How to buy a Chevy Volt for the price of a new Kia Optima
I am 66 years old and have been retired from the Air National Guard since 2004. I live near a lake in Midwestern Mn. The closest city, Fargo, ND, is about 60 miles away. Most of our shopping can be done in smaller area towns, all within 20 miles of my home.
My wife and I brought our 2005 Buick Lacrosse to a Chevrolet/Buick dealership for routine service. We got a cup of coffee and walked over to the new car showroom. Outside the showroom, we spotted an interesting looking car and saw the window sticker said 99 mpg. What? A salesman came out and told us a little about the car and asked if we wanted to take it for a drive? With time to kill, we said sure. It was sporty and fun to drive and the estimated combo mileage figure was still dancing in our heads, but the 43k sticker price pretty much spoiled the party.
When we returned the car, the salesman told us about the 7500.00 tax credit for plug- in cars. We had told the salesman in the beginning that we were just in for service and we had worked with another salesman on our previous Buick purchase. We thanked him and went home.
We had been pricing out KIA Optimas, Honda Accords and even a Hyundai hybrid, but were wanting to wait till wife retired at the end of the year. The wife’s retirement was going to require partially getting a “lump sum” payment and we were concerned about taxes. Tax credit you say? Then 2013 Volt prices dropped 5k because the 2014 Volt sticker prices dropped 5k.
Then GM had another 500.00 end of the year clearance incentive. So 43,000, minus 5000, minus 7500 (tax credit), minus 500 equals 30,000 dollars.
Thus, I worked up a figure which included throwing in a 500 dollar 240 volt home-charger and a little more from the dealer and they accepted the offer. Now we were in the price range of Kia Optima's etc. Funny, I jumped into the 21st century by purchasing an electric car and an iPhone on the same day. What was next, a color TV?
I have had the 2013 Chevrolet Volt (review) since Sept of 2013. I have put on about 3500 miles. Lifetime mpg is about 72 mpg. I was 150 mpg plus all fall until the MN winter took it's toll. Driving around in minus 10 to minus 30 degrees takes its toll as the gasoline generator will kick in from time to time to help keep things warm and defrosted. I feel just terrible when I have been on a short trip and only achieve 60 mpg. Can’t wait till spring and summer when I see that 250+ mpg display on my trips of 40 miles or less.
No problems whatsoever with the car so far. This car is not for everyone, but for more people than you would think. Chevy needs to advertise more and get butts in the seat for a test drive. We love it!
Charging Experience: I have only charged the car outside my home about three times. First time I was staying at a hotel in Fargo in November. I asked the desk clerk if the block heater receptacles were on and he said they were. I tried to plug in but got no indicator light in the car that said it was charging. I had never recharged on 110/115 before so thought maybe there was something wrong with my cord as I had the same problem at my son’s house. Tried 110 when I got home and everything was fine. Was at same hotel a week later and I told the desk clerk that his outlets didn’t work. He got the manager and he went out and tested outlets and found out a whole bunch of them didn’t work, told me which ones that did and put in a work order for an electrician in the morning.
A few weeks ago we went to a casino in SD for a concert. Checked into hotel and plugged into a block heater outlet. A railroad guy who had stayed at the hotel the night before said that someone had tried that outlet before and it didn’t work. I said my car says it’s working and we left it at that. About an hour later, I got a call from the desk and she asked if I had some kind of a hybrid or plug-in car? I said we did and she said the maintenance guy had seen it plugged in but had a report that the outlet didn’t work so I should use the next one. I told her it was working fine. Only in a smaller town can you check into a hotel, not record your car's make and model at check in and still get a call, watching out for you. Later we drove about 20 miles to the casino and low and behold, found block heater outlets at their hotel so picked up a few more miles of charge. Then returned to the hotel and plugged in and left in the morning with a full charge.
Written by Al Shirley