Two years of age is an important mile marker for many reasons. For a child, it signifies continued, healthy development. For a business, it can make greater likelihood for financial success. And for GM, it marks this month as the two year anniversary of the Chevy Volt. And more than 100 million miles logged by the extended range vehicle since it first went on sale. And also many lessons learned for both.
So what exactly have GM and Volt owners learned in this period of time? Well, for example, a typical driver of this car travels more than 65 percent of the time in pure electric mode, according to the U.S. automaker, only using the gasoline-powered generator for longer trips. Also that while these same drivers typically go approximately 900 miles, or a month and a half, between fill-ups by charging regularly, many reportedly exceed this average. One driver said he went over 1,900 miles on his last tank of gas.
GM noted that, based on EPA estimates and compared to the average new vehicle sold in the United States, Volt owners are saving about $1,370 a year in fuel costs. For the typical driver of this car, it equates to nine weeks of groceries at $151 per week, or 137 movie tickets at $10 per ticket. For the whole of all drivers who’ve saved on fuel costs since taking ownership of a Volt, what’s said to be five million gallons of gas saved is equivalent to $21 million in gasoline costs averted overall based on $4 per gallon of premium.
Looking back in our story archives, it is interesting to note the evolution of a plug-in hybrid tied to an American automaker once at the center of a controversial bailout by the federal government. In the Volt’s short history, which we first started covering in June 2009 as one of our very first stories, the car has generated a lot of slow gathering buzz as it went from pre-production to actual reality in the driving lives of average Americans. Its original $41,000 price tag was a bit shocking when it was announced, and later there was some issue around whether it was a true electric vehicle or not. Sales numbers, while not stellar, have still been very solid for the non-hybrid only segment, with the Volt often outpacing the Nissan Leaf in monthly volume. This still hasn’t stopped the automaker at times though from suspending production of the Volt in order to not build up excess inventory.
With the 2013 Chevy Volt, GM has dipped the MSRP a bit to $39,145. This gets as low as $31,645 after a federal tax credit. In terms of fuel economy, it is estimated by the EPA to be 35 MPG city/40 MPG highway/47 MPG combined, as well as having a 98 MPGe. With the Volt, the EPA noted, “it can go about 38 miles on electricity alone, costing you about 4.1¢ per mile. After the first 38 miles, the vehicle will function like a regular hybrid and consume only gasoline, costing about 10.0¢/mile.” It should be pointed out, however, that the gas burned is mostly only to power the electric drive components when the primary EV battery is depleted, versus powering an internal combustion engine/electric drive combo like that found in a traditional hybrid like the Toyota Prius.