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How will the Chevrolet Volt be better than a Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid?

Discussion in 'Chevrolet Volt' started by Adaam, Jan 31, 2011.

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  1. Adaam

    Adaam New Member

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    News was just released that the Chevrolet Volt integrates the gasoline engine into its drive train. More specifically, at some speeds it contributes to the propulsion effort, but only once the battery pack has run down and the engine has turned on to run the generator. The electric motor never drives the wheels on its own, only as a hybrid, using both motor and engine.

    I am looking for any glimmer of hope that makes the Chevrolet Volt worth while in comparison to the Toyota Prius.
  2. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    If your normal commute is under 14 miles, the Prius PHV uses less electricity per mile than the Volt

    If you normal commute is from 15 to 35 miles The Volt is largely electric while the Prius PHV is largely gas powered.

    Once you commute is over 35 miles both cars are largely gas powered and the Prius PHV gets 50 MPH on regular while the Volt gets 37 MPG on Premium. I did the math one day and it would take the Prius PHV 75 miles to overcome the Volts cheaper electric range, using my electric bill and gas prices that day.

    So on long (over 110 mile) and short (under 14 mile) commutes the Prius PHV is cheaper to operate. Between 15 and 109 miles the Volt can be cheaper than the Prius PHV, depending on gas and electric prices.

    Your mileage may vary, if you can charge at home and work, you can double all my numbers.
    3 people like this.
  3. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    Why not buy a Nissan Leaf and with the money left over you could buy a second hand Prius and still save money compared to buying a Volt.
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  4. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Jimbo's analysis applies if you plan on leasing the Volt, not purchasing it and only if the Prius PHV sells for $37,000+. Otherwise the Prius PHV will be cheaper overall. It takes a lot of miles to overcome a $10,000+ higher price tag.

    $10,000 / $3.50/ga = 2857/ga of fuel

    That 2857 gallons of fuel could power a regular Prius for 142,857 miles. For the average U.S. driver, that is between 5 and 9 years worth of driving. :)

    The point is, you can pony up and spend your entire gas budget, 5 to 9 years worth, right now (Volt) or you can spend that budget gradually and keep the bulk of it invested (Prius). :)

    Obviously this analysis accounts for nada if you stop looking at monetary costs and simply want a cool and very novel new car.
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  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    if you want as much electric driving as possible with out having to worry about necessarily recharging, the volt is the best product so far.
  6. Flaninacupboard

    Flaninacupboard Senior Member

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    EV in the Volt has 110kw of power, PHV prototype only has 60kw, gen3 has ~25kw.

    Volt has colour screens, and lots of features as standard.

    Volt has (subjectively) a nicer interior.

    Volt is available today.

    It's a short list. the resons the PHV is better are a lot longer...
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  7. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    First, do you really want to plug it in? If you plug it in the garage, Volt's gas engine can come on - exposing you to carbon monoxide poisoning. If you plug it outside this shouldn't be a concern. I don't think PHV Prius has this issue.

    Second, check your utility bill to calculate how much you pay after all the fees and taxes. For me, what appeared to be 11 cents per kWh turned out to be 36 cents.

    Third, be aware of range reduction in cold weather. Volt owners are getting about 25 miles EV range. Volt's reconditioning feature does not work well, just adding only a few EV miles. It supposed to warm up the car with the electricity from the plug before you drive it away. Owners are finding the gas engine starting a few miles away from home, even with it preconditioned.

    Fourth, know how clean is the electricity in your area. Note, the data is from 2005 so use it to get an idea.
    How clean is the electricity I use? - Power Profiler | Clean Energy | US EPA

    Fifth, consider Volt's 3" ground clearance. Prius has 5.5" and Leaf has 6.2".

    Review this preconditioning analysis. It compares PHV Prius, Volt and Leaf: http://www.nrel.gov/vehiclesandfuels/vsa/pdfs/49252.pdf

    Both the PHV Prius and Volt are hybrids that can plug in. PHV Prius can intelligently select the best combination of hybrid powertrains. PHV Prius' goal is to do more with less. It focuses on increasing efficiency of both EV and HV modes with that strategy.

    Volt uses the battery differently. At first, it tries to be an EV (does not succeed all the time) and then becomes a HV. For example, Volt need to use the gas engine to keep the battery warm. The gas engine needs to run every 6 weeks for maintenance as well.
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  8. Silver bullit

    Silver bullit Right Lane Cruiser

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    Is that a fact? Plugging in the volt can start the icu and expose you to co? I find it incomprehensible that they allowed this to be possible. Dumb.
  9. telmo744

    telmo744 HSD fanatic

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    Well, I read a few months (a year?) ago that Volt started ICE when opening the hood.
    In fact, only reading the manual we can verify whether these "features" got along to the first production cares.
  10. ramdulari

    ramdulari New Member

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    +1



  11. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    usb, are those all reasons why the volt is better than the prius plug in?
  12. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    engine can come on while plugged in? sounds like a nasty rumor. i'd like to see the facts.:cool:
  13. cycledrum

    cycledrum PSOCSOASP

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    I would suggest doing a total cost analysis between both cars to include cost per mile of -

    gasoline and electricity, insurance, registration, maintenance, modifications and purchase cost, rebates, tax credits, projected resale loss.

    I can tell you this - that the regular Prius II and III are quite cost effective cars to own outside of an older econo box car that you'd only keep minimum insurance on.
  14. telmo744

    telmo744 HSD fanatic

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    Volt is not better overall, that's common sense.;)
    Although, it has one thing better than Prius plug-in, which is EV range. Period. But the owner pays much more for it, losing one seat inside. :D
  15. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    To me, and I know I'm in Prius Chat, but to me right now Prius is the superior product.

    I'm basing it on this. Toyota has a over a decade of building and supporting, advancing hybrids. Prius is THE hybrid Icon. As Toyota expands The Prius into a family of automobiles, I have confidence in Toyota's long term support of those same products. Prius \/, Prius C and Plug In Prius...will be mass produced realities.

    The Volt...yeah it's available today....but in extremely limited quantities. At a price that is prohibitive for all but the wealthy. Maybe that will change with time. But today, The Volt by virtue of it's limited production, high cost, and uniqueness within Chevrolet must be considered a niche or almost novelty vehicle.

    Chevrolet also just has some catching up to do. Perhaps it is unfair of me, but when I still hear statements from GM executives about the unmarketability of Hybrids or Plug Ins...or how they just aren't cool enough looking or fast enough...I just sit back and say " They STILL don't get it". They are going to have to sell and support and expand The Volt for 5-10 years before I'm going to trust that the Volt wouldn't simply disappear, if the profit margin becomes too thin, or demand drops to a trickle. I still believe there is a huge culture within GM that would want The VOLT to fail.

    Do I believe The Volt today is a great machine? Yes, I think so. But to get this great machine you have to have upwards of $40,000+....and outside of the Electric benefits, which are admittedly HUGE...you end up with a vehicle that's utility and dimensions rival a Chevy Cruze or a Ford Focus.

    No, Toyota has the edge. While everyone else is trying to carve a niche into a market..Toyota is expanding a whole line-up of vehicles. I'm glad to see the growing competition...and maybe we are a lot closer to the day when Plug In, Full Electric, and Hybrid...are just terms used in every automakers line-up...but for now, The Volt might be a fantastic machine...but in many way's it's like Pegasus springing forth from the blood of Medusa.
  16. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    Yes, owners report that it does when you use the precondition feature and they are concerned about it.

    I raised the concern back in October about it (before Volt was released) when I discovered the eyebrow raising carbon monoxide emission of the Volt.

    This is from the owner's manual so GM was aware of it.

    The engine may start to provide energy for heating and cooling, independent of the vehicle being plugged in or completely charged.
  17. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    Based on all those information, I would come up with a different conclusion. I guess it depends on what's important to you.
  18. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    Nice. If you remote start your car to preheat it, the engine may come on. When I remote started my car before to cool it down, I would open the garage door. The volt may act the same. From your other post it made it sound like the engine would just turn on on its own.

    Is this a problem? I don't think so, but the phv prius, tesla, and leaf will not start an engine on a remote start plugged in I think. For some this is a problem, as their spouse may remotely turn on their car to try and kill them. I don't think this applies to the majority of volt buyers though.

    What is going on? If the electricity is enough to heat the car it will. If not and you remote start the car it will fire up the engine. I believe it turns off the engine after 10 minutes, certainly not enough time to cause severe health effects, like living in LA, but you shouldn't need to breath in exhaust fmes. You should open the garage just like a normal car not like a pure ev. Surely extra pollution can't be healthy. If you don't want to take a chance, don't remote start the car.
  19. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    Is the remote start the same as preconditioning? I thought preconditioning is something you schedule and the remote start is a button you press from the key fob.
  20. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    I'm calling preconditioning, remote start, because that is exactly what most of us have used remote start to do. You can schedule charging. You need to precondition from the remote or smart phone or website. The owner needs to actively do this, but I suppose you can create a script on your computer or an app on your phone to schedule it, I just don't know why someone would. Then again we do have the Darwin awards for a reason.

    I think GM should provide a configuration not to turn on the engine to precondition, but they seemed to leave the decission up to the car not the owner.

    I do miss my remote start from my previous car. Having the phv prius pre-aircondition my prius seems like a major advanage to me over the standard gen III. I almost bought a sun roof just for that feature.
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