confused prius vs volt

Discussion in 'Chevrolet Volt' started by bajapat, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. JRW

    JRW Automotive Journalist

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    My next question is, how does GM get so much more EV range out of the Volt and still sell the car for what it does? I've spent several days in a Volt. They have a reasonable amount of room. I'd probably have gotten one instead of my Prius Plug-in if the car used regular grade instead of premium fuel, but I chose the Prius because of the Volt's the premium fuel requirement and the much lower fuel economy (real world of about 35 MPG, probably due to the weight of the car's batteries).

     
  2. drinnovation

    drinnovation EREV for EVER!

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    I don't work for GM, but then again anyone that did could probably not answer. The short answer is that GM is not making near the amount of profit that Toyota is per car.

    For GM, a volt sale is likely a new GM sale, or maybe a loss of a Caddy. For Toyota, a PiP is very likely a loss of a Prius sale, so they also have different opportunity costs to consider.
    GM is trying to introduce a new product/concept and so has to manage the cost to balance sales. the PiP is a modest modification to an existing and Profitable line, but Toyota wants to keep profits high so priced the PiP based on the they could charge. They did not price it to sell, they priced it to have an offering. To bad Toyota squandered a huge lead in the hybrid space -- a PiP with a 40mile EV range would sell very very well. But it is fair for the to sit back and earn the rewards from the risks they took with the Prius.



    The reason for premium gas, and its recommend to only use top-tier brands, is that gas goes bad sitting. Not an issue when you fill up every month. Premium has more stability, and when a tank last you 6months or a year, that is important. If you look at voltstat.net's achievement tab you'll find dozens still on their first tank of gas, even after a year. There are hundreds of users with more than 3000 miles on a thank, more than 30% of the drivers have had a tank for more than 2000 miles. So GM's recommendation was a good one for the way many volt drivers use the car. I expect to fill up 2 times a year + on whatever very long road trips we take in the summer. My last tank was about 4000miles and nearly 6 months -- and in the Volt world I'm not near the top.

    In real-world data, the volt driver is using much less gas on average.The average on voltstats.net is more than 121MPG. More than 90% of the drivers are getting > 70mpg, and more than 75% of the drivers are getting more than 100MPG overall. Yes the 35 city EPA is not great, but then again it is used infrequently and traded that for the increased EV range.
     
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  3. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    I don't think the Volt's price is low for the range. It costs considerably more than the Leaf, which has a bit more than twice the range. The Volt's battery is 2/3 the size of the Leaf's battery. I think the Volt is expensive for what it does.

    But then I think it makes more sense to have a BEV and a 2004 Prius, each of which does one job extremely well, rather than a Volt, which is middling at both jobs: Short range for an EV and poor FE on gas.
     
  4. andrew13

    andrew13 New Member

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    if i ever move near a city, i'd love to get a Volt. i just got a 2011 Prius and love it so far, especially with living in rural PA and having to drive 50+ miles round trip to even get dinner and a 60 mile drive each way to work (luckily i work a block Sunday through Tuesday) it wouldn't make sense for me to have gotten one. the prius though has in 3 months 7600 miles and i;ve saved $470 in gas vs my old cars mpg, which is over a monthly payment so far.
     
  5. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Like having to plug in, premium fuel requirements are a mental block that hinders the adoption of higher efficiency vehicles.

    Higher compression ratios allow the ICE to extract more energy from the fuel. Higher octane is a requirement to have higher compressions

    Much of the recent improvements in new vehicles is do to direct injection engines. They have 12 to 1 or higher ratio compared to 9-10 to 1. While they use regular, they can be made for premium to get better efficiency and performance. Worry of lost sales kept Mazda from bringing over the skyactiv engines at their full potential. We lost out because of this premium concern.

    The difference to fill up between regular and premium is about the price of eating at a fast food place. The cost per mile is much closer or equal do to the increase efficiency an engine designed to run on it.

    Atkinson engines take advantage of a higher compression on the power stroke at the cost of power. They have to be matched to a hybrid or a super/turbo charger in order for the vehicle to have acceptable performance for the public.

    In the Volt's case, it's about gasoline shelf life. In the gas can for the lawnmower, octane drops by one point per month. Possibly faster depending on the storage climate. It's why the manual for most lawn equipment and other gas powered tools recommend midgrade. Most problems with starting and running is do to fuel gone bad.
    Who is this is response to? The OP went from a Subaru Baja.
     
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  6. Jeff N

    Jeff N The answer is 0042

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    It's realistic in mild or warmer weather to expect 200 mpg in a Volt for a 50 mile trip and 120+ for a 60 mile trip. That's 40 miles on battery and 40 mpg using gas in hybrid mode. I frequently do better than that.

    I just did a round trip to San Francisco yesterday for a total of 77.3 miles with a single overnight battery charge and a bit of gasoline going 55-60 mph on mostly flat highway 101 and then up and around some hilly streets in SF.

    Specifically, I got 43.1 miles of battery range and drove the remaining 34.2 miles on .79 gallons of gas (43 mpg) at an average temperature around 70F. That's a total of about 98 mpg. Not terrible, in my opinion.

    In a PiP with 13 miles of EV range and 55 mpg in HV mode that would be around 66 mpg total.
     
  7. JRW

    JRW Automotive Journalist

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    Volt vs. Prius Plug-in vs. Leaf: different cars for different wants and needs:

    To add to point made by usbseawolf2000 ("Volt is a great choice if the interior colume downsizing works for you."), on the weekend I went to Costco shopping for a flat screen TV. I chose a 55" model but was concerned that it would not fit in my Prius Plug-in without removing it from its large box. As the Costco helper and I approached my car, the box looked huge in comparison to the car. Nevertheless the TV, laying flat in its large box, easily fit into the back (with the rear seat backs folded down, of course) with room to spare - both in terms of length and width. I went back into Costco and did some more shopping.

    I also like the fact that with the seat backs up, there is room for three people, as opposed to two in the Volt.

    Thanks for explaining why the Volt requires Premium. That makes sense. However, the fact remains that for long drives the Volt's requirement for premium grade gasoline, combined with 35 MPG fuel economy, does add to the cost of trips that must be made on gas as compared to the Prius Plug-in.

    I frequently take significantly longer highway trips than 75 miles round trip: San Diego to Anaheim return, San Diego to LA return and San Diego to Las Vegas return. On some of these trips I often take a relatively large amount of cargo: suitcases for several people are bulky and take a lot of room, as do camera cases and misc stuff. I also require some empty space so that I can bring additional stuff back from where I've been.

    For long trips I'd be interested to see a cost of fuel comparison (gas + electricity) between the Volt and the Prius Plug-in. The range requirement eliminates the Leaf.

     
  8. sxotty

    sxotty Member

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    Why in the world do you keep making things up?

    40 on the highway. Not 35.

    Long trips are usually on the highway. You can still chest pound and say the PiP is better on the highway, but there is no need to use misleading numbers.
     
  9. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    Post #117.
     
  10. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    For long highway trips, the PiP's 13-mile EV range is so diluted as to make no practical difference. You'd be better off saving money on the purchase price and using a regular Prius. Even more so if you already had a Prius. Upgrading e.g. from a 2004 Prius to a PiP makes no sense at all if most of your driving is long highway trips.

    The only time I can see a PiP making sense is if a lot of your trips are so short that the engine does not have time to warm up. This is hard on an engine. In this case, you could choose not to run the engine unless you are going to drive far enough for it to get properly warmed up. But in that case, you could use an EV, or even an NEV for those short trips. If you already have an older Prius, it makes more sense to add a low-cost NEV rather than trading up to a PiP.
     
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  11. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    Rebound has done 80 MPG on a 77.2 miles in a day with just one charge. That's 0.97 gallons(32.7kWh) with 3.2kWh. You consumed 0.79 premium(26.6kWh) with 12.9 kWh. Your Volt used more energy. That's the the vehicle consumption. Fuel production efficiency is 85% for gasoline and 39% for electricity. If you look at well-to-wheel, Volt consumed a lot more energy to drive the same distance.

    On average of all Volt owners, 40% of the miles were driven under premium gasoline. GM didn't provide the average MPG but the 10% sample on Voltstats.net shows 35 MPG.
     
  12. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Modern engines have knock senors. I'm sure in an owner wanted to, they could use regular on long trips when they know they'll be running the tank to empty. I'm not aware of anyone doing this, because it is using little gas to begin with.

    I haven't come across any official test, but people with other premium fueled cars have reported that the cost per mile is near the same when they used regular.Yes, premium costs more, but it can a car a little further per gallon.

    They are just used to the narrow range of the Prius' numbers and using combined. It is the correct thing to do for general comparisons with non plug ins.

    Of course, the Volt's combined is 37mpg.
     
  13. drinnovation

    drinnovation EREV for EVER!

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    Ah.. FUD slinging.

    Be careful in your comparisons.
    Rebound explicitly said in his post "I hypermiled as best as I could; I drove quite slowly today. "
    While jeff said he did 55-60.


    Here is another few data points.. I don't usually drive that far but one day last month I last day with 79.9miles, we did a lot of local in-town driving and ended the day with 56miles EV and plus .52 gallons of gas. Two weeks ago I did a similar 78 miles, but that was all electric.. as I plugged in midday :) and I'm paying for wind-power.. what the efficiency of that again? So well-to-wheels.. which is better?

    The Volt gives one far more choices of how green to be as you can buy green power. If one wants to reduce emissions a BEV or EREV allows them to do so. If they don't care about that then the point is moot.







    The volststats data shows 36.18MPG on gas (not 35), 121.8MPG overall.
    fuelly shows 48 overal for the 2012 Prius, 68 for the PiP. Even the PC PiP spreadsheet shows only 83mpg for PiP.


    The PiP is better than a Prius, but still 80MPG is a horrible day for most Volt drivers. If one averaged 80MPG, you'd be 800/932 on voltstats.net .. i.e. in the bottom 20% of drivers. Heck even at 100MPG it only puts one at 720/932.. i.e. bottom 1/3. And this is not for a trip, that is lifetime totals.


    You don't know that 40% of the mile were driven under premium.. you know only know the milage %, not the fuel used. Probably the majority is premium, but you don't really know. The people driving the farthest may choose to use regular which reduces MPG but also the price per gallon. I know the Volt drives just fine with regular in it, done that on a long trip when the place we stopped at, in the middle of nowhere, my wife filled it with regular. I can see people that are burning a lot of gas could still going the cheaper route -- which would also reduce their MPG.

    And as already mentioned, so what if its premium? Why do you harp on that?
    My overall cost per mile, including premium, is great. I'd rather burn premium and be sure its stable when it sits for months.
     
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  14. Jeff N

    Jeff N The answer is 0042

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    That would be 153 mpg. I was going to say I could do 145+ mpg if I was really working for a high mpg across that many miles. The 98-99 mpg that I did get over 77.3 miles was just a normal everyday drive with a passenger who wouldn't have tolerated any obvious hypermiling efforts.
     
  15. drinnovation

    drinnovation EREV for EVER!

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    Ditto.. no hypermiling.. I was showing a prospective hire around town, going to bfast.lunch/dinner.. and touring a few neighborhoods. But there was a good bit of 34-45mph stuff which gave me the advantage without the need for hypermiling. if course the second day was 0 gas, even with that many miles. Just plugged in at my office for 4 hours of 120v charging.
     
  16. Jeff N

    Jeff N The answer is 0042

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    I haven't tried a 55" flat screen, but I did haul everything required for a complete kitchen remodel using Ikea cabinets in the back of my 2004 Prius although it took several trips.

    I just went into the garage and measured the width, height, and distance to the front seats from the back of the hatchback area between the 2004 Prius and the Volt. The Prius was roughly 38" wide, 16" high (at the back of the car), and 5' long. The Volt exceeded those dimensions by 1-3 inches in all directions -- roughly 40" wide, 17" tall, and 5'3" long. I'm sure I could adjust the front seats a few extra inches forward if needed. I don't know how those dimensions changed for the 3rd generation Prius that the PiP is based on.
     
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  17. JRW

    JRW Automotive Journalist

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    There is no need to get defensive. I'm not quoting anything official and I am certainly not making things up. I am simply stating the gas mileage I got while driving a Volt for a week a few months ago. If you get 40MPG with your Volt and the way you drive it that's great, but even even 40MPG using premium gas is still more costly than a minimum of 50MPG on regular gas, which is the lowest I've ever seen with my Prius Plug-in.

     
  18. Rebound

    Rebound Senior Member

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    But I drove slowly. Maybe Jeff and I can take a road trip sometime this summer, side-by-side, and really compare. In my view, with it's vastly bigger battery, Volt will almost always use less gas. In the Big Picture, Prius, Plug-in Prius, Leaf and Volt are all playing for the same team.

    BUT, as to those who think PiP is only good for very short trips, you do not understand the benefit which the larger battery brings to ordinary hybrid operation, such as my initial 400 trip from LA to SF, starting with an uncharged battery, which still netted me about 60 MPG.
     
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  19. JRW

    JRW Automotive Journalist

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    You make an interesting point about the larger battery. I didn't know why my PiP typically gets at least 60 MPG on long trips, when it uses gas almost exclusively. I was expecting the car to barely make 50 MPG.

     
  20. sxotty

    sxotty Member

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    If you get 60MPG in your prius on long trips I simply do not believe you got 35MPG in the volt on similar trips. Of course I could trot out some stupid test showing a prius is less efficient than an M3 as well if I wanted to vary the driving conditions to make one look worse than the other. I could not care which vehicle people pick to be honest I simply get extremely tired of people with foolish agendas making up information, lying, misleading, creating biased comparisons and so on. There are consistent tests and it makes sense to use them as a comparison. I know plenty of people that get 35MPG in the prius, but I don't quote that as a number because doing so would be foolish. The same people in a Volt would actually do far better b/c they take ridiculously short trips, but on longer trips they would probably get 50 in the prius and 40 in the volt.
     
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