Published on January 10th, 2017 | by James Ayre


Interesting Cost Analysis Of Chevy Volt Ownership (Gen 1 Volt)

January 10th, 2017 by  

An interesting cost-analysis overview of Chevy Volt ownership was recently posted by “edaniel” on the forum that seems worth quoting from here.

The cost-analysis concerns a first-generation, demo 2014 Chevy Volt that is “pretty much loaded” — apparently lacking only the collision avoidance system and the front sensors.

Rather than chop up his analysis, here it is (nearly) in its entirety:

“I started with the Volt Stats data and determined I use my Volt on electric 65% of the time and have a use weighted average mpg of 36.12 mpg when operating on premium gasoline.

“First, I needed to determine my average miles per charge, including winter. I did this by weighting 32 miles per charge for winter use to 3 months and 44 miles per charge for summer use to 9 months arriving at an average of 41 miles per charge. Based on using 10 kwh’s of charge to yield the 41 miles, I received 4.1 miles per kwh. Applying the cost per kwh ($0.0498 supplier and $0.0562 for delivery) and adjusting for 10% loss during charging, I determined I was achieving $0.0284 per mile while on full electric.

“I then needed to generate a weighted average of the cost for all miles driven on gasoline and electric for the Volt for comparison to my wife’s Lexus RX 350. In doing so I needed to factor in the fact that the Volt uses premium gasoline at $2.79 per gallon and the Lexus uses regular at $2.24 per gallon. We earlier determined (see above) the Volt achieves 36.12 mpg, while the Lexus for mixed driving achieves 21 mpg (actual usage). The result was the gasoline cost per mile for the Volt was $0.0772 vs $0.112 for the Lexus.

“Lastly, applying a weighted average of all driving of the Volt at $0.0455 vs the Lexus, I determined a $0.0612 per mile savings or $458.67 annual savings based on 7,500 miles driven per year. The Lexus would need to achieve near 50 mpg to equal the Volt based on the current combined gas-electric usage of the Volt.

“Some might argue that this is comparing apples and oranges since I am not including battery life and other maintenance as well as depreciation. Though I acknowledge these points, the net cost of my Volt was 59% less after rebate than the Lexus, the maintenance costs are substantially lower and so far battery degradation seems to be non-issue with the Chevy Volt. In closing, it is painfully obvious the best economy is generated using all electric mode. This tends to conflict with the occasional need of 500 and 1,000 mile round trips and the limited electric range of the volt.”

An interesting analysis. Though, a comparison with a Lexus RX 350 isn’t one that will apply to many people. For most people, a comparison with a Toyota Prius Prime would probably be of relevance, especially considering the lower upfront costs of the Prime.

However, as we actually shared a quick, basic comparison of those two models a while back, I’ll simply direct people interested to that article.

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

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