Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ten Reasons Not to Buy a Chevy Volt

I've watched the Chevy Volt saga for years. I watched as President Obama demanded that the price of the car remain as close to 30k as possible. I suppose when you allow your government to buy a bankrupt auto maker, you get the proven track record of an owner that has screwed up everything it has touched. Obama, master car designer and businessman, lynched GM CEO Rick Wagoner shortly after the takeover. It was an easy sacrifice. I mean after all, Wagoner had the audacity to fly in a corporate jet to those congressional hearings. The outrage!

The Chevy Volt costs an astounding 41k. Throw in some sales tax, an option or two, dealer prep and doc fees, some bank interest and voila! You have a 50k car. Oh you'll be eligible for a tax credit.The same tax credit you'd get on another hybrid vehicle.

I can't get excited about GM's new flagship car. Here are my reasons why in no particular order.

1. The price. I don't give a shit about tax credits. The cost of this car is insane. Comparable models are half the price.

2. The gas math/MPG simply doesn't pencil. You can buy 7000 additional gallons (3.00 a gal.) of gas with the money you'd save on a Hyundai Sonata, base model. That's 220,000 miles worth. You still have to put gas in the Volt and charge it.

3. The Volt uses electricity. Guess where we get that from? Coal fired generators and I have no idea what the cost of charging this car would be. If you charged it every day, I am guessing 30-45 bucks a month.

4. It is a first run car. I never buy first year model runs. I worry about defects.

5. Performance. I don't think the Volt can hang with most Japanese/Korean models. The Sonata has 200 horsepower, the Volt has a whopping 83.

6. Most of my driving is done on the highway. After you have drained the Volt's 40 (tests show 35 miles) mile battery charge, you will be using gas again. A home charger is required for this car, but it is small and you can take it with you. Once you have drained the 35- 40 mile electrical charge, the Volt only get 31 MPG on what appears to be a woefully under powered gas engine. It takes about three hours to fully charge the car. All this car would do for me is save me one net gallon of gas on most trips. Hardly enough to justify the absurd price.

7. The Hyundai Sonata hybrid waxes the Volt it in every category. It has twice the performance and horsepower, gets 38 MPG, and costs 16 grand less. At 38 MPG v 31 MPG it would only take 5 gallons of gas to exceed the savings of Volt's 35 mile electrical charge.

8. The warranties are comparable. Sonata's basic warranty is 60, 000 miles or 60 months while the Volt's basic warranty is 36, 000 miles or 36 months. They have the same 100,000 mile power train warranty.

9. I simply can't support GM. Taxpayers had GM's bail out jammed down our throats. Unions made very few concessions nor did Obama or the Car Czar force them to. For some astounding bullshit, a "you love you" theme, and a huge dose of Obama ass kissing- read this... Nice of Obama to save car jobs huh? What about those other 30 million unemployed workers? Ford stood on it's own and I'd damn sure buy a Fusion hybrid for that reason alone.

10. Initially, I expect to see some morons run out and buy this car. After the smoke clears, I think this car is going to be a bust. I am not sure the Volt will hold it's value and I damn sure wouldn't want to try and resell it if the bottom falls out of it. Remember GM's Pontiac Fiero? I do.

I have been studying various cars for a couple of years now- expecting to buy a new one soon. Obviously I have a big lean on the Sonata. General Motors should have been allowed to fail. They are still making crappy and over priced cars just like they were a few years ago. Motor Trend's "Car of the Year." We'll see how that pans out.


Anonymous said...

Maybe it's time government leaders, from the President on down, began leading by example. They should all be required to buy with their own money and exclusively use a Chevy Volt.

I think Barry would look cute in his pink Volt.

arerix said...

I drive an electric car, the Norwegian Think. Over here in Norway we have high tariffs on cars, so most cars are at least twice as expensive here as they would be in the States. However, electric cars don't pay anything based on engine volume as the only have a starter engine, and they are free of VAT (25%). So my Think, 2 seater weighing one ton, costs about the same as this Volt (250K NOK = 40K USD).

If you drive an electric car you get to drive approximately 4 miles for each ton of vehicle weight for each kilowatt hour of electricity you use. With the Volt weighing in at 3700 lbs ~= 1,5 tons you should get approximately 4/1,5 ~= 2,7 miles out of each KwH. Find the price of electric power in your neighbourhood and it is easy to calculate how expensive it is to use it on short trips.

As for the recharger engine in the Volt, 80 horsepower is more than enough to sustain the power consumption of the electric drivetrain, unless you intend to drive very fast for extended periods of time or will do many neckbreaking acceleration and breaking maneuvers (which consumes much power).

I haven't tried the Volt, but my guess is you will find the acceleration properties more than sufficient. You see, electric cars has full torque from 0 rpm, so my measly 1 ton car has with 46 horsepower amazing acceleration up to 25 mph, ok to 45 and then it sort of stinks until I get to the top speed of 70 mph.

Through some socialist trickery I don't pay for the electricity my car uses, but still, with the low prices on cars in the US I guess the economy for electric cars still isn't quite there yet. In Europe we pay twice as much for gas as you do, and as mentioned, most normal cars are twice the price too. Still, electric cars are mostly a novelty even here, and will remain so for a few more years. They lack the power, endurance and all around usefullness to be considered a primary car for most people.

Brian said...

Thanks Are. I am going to check out that car...betting its a better ride than the Volt

Unknown said...

I actually enjoyed reading through this posting.Many thanks.

Buy Cars

Anonymous said...

Great post, thanks! I am looking to purchase a Volt and was looking at reasons not to.
In my case, however, it looks like the Volt is still a good purchase as my trip will be exactly 1/2 electric and 1/2 gas. 1 gallon of gas is $4 (roughly) and a full charge (120v 12A 10hrs) is $0.92. So versus the Sonata, the Volt is roughly twice as efficient ($5 for the trip on Volt vs $8 on Sonata).
The price difference between the options that I selected is: Sonata: $32k, Volt: $39k.
I have not checked, but let's assume that the full $7500 credit applies to both.
In my state, I get an extra $4k for the Volt over the Sonata.
That brings the difference in price from $7k to $3k.
So at $3 savings per day, i recover that difference on the Volt in less than 3 years, while driving a more futuristic car and saving on things like oil changes and other maintenance.

The Volt is not for everyone, and I personally HATE that the government is forcing the public to sponsor GM and the production of Volts, but personally, I will use that to my advantage.

Brian said...

There is no way you can buy a Volt for 39K. Not possible. They even make you pay separately for the charging cord. Prove those prices to me or tell me where they came from.

Wanna talk battery life and replacement cost?

I bought my Hyundai Elantra for 15.8 k out the door. That is 30,000 dollars less than the Volt. One third of the price. I saved two thousand dollars in sales tax, another two thousand in financing costs.

All in all, I am quite dubious of the math you have provided here. Not only does it sound like propaganda fitting of this administration- you comment sounds like some reasonable piece of writing that gets pasted attached anywhere someone doesn't like the Volt. You should be busy.