A Tale Of Two Chevrolet Volts

DEC 6 2014 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 43

Erick Belmer's 200,000-Plus Mile Chevy Volt

Erick Belmer’s 200,000-Plus Mile Chevy Volt

“Is it possible for two 2012 Volts to be driven in a more opposite manner? Erick Belmer exceeds his range twice a day. I have not exceeded my range since May 2012.”

Writes Chevy Volt owner Ari Colin (aka Plug1n).

Colin’s Volt nearly always operates in electric mode.  He actually holds the range record for most miles driven on a single charge.

Both Colin (occasional InsideEVs contributor) and Belmer have been featured here on InsideEVs, so we thought it fitting to compare the usage patterns of their two Volts.

Belmer is the high-mileage champ (world’s first Volt with over 200,000 miles), while Colin is #4 overall in EV% at 99.8.

In comparing/contrasting the two Volts, Colin states:

“Neither of us have seen any range degradation in the HV battery with completely opposite driving styles.”

Colin's Volt

Colin’s Volt

Both of us find the Volt to be perfect for our needs. Granted we are on both sides of an extreme driving style.”

Colin concludes:

“If it works for us, it must be perfect for people in the middle.”

Which implies that the Chevy Volt is suitable for nearly everyone.  Ain’t that the truth.

*You can check out Volt Stats for more details on Belmer’s Volt here (aka Sparkie) and you’ll find info from Volt Stats on Colin’s Volt (aka Plug1n) here.

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43 Comments on "A Tale Of Two Chevrolet Volts"

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Bonaire

Red Volts do it better. On both ends of the spectrum.

George Bower

LOL Bonaire. Good one.

Mark Hovis

+1

offib

The comments on both of the info stats are perfect!

Rob Stark

If your driving pattern is like Colin might as well get a BEV.

If all your trips are under 38 miles then ~47 mile buffer is more than sufficient to slay the range anxiety dragon.

Is Colin’s 0.2 miles before May 2012 driven on trips past 80 miles?

David Murray

I was sort of thinking the same thing. I think a PHEV is good even if the EV range covers 98% of your driving needs. That other 2% is when the range extender is handy. In fact, that pretty much describes my situation with my Volt. But I think if I were hitting 99.99% EV miles, then I’d seriously have to question the need for the range extender.

James

But then there’s that unforseen trip to the emergency room with your daughter, or the time somebody unplugged the BEV in the garage, or….or…

The beauty of our Chevy Volts are that there never will be that time you’re out of luck without a quick charge.

Brian

Stop spreading FUD. A >2x range buffer would alleviate any of these concerns.

Dan

I assure you that doubling the range most certainly would NOT alleviate those concerns; if that was true, Volt owners would just have bought a Leaf instead. There is a monumental difference between “my EV stats will be degraded if I don’t have quite enough range to make it” and “I’ll be calling for a tow if I don’t have quite enough range to make it.”

Without enough range for a full day’s worth of driving (including the unexpected, like having to immediately drive back home because you forgot to bring your laptop to work), BEVs will inherently have more of a worry factor than PHEVs. Most Americans need a 150-200 mile EV range to be able to safely drive a full day without range anxiety if they have to skip a charge.

SIvad

Unless one just likes the way the Volt looks and the way it drives better than the EV alternatives in the same price range.

David Murray

That’s also a good point. And at the time this particular Volt was purchased, the only other option was the Leaf or i-Miev.

rick kop

Very nice. to each his own but one would wonder why Colin who seems to drive all electric didn’t just buy a BEV instead of a Volt. Seems a waste to carry around an engine and gas and fuel tank and never use it.

evnow

Fairly stupid to get a PHEV, if you aren’t going need range extension capability. It is like buying a 7 seater SUV and driving solo all the time.

Bro1999

Of course, driving a 7 person SUV would waste countless gallons of gas, while driving a Volt like BEV uses the same amount of gas: zero.

lewl

Except the odd time you need to carry 7 and don’t want to rent. 😉

Bill Howland
‘fairly stupid’… Nope. Ever here of insurance? People buy standby generators all the time for things that most likely will never happen. And spend huge amounts of cash doing so. And either spend large amounts for maintenance, or else don’t bother with it and then the things don’t start when the rare time calls for it, so then they are a double waste of money. But the volts ICE and appurtenances are insurance against getting stuck. Or having to make an unplanned trip. And since mtc is automatic, the car will always be ready. And the mtc mode helps push the car foreward, so it is doing something useful while it is ‘maintaining’. Since I believe in Insurance, I have one portable 5 kw $400 generator (chinese) for both my house, and the house I rent out. This provides backup service for BOTH houses, although not necessarily immediately, but then absolute immediate backup neither house needs. So that’s a one time charge of $200 per house, and a small amt of mtc each year on the generator, but not much. So I’m getting good insurance on the cheap, and spending an order of magnitude less CA$H than most people. The… Read more »
Justin W.

Or maybe he wanted the extra insurance with the ICE. If you’re retired and living on a fixed income a BEV with short range may be fine but for those of us with a much more dynamic lifestyle a PHEV is a safer bet.

Cavaron

Doesn’t gas spoil after a year or two?

mark

It should still be fine. It’s not good to leave an engine sitting there without the fluids moving around though. It needs to be started and run for a few minutes each month.

lewl

Volt has a forced engine maintenance mode (if the gas engine has not been used for six weeks) for this reason.

lewl

It also has a fuel maintenance mode which forces you to use up the gas when it is a year since the last fill up (and it remembers proportionately for mixing, I.e. less than one year timer begins depending on how much old gas was there and how much fresh gas you added)

Bill Howland

Volt has a presurized gas tank to make the ethanol in the gas last longer. They recommend only putting in a 1/4 tank if you plan on not using much gas. That way, during the yearly ‘flushing’ of the gas tank, you have only a couple gallons to burn up.

I plan for this, and arrange my battery to be completely dead. THen, I switch to Mountain mode, to partially charge the onboard battery, and push the car , (and also run the heater, if it occurs during cold weather), so that I extract maximum energy out of the minisule amount of gasoline used.

Lad

Don’t see the reason for the IC engine if the car can meets your needs in electric mode. Might as well get rid of the weight and improve the all electric range.

Bro1999

Collin’s choice at the time was a Volt, Leaf, or imiev….which would you rather be seen driving in?

Aaron

LEAF. 🙂

Bill Howland
“…Don’t see the reason for the IC engine if the car can meets your needs in electric mode. Might as well get rid of the weight and improve the all electric range….” Nope, sorry Lad…. Ever here of insurance? People buy standby generators all the time for things that most likely will never happen. And spend huge amounts of cash doing so. And either spend large amounts for maintenance, or else don’t bother with it and then the things don’t start when the rare time calls for it, so then they are a double waste of money. But the volts ICE and appurtenances are insurance against getting stuck. Or having to make an unplanned trip. And since mtc is automatic, the car will always be ready. And the mtc mode helps push the car foreward, so it is doing something useful while it is ‘maintaining’. Since I believe in Insurance, I have one portable 5 kw $400 generator (chinese) for both my house, and the house I rent out. This provides backup service for BOTH houses, although not necessarily immediately, but then absolute immediate backup neither house needs. So that’s a one time charge of $200 per house, and a… Read more »
pjwood

Maybe some plan for REx, like they do fire insurance, without likely using it. Being stranded, so much as once or twice, negates a lot.

Muchski

For some reason I thought the 200k mile Volt was in electric mode, I think the 100k in Tesla or LEAF are better predictors of degradation as 2/3 of that Volt was on gas. Well actually I think the air cooled LEAF battery is the best predictor as it looks at worst case scenario with respect to thermal management.

Jouni Valkonen

typically lithium ion batteries have very good cycle life if full charges and deep discharges are avoided. I guess Volt batteries can do with 70 % DOD around 5000 to 10 000 cycles.

The problem is calendar life that is very limited. Therefore most lithium batteries are not good anymore after 10 years or so. It does not really matter how lithium battery is used. If charge level is maintained between 30 and 70 %, then it should last for 10 years.

This is also the reason why we should introduce lithium-ion batteries first for heavy trucking and busses, because in these applications lithium batteries are giving the best value for money because cycling is daily and 8-10 year calendar life is more than sufficient for full return of invested capital.

But of course, until anything happens, we need another Tesla that is taking the risks and is making the transition to new technology and is building the necessary infrastructure and is building the required knowhow from scratch.

Right now only BYD is exploring these markets and results have been very good, although BYD has inferior chemistry of their batteries.

lewl

Before the fox news types read that and start screaming that batteries can last 10 years max, a bit of perspective.
Unlike a laptop battery that is often abused by heat and discharges 0-100% and literally dies within a couple years, after 10 years, these batteries will not be inoperative. Quite the contrary, lots of life left. It just won’t be 100%. “End of life” is defined as 70-80% of original capacity, which is still plenty. And I don’t think anyone is expecting a battery to perform like new after that long. But it should be by no means necessary to replace it.
Leaf batteries, probably, given their issues detected already. But I’d be surprised to see a volt battery replaced for actual cell degradation under the battery warranty (8-10 years). They are extremely conservative with the allowable conditions of use on them.

Jouni Valkonen

When lithium-ion cells starts degrading due to old age, the degradation rate is fairly rapid. Degradation rate is not linear curve, but it accelerates towards the end. Therefore 10 year lifetime estimate, what e.g. Tesla assumes is fairly good.

Of course Leaf batteries has the worst chemistry on markets, so we cannot expect much from those.

Djoni

I’m wondering if the lifespan that your refering to is accurate, because if so, it would seriously alter anything like after use such as the one just post in insideEV here:http://insideevs.com/leaf-batteries-enter-life-use-energy-storage-nissan-development-center-japan/
Any source of you 10 year deadline for battery?

Ellison

Many government fleets don’t charge plug ins at all..like NYC and their never been charged Prii..

Victor

For the last 30 months I have been driving a 2012 Nissan Leaf (a fine car). There were a few times I had to stop at Walgreen or at a hotel to get another 8 to 10 miles of charge so I can make it home. Even at level 2 it takes a long time to get a few miles of charge into the battery. Many times I just didn’t have time. There was one time my family and I almost got stuck in Frederick Maryland (35 miles west of Baltimore). It took me 40 minutes to get there and 4 hours to get back to Baltimore. I miscalculated how much range was available in the winter. All electric is not for everybody, not at this time in history. My next car will be the second generation Chevy Volt, and like Colin, I will be trying not to let the internal combustion engine run (except when I have to go out of town).

Lustuccc

“not at this time in History” … still in 1999 there was 3 models of all electrics that had 125 miles range. Go figure anything else that a petro-automobile cartel that swindled us hybrids instead of decent range BEVs

Lustuccc

GM EV1, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Altra

ModernMarvelFan

All 3 of them cost more than today’s Volt…

kdawg

If you want to talk about extremes, look at these Volts. Not sure why they never plug in a plug-in car.

http://www.voltstats.net/Stats/Details/5900

http://www.voltstats.net/Stats/Details/5781

scottf200

The one has VoltStats comments: “Former GE fleet car. 83,500 on the clock when bought, lifetime MPG 34.8. They never plugged it up!”

kdawg

They did a good job of helping screw up the Volt-stats data.

Brent

Some of those fleet cars had perverse incentives. Such as employers paying for gasoline (free to driver) but not for electricity to charge.

Brian

Wow, a lot of people are judging Colin for buying a Volt over a Leaf. How about we celebrate the fact that he has burned almost no gas since 2012?

I don’t know why Colin chose a Volt over a Leaf, although there are any number of valid reasons to do so. I just won’t guess here. But I applaud the fact that he tries to minimize use of the range extender. Also – notice that there are at least three Volt drivers who drive a HIGHER percentage of EV miles than Colin does.

Justin W.

+1

Given the choice at the time, I would have bought the Volt over the Leaf too. I don’t like the way the Leaf looks. That’s enough for most people. It’s Colin’s money and he seems to be pleased with how he spent it so who cares what anyone else thinks.