Chevy Volt Owner Zips Past 120,000 Miles


Chevy Volt 120,000 Miles and Counting

Voltstats Show Belmer’s Chevy Volt at 120,000 Miles and Counting

Almost immediately after we posted on the first Nissan LEAF owner to whiz past 100,000 miles, we received word that a Chevy Volt owner in Ohio has that LEAF’s total mileage beat with ease.

Erick Belmer is the proud owner of a 2012 Volt with 120,928 miles + on the odometer.

Yes, that’s right.  There exists a 2012 Model Year Chevy Volt with more than 120,000 miles on it, of which 46,000-plus miles were done on electricity.

As Belmer tells InsideEVs, the Volt was purchased on March 28, 2012.  Since then, it’s seen a daily commute of 220 miles there and back, with a single longest trip of 430 miles in a day.

At 120,000-plus miles, Belmer seems to love his Volt now more than ever.

What’s not to love when oil changes come every 38,000 miles and tire rotations every 10,000 miles.  That’s basically all the maintenance that’s been required on Belmer’s Volt.

As Belmer says:

“This is the first car I’ve purchased that I truly feel I got more vehicle than I paid for!”

It’s rare these days to feel you ever get more than you’ve paid for, so we think Belmer’s comment speaks volumes for the Chevy Volt.

Belmer's Red Model Year 2012 Volt - Likely the Only Time It's Parked and Not in Motion

Belmer’s Red Model Year 2012 Volt – Likely the Only Time It’s Parked and Not in Motion

Categories: Chevrolet


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66 Comments on "Chevy Volt Owner Zips Past 120,000 Miles"

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you can`t compare one totally electric to other half electric,it is like compare apples with oranges,you can compare leaf with zoe for example ,and volt with prius hybrid,but anyway ,that provs all electric vehicles are better ,hahah

Joaquin (is that french for Joke?)

It just goes to show the Volt has no problems lining up for a 200K to 300K+ lifespan. When naysayers were looking at the Volt and saying “replace the battery after 3 years” or “won’t get past 100,000 miles without a battery replacement, the owner is showing that the car is way past viable and well into the ability to serve all our driving cycles without range anxiety.

it is a Range Extended EV. It is an electric friggin car. Get over the hybrid mis-nomers.

This story needs more meat:

Most EV miles:

Most EV miles with highest EV %:

That’s a much better view… Having this car and running it for two thirds on gas is just sickening. You just saved me from throwing up by showing me those two.
Looking at the all green graph is really soothing.

haha, that second graph, shows 10,850 MPG. At least MPGe is a more believable/realistic 92 MPGe.


To Joanquin’s point, this Volt driver only covered 46,000 electric miles. In fact, his Volt is actually only 38% electric, not half. The Leaf will always be 100% electric, but a Volt can be anywhere from 0% (never plugged in) to 99.9% (there will always be maintenance mode) electric.

That’s the whole point of the Volt.

Well, yes, but Joanquin’s point is that comparing the two cars is apples-to-oranges. Now the conclusion that “all electric vehicles are better” is highly subjective. For some yes, for others no.

I wonder why they dont sell the volt all electric with batteries ,they have the car ,they only need to put a few more batteries and have an option all electric and other extended ev,
and so they could compete with the new tesla model e
and with leaf ,they would sell more cars .

I’ve thought the same thing.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

And that Leaf would have been wholly unsuitable for this man’s commute. So 38% of something is a whole lot more than 100% of nothing. That’s kind of the point of the Volt.

(Thankfully my 2013 is over 90% electric, but when I need extended range, I NEED IT, and I’d rather not have to pay exorbitantly to ‘cheat’ by renting or by having a second automobile that might only get 2k miles per year but still need insuring, maintaining, protecting from thieves/elements/aging, etc.)

Well, Dr, it sounds like you made the right choice for you. And certainly this driver wouldn’t have done with a Leaf. But who knows – maybe a PHEV with a lower AER / high CS MPG would actually burn less gas for him. I know a PiP would burn less gas for me than a Volt.

But all of this is off topic. I was merely defending Joanquin’s point that comparing the Volt to the Leaf in this context isn’t exactly fair. In fact, these two cars are more different than they are the same.

The POINT of the article is not to compare the two cars head-to-head, but to say that they can both obviously go and keep on going. As a matter of fact, there are FOUR cars on Voltstats that have crossed 100,000 miles: one 2011 and three 2012 models. It is also important to note that less than 4% of US and Canada Volt owners are registered on Voltstats, and if the sample is indicative of the entire population you can expect that there may be over 100 Volts with 100,000+ miles. As for comparing either the Volt or Leaf to the Tesla Model E, now you are not only comparing apples to oranges, you have now thrown in vapor. The E is at least 3 years off: the X isn’t even on the road yet.

That Volt is a physical proof of GM superb engineering and design.Gm should use that Volt and show the world how great this car is.

BTW, Joaquin is the name of Jesus’s grandfather (Mary’s father). Calling that name a “joke” is against your own Christian values!

I think he just did and it’s appropriate, given the monthly comparisons of leaf and volt sales for the past couple years.

Its an electric car. Get over it already! It gets electricity from the battery for the first 40 miles, and then from gas, until the next recharge! Whats amazing is that this Volt did 120K in less than 2 years!

FuYup..the only meaningful comparison would be Volt electric only miles compared to the LEAF. And with DCQC and longer EV range..the LEAF will stomp on the Volt.

Volt should compare with Ford’s Energi twins and maybe the Porche Panamera plugin and Fisker Karma. EREVs have their own clubhouse.

But the Volt can be faster than the Volt , 0-60 in 6.5 seconds if you hack it.

it depends on how you compare them: the Leaf may not have the same lifetime range because of Nissan’s mistake in battery climate management. It has an air-to-air cooling system which does not work in very hot climates and can even heat the battery instead of cooling it if parked on an asphalt parking lot in a Phoenix summer. The high heat is not good for battery life, and Nissan had to do a quick step to deal with these issues. The Volt (and Tesla) have liquid cooled, active temperature management which helps to keep the batteries in their “comfort zone” and will hopefully make them last longer. The Volt also only uses the middle 60% of its battery capacity, while the Leaf goes much deeper into the battery (~80%) which also shortens battery life. The Leaf manual cautions AGAINST doing more than one DCQC per day in part because of the high heat generated with a QC cycle.

He added another 50 miles while I was reading this post.

His combined MPG is 64 MPG. I would think with all that combustion he would be better off in a Prius. It’d be interesting to see a cost of ownership comparison between this 40k volt and a 30k 50 MPG prius

From a raw economic point of view you are correct that the Prius is the best choice. And for the next generation looking to join the EV community it is very helpful to understand this math.

It is also important for people to understand what makes a person buy an EREV like the Chevy Volt or upcoming BMW i3. An EREV buyer is one that want to experience as much of the electric experience as possible though their driving habits require a fair amount of extended range.

This is not about whether the Volt or Leaf or the other fifteen EVs are better. If you are a one car family an EREV is sometimes required. If you are a two car family, IMO a BEV (Leaf) and an EREV (Volt) would be a great combination.

Before anyone buys a Prius they should test drive a Volt

Numerous former prius owners on gm-volt have written at length how there is no comparison to the feel and pleasure of driving the electric motor drivetrain of the Volt. As well as the comfort and amenities. Those former prius owners would know.

Wait a minute. Why would a Prius be better? He is getting 64mpg and the Prius gets 50mpg. A base model 2014 Prius V is $26,750 and the 2014 Volt is actually $35,000 now and with the $7,500 federal rebate that the Prius doesn’t get the Volt’s purchase price is more or less the same. The Volt also is quicker 0-60 mph and substantially quicker from 0-30 mph. The only advantage the Prius has is it has slightly more interior space and seating for 5 instead of 4. Both have a hatch with fold down seats.

This is a good post. No emotion, just facts. As it should be.

Don’t forget, for someone here in North America, the Volt is made “right here” while the Prius is 100% imported from Japan.

Prius not Prius v is comparable to volt in size. Base is about 22k.

Article’s about 2011 models. Volt was 32,500 after rebate at the time. Prius was 22 to 28k based on trim.

His wife is an accountant and ran the numbers before he bought the car. She told him the Volt was the only viable option for his needs. Remember, it is far more than gasoline savings: in 120,000 miles Erick has only had 3 oil changes and 12 tire rotations. Brakes will last forever because regenerative braking is used for 99% of braking. My 2012 Volt with 37,000 miles still has factory machining marks on the brake rotors and pads that looked like they were installed last week.

No, a Prius would spend more money in gas and maintenance after 120,000 miles. And after so many miles, a prius would be starting to fall apart.

I am a Prius owner with ~140,000 and my Prius is NOT starting to fall apart…it just now sounds, drives, and feels like its falling apart (ok the plastic tailgate did break off, but I fixed it with some picture hanging wire:) So I truly resemble that comment. Thank goodness my other car and daily driver is a Volt 🙂

Why didn’t you ask about lost capacity? The Leaf owner had lost a substantial amount and Belmer should have too. From the Volt battery’s perspective, it doesn’t really care if the electricity comes from the wall or from the engine. Miles should take nearly the same toll on the battery whether they are plugin miles or range-extended miles.

Volt owners haven’t lost any capacity. Between the thermal management system and the fact that they only utilize 10.5kWh of the 16kWh battery, there’s been no capacity lost in the whole Volt fleet.

In another couple years, as the batteries get 5 years or older, the software will also automatically start to open up the 10.5kWh window, to ensure that the 38 mile battery range continues to be maintained.

Exactly…the same with the Focus Electric, since both GM and Ford use the same LG Chem battery cells and pack technology, they just write their own pack management software. It’s expected that the Focus Electric won’t show any battery capacity drop until beyond the 300+ mile mark.

Which helps with resale values, which makes the Focus Electric is one EV that you can buy used with confidence.

No… According to the official Chevrolet Volt facebook page that I contacted, the Volt does not open up the SOC window as the pack ages, to mask capacity loss. Capacity loss will be seen as the battery ages.

Interesting, as this is directly counter to what I have heard/read. Then again, there is so much misinformation about all of these cars (even by those marketing them) that I don’t know which to believe.

I’ve done some searching and am unable to find any official comments that the SOC will be opened to a wider percentage. It’s an important distinction here. Driving 100k miles without capacity loss is a huge selling feature, especially since the battery is typically viewed as the weak point in all of these cars.

especially consideringthat a gasoline-only automobile would almost certainly be getting worse gasoline mileage at 100,000 miles than the newly broken in car did.

Argonnes Volt battery report might explain it better….

I’m not sure how much stock I can place in my extrapolation, but, extrapolating straight-line loss of capacity from 14836 miles driven (2%) to 30% loss of capacity results in 222540 miles driven. I calculate that Belmer should be seeing an electric range reduction of 5 miles about now, if the battery buffers are being kept constant and the range is allowed to shrink. Could we here from Belmer, if possible?

Check my comment… i covered that…..


Belmer reports basically 0 battery capacity loss.

Well, no. We don’t actually know whether the Volts on the road have lost battery capacity or whether their batteries are already being opened up to allow a deeper charge/discharge cycle. So a driver reporting they haven’t lost capacity only means they haven’t lost AER. Unlike BEVs like the Leaf, those are NOT saying the same thing.

the Volt does not open up more of the battery to use

As BOTH a LEAF and VOLT owner….. enough bashing when it comes to EITHER VOLT and LEAF. You will have to fight me to death to give up my electric car LEAF and you will have to fight me to death for me to give up my electric car VOLT…. albeit… call the latter one as electric car with extended range….. I love my LEAF…. i waited 18 months after registering and I paid full MSRP as an early adopter. I love my VOLT and I did not have to wait but did pay the full MSRP as an early adopter.. Okay…. once we have that CRAP settled, lets talk about what I noticed.. 1. Yes…. both LEAF and VOLT have crossed 100k miles!!! YAY!! 2. What is interesting is there is very very little battery degradation in VOLT. If you are suprised, read about the battery thermal management… there are many forums out there… 3. At 100k, LEAF owner has lost about 17% of usable battery. Some even in hot climate have lost much more…. A fellow VA LEAFer has lost some as well (and it is not Arizona weahter in VA) 4. There has been marginal loss of… Read more »
I must mention…. that a PRIUS is a nice car and if you compare it to a VOLT…. it only works when you are doing long commutes…. HOWEVER, and yes there is a however, this owner has proved that wrong….. He has been able to add $120,000 in just two years time and what it shows that he is GETTING more mpg out of the car…. the question is how much electricity cost which needs to be added up…… My take on Prius vs VOLT is that Prius is only better if one is doing 100 – 125 miles ON AVERAGE per day…. do the math to figure out how many miles per year we are talking about…. and that is only when the VOLT gets to see one charge… for those lucky folks who can charge at home of course and at work, even with longer 12 miles commute, VOLT will perform better…. Now, this owner of the 120k VOLT…. never sleeps…. he just loves his long distance relationship with work….. So is Prius better at some point??…. yes….. but not for the 99.9999% of average Americans who will find benefit with VOLT…if LEAF’s range does not work.. okay….sorry….… Read more »

People tend to bash cars they either don’t understand, or that don’t work for them personally. I think that Leaf and Volt are both great cars.

I did the math for my driving patterns, and for me a Leaf + PiP would be better (i.e. burn less gas) than a Leaf + Volt. The Leaf does all of the heavy lifting around town, and the PiP has enough AER for my commute. I only really use the other car when I driving long distances (200+ miles). I have very few trips that are >75 miles and < 200 miles.

My point being, of course, that each person's needs are different. Just because a car doesn't work for you doesn't mean it's bad.

If the PiP covers your commute there is a strong argument for biking instead. Just kidding its tough to keep that up year round.

I’m a little confused though, how many drivers in your household?

I do try to bike, but right now it’s 10 degrees, and there is a foot of snow on the ground. To be frank, I don’t trust other drivers enough in the snow to not surround myself in a metal cage. Plus it’s really hard / impossible to motivate myself to take the bike when it’s below 40F, and/or raining/sleeting/snowing.

Two drivers – myself and my wife. We trade cars as needed for the day. She typically has the Leaf all day while I work. In the evenings, we tend to go places as a family, so only one car is needed. My other car is a Honda Insight, and it travels < 5 miles most days. On days that it goes more than 5 miles, it tends to go 200+ miles.

I’m not judging when it comes to the not biking part. We have mild temps and rarely get snow where I am at, but it is dark and rainy this time of year. I stick to the sunnier months which correspond well to the months that have longer daylight hours too. My bike has been in the shed for more than a month.

51 MPGe on premium gasoline, when a Prius will yield approximately 50 MPG on regular gasoline. Hmmm….

You’re mixing units. He got 65MPG of gasoline. The 51MPGe includes electricity, which (as we all know) is typically much cheaper than gasoline.

and for some of us….. those electrons for electricity are coming from sun via solar panels…. which makes electricity even more cheaper for some of us than utility company’s rates….

I have never heard of solar being cheaper.

With solar leasing lately, it is cheaper for many parts of the country. You basically put no money down, but sign a lease agreement for some number of years, agreeing to buy the electricity produced by the panels for a fixed rate (often lower than the utility rate). You should look it up, it’s quite revolutionary.

I think there are different programs from different companies, and if different states. The deal you are describing sounds more like a PPA (power purchase agreement) than a lease.

Credits from the utility companies and states as differ in different locations. Same thing with the availability/price of feed in tariffs differ in different locations. What makes sense in one place doesn’t always make sense somewhere else. I recommend getting quotes for purchase, pre-paid lease, monthly lease, as well as PPA agreements. At least of a few years ago the pre-paid lease option through Solar City seemed like the best overall deal in Oregon.

Well, I’ll admit I’m not up to the latest in terminology. When I got my panels in 2011, what I describes was sold to me as a “lease”. I ended up buying them outright, though, as the overall payback promises to be better. The downside is more money upfront.

I was responding to Ben’s absolute wording of “never heard of” it. In some cases it absolutely can be (even here in cloudy/snowy Syracuse NY).

Definitely check with your local utility and businesses.

Yeah in cloudy/rainy Oregon it is worth it too, thanks to some strong state / utility incentives:) We added panels in 2011 too. It is the best project we’ve done for our home so far.


Maryland has ZERO incentives for solar panels…. Just based on federal incentives, we leased solar panels and we are now paying only 10 cents/kWh compared to $14 cents we were paying our utitlity companies (the rates includes all taxes and surcharges)…… Just imagine if Maryland has incentives like other states….. of course, the rates are much cheaper where utitlity companies rates are cheaper…..
Our cost involved FREE installation and EVERYTHING FREE upfront… had we paid a little upfront, the cost per kWh would have been more cheaper…

I hope this helps


I work for a company thats has Volts, Leafs, Prius’, Hybrid Escapes, transit connects and I don’t care for any of them. Yes I also work on all of these vehicles. My Ford Ranger has 186k on the odometer and will cruise on past 200k next year with no problems, it gets 21mpg and my Mustang GT gets 9mpg so it makes me extremely happy to see all of you saving more gas for me to burn. Keep up the great work.

Yes Ken, there are problems with all the vehicles you mentioned, but the more popular ones have a huge following here. Being an EV blog, most of us here really enjoy reading about our and other owner’s experience with them.

If you are satisfied with your vehicle, fine and dandy. Plus the fact since most of us here use very little gasoline, we tend to help keep the price down for your gas guzzlers.


Very well said….. The ONLY and let me just repeat the ONLY reason that I bought two electric cars because the cost of the ownership for the 7 year period was CHEAPER for me…. so for me and my family, it was about the MONEY….. Now, I understand that I am an average American who was able to afford two electric cars by trading two cars and saving money – not going vacations for last few years – to buy electric cars and other belt tightening measures… but I can tell you…. we are saving already!!!!!! and yes, the sacrifices are now reaping benefits…… We have now over 40,000 miles and we only had few tire rotations and they were ALL free….. other than that, never went for any work…. and I better not tell you the cost of fuel…. to run those 40,000 miles…. 🙂

Ken, out of curiosity, how many gallons in a fill up? I have a nice picture of $90.00 on a gas pump readout. I got a Volt 3 weeks ago and mostly 12 cent electricity at b home and free at work 🙂 😉

On the subject of Logevity Bob Lutz has stated since the battery is warranted for 100K, it is designed for a 150,000 mile lifetime. It would be interesting, since the 120k owner mentioned nothing about any EV range degredatiton, that apparently that 150k lifetime will be very conservative, expecially for a high mileage driver (the miles will be added on before the battery ages greatly).`

It will be also interesting to see how many years the engine lasts, since the mileage put on the engine is much less than the entire car itself, and apparently it is somewhat gently run.

Time will tell, but all those articles complaining about how the Volt is overpriced may be premature. If some volt owners eventually hit 400K, the cost per mile of ownership will be truly LOW.