to gasoline for now.

Las Paled

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 8:21 p.m.

Like I said before Machine, we have to choose our poison. I can agree to disagree on this one as your points are very valid. I do live in the west and almost all of my energy is hydro-electric so I don't have coal burning and nuclear on my conscience as others may. Too much blood is being shed for foreign oil. My kid is in the Army and I would prefer not seeing him have to get deployed due to our "middle east interests". Maybe it's too late for his generation but if I can prevent my future grand kids from having to deal with foreign oil it will all be worth it in the end.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 6:07 p.m.

While the Chevy Volt as well as other alternative powertrain cars like Hybrids(Prius, etc.) may have some limitations like smaller luggage space or towing capacity, or in the case of an all electric car shorter driving range before a refueling there are tremendous benefits to owning these newer vehicles. Studies show, for instance, that even in the states that produce the dirtiest electricity(that is electricity produced mostly with coal) a vehicle which is run on electricity still is far below Carbon Dioxide emissions than a gasoline vehicle. This is true largely because per mile driven an electric vehicle use only about 25% of the energy needed to drive one mile in a gasoline engine driven vehicle. So electric vehicle use give huge benefits for reducing CO2. The best way to travel for your pocket book and for the environment is to reduce your need to travel by fossil fueled engine powered vehicles(which includes all electric driving when charging with coal produced electricity) in general, and instead live close to where you need to be, and when traveling: walk, bike, car pool, take the bus, etc. If you need to use a personal car then an electric car for use in daily travel needs of shorter trips(35 miles or less per trip for the Volt and more for the other all electric vehicles) is ideal since you are greatly reducing air pollution, and the fuel savings over the life time of the vehicles, can result in an average cost per mile for the life of the vehicle to be equal to a gasoline powered car, such as a Corolla. This is without the electric vehicle federal tax credit. Further if you have solar panels on your roof you can essentially be powering your daily travel needs with no fossil fuels! I produce enough electricity over the course of a year on my Ann Arbor roof to power my home and 18,000 miles of driving on a Chevy Volt. Electric cars are serious transportation alternatives.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 6:52 p.m.

Eric, Wow. Good to know that you can get enough power with solar panels on your roof here in Michigan to power your home. One more thing I bet more people would do if the initial cost and complications were minimized. I drive a large, old gas guzzler. I plan for my next car to electric or a hybrid if I can swing it financially. The dependency on foreign oil does drive me crazy. I have never leased a car before and would not prefer to go that route, but just doing some quick calculations based on Las Paled's comments above - It looks like I would be paying about $150. more a month for the lease on a Volt than what I otherwise might lease using $200. a month as a good average lease amount for a comparable sized vehicle. I don't know if $2,500 is a typical initial payment for a lease vehicle or not, but IF IT IS, it is pretty simple to determine that I would just have to save $150 a month in fuel costs to make it worth it financially. Right now with a vehicle getting about 15 miles to the gallon, at 1,000 miles a month I am spending $250. a month on fuel at $3.75 a gallon. To break even, with the electric vehicle I could spend up to $100. a month on fuel - and depending on my driving habits (staying within a 40 mile range, or going beyond it) I might not have to spend any money on fuel. Right now my driving is probably evenly split between close range and out-ot-town driving. However, as my kids continue to move on, that out-of-town driving will diminish, as will the need for so much passenger space. These cars are definitely on my radar for a future purchase.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 6:36 p.m.

You're assuming of course that the much needed plant food also known as carbon dioxide is the devil incarnate and must be eliminated at all costs

Bertha Venation

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 5:08 p.m.

Really? Deleting a harmless comment that didn't hurt anyone????


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 4:48 p.m.

Finacially this is a terrible car to purchase. $40,000 for a $15,000 gas combustion car. If you go 12,000 miles per year is would cost $1371 for gas (assume 35 miles per gallon and $4 per gallon. The volts batter is only good for 6 years and cost $8000 to replace. (we wont even consider that cost). So the payback on the $40,000 volt is 18 years. I asked the GM guy when he was online at the freepress about this. He said people are not interested in saving money they are interested in the technology. I'll wait until I can save money.

farris khan

Wed, May 9, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

Saying that a Volt is "basically a Cruze" makes no sense. It were a Cruze, then they would have made a Cruze, not a Volt. No different than saying that the $1200 Macbook Air is basically a $400 netbook... or a LED TV at is basically a Tube TV. Other than being about the same size, they are different in every measurable way. More people trade in BMWs for Volts than Cobalts (Cruze precedessor), so it is a much better comparison. In my case, I traded an Impala for a Volt. The Impala is a direct competitor to the Camry. Other than size, the Volt is better in every way v. the Impala.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:53 p.m.

Farris Khan I dont think you are thinking this through. First you cant compare it to a BMW because it is a Volt. BMW and Camry you are paying alot for the name. We have to compare it to an American car and it is basically a cruz. For the sake of value comparison let put all the gimicky options aside. If you want to enjoy the volt you should buy it but not on its value. The Cruz is 28 mpg city and 42 hwy which is an average of 35mpg. Current lease of 2012 volts is 3 year $2500 down and $349 36,000 miles maximum ($418 per month). Current lease of a 2012 chevy cruz is $237 per month 3 years 36,000 miles The most you can save per year by driving a volt is the 40 miles per day up to 12,000 miles per year. After that you break even with the Cruz. 12,000/35 mpg x $4 per gallon is $1,371 per year you save. That is $114 per month. Both are under warranty and should be maint. free. $418-$114 is $304. The cruz is $237. You are paying $67 more per month to drive the volt. If you can afford it and you enjoy it you should lease it. But value wise its not a good deal. If you were to buy the car it get even worse. GM realized this and at first they were not selling them only leasing.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:14 p.m.

las Paled You have to compare apples to apples. You bought a volt when you could have bought a cruz. Basically the same car but one has a battery and one is gas. The Cruz is 28 in the city and 42 on the highway so you average about 35 mpg.

farris khan

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 8:45 p.m.

Comparing a Cruze to a Volt is like comparing a tube TV to a LCD. Same general function, but the value proposition is truly different. What is a break even on a LCD TV? How do you account for "instant torque", complete silence from the engine, or two touchscreen displays with real time analytics? How do you account for time saved at gas stations? How about the parking fees saved by plugging-in at public charging stations? Also, the regular Chevy Cruze gets 27MPG in mixed driving according to EPA: The two cars are not made in the plant, are not even the same body style (Volt is a 5 door hatchback), do not have the same powertrain. They are close in size... that is about it. The Volt is much closer to a BMW 3-series v. a Volt. A comparable car would be a Toyota Camry or a BMW. I use gas almost every day in my Volt. My commute is 60 miles round-trip. I get 88MPG and save about 75% of the gas I used to use. I still have to buy 25%. Even with that I save $160/month in fuel. I did not mention "$2500 down and $350 per month".

Las Paled

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 8:14 p.m.

Harry, I do disagree. The average car MPG for cars on the road today is still only 22 -24 MPG. The car I traded in is averaging right in that range (Saab 9-3) I filled up 3 - 4 times per month and spent $55 per tank at $3.95. I always used the highest grade in all of my cars as I have learned over the years I get better performance and fewer headaches by doing so. I am keeping my 2nd car which is a much smaller Mini Cooper S. That car is getting close to 34MPG and I agree that it doesn't make sense to trade that one in. Ultimately my goal was not to spend less but to spend about the same and use less Foreign Oil. I wish I could say I was 100% principled and can afford to go all EV right now regardless of cost but I can't. But the gas in our cars have a lot of American blood attached to it... and the sooner I can stop using it the better.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

Hume At $4600 per year that is 16,000 miles per year. The volt is only free gas up to 40 miles per day and then you break even with other gas cars. Even with the $8000 gift from the government you are much worse off owning one than leasing. Either way its a money loser.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 7:54 p.m.

Faris Kahn First web site I came to is $237/month for a cruz Also you are figuring that you will not use any gas. I don't know many people that only use 40 per day and 23 miles per day in the winter. Also in your previous post you said $2500 down and $350 per month. That $419 per month. Lets assume you only drive 40 per day (winter and summer). On the other hand I buy a cruz and only drive 40 per day up to 10,000 miles per year. I will spend $1142 in gas for one year or $95 per month. I am saving $87 per month. Even the engineer for GM said that the technology is new and people will not save money YET. Someday when the technology advances everybody will own one.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 6:30 p.m.

Sellers, You should. I'd be interested in seeing that.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 5:48 p.m.

Is it saving fossil fuel? I should look for some studies on the comparison of energy conversion and utilization for electricity versus gasoline, diesel, or natural gas.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 5:39 p.m.

The Volt battery warranty is 8 years. Most people do not drive cars that get 35 miles to the gallon. My yearly gas costs are closer to $4,200. Plus I would get the full $7500 tax credit, which makes getting one interesting.

farris khan

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 5:34 p.m.

The payback on my Chevy Volt is ZERO years, ZERO months. It costs exactly the same as a comparable car when factoring in cost of operation. The average Chevy Volt driver gets 122.59MPG more than 5X the mileage of the average car today. I save about $160/month in fuel even including electricity. You can get a Volt for a $399/month least today. How much car can you get for $239/month? Certainly not anything remotely comparable to a Volt. There are very few cars that get 35MPG in mixed driving. Some cars get 40MPG highway, but the blended average is more like 31MPG (Cruze, Elantra). Even if you could get one, it would be an econobox that is a clear downgrade from a Volt. The Volt battery is warrantied for 8 years and 100,000 miles, much more than most powertrains. It has no transmission and requires very infrequent oil changes. Maintenance costs are likely to be a lot LESS on the Volt v. a typical internal combustion engine car. The effective price of a Volt is $24,045 (not $40K) when you factor in the tax credits and the 5 year fuel savings v. an average car (as detailed on the window sticker). Financially, the Volt is extremely cost effective... you just have to do some math.

Kk Ichikawa

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 4:17 p.m.

@LAS if you save $2000 per year on gas, your VOLT must have cost you less than $6000 more than a gas only car in order to end up ahead??? You're not really saving money until the initial added cost is recouped??

Las Paled

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 8:05 p.m.

I went with a lease. My current driving habits fell right into the sweet spot for me. I live 8.5 miles from my office and most days is that 17 mile round trip. I do drive about 12,000 miles a year and that is what the lease is for. My previous car payment was $300 and I was getting 22 MPG. The car was due for it's 40,000 mile service and needed brakes and tires. That covered the down payment... and I got a loaded model so my personal lease payment is over $400. Not saving any money... gas money is going towards the payment on the vehicle. At the end of 3 years I have nothing to show for my "rent" money but I am ok with that. Personally I look at this new and emerging technology as a risk to buy. In 3 years I will get the latest greatest model which is probably going to be Volt ver 3.0 and will most likely be more efficient, have greater range and take advantage of some of the new charging technology. I still have an original IPAD that 18 months ago brand new and now ver. 3.0 is out for that thing... that's how emerging technologies work. I don't think buying an EV is a smart thing to do at this time lease it and get a better version later.

Visual Echo

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 4:07 p.m.

I just bought one, and my biggest complaint is... Why are people asking me such goofy questions about it? They are in the dealerships, go SEE FOR YOURSELF.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 3:05 p.m.

Not only do I disagree with these new electric cars for many of the same reasons already outlined, but "raise your criticism" to include all horseless carriages. Everyone should stay away from these unreliable, expensive contraptions - what was said in the early 1900's by critics still holds true "buy a horse." Likewise, I stand by my criticism of cell phones I voiced in 1988 that they were not affordable or reliable and I would never own one. Still don't. I don't use the Internet either because its development was subsidized by the government (DARPA).


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 3:56 a.m.

to StartupGeek I don't use the Internet either because its development was subsidized by the government (DARPA)." Would you let us know again how you got your reply posted?? You are sooooo funny. :+}}


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 4:25 p.m.

It really is a great comment

farris khan

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 3:50 p.m.

Fantastic commentary... that I will borrow on twitter and in conversations. Thanks for the material!

Ron Granger

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

How dare post an account by an owner who is so happy with their electric hybrid! It's my god-given right to burn as much gas as I want in my multiple SUVs! Why, I am so angry about this biased reporting that I am going to go burn gas just in spite!


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 3:13 p.m.

I suppose annarbordotcom should publish an article saying how much people like their Hummers and how proud they are each time they fill up.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 3:11 p.m.

I'm going to burn my rake and get a noisy polluting 2 stroke leaf blower and fluff my lawn. (one of my neighbors does just that!)


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

being against biased reporting doesn't automatically make you against the content of the article.

Robert Granville

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:54 p.m.

Why does everyone want it all? We either start making conscious decisions to reduce our dependence on oil or we will remain dependent until it's all gone. It's really that simple. It's not going to happen without government involvement. You can try to hang your hat on not supporting government subsidies... but your hat is going to get pretty filthy on the ground. The entire industry and the fossil fuels that drive it are all government subsidized.

Gwen Riley

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

Why are people so cruel? Initially, I wanted a Chevrolet Volt two years ago. When I couldn't get the information I wanted I bought a Ford Fusion Hybrid. I love my car! I had desired to have a hybrid vehicle after renting and driving a Toyota Prius back in '04 or '05. My Fusion has the space I need, I don't have to plug it up and in nice weather I get 628 miles to a tank of gas. In the winter the mpg aren't that great, but then I don't drive as much in the winter. I'm thankful for the choice I made in selecting a vehicle that has saved me money at the tank. I'm happy for Mr. Hildebrandt and his wife in their choice of a Volt and I thank him for sharing his information on his car.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.

You can tell he really loves that car lol


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2 p.m.

Is this a news story, or a commercial?

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:36 p.m.



Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

@mixmaster, I'm a huge proponent of electric cars. I think the volt is amazing. However, that doesn't mean that it deserves an entire column that is put above the fold on the front page. this is a glorified commercial. I thought the advertisements were supposed to be on the side of the web page, not the content itself.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:15 p.m.

It's news to those who refuse, because of their political intransigence, to see the writing on the wall. And that wall reads; Gas $10 a gallon by 2020. It's a shame that a few people are so locked into their politics. If they stick with their old ways, they'll be the ones riding bicycles and busses because they won't be able to afford to put a gallon in their polluting beater. Either get with it or get left behind.

Atticus F.

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 1:59 p.m.

Thank you for doing a positive article on the Volt. When they were developing the technology, my first thought was 'finally, somebody gets it'. I would like to see more people follow Mr. Hildebrants example, with solar homes and electric cars... We could really put a hurting on the oil companies, speculators, and oil producing cartels if more people would live like this. It's very important to remember that every dollar we take away from Iran, Suadi Arabia, and Venezuala, is a dollar we could put to use in THIS country in the form of home improvements, vacation and leisure, and higher education for our children.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 1:59 p.m.

Apparently his car didn't catch on fire yet...... Bet you can't get 4 guys and 4 sets of clubs in this little car......


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 5:21 p.m.

The fire comment is not valid. Those were crash test vehicles and the batteries should have been discharged after the crash. They caught fire several days later after the coolant mixed with the exposed battery.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 4:55 p.m.

The fire comment is valid. So is electrical shock. The fire department has a whole new set of regualation concerning the volt in a crash. Getting a fatal shock is a valid concern.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

You can't get a foursome in my G6 or in a Camry, or a CTS, or a Fusion either. That has nothing to do with the quality of the car. It's a midsize sedan. And the fire comment is just stupid.

Las Paled

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

I am huge golfer and you are right... I cannot get the full foursome but I can comfortably have 3 golfers and their gear ride to the course by laying down one of my rear bucket seats and the rear has good leg room. I was helping a friend haul some stuff this past weekend and dropped both bucket seats and he commented that I had almost as much cargo room as his pickup.

Las Paled

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 1:48 p.m.

OK. I see a lot of misinformation on this thread so I thought I would add some info. I get why some are upset about the bailout and those that hate government subsidies, for the most part I do too. But we, as Americans have to choose our poison and I chose to support this technology by getting a Volt as a Primary Vehicle. I lease my Volt and the current deal is $2500 down, $350 a month for a 3 year 36,000 mile lease and that price was driven down due to the government subsidy. Some things to consider: A. The subsidy program isn't just for the Volt. Several cars qualify including those made overseas B. The Chevy Volt is an American Car built by American Auto Workers C. The Chevy Volt holds a charge that gets me about 40 miles a day which is more than I usually drive D. On the days I drive more I get over 40mpg when gas is engaged. Net result is that I am getting about 140 MPG with my current habits E. This program is helping me have less dependance on Foreign Oil as I am spending about $2000 less on gasoline per year. Note that the drive train is driven by the electric motor ALL of the time. The gasoline engine is simply a generator that keeps the batteries recharged as you drive. Even in gas mode I am getting 40 MPG. As for the "65% of Oil Left"... the cars gas engine has a monitor that will tell you when to change the oil. The proper phrase would have been to say "65% of Oil LIFE left". If you don't switch to gas that often your oil will last longer. Whether I need to or not I will probably change my oil once a year just because I am Anal that way. For me the decision to buy an EV was made due to 9/11. We are too dependent on Foreign Oil which is one of the largest recipients of USA Gov't subsidies to the tune of $4.5 Billion per YEAR. That's just the subsidy part for an industry that is the most profitable in the world. My gas savings annually is $2000. A drop in the bucket... but $2k less for the countries that support terrorism.

Las Paled

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 7:56 p.m.

For me personally the cost was a wash. The amount I am saving in buying gas is completely offset by how much I am paying monthly for the car. That, along with the extended range, was enough for me to thumb my nose at the oil producing countries. It's a small gesture and in the whole scheme of things may not amount to much... but I do have a sense of accomplishment every day that I don't use gasoline, as dumb as that may sound.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 4:53 p.m.

Las Paled I am glad you didn't make this desicion based on cost. You do understand it would be cheaper to lease a Cruze. I respect your desicion to get off foreign oil. Many of us have to think of the money part of it and will not purchase or lease until it makes sense.

Las Paled

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

Chris, there are a lot of "facts" floating around about this one and you are right that there is a link from the gas motor to the drivetrain at a point the computer sees maximum efficiency. It's sort of where the Volt is somewhat of an engineering marvel. Check out this explanation from the Volts chief engineer. Two points of interest: •There is no "direct" mechanical linkage between the Volt's gas engine and the wheels, rather there is an indirect linkage that is accomplished by meshing the power output of the engine with the power output of one of the other two electric motors. •Motor Trend's reporting that the magic cutoff speed of 70 mph is what the car uses to determine whether or not to make the engine to partially drive the wheels is incorrect. The engine is used to partially drive the wheels when the car calculates that it will be a more efficient use of the engine's power. There is no hard cutoff point.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:25 p.m.

Actually, the drivetrain isn't 100% electric. At high speeds the gas engine can contribute power when needed. See


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:10 p.m.


Dog Guy

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 1:43 p.m.

I was wrong to be saying that Volts are bought only by politicians, GE, and the GSA; I must now add electronic gadgetry salesmen.

Visual Echo

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 4:13 p.m.

Add "Computer Programmers"


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:09 p.m.

He's one step ahead of many of us. It's sad that a few people would like us to be two steps behind.

farris khan

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 1:50 p.m.

Less than 10% of Volts sold are to fleet... another of those talking-points-orthogonal-to-facts coming from the conclusion-first-analysis-second crowd.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

Home buyers get an annual subsidy from the government. It's called a mortgage interest tax deduction. I really enjoy watching the Right squirm when their unwavering values based on their false notions are called into question with facts and common sense.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 9:07 p.m.

johnnya2, I'll start by responding somebody needs to "breed" or the human species would extinct in 80-90 years so lets drop that concern. A homeowner pays both a property tax and an income tax. So the analogy would be that you pay a 20 dollar income tax and the homeowner pays a 15 dollar income tax plus a 15 dollar property tax. So even though I got to offset 5 dollars of my income tax because I paid a property tax I still paid $30 to your $20.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 6:24 p.m.

Craig that is the most ridiculous analogy EVER. A better one would be to say, I as a renter pay $20 to get SERVICE from the government, including, but not limited to police, fire, roads, bridges, military, clean potable drinking water, clean air etc, but YOU as a homeowner only have to pay $15 for this same service. Why? Because you own a home? Because we want to subsidize (it is a subsidy to falsely inflate home values for the real estate industry) your choice of life style? I could also mention that those that choose to breed get a large subsidy as well. Nobody forced you to have kids, and if you choose, YOu should pay, not me.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:34 p.m.

"Home buyers get an annual subsidy" "it part of our tax system that gives home buyers long term help on their loan. " Home owners do not get a subsidy. Reducing ones tax obligation is NOT the same as a subsidy. I show up at your apartment once a month, put a gun to your head and take $20 from you. Then you decide to buy a house. So I come to your new home once a month, put a gun to your head and only take $15. Am I subsidizing you? Am I helping you out with your loan?


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:08 p.m.

No matter what you call it, (and I'm fully aware of the difference between tax credit and deduction) it part of our tax system that gives home buyers long term help on their loan. Other than by definition, it's not too different from what GM and many banks got for getting us into this recession. Oil is unsustainable as a global energy source and the conservative codgers out there are loathe to admit it's a new day and will take new ways of thinking and looking at how to solve our nation and the planet's problems. And your point is?


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 1:48 p.m.

A tax deduction is different from a tax credit. A tax credit is like a check written to you by the IRS. You get a $7000 check written to you when you buy an electric car.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 1 p.m.

I will never buy another GM, EVER after the bail out. Their PR people can spin this all they want. GM will never get another dime from me.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 7:10 p.m.

You're all correct! I was tricked! I still support the loans to the auto companies though.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.

@ Cinco, Most people do not understand how the bailout worked. Much of the loan money was converted to stock. That portion of the loan is no longer a loan. It would be like you lending your brother $1000, then saying, instead of paying me back, give me % share in your business. The government still owns 26% of GM valued at over $9 billion. If GM keeps performing and more investors see a profit, the price and value to the federal government will go up. For the anti-bailout crowd, i wonder how many of you have insurance through AIG and do not know it? Based on the attitude it means the only company that you can buy from would be Ford, oh, wait, Ford also took federal loans Get an education before you open your mouth people.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 5:14 p.m.

Where do you bank at TFT?


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 4:58 p.m.

Peter GM still owes the government (US!!) 23 billion dollars. Here is a website to support the facts.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:45 p.m.

Cinco, my amature interpretation is that the $51.03 is in billions and that was the original


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

Craig, can you help me understand this report? Obligated is $51.03? It can't be a daily obligation can it - that would only be $18,421.83 over the year... Help! Not to sound stupid, I just don't know how to decipher this report from the link you provided. Maybe you are only linking it merely to show that the debt has not been paid off....?


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

If you need to borrow money, where do you get it? Even financial institutions that did not take direct TARP money from the Bush bank bailouts benefited. If you need parts for another brand of car, likely the supplier benefited from the auto bailout. Ford benefited from the bailout, they wanted the govt to help out their suppliers too. Careful on those taxpayer supplied roads, too.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.

We shouldn't forget that most, particularly the Asian automakers, are routinely subsidized by their own governments.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

"You mean the loan they repaid in full, with interest?" they haven't repaid it in full. Here is a link to a daily update of all TARP loans, including GM. Pick a date, click the PDF and the information on who owes what is right there.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 1:18 p.m.

You mean the loan they repaid in full, with interest?


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

boohoo. GM got a bailout. So did Chrsyler. Life isn't fair. I wonder who else has benifitted from taxpayer money, or credits, or loopholes, or subsidies? Probably every single American company that ever existed. I shouldn't buy anything because that might help the economy and give more taxpayer money to someone that I don't like.

farris khan

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

Do you buy gasoline? Are you comfortable with the idea that taxpayers subsidize and provide military protection and "clean up" the messes caused by oil companies to the tune of $100,000,000,000 per year? Exxon and BP got a lot more from you over decades than GM got one time.

farris khan

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 12:42 p.m.

Mr. (or is it Dr.?) Hildebrandt's Volt numbers are amazing. Good for him. Think of all the carbon emissions he saved in addition to the money. I had a much more difficult justification to get my Volt. My commute is 60 miles round-trip, which means that I usually have to use gasoline every day, since the battery range is about 35 miles and I can only plug in once per day. What convinced me was not the cost saving math, but a test drive. The car is unlike any other car, at any price. Your get 273ft-lbs of instant (not gear driven) torque. The more expensive BMW 3-Series gets only 260ft-lbs of gear driven torque. A regular internal combustion engine also sounds very loud compared to a Volt. How do you value complete silence from the engine? My results are "ONLY" 88MPG after my first 11,000 miles. However, this is enough to save about 75% of the gasoline that I used to use. 75% is not 100%, but the remaining 25% from a monetary perspective is not a big deal. In fact, I save so much in fuel (even including electricity), that I breakeven v. a comparable car. ... It is just that more goes to my payment... and less to Exxon.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 3:50 p.m.

You should try to get a charger installed at work!

Las Paled

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:26 p.m.

Also bear in mind that the acceleration is artificially regulated to meet prevent some crazy performace issues. Left to their own device an electric motor will instant go to full speed. I am sure the engineers have deemed the throttle to work "safely" however I am certain someone will trick out/chip their volt to race and you will see that 0-60 number drop significantly, as well as energy efficiency.

farris khan

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:13 p.m.

I will give you that a BMW will win going 0-60mph. However, driving a Volt in sport mode off a traffic light is a lot better than I thought. I have yet to "lose" at a traffic light with my Volt when I was trying... to any car. 0-40mph is a much more realistic everyday driving experience... and I have no problems merging on the highway (40MPH at the ramp v. 70MPH on the highway). I will agree that Camaro drivers want to hear more engine noise. But I think luxury drivers are looking for less noise. I also think there many more people trading in BMWs for Volts than Cobalts (Cruze predecessor) for Volts.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 1:50 p.m.

I think the volt is a great step toward useful electric vehicles, and kudos to GM for producing. But, just so we're clear about the relative performance of vehicles: A 3-series will hit 60 mph in 5.4 seconds. The volt, with more torque, does it in 9 seconds, which is about on par with a 30 year old 4-cylinder BMW. The experience of driving a pure electric vehicle is fun from a standstill if you like shredding tires, but they're anemic at higher speed. Even the Tesla has a lower top speed than something like a Ford Focus. I don't think BMW's target demographic is really itching to give up the howl of a well tuned internal combustion motor, either. Quiet is not fun by any gearhead's standards.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

The main problem I see with a Volt is its too pricey for a second car and for most folks a second car is what it would have to be.

Las Paled

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 3:53 p.m.

Good Question. Well the first 40 Miles would be awesome! LOL. After that I am getting about 45 MPG Highway. At 80MPH I tend to get just at 40 per the whiz bang monitors I am looking at while I drive. I have used the car all of 2 times in gasoline mode though. In June I am planning a trip to California which will mean I will use the full 300 range and I plan on hitting my trip stats as soon as I go to gasoline so I can see the real full gas MPG.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 3:36 p.m.

Las Paled, Do you know what the gas millage might be if you were running with it all day? Back in my youth my brother and I would hop in one of our internal combustion cars or trucks and drive 44-48 hours "nonstop" to Phoenix. If I were to do that in a Volt, I would be using the gas engine (to produce the electricity?) virtually the whole way after the first 40 miles of a 2,200 mile trip. My question is, do you know what sort of gas mileage the car might get under such a circumstance?

Las Paled

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:54 p.m.

The term the industry has coined is "Range Anxiety". Most EV's don't have the back-up gas engine and the technology right now doesn't allow for any EV to get much more than 120 miles on a full charge. People like to know they can get in their car, drive it for 6 hours and then hit a gas station and go some more. The 100% EV doesn't allow for that. So 2 things have to change for full adoption: 1) increase the electric range to 300+ miles and 2) make it easy for people to get a re-charge. I see 1 happening in the next 3-5 years. 2 is going to be very problematic as you have both a technological problem to overcome and a infrastructure problem. It took 20 years for the gasoline "service station" to evolve into the dominant form of refueling in the early 20th century. The Volt addressed those issue for me with the gas engine/generator that is onboard. Hopefully, with the right private and public investment the infrastructure issue can be addressed.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:39 p.m.

I'm sure there are folks for whom a volt could be a 1st and only car. But I still contend they are a smallish minority. If they weren't GM would be selling more, a lot more. That's just my opinion. And I will add I have no anti-electric car agenda.

Las Paled

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:19 p.m.

The Volt is my main vehicle. It has a range of 300 miles because the of the engine/generator but most days I drive below the 40 mile all electric range. It seats four very comfortably... most people when they get in comment on how much larger it is then they thought it would be. The one drawback to my previous sedan is that I can't cram three in the back seat as the configuration is two bucket seats in the back in order to accomodate the battery array that runs up the middle of the car.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

I intend to buy a plug in hybrid, most likely a Ford Cmax as soon as my 12 year old Honda dies in about 100k more miles.

Andy Price

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 12:18 p.m.

The right wing media hates this American-made car. Why? Because the oil companies have paid them to.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 5:35 p.m.

NBC??? Have you ever watched MSNBC? I dont think they are very conservation. Also, How do you finger a company like GE to be conservative. Thats a huge company with a lot of different people with different views.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:32 p.m.

The majority of the corporate owned media is conservative, including GE owned NBC. And thay, like many of theor corporate allies are looking out for their capitalist interests. Except for Fox News, what they present in their chosen media is done to make money and does not reflect their politics. To hedge their bets on their potential profits, most large corporations play both sides of the political fence. They're neither conservative nor liberal, just capitalist corporations, what some of call the 1% and it's common knowledge which political view represents the 1%.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 1:45 p.m.

Other than Fox News and the Washington Times, where is this "right wing media" of which you speak?


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 12:05 p.m.

A car being susided by government funding (through ou tax dollars) a vehicle that costs twice as much to buy and wait till we have to replace and dispose of batteries in special landfills that will cost you more than most used vehicles, sounds like a great investment, car is only a duped up golf cart that is only good for trips around town. No thanks I'll stick with my 4 cyl 32 mile car with no restrictions and not worry about where I'll have dispose of highly toxic batteries hat will do more damage to the enviroment than air polluntant


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 1:03 p.m.

One more subsidy I forgot... Michigans unemployment rate of 8.8% vs the 14% it was 2 years ago. Stoopid bailout!


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

Your oil and gas are subsidized. Your ethanol is subsidized. Your nuclear power is subsidized. Your high fructose corn syrup is subsidized. Your batteries are toxic. Your tires are toxic. The plastic in your car is made from and of toxins. But, I expect you have issues that go deeper than this article about a consumer that is thrilled with his purchase. Just imagine, if the evil gubment had not mandated CAFE standards, your 32 mpg car probably would not exist.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 12:39 p.m.

Disclaimer: My username "Fordie" is not a reference to Ford Motor Company. Meant to add that to my comment.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 12:37 p.m.

Well that's all fine and dandy, except: - Every car has high initial R&D costs. The amount you "subsidized" per vehicle will go down to nearly nothing in a couple years as they build more. - There is an entire industry of battery recycling facilities that are drooling at the thought of Volts retiring. The battery in our 4 cylinder, 32 mpg cars (mine may only be 29 MPG) will likely do more damage than the Volt's. - The vehicle's ride is much closer to that of a Buick or Lexus than a golf cart - good try though. - It is not "only good for trips around town," after you use up your 40 miles of electric power, there's a normal engine just like there is in your car. The only difference between your car and the Volt in that regard is that Volt's driver doesn't have to pay for gas for the first 40 miles per trip. - You talk about the air pollutants as the problem with your car, don't forget that you're bankrolling countries in the Middle East that hate us everytime you stop at BP.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 12:30 p.m.

"....and not worry about where I'll have dispose of highly toxic batteries..." My guess is, a Volt owner won't have to worry about where to dispose of their used batteries any more than I have to worry about where to dispose of my car parts. The repair people deal with it, not the car owner. And the batteries will be rebuilt and reused just like many other car parts are.

j hampton

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 11:42 a.m.

I am curious as to how the Volt heats up in the winter. I read some early reviews that the heater struggled to stay warm on really cold days. Anyone able to share their experience?

farris khan

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 12:55 p.m.

Staying warm was not an issue, but range was for me. The winter range for me was as low as 24miles (when temps were in the 20s). I would recommend the heated seats. One cool feature of the car (that I did not use since I had the car in a garage... but perhaps I should have) is that you can preheat it using electricity while plugged in. This means that the car can be warmed without impacting the range. That being said, my average range is right at 35miles. There are many days in the spring, where I have gotten about 40 mile range.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 11:35 a.m.

424 miles per gallon of what ? I have to pay for my electricity not to mention my tax $$$ subsidize the 200K cost of these toys, as demanded by the beltway bunch to keep GM afloat in the first place..the only thing green about these is the hype...

farris khan

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 12:51 p.m.

1. It was mentioned that it cost him 25cents to fully charge his car. Contrast that to least $4 to get one gallon of gasoline for the equivalent 35 miles of battery only range. 2. The $200K (actually cited as $250K) was called out as being completely bogus. The fuzzy math used in that "study" was not peer reviewed. It was make-the-math-fit-the-political-conclusion propoganda. They took huge costs some of which were not directly related to the Volt, and then burdened the entire amount over 6000 Volts sold in part of the year of 2012, even though the technology would be used for decades. It would be like you building a bridge for $100,000,000. I could then watch only 100 cars pass and then declare "MotorCycleMiners" bridge cost and astounding $1,000,000 per car! So the next 50,000,000 electric cars that GM makes have $0 costs? Sounds like a great deal to me!


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 10:48 a.m.

Hildebrandt and his wife put on 13,480 miles on their Volt this year — 12;12,495 of them electric. That is a whopping 454 mpg, according to Hildebrandt. They still have 65 percent of oil left in the engine, another cost savings. Although he is not surprised that "early adopters" like Hildebrandt are thrilled with the Volt, Punctuation? How many miles on electric? 65 percent of oil LIFE left? Does the gas get stale if it sits for months in the car? How does his solar have an annual cost?


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 5:20 p.m.

The Volt computer system actually monitors this and will signal the driver to go past the limit for the electric engine to start the gas engine periodically. If the driver doesn't do it on his/her own, then it will start the gas engine to keep it from getting too stale.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 4:30 p.m.

Yes, the gas will get stale, but it would take about 4 months for it to *really* go bad (depending on which fuel company you used). You can also add in some Sta*Bil if you're going to let it set for an extended period of time. And yes, the GROSS grammatical errors in this article lead me to believe that it was copied and pasted (BADLY) from somewhere else. Good job,, for proving that proofreading is dead.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 3:48 p.m.

The engineers who designed this car are very smart. They've thought of things you haven't. You should read more about it (try Car and Driver or Road and Track for starters) and I think you will be more impressed.