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Chevy Volt Owner Shares How to Avoid Charging Hassle With a Simple Trick

Thomas Kahn is a Chevy Volt owner from Indianapolis, Indiana. Here he shares a simple approach from his experience on how to avoid charging hassle. Here is Thomas Kahn in his own words.

The Chevy Volt is incredibly easy to own. You never have to charge the battery, but each time you do, you save money on gas. It takes me about 15 seconds to grab the cord and plug it in at home in my garage. And it takes 15 seconds to unplug and hang up the cord, so 30 seconds a day is all I have to spend worrying about charging my Chevy Volt. I only charge at home and if I have to drive a long way in one day, I will use some gasoline. I don't have to ever worry about finding a place to charge.

Some of the people are obsessed with using as little gas as possible and seem to constantly work at finding places to plug in and spending a lot of effort trying to get better results by driving methods. They argue about the competition to use charging points and being unplugged. Many are just doing it as a game to see if they can be king of the best MPG. Don’t think you have to do that if you own a Chevy Volt. I avoid the hassle by plugging in only at night and I still will eliminate 90% of my gas usage.

The Volt is easy because it can go over 300 miles on gas after the charge is used up so you never have to look for a place to charge. At worst, I have to duck into a gas station if I want to drive all day. For most people, 80% to 90% of their miles are from the battery. If you drive 1000 miles a month, that is 800 to 900 miles on battery and only 100 to 200 miles on gas per month.

That is 0.75 to 1.5 gallons of gas a week. Maybe $1.50 to $5 bucks a week if gas goes up again. Don't sweat it if you have to fill up every couple of months. You still are in a different world.

You should know that most people simply plug in at home and are happy only having to buy 9 gallons of gas every 2 to 4 months. If you want to play games and have fun getting the most miles on battery – great, but understand you never have to plug the car in and the easiest thing to do is only plug in at night in your own garage and don’t sweat anything else. You will still save big bucks on gas.

By the way, Chevy just offered a hard to believe discount on 2015 Volt to move outgoing models.


Volt Owner (not verified)    September 4, 2015 - 8:12AM

Exactly right!
When I first got the car I made a point of finding and using public charging stations. After a while I figured it is best to save that time for something else like, enjoying whatever destination I am going to.
I charge at home every night and use my car for my 20 mile round-trip commute (so, zero gasoline during the week). On the weekends, I might venture beyond the 40 mile range and use some gas. Last month, I drove about 750 miles total and only used 1.2 gallons of gas.
There are a couple of public stations I use because I simply discovered them and do not add any hassle to my trip, like the one downtown in front of a museum I love, or the one at my local library. If there was one at work, I might plug there too. With a Volt, however, not having those might mean a few more drops of gasoline a month. I am ok with that.

Thomas Kahn (not verified)    September 4, 2015 - 9:13AM

Considering the Volt gets about 10 to 12 miles from one hour of charging, it is hardly worth it to wait while your car charges at a public charger. The Volt was designed to charge at night while you sleep. Maybe if you were shopping for 2 or 3 hours and there was a free public charger at the shopping center. It never is cost effective to use a "pay per use" public charger.

Another thing to think about is that some people who have pure EV cars may need to charge or they are not getting home without a tow truck. Leave the public chargers open for them.

Dave-Phoenix (not verified)    September 4, 2015 - 10:54AM

Nice article.

I am also a Volt owner, and I drive it exactly the same way as this person does. I also have reduced my gasoline usage by nearly 90% by getting a Volt and driving it this way.

This is kind of driving is exactly what GM envisioned when they decided to build the Volt. A "very easy to use" electric car that only needs to be plugged in at home and has a backup gasoline system so you never have to worry about finding a charger, no matter how far you drive.

While it is impressive, the efforts that some Volt owners have taken to avoid using gasoline, this activity, and the extensive discussion of it on blog sites, is actually detrimental to the Volt's image and contributes to the confusion that the general public has about the Volt.

I believe that the Volt is the best of all the plug in vehicles available on the market, but it is also the best kept secret on the market.

We need more articles like this that truly sing the praises of the Volt and demonstrate why it was designed and how it can be driven to significantly reduce your gasoline simply by plugging it in when you get home.

John Goreham    September 4, 2015 - 2:32PM

I have heard it argued that cars like the Volt actually increase electric-driven miles compared to affordable BEVs. By removing any possibility of range anxiety, the Volt can be used right up to its maximum EV range. It can also be taken on trips that a BEV owner might instead take in his/her ICE car for lack of range.

Dave-Phoenix (not verified)    September 4, 2015 - 2:38PM

In reply to by John Goreham

This is true.... I used to own a LEAF and I never used it when I knew I was going over 50 miles for fear that even a small unexpected detour would force me to find public charging just to make it home. Trips I never took in the LEAF (like going to my sister's 35 miles away) I routinely take in the Volt without hesitation.

Joe Shirk (not verified)    April 1, 2017 - 7:19PM

Ok I am still confused. I keep reading different info on this car. What happens if say on a road trip you drive the max range and the Marriot has no plug in available? Does the Volt have the ability to recharge itself while driving or parked?

Dave - Phoenix (not verified)    April 3, 2017 - 9:26AM

In reply to by Joe Shirk (not verified)

I was surprised to see an alert telling me a comment was posted 2 years after this article was written.

But I was more surprised to see that now a full 6 years after the Volt arrived on American roads, that there are still folks who don't know the Volt runs on gasoline after the battery is depleted and can run indefinitely without being plugged in if you continue to fill the tank.

So it doesn't matter if no plug is available at the Marriott. The Volt will simply continue to run on gas if you are unable to plug it in and recharge the battery.

I continue to be frustrated that so many folks do not know this. I blame GM for a lack of education...

Volt Owner (not verified)    April 3, 2017 - 10:27AM

In reply to by Joe Shirk (not verified)

The Volt has an on-board electricity generator that runs on gas.
Then you might say: "so, it is not an EV, it is a Hybrid"
And you would be partially correct. Here is an oversimplified explanation:
The Volt always runs on electricity. If it has enough "juice" in the battery, it gets the electricity from the battery. If it doesn't have enough "juice" in the battery, it gets the electricity from the generator.
So, when you charge overnight at home, it gets "juice" from the battery until is out, and then turns on the generator.
The beauty of the Volt is that most people don't drive over 50 miles a day. So, in many cases, the Volt can go weeks without using any gas. But, it can also handle a cross country trip without stopping at a charging station.

Dennis Altman (not verified)    May 6, 2017 - 2:26PM

Plugging into the standard household outlet in my garage is a wonderful no-brainer that always keeps me going. But is there any advantage to installing a circuit that would be exclusive to my 2017 Volt?
Accordingly, aside from speed, is there any advantage in having an electrician installing a 220 volt outlet?

Susan M Bonin (not verified)    October 4, 2018 - 10:17AM

I recently had to take my 2013 Volt in because the chech engine light was on. I have been told I need a new electric port. $567.00. The car only has 20,000 miles on it. It seems to be still charging fine. How long can I put it off?