Published on March 23rd, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


Chevy Volt Owner Disease May Also Be Affecting Other Electric Car Owners

March 23rd, 2014 by  

Originally published on EV Obsession.

Chevy Volt

Frankly, I’ve seen this over and over again — with the Chevy Volt, the Tesla Model S, the Nissan Leaf, and probably other electric cars. It’s a problem… well, a temporary problem, but actually a good thing in the long run! Here are the details from a post on the forum:

Who else is/was afflicted by this ailment?

When I first purchased the Volt, I envisioned it being my daily driver to work. My roundtrip commute is 17 miles, so I was thinking I would just about never use any gas! A little while after purchase I sat down with the wife, it was agreed she’d take the Volt on M/W/F since she had to shuttle the kids to preschool those days and would drive up to 40 miles. I would drive the Volt to work Tu/Th. That made the most sense as it would minimize gas usage. The other person would take the ICE’er the other days (GMC Terrain).

Then a few weeks later she came to me and said “I don’t like the way the Terrain drives! It doesn’t have any power and the engine sound is annoying. And I don’t like switching cars every other day! I’m taking the Volt M-F!”. It was at that time I was afflicted with“Thewifestolemyvolt” disease. 

I (mostly) cured myself by getting her to agree to swap the GMC for a Cmax Energi (2nd car needed to have 5 seats, decent storage, and 20+ mile range, and the Cmax winded up the winner). Now we both have EVs that will cover the bulk of our normal driving without having to burn any gas!

Oy. Wonder why that one doesn’t get the half the attention that BS “range anxiety” gets.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Jeff Saxton

    The Volt can be called an electric car. Propulsive force is provided solely by electric traction motors. The fact that it has an on-board range extender in the form of an IC engine coupled to an alternator doesn’t change that. I love my back-from-lease 2013 used one! It had less than 20,000 miles and cost $16,000. Warranty on the battery and drive train is transferable, too!

  • stealth916

    I thought you were going to come ‘clean’ and cop to the ‘I’m entitled to $h*T’ disease. Entitled to public provided recharging stations, entitled to the HOV lane, entitled to a tax credit, entitled to a vehicle whose manufacture has been heavily subsidized and unit by unit is sold at a tremendous loss at the expense of your fellow taxpayers.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Are you going to come ‘clean’ and cop to the ‘I’m entitled to $h*T’ disease?

      Entitled to less expensive gasoline because of tax payer giveaways to oil companies, entitled to taxpayers covering your oil wars fought to keep the pipelines full, entitled to ignore the deaths caused by oil pollution, entitled to ignore the environmental damage caused by oil spills, entitled to the massive oncoming costs of climate change.

      Every gallon of fuel you burn is sold at a tremendous loss at the expense of your fellow taxpayers.

      Compared to the extra cost of oil we’re spending almost nothing to help electric vehicles come to market.

      Once range is up a little and price is down a little you will be able to drive for about 1/3rd as much per mile.

      We won’t have to fight any more oil wars.

      We won’t have to spend billions in taxpayer and health insurance premiums to treat oil pollution health problems.

      We’ll dodge some of the enormous cost of dealing with climate change.

      Ever dollar that taxpayers are investing in electric vehicles is one of the best invested dollars in our country’s history.

      • Burnerjack

        When will the Lithium wars heat up?

        • Bob_Wallace

          Lithium is found in a lot of places around the world.

          We’ve got our own supply in the US so we won’t be needing to “spread democracy”.

          • Burnerjack

            Even so, as time and production carries on, supply will diminish. Should that not be an issue, control of a resource is always an issue. Natural gas is relatively prevalent throughout the world, yet look at what Putin can do with the headlock he enjoys on Europe’s supply line. Just sayin’…

          • Bob_Wallace

            Let me copy over something I put together a while back…

            Availability (Occurrence) of Lithium

            The 100 mile Nissan Leaf uses 4kg of lithium in its batteries. Let’s say magic happens and between 2015 and 2035 we put 1.2 billion 200 mile range EVs on the world’s roads, each using 8kg of lithium in their batteries. (And that’s if range increase comes only from more batteries rather than the more likely improved anodes and cathodes.)

            That would mean that in that 20 year period we would need to produce 480,000 metric tons of lithium per year.

            And after that we could just recycle what we’ve already extracted.

            At 20 mg lithium per kg of Earth’s crust, lithium is the 25th most abundant element. Nickel and lead have about the same abundance. There are approximately 39 million tonnes of accessible lithium in the Earth’s crust. An 81 year supply.

            Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, China, Portugal and Zimbabwe have roughly 13,000,000 metric tons of lithium that can be extracted. That’s a 27 year supply.

            Bolivia has 5.4 million of the 13 million tons. Over 11 years.

            There are approximately 230,000,000,000 tons of lithium in seawater. A 479,167 year supply.


            Since I wrote that we’ve discovered a new bunch of lithium in the US.


          • Burnerjack

            Fair enough. Should these numbers hold true ( I have no reason to doubt them), I’m sure there will be other things to fight over. Maybe the resources to charge those 1.2 billion cars. Yeah, solar,etc. could play a significant role, but I don’t see that without a complete “rethink” of the entire centralized/decentralized power generation issue. Not piecemeal, but on a national scale analogous to the Interstate Highway program.

          • Bob_Wallace


            The wind blows at night. Electricity demand is down at night. Cars generally get parked at night for long periods.

            The average car (13,000 miles per year, 36 miles per day) needs about 1.5 hours of charging on a 240 vac outlet. With smart meters/switching/signaling the utilities could turn car charging into a very useful dispatchable load, allowing them to make maximum use of wind input.

            Charging could be spread out on a night with modest wind. Or brought on in mass if the wind was especially high for few hours. When we get to 200 mile ranges drivers could set their “next morning” minimum, say 50 miles for someone who normally drives 20 miles a day. The utilities could skip a day or more of charging when the wind was especially low and charge everyone to the max during a windy period.

            EVs charging at night would create a new market for late night wind generation (when profits are now minimum) and the extra earnings would attract more investment which would build more wind farms. And that would mean more cheap wind for us to use during the day.

          • Burnerjack

            Without NIMBY, its doable (at least on paper, anyway). NIMBY made an OFFSHORE windfarm all but impossible for how long 10 years? Longer? Where are all these windmills going to be located? What about the birds?(oh the horror, the horror…) Good ideas but (as the plumbing code says) where practicable? (yeah, leave it to plumbers to invent that one!)
            Seems to me, using leased commercial roof space for Solar, be it thermal/Stirling or just PV is more “doable”. Keeps the building shaded, lowering AC costs, adds a revenue stream to the existing building owner (win/win) and if one has ever flown into the LA, San Francisco, Phoenix or a host of other locales, one cannot help but observe the vast sea of commercial roofs already existing.
            What do you think Bob?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Birds are a bogus issue.

            We have tremendous onshore wind potential in the US. And we’re just getting started with offshore. As soon as the first offshore farm gets in place and starts producing watch for the flood gates to open.

            Solar is on the way to get as cheap, or even cheaper, than wind. But the Sun shines limited hours which would mean massive spending for storage. The wind blows most hours of the year which means power we can use direct from the farm.

            Storage is an expense on top of production. Best to minimize the need for storage.

          • Burnerjack

            I agree on the ‘bird’ issue. Obstructionists have a long track record of using environmental concerns to promote their agenda. I also find some merit in your statement. However, energy generation needs to be 100% reliable and predictable to be used as baseline utility. That being said, even wind power needs some storage unless it is relegated to ‘piggyback’ status. I happen to like utility sized Flywheel storage (I do own stock in Beacon Power). Even without alternative power generation, power storage has the potential to stabilize the Grid making it more efficient and manageable.
            BTW, on a previous note: Chevy Volt has had a price cut of $5000 (from $39000 to $34000) in response to similar cuts to the price of the Leaf. t would appear that I was correct in my uneducated $40000 guesstimate (excluding government subsidy. But then, you know how I feel about burdening my fellow taxpayers…).

          • Bob_Wallace

            We’ll obviously need storage. Wind blows a lot more hours than some people realize, but it doesn’t blow hard enough 24/365.

            It would be possible to run a grid using nothing but wind, solar and storage but the job will be made easier by adding in hydro, tidal, geothermal, biomass, load-shifting and power transfers with other grids.

            You might want to read a paper in which a wind/solar/storage model is built for the largest grid in the US using four years of minute to minute demand and hourly wind/solar data.


            When we subsidize EVs or renewable energy we’re helping new technology enter the market. The EV subsidy goes away after the manufacturer has sold 200,000 units.

            What we spend to bring EVs to market will be a tiny, tiny percentage of what we spend subsidizing oil. Just think how much we would have saved if we hadn’t fought three oil wars, endured 9/11 and all the Homeland Security expenses that have followed.

            That tiny amount we’re spending to bring EVs to market will help free us from the control of Middle East oil-producing countries. We could drive for a very small percentage of what we now spend per mile and no longer get jerked around by countries with oil wells.

    • Informed

      The major majority of electric vehicle owners charge at home.

      The HOV lane is intended to reduce the co2 emitted by vehicles. An electric vehicle emits about 1/4 the co2 that ICE cars do (for charging). That means that electric vehicles have every right to be in that lane, per the definition. It is not a commuter lane by definition.

      The tax credits are not a given. If you don’t qualify for the full credit, you don’t get it. And they are taxes paid by the purchaser. Did you claim your kids? You get more tax breaks for your kids and your house than any electric vehicle gets. And don’t even get me started on crooked business write offs.

      According to Reuters, a known Volt hater, each Volt costs about $20,000 to produce as of 2011. Cheaper now.

      The total subsidy for all electrics, not just the Volt. Per Fox News, was $6.1 billion. That includes Tesla, Toyota, Nissan, Ford and on and on. Big oil gets that almost every year.

      And last but not least, we spend almost 50% of our military budged, each year protecting foreign countries that hate us but sell us oil. They, in turn, give money to terrorists. Our money. Well, your money, not mine.

      In effect, multiple billions of dollars are spent every single year for oil and gas in the form of tax subsidies and military expenditure.

    • treefrog2

      Stealth916 – how much does aircraft carriers with supporting destoryer ships, aircraft, and thousands of personnel cost to keep oil flowing through the Straight of Hormuz?

      And as far as the huge losses you are referring to, you aren’t referring to that Reuters article that was completely debunked because they were assuming that you would apply the cost of research and factory retooling to one year of production.

  • Picking up my CPO Volt in Sacramento this weekend! I hope I don’t become afflicted…the plan now if for the wife to drive it 2 weeks out of the month and I the remainder.

  • ANOK221984

    you drive my car when i say you drive my car… cured.

    • Bob_Wallace

      “Oh, you won’t (fill in the blank) if I take that stance? ”

      “OK, you can drive my, er, your car anytime you want to.”

      • Burnerjack


  • mortinsany

    Yep my wife stole my volt also!

  • Mighk Wilson

    Ah, the tragedy of being affluent…

  • Justin Barkewich

    I totally agree with this article, I originally bought my Nissan Leaf for myself, the rest of my family thought I was a super greeny or something, but after my wife drove the car, I don’t even drive it anymore unless we all go out together, that why a month later I bought a Zero FX to ride to work and around the area( she can’t ride a motorcycle) but now when it rains or the temps are not comfortable I’m stuck driving the old ford ranger, I wish I bought a second Leaf instead, but I’m good for now, I’m putting aside $1000 US every month until the Tesla Model E is produced.

    • Burnerjack

      Putting a $1000… Great for you. It does however underscore the economics of the situation. As it stands now, EVs are the domain of the moderate affluent up to the truly ‘well off’. As is usually the case with new(ish) technology. A shame really, as a low cost machine with true low cost of ownership would appeal to the lower economic rungs, where I suspect there is a larger population.
      Glad to see the Volt being referred to in a favorable light. It seemed to be the victim of a ‘smear’ campaign for quite a while. For reasons I was never really able to understand, except perhaps “guerrilla marketing on the behalf of its competitors. Don’t own an EV. Never test drove one either. But by looking at the performance/range/comfort envelope, it seemed to be the one for me.
      Now, if I could just climb that economic ladder….

      • Bob_Wallace

        Moderately affluent = someone who can afford a $28k car?

        A $28k car that largely pays for itself with gasoline savings.

        Assume no money down and 1.75% for 6 years (what my credit union is offering).

        $410 per month.

        Assume someone is currently driving a 25 MPG car 13,000 miles per year. Burning $3.50/gallon gas.

        $150 per month.

        Net cost to drive a new electric LEAF = $260. Less than $260 when you also don’t have to pay the service and repair costs of a gasmobile.

        Those calcualations assume the person is not making enough to pay income taxes. If they currently pay at least $7,500 in income tax the price drops to $22.5k. (Even lower with state subsidies.)

        $22.5k, 1.75%, 6 yr = $330/mo.

        After fuel savings = $

        Yes, cheaper would be better. That will happen.

        • Burnerjack

          Fair enough Bob. I thought they were in the +$40K range.
          I’ll have take another look…

          • Bob_Wallace

            After checking, I should have used $28,980 rather than $28k.

            And Nissan says $21,480 after the federal subsidy.

        • Justin Barkewich

          Now truth , I bought the Leaf about 2 months ago and I paid 13,800 in perfect condition SL model now how much cheaper is that gas motor,lol

      • microsrfr

        Dealers don’t want to sell EREV’s or EV’s — they don’t make enough on service. No guerrilla marketing, just doing what maximizes profits. This is why Tesla direct marketing and captive service will be THE sales channel for these cars and why VOLT. sales have been sluggish — first oil change after 50,000 miles just doesn’t cut it for dealers.

        • Burnerjack

          That’s interesting. Seems like with so much invested by the parent Company, they would be applying a great deal of pressure to “sell, sell, sell!” If only to secure their market share. At some point, those batteries, controllers and motors will need attention. Maybe not the cash stream of previous cash cows but not selling now means ZERO stream later.

  • Jim Seko

    If those women-folk would know their place is in the kitchen we could stop the spread of hippie communist Obamacars!

  • Bruce Parmenter

    In reference to:
    > … Affecting Other Electric Car Owners … Now we both have EVsthe engine sound is annoying<

    Electric cars and or EVs do not have engines (ice) nor can burn chemical-fuel on board.

    The following wording is more accurate:
    Headline –
    Chevy Volt Owner Disease May Also Be Affecting Other Plugin Car Owners

    Last sentence of Volt forum excerpt –
    Now we both have Plugins

    I have posted these points before on this media outlet's news items. And the media outlet owner has shown their support for their own view to allow a plug-in-hybrid be called an EV.

    I also realize, that plug-in-hybrid forum is going to use their own terms, their way (thinking only like minded readers will see it). However, their wording has been broadcasted to the world on this media outlet, which generates other media outlet news items based on it, thus I felt a need to repeat myself.

    Clumping an ice with EV components does an EV make
    It is neither an ice nor an EV, it is a plug-in-hybrid, with its own set of pros and cons. To perpetuate the misinformation, will only confuse the public when it comes time to buy.

    • just_jim

      The clue is when she said:
      >the engine sound is annoying<

      Electric cars and or EVs do not have engines (ice) nor can burn chemical-fuel on board.

      She was talking about the annoying engine sound of the ICE Terrain.

      Yes the Volt is a hybrid, but the couple was using it as an electric car with a gas engine to extend range.

      • mds

        Actually, the Volt is most certainly NOT a hybrid. Hybrids, like the Prius, cannot run all-electric at higher-speeds and heavier acceleration. The Volt is an Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (EREV), or you can call it a Plug-in Hybrid. (I don’t like the later any more than you like calling it an EV.) Most people use the Volt in all-electric mode most of the time, even at freeway speeds.
        EREVs, like the Volt, are bridges to a larger customer base that will help improve EV tech (batteries, electric motors, etc) more rapidly. That is no longer true for hybrids.

        • mortinsany

          The Volt is a parallel hybrid that switches to a serial hybrid when in gas mode at speeds of over 70 MPH, The Prius is strictly a serial hybrid.

          • bmack500

            Actually, I think you have that backwards. Doesn’t it switch to a parallel hybrid at high speeds, not low?

    • Wallace

      You are still not correct. A hybrid brings thoughts of a vehicle like the Prius. The Volt is an EREV Extended Range Electric Vehicle. Get that through your brain. Now look at the last two words in that title. I will give you a hint= Electric Vehicle. So adding the extended range to the title of Electric Vehicle, a more accurate description would be to call it a type of electric vehicle. Basically the type with an extended range. So between plug in hybrid or EV, EV is actually closer to what a Volt is. Anyone that owns one would tell you that, just from how it feels when you drive it.

    • Zobeid

      I have to side with Bruce here. The Volt is a hybrid, not an “electric car”.

      The Volt can be powered from grid electricity or from gasoline, depending on the immediate needs and preferences of the owner. That makes the Volt a perfected hybrid car, I might even say an iconic example of a hybrid — unlike the half-baked Prius, which is effectively just a gas car with some electronics kludged into the power train.

      I’m not surprised that GM’s marketing team wanted to distance the Volt from the “hybrid” label, which has come to be so associated with the Prius. However… Words have meaning, and GM can’t rewrite the dictionary at their whim.

      • Bob_Wallace

        This is silly.

        There are various electric cars. Some have on board gensets, some don’t.
        Use EV or BEV for the electrics that don’t have gensets.

        Use PHEV or EREV for the electrics that do.

        If a PHEV/EREV is or isn’t a series that’s interesting but not a disqualifier.

    • Tom h

      Interesting, because my Volt has not burned any fuel for transport since I have owned it. The way I use it, most likely it wont.
      PHEV is probably the most likely name for a volt, but hybrid certainly is not. THe problem with the name hybrid is that it may technically be correct. It does describe a dual power source type of transportation,. But because of public ignorance it misleads the masses about what a Volt is and how it works.
      To some a Volt is a strict EV, to others it may be an ICE with an EV subsidy, and yet others may be some combination of EV part time during certain types of driving and “hybrid during others”.
      If you call a Volt a hybrid, you do a disservice to the education of the public. So many of my acquaintances have little idea of how my car works. I always take the opportunity to educate.
      If we want more people choosing alternative transportation, they need to understand it and then subscribe to it.

    • Gwolf

      I think your getting too hung up on definitions. If you use electricity 98% of the time then your backup generator doesn’t make the vehicle any less electric. That’s like calling a conventional vehicle a hybrid because it has an electric starter motor that powers it for the first 3 seconds when you start it.

  • Sam


  • bobbleheadguru

    I completely agree with this. Weekend driving in my Volt is much higher than I expected.

    I got a 15,000 miles/ year lease. I have to return it in September with a max of 45,000 miles. It has almost 41,000 miles now.

    Volt is taking miles away from our other car!

    • VFanRJ

      I don’t live close to anything so I’m way over my lease. Even with the penalties it cheaper driving the Volt than my other cars.

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