01.17.2011 - by Plug In America
Celebrating the Chevy Volt at the SFEVA

Almost no one has been pushing for plug-in hybrids longer than the two guys behind CalCars.org — Felix Kramer and Ron Gremban. They recently took delivery of their new Chevy Volts and brought them to Luscious Garage in San Francisco for show-and-tell at the monthly meeting of the San Francisco Electric Vehicle Association. (Kramer also has ordered a Nissan Leaf EV.) Carolyn Coquillette, owner of Luscious, was kind enough to put Kramer’s Volt up on one of her lifts so folks could see the Volt’s underside. A third new Volt owner, Jeff Nisewanger, joined the fun by bringing his red Volt too.

After the first few weeks of driving, word is that they’re getting the anticipated 100+ miles per gallon in most daily driving, as they had been getting in their Prius+ plug-in hybrid conversions. Except now they’re in a much better plug-in hybrid with an 8-year, 100,000-mile warranty.

None of the new plug-in vehicles are perfect, of course. No car is. One of the main things automakers missed so far in all of them is a way for the driver to ascertain the exact percentage of charge left in the battery pack. The Volt doesn’t tell you (GM probably figured the driver doesn’t care all that much because of the gas engine to fall back on). The Leaf shows a silly display of leaves to represent the electricity left in the car (more leaves = more charge). I’ve heard that the upcoming Ford Focus EV will be even sillier, showing butterflies to represent the state of charge. Oy. Just give us the percentage, please!

But them’s itty bitty potatos that will work themselves out in future models, I believe. Meanwhile, it was a festive day at the SFEVA, a bit of which I captured on video.


11 comments on “Celebrating the Chevy Volt at the SFEVA”
  1. Milo Fryling says:

    The Volt Super Bowl ad – presents a series of scenes showing electrical things failing and being dangerous. Other ads on youtube are agitating and frightening.
    Here’s what GM is doing: siphoning off money and attention from the actual electric car by pretending to join in the movement, but overpricing the car, designing it with obvious flaws, and then anti-advertising it. All seeking to destroy public enthusiasm for electric cars.

    1. Sherry B says:

      Hmmm. GM is increasing production of Volts from 10,000 to 25,000 this year in response to hearty demand from consumers, the car has won tons of awards, and websites like Family Car Guide drool over the Volt. If that’s “killing” the Volt, I guess it’s going to be a very, very slow death. In reverse. Or something like that. See Family Car Guide’s piece here: http://www.familycarguide.com/blog/1054460_gm-ratchets-up-chevy-volt-production-to-meet-consumer-interest

    2. AmazingChevyVoltEREV says:

      Sir Miloo,
      This is The Amazing Chevy Volt-Facts Guy!
      I will prove how inexpensive it is to drive this Amazing EREV for less then $55.00 dollars a week!

      Ready…..Driving 30 – 50 miles a day the average American buys 2 gallons of gas. At $3.00 a gallon this is $180.00 a month/ at $4.00 a gallon this is $240.00 per month.
      Let us use $4.00 per gallon for now…

      My local utility says on their website that the cost to fill up with electrons is $1.20 or so daily if needed and worse case then is $36.00 a month and a gallon of gas or so.

      Suddenly I am spending $200.00 a month less to drive my monthly 1000-1200 miles.
      As we know the basic Us Bank/ Ally Lease is $400.00 or so a month-NET then my net cost to drive The Amazing Chevy Volt EREV IS ONLY $200.00 a month or $50.00 a week for this Amazing $40,000 or so EREV!
      Do the math breakout again! I can’t afford not to lease one at once! That is if I can find one…lol

      1. Sherry B says:

        Hey, Amazing Chevy Volt Facts Guy (love your name, whoever you are):

        You’re comparing apples and oranges. You’re trying to compare just the fueling cost of your gasoline-only car to the cost of both the fuel AND the car for the Chevy Volt. Not exactly fair, is it? Compare the Volt to any other comparably priced car, and (as you pointed out), the driver will save at least $200/month in fuel costs.

        In the latest issues of the Electric Auto Association’s newsletter, five Volt owners recently gave real-life numbers for the miles-per-gallon that they’re getting, with very different driving patterns. Here’s what they’re averaging: 151 mpg; 107 mpg; 393 mpg; 479 mpg, 62 mpg.

        Name one convention car or hybrid that can match that.

  2. Outraged says:

    These cars cause more pollution being made then a gas powered car will produce in its lifetime. The only green car is continuing to drive your old car or buying used. This nothing but self righteous green washing in an effort promote an unsustainable level of consumerism. The fact that these cars require heavy government subsidies to compete in the market place means you are using public tax money to mislead the population. This whole website is shameful.

    1. Sherry B says:

      Outraged, where are you getting your information about pollution? Your opinions don’t match results from more than 40 studies by universities, government agencies, and others showing that plug-in cars pollute less than conventional cars or hybrids — even when you factor in manufacturing, pollution from power plants, etc. in what’s called “well-to-wheels” and “lifecycle” analyses. See the 2nd-to-last question on Plug In America’s FAQ page for a link to our summary of all those studies: http://www.pluginamerica.org/faq/general-question

      Driving your old car isn’t necessarily cleaner and greener than getting a new one. That’s why the government created “Cash for Clunkers” programs — to get old dirty cars off the streets.

      And yes, some new plug-in vehicles cost more than some gassers, but there are plenty of gassers that cost more than the plug-ins that are now coming to market. The cost of new technology comes down over time, and government incentives just hasten that process (in this case for the good of the nation, to get us off oil). Think how much computers and cellphones cost when they first came out compared with what they cost now.

  3. Dave A. says:

    While the Volt does not display the numbers, it is fortunate that the OnStar MyLink app shows the numeric percentages of battery SoC and petrol tank level…but one must wait about a minute for the query response. In both the car and the app, the SoC graphic has 10 steps which are easy to relate to percentage in steps of 10%. However, the petrol tank graphic has 12 steps thus requiring more difficult math. Will we soon see somebody add a computer and a third display to show the percentages and other data? Could GM be persuaded to add the percent display in a firmware update?

    1. Richard says:

      Great video, Sherry. I felt like I was there. Would have liked to see under the lifted Volt.

      Dave A.:
      Obviously the firmware can show anything the car is monitoring. I’d love to see GM offer different types of views.

      Seems a bit silly that you have to use the MyLink app to access a server far away to find out your own car’s % SOC.

      1. Sherry says:

        I wasn’t able to get good video or photos under the car with my little camera. But I’ll add a photo to this post that shows a tiny bit of the underside.

    2. SB says:

      Felix said his experience with OnStar was sluggish and frustrating. The driver shouldn’t have to use a mobile device to see the state of charge (SOC) while driving. And, I should add, OnStar is only free initially. Why should we have to pay to know the SOC while driving? A gauge with bars or leaves or butterflies is imprecise, and expecting drivers to do mathematical calculations when you could simply give them a % displays ridiculous. I honestly don’t understand the automakers’ reluctance to give us this one helpful piece of information

      1. I agree that percent display would be very useful. I’m a Volt driver, too, and I miss that information on the in-car display.

        I have not had problems with the iPhone app, although it does take a while to return the information. There are lots of other nice features of the iPhone app as well. You do see your battery SOC percentage, lifetime MPG, lifetime EV miles, and lifetime total miles — as well as the same information since the last full charge. You also see tire pressure in psi and liquid fuel level in gallons and percentage. You can get plug-in reminders and charge complete notifications via email and/or text. You also have remote lock and unlock capability, and remote start to pre-warm or cool your car.

        On the Volt, unlike other GM vehicles, OnStar is free for five years.

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