Electric Cars

Published on November 26th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


Chevy Volt Named Best Electric/Hybrid Buy For 2015

November 26th, 2014 by  

Originally published on Planetsave.

Kelley Blue Book (KBB) has awarded the Chevy Volt the “best buy of 2015″ designation in the electric/hybrid car category. That’s an impressive designation in a category that includes the BMW i3, Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model S, and Toyota Prius.

Of course, if you actually look at the benefits of electric cars, I think you have to put electric cars above everything else, which makes the Chevy Volt the best automobile buy of 2015… based on KBB’s ranking system and conclusions.

2011 Chevrolet Volt

“The Volt might not be the newest entry in a group that includes the Nissan Leaf, BMW i3 and Toyota Prius, but a clever powertrain and exceptional value helped Chevrolet’s gasoline/electric wondercar secure the win,” KBB writes.

“Among an exceptionally diverse field, the Volt occupies a sweet spot between value and desirability. Those same traits have helped secure the Volt’s position as one of Kelley Blue Book’s 10 Best Green Cars every year since its introduction.”

The starting price of a Chevy Volt is $34,345, but it is also eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit and, in California (the largest automobile market in the US), another $1,500 zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) rebate. With the combined fuel savings, that makes the Volt $1,600 cheaper than a Toyota Prius, on average, over the course of 5 years… based on KBB’s calculations. Of course, assumptions like # of miles driven, price of gas over the course of ownership, price of electricity, etc, are critical to the results you get here. Also important to note is that the Volt offers a much better driving experience, but only has seating for four.

Other 2015 Electric/Hybrid Car Best Buy finalists included the BMW i3, Nissan LEAF, and Toyota Prius. It seems the BMW i3 came close to winning this award (as well as the 2015 Green Car of the Year award it just won), but the KBB editors write: “The BMW i3 spurred some deep discussion among our editorial staff about what constitutes ‘value.’ In the end, the i3 wasn’t quite intriguing enough to overcome its price premium, but the Bimmer’s unusual interior materials, distinct exterior and driving dynamics might win over buyers with more flexible budgets….As a brand-new car, questions remain about the BMW i3, but some things are certain. The i3 is a more distinct, more fun and more interesting choice….”

I definitely wouldn’t even consider the Toyota Prius, but it would be very hard to choose between the BMW i3, Chevy Volt, and Nissan LEAF for “best buy.” Of those three, prices and some basic specs are as follows:

BMW i3

  • $41,350 ($33,850 after the federal EV tax credit)
  • battery range = 81 miles
  • 124 MPGe
  • 0–60 MPH in 7.2 seconds
  • 4 seats

Chevy Volt

  • $34,345 ($26,845 after the federal EV tax credit)
  • battery range = 38 miles
  • 98 MPGe on battery (37 MPG on gas)
  • 0–60 MPH in 8.5 seconds
  • 4 seats

Nissan LEAF

  • $29,010 ($21,510 after the federal EV tax credit)
  • battery range = 84 miles
  • 114 MPGe
  • 0–60 MPH in 10.2 seconds
  • 5 seats

A good bit cheaper and with 5 seats, it’s not that hard to see why the Nissan LEAF is the top-selling electric car in the US, but there are certainly arguments to be made for each of these vehicles in regards to which is the “best buy.” When it comes down to it, the best buy really just depends on your personal preferences, needs, and budget. And if money isn’t an issue, none of these are on the table since the Tesla Model S wins hands down.

Image Credit: GM

Reprinted with permission.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the 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 and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. 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. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

  • Effilya De

    no discussion of range, which I think the Chevy would win hands down.

    • Bob_Wallace

      It depends on how you set up the contest.

      For a single car household that takes longer trips several times a year, the Chevy would probably win hands down.

      For a multiple car household in which on any given day at least one car travels no further than the Leaf’s range, the Nissan would probably win hands down.

      Different horses for different courses….

  • David in Bushwick

    “I definitely wouldn’t even consider the Toyota Prius..”
    What has happened to Toyota? They used to be on the cutting edge.

    • Adrian

      They seem to have everything running deep under-cover until they have their solid-state battery ready. Its not clear Toyota’s top leadership quite believes in EV’s just yet, they keep making conflicting statements in the press.

    • Larmion

      That quote is the opinion of one random blogger. That’s beside the point though.

      Toyota was briefly on the cutting edge with the Prius, but that’s not a title Toyota aspires to. It has always tried to present itself as a purveyor of reliable, efficient and reasonably priced cars and the Prius still fits all three criteria nicely. Being the most modern or most exciting has never been their ambition.

      Measured against an EV, the Prius is anything but cutting edge. Measured against a conventional gasoline vehicle, still the dominant engine type on the market, the Prius still offers a nice lead.

      • Hazel

        Another way to ask David’s question is, what’s the point of the Prius plugin? Other PHEVs deliver 2-4 times more range and twice the electric motor power for the same or less money.

    • tftillman

      I had a Prius for years, but now I have a Volt.
      Toyota’s tiny electric range is ridiculous.
      If they don’t unstick from the past, they will fall further.
      I guess they thought they were King for Life.

    • Wayne Williamson

      Ah yeah, hybrids kill a regular ice car….whats your point…..

  • N22TANGO

    I beat Kelly Blue Book to the punch and knew ahead of time that the 2015 Volt would be a winner. My 2012 Volt just blew me away in regard to it’s performance, the ability of it to take me from point “A” to point “B” so economically on electricity (not to mention the sheer comfort for my 6 foot tall frame and arthritic joints… ) and doing so with spritely performance, agility and freeing me of the guilt of driving on “Jihad Juice” that I had been using for my typical 30,000 mile annual drive of commuting between two properties we own here in Texas in separate counties.

    My first Volt was an off the shelf one and a learning experience for me. The second Volt (the 2015 that I special ordered the second day GM was accepting orders) is my “wisdom Volt” and what I learned from driving the first one 27,000 miles in 27 months on 42 gallons of gasoline demonstrated to me, if a Volt could hold up as well as it did with only one “issue” (a defective key fob) and no real maintenance the entire time except for a tire rotation and a single oil change… and driving that Volt on unimproved ranch roads in nasty-dusty condition in wicked heat during Texas summers and on one some days when temps were well below freezing, I was hooked.

    And I’ll be looking forward to what GM will reveal in January when they pull the sheet off the 2016 Volt at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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