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Chevy Volt falls short on range, Consumer Reports says
Automotive News

February 28, 2011 - 5:16 pm ET




WASHINGTON (Reuters) - General Motors Corp.'s mostly electric Chevy Volt turned in a lackluster performance for efficiency in its first series of road tests by product raters at Consumer Reports.

"We would have really liked to have loved it," David Champion, director of Consumer Reports auto test center, said Monday after announcing the organization's top auto picks for 2011.

"It was fun to drive and the ride quality was pretty good. But when you look at the finances, for us it doesn't make any sense," Champion said.

He said consumers seeking value and top fuel efficiency would be better off buying a top-performing gasoline/electric hybrid like the Toyota Prius or a Fusion by Ford Motor Corp.

The magazine considers ownership costs, reliability and performance in assessing value.

Consumer reports found that GM's first generation plug-in hybrid, which is the resurgent automaker's signature entry in the industry's drive for greater fuel efficiency, fell well short of its maximum range potential under battery power.

Champion said the Volt that Consumer Reports bought and tested ran for 26 miles before the vehicle's gasoline engine kicked in.

After promoting a 40-mile electric-only range for most of the Volt's development, GM last year introduced a sliding scale of between 25 and 50 miles.

The Toyota Prius, by contrast, gets 51 miles per gallon and the Ford Fusion gets 41 mpg.

The Volt, which rolled off the assembly line in December, retails for about $41,000 before a $7,500 federal tax credit. The baseline Prius sells for $23,000 while the Fusion hybrid costs about $28,000.

Consumer Reports drove the Volt at its test track in Connecticut under the coldest temperatures this winter, and Champion acknowledged that car may perform better in temperate climates and in more city-like conditions.

Full text at the LINK
 

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not good....How have the other reviews been for the Volt? I rememebr before it came out GM was talking about 230 MPG. From that day they kept back tracking and the number kept getting smaller and smaller...
 

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So, the Chevy Volt only has 26 miles of electric range in brutal winter conditions. My Ford Fusion Hybrid only got 32 mpg overall in brutal winter conditions too. Extreme cold affects electric range and hybrid engines. Everyone knows that. Consumer Reports should do a normal test drive under normal conditions instead of trying to trick people into thinking a vehicle is worse than it is.
 

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So, the Chevy Volt only has 26 miles of electric range in brutal winter conditions. My Ford Fusion Hybrid only got 32 mpg overall in brutal winter conditions too. Extreme cold affects electric range and hybrid engines. Everyone knows that. Consumer Reports should do a normal test drive under normal conditions instead of trying to trick people into thinking a vehicle is worse than it is.
Maybe they should sell the Volt only in Southern California and South Florida, that way the car will face perfect climate conditions. Sadly for most of the country brutal winter conditions are the norm at least 5 month of every year and in some parts is even worse. CR acknowledged that the car will perform better in winter but still it performance is a far cry from GM's first claims.

Also 32 mpg in brutal winter conditions seem pretty good.
 

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Consumer Reports is correct about the Volt - regardless of the weather.

The math is very simple to comprehend on how uneconomical the Volt is compared to an $18k, 40 mpg car (Fiesta, Focus, Chevrolet Cruze, Hyundai Elantra, and maybe the new Honda Civic).

First, AT STICKER PRICE, the $18k car is $23k less expensive right from the start. Why is this important?

- You pay finance charges on the ENTIRE AMOUNT FINANCED. Since the Volt is more than twice as expensive to begin with, you'll pay twice the finance charges on the sticker price.

* $18,000 financed for five years at 6.9% with zero down would yield total finance charges of $3,334.38
* $41,000 financed for five years at 6.9% with zero down would yield total finance charges of $7,594.97
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RESULT - $18k car would save you $4,260.55 in finance charges in the five year loan example above - that would offset more than half of the MAXIMUM $7,500 tax credit you'd get by purchasing the Volt.

Tool used to make calculations above: http://www.mlcalc.com/#loan-18000-5-6.9-3-2011-year

- You pay personal property taxes on the VALUE OF THE VEHICLE over the life of the ownership.
- Your deductibility of the $7,500 tax credit for the Volt is not an upfront reduction in cost; plus NOT EVERYONE QUALIFIES for the full amount of the credit; in fact, the less you make, the less taxes you pay and the lower your credit will be.
- The Volt uses premium gas; many of the $18k cars do not. So every fillup with the Volt you'll pay a higher cost for your fossil fuel. This will be a LIFETIME cost advantage for the $18k car.
- The $18k car will always get better highway gas mileage than the Volt throughout the life of the ownership of both.
- The sticker price comparison does not account for the likelihood that the Volt will have added dealer profit (secondary sticker) next to the factory sticker. And time that dealer profit is padded through "market value adjustment" you will see the $18k vehicle to be even better to own than the Volt.

How much gasoline can you buy just taking into consideration of the $23k sticker price difference?
- $4.00 per gallon regular gasoline ($18k car) divided into $23k is 5750 gallons.
- If the $18k averaged 30 mpgs over its life, then you could drive it 172,500 miles before you drove one mile in the Volt. (30 miles per gallon x 5750 gallons, gallons cancel, leaving 172,500 miles)
- If the $18k averaged 35 mpgs, then you'd travel 201,250 miles before you drove one mile in a Volt.
- If the $18k averaged 40 mpgs, then you'd travel 230,000 miles before you drove one mile in a Volt.
- The average driver travels 15,000 miles per year so you'd drive and own the $18k 11.5 years in the 30 mpg case before you'd even get to travel one mile in a Volt in the least efficient case of the $18k car; you'd own the $18k car for over 15 years in the best case scenario before you could drive one mile in the Volt.

Quite simply, there is no compelling economic case that can be made that proves the Volt is an efficient to own alternative to an $18k car that has 40 mpgs on the highway (or even at 30 and 35 mpgs average). Consumer Reports is correct in their assessment.
 

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No surprise for me. This car will be a fatal failure for GM. This car has no sense, when the hybrids could do it better for less money
 

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"The more things change the more they stay the same". As GM rushes a name change from Volt to Corvair....LOL. GM is GM plain and simple and always will be.
 

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iVolt makes little sense from many perspectives, except as a marketing tool and/or having the latest.

Sales are small. Real world fuel economy is not much better than much cheaper vehicles, including their own Cruze.

I agree, volt in a year from now will be viewed as a bit of a failure. At least, not much of a hit. Especially as other alternatives come to market.
 

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So, the Chevy Volt only has 26 miles of electric range in brutal winter conditions. My Ford Fusion Hybrid only got 32 mpg overall in brutal winter conditions too. Extreme cold affects electric range and hybrid engines. Everyone knows that. Consumer Reports should do a normal test drive under normal conditions instead of trying to trick people into thinking a vehicle is worse than it is.
I got virtually the same results with my Escape, but it always goes north of 35 in the summer, even using the A/C.

People who love cars don't buy them based upon Consumer Reports' findings though.

And then there is the Electric Focus coming....likely before the "Almost HERE!! Honest!" Plug in Prius.

Volt may be the first of a line of electric cars, depending on what Ford does after the Electric Focus.
 

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****, I got no room in my garage to park an electric anything. And I got a 3 car garage. Boat, 3 wheelers, bikes, crap piled on crap.......Shame. I wonder how many others have that issue. Something to think about before you get a plug in anything, is there room to plug this thing in.
 

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Maybe they should sell the Volt only in Southern California and South Florida, that way the car will face perfect climate conditions. Sadly for most of the country brutal winter conditions are the norm at least 5 month of every year and in some parts is even worse. CR acknowledged that the car will perform better in winter but still it performance is a far cry from GM's first claims.

Also 32 mpg in brutal winter conditions seem pretty good.
All electric vehicles are going to see reduced range in cold conditions. That is no secret. I've heard the Leaf is effected even more.

I got 53 EV miles with the Volt in 50-degree temps...
 

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I like the idea of the Volt. I do not think in it's current form, it's a great car. But it is a start, and I expect to see more cars in with a similar power system in the future. Like anything, the first of it's kind is usually not great, and will need a generation to work out kinks and bugs.
 
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