GM's Chevy Volt Exceeding Expectations, Luring in Prius Owners


It’s looking like General Motors is back in business with its electric Chevy Volt outperforming GM’s expectations. It’s usually a good thing to be the first in the market where new technology is concerned, and the Volt’s initial success is great news for an automaker that was rowing ominously close to the rocks only two years ago.

After navigating the gauntlet of bankruptcy–and emerging with billions in taxpayer bailout money–a comprehensive restructuring plan emerged which tweaked everything from GM’s long-term business strategy to its contractual obligations with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. With the Volt, at least we’re finally seeing some return on our bailout investment, even if the bailout still remains unpalatable to many taxpayers in principle.

Owners of the new Volt are giving its gas mileage rave reviews, and GM is claiming the average Volt owner is traveling around 1,000 miles and one month between fill-ups.

Perhaps just as ┬áimportantly is how the Volt is changing consumer perception of electric cars. Owners are describing the car as “fun to drive,” a contention in direct opposition with Mazda’s campaign to paint electric vehicles as the ultimate buzzkill. Consumer perception is a funny beast, and which story ultimately prevails will play out in the years to come. For now, the additional bit of good news for GM is that 90% of Volt owners are new to the company. A disproportionate percentage of them are trading in a Toyota Prius, which I suppose is good for GM but is kind of disappointing for green energy proponents. Not that I’m surprised, but nonetheless I would rather hear that people are trading in their Hummers and SUVs for a Volt.

Dream on, right? Instead it seems that the “usual suspects” who were the first on board with the hybrid Prius are trying to remain on the cutting edge of green technology by upgrading to the Volt.

Source: Autobloggreen

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  • I think the fact that it looks like a car, instead of a blob is helpful.

  • Well, it’s not like they’re taking those Priuses to the junkyard.

    In fact, there’s a booming market in pre-owned Priuses. I heard a story on NPR last week that desperate Toyota dealers are scouring Craigslist and other used car sources for any Prius they can find so they can have some inventory to sell.

  • “A disproportionate percentage of them are trading in a Toyota Prius, which I suppose is good for GM but is kind of disappointing for green energy proponents.”

    I hope some of them have at least a reasonable distance to drive
    to work. There are two guys I know that live 2 and 4 miles from work and they each own a Prius. It might make them feel like they’re “part of the solution”, but the greener thing they could do is to sell the Prius to someone who’s going to drive it 30+ miles/day and instead buy a huge SUV (sequester it out of the hands of someone who might drive it 30+ miles/day).

    • Boy it sure is a good thing gas prices have shot up just in time for Government Motor’s “people’s car”. *wink* *wink*

      Hey, whatever happened to that “separation of church and state” that’s in the pop-culture version of the Constitution? How come I am being forced to subsidize via the tax code some latte-sipper’s tribute to Mother Gaia?

      • @ Steve

        The biggest misconception about the Volt is that it was forced on GM.

        That’s just wrong wrong wrong.

        Bob Lutz, that same guy who brought back the Camaro, was the biggest proponent of the Volt, and was pushing it forward well before GM slid into bankruptcy. Most of the money spent developing the Volt was spend pre-bailout, and the car was largely finished. If any Government money went towards the Volt, it was only in testing the battery and the durability of the drive system. The basic car was already engineered before GM got any gov’ment assistance.

        It’s easy to blame our government for high gas prices, but there are global factors at work well beyond the reach of our President, and even Big Oil. China and India are quickly catching up to the U.S. in oil consumption. More demand = less supply = higher prices.

        • Agreed. That GM was developing (and set on producing) the Volt well before the bailout is well known. Villifying the Volt as a “product of Government Motors” is willful ignorance.

      • As a “conservative” Republican who has literally never voted for a Dem in my life I am pretty sad about “my” sides take on the Volt.

        I bought one in mid March and the first month I went a little over 1100 miles and used .7 gallons of gas for about 1,662 MPG. I’m reducing dependency on oil (including foreign oil), I’m supporting domestic production of energy, I’m buying a car conceived, designed and built in the US, and, if you believe like I do, I’m increasing national security because less money is going to oil dictatorships. And yet, as I said, “my” side doesn’t like the Volt. And they think it’s some Obama plot via his overtaking of Government Motors.

        Well, once you drive the Volt and see what the performance is and see how great of a car it is you will then come around to see that Obama and the government had essentially nothing to do with the car and they shouldn’t get the credit for what the Volt is.

        Complain about the bailout. Complain about the tax break if you must (I personally think it is smart as peak oil approaches (and no, peak oil isn’t a left wing concept)). But to complain about what the Volt is and what it does makes conservatives look pretty damn ignorant.

        Go to your dealer when they get one. Drive it and THEN form an opinion of whether the Voltec platform is a great American invention that we should have pride in.

        Be well.

        • I am a conservative also and love my Volt #685. We have 5100 mile on it and used 45 gals.of gas, cost $171.00 and $72.00 of electricty total for Volt $243.00. My old car got 14 MPG it would have used 364 gals,to go 5100 mile about $1,383.00.

        • Tyler Massie

          @SeninarcallerVa and Gary:

          Thank you for these posts. I never did understand why green energy and EVs needed to be a partisan issue.

          It’s nice to know some of us can put aside our preconceived notions and biases and just let the vehicles speak for themselves.

        • Very well put.

    • Great idea. Even better, take the huge SUV, park it and ride a bike when the weather is good.

  • I was one of those who had never bought a GM car before.

    I was in the market for a luxury car in the $35k range with good gas mileage, excellent safety, sporty handling, good fit and finish. Took a test drive in a Volt and was impressed with it’s instant torque, handling, sound system, LCD dash screens (Two!). It met all my requirements and then some.

    That it could also be driven gas free for most of my driving (a finger in OPEC’s eye), while capable of driving across the country like any car clinched the deal. I pick up my new volt ($34k after tax credit) this month.

    • Enjoy it! I know I sure do. I’m in the DC area and just love commuting in the Volt. Literally no gas during the week for me and the ability to put it in “Sport” mode and just tear off the line when I have a BMW, Mercedes, Audi or muscle car next to me is just plain fun to do.

      I am currently getting about 45 miles per charge and a little over 40 mpg when I do happen to go to the gas engine. Check out if you haven’t done so yet.

  • How many miles does the Volt get per kilowatt when it runs all electric?

    • The range varies, but consumption is 36 kWh/100 miles. GM does forget to mention this in those 1000 mile fill-up announcements…

      Overall cost in average case at 1000 miles between fillups, including energy charging/fill-up is roughly the same as a 51 mpg car at current prices.

      • @ Mike

        I see what you guys did there, and you make a pretty damn good point. But let’s be honest here; GM was looking for some big numbers to wow people with the Volt, and 1,000 miles between fill-ups? Why that just sounds beautiful to a consumers’ ear when gas is hitting $4 a gallon.

        • Hi Chris,

          I should be a little clearer – I love the idea of the Volt, it’s very impressive, and I’m happy it’s on the market. Didn’t mean to “do anything”, so to speak ­čÖé

          Very true about good timing!

      • A 51 MPG car for 1000 miles will cost about 78 dollars, a Volt at 1000 running on battery will cost 40 dollars. I know I own one and that is my cost for running electric.

  • I’ve been following the development of this car since Bob Lutz’s announcement in 2007. I just test drove it at a local dealer. I’m going to be trading in a Mustang GT…

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