8th Sep 2017, 22:16

It's also interesting that some of us also work in these very places and see more than you do from your backyard window. For a simple example, walk through your home and literally look at all the products, food products in cabinets etc and wonder how it was actually manufactured and delivered. My next routine flight this month with work, I will look for the extension cords.

10th Sep 2017, 03:43

Actually, I do think about how things were manufactured as my father worked in two factories when I was a kid. I also restore vintage electronics equipment, even though what I work on were made by human hands, versus today where someone mashes a button and the miracle of mass automation does its magic.

The Volt is a total unicorn for General Motors. Will they follow through on their commitment to alternative fuel powered vehicles? The Volt was a product developed back when they were struggling and went bankrupt, and needed to look good in the eyes of the consumer.

I hope they continue in that spirit, because the Volt is just as ground breaking as the EV-1 was. Yet amazingly few people get or understand it.

10th Sep 2017, 10:46

Why not just refine and improve mileage and emissions as has been done with the gas vehicles? Are you truly buying your vehicle with a saving the world mentality? Or is it to drive as cheap as ever possible and plug in free at work? I don't believe people want to turn in millions of existing cars. And many do not drive as much or as far as you. In my area, many alternate driving with mass transit. One person in one car everyday in dense metropolitan commutes is creating the traffic congestion. I have a friend that rides a 8 grand bicycle, literally ridden thousands of miles a year, but justifies it on how little he drives his new Lexus. I like what I drive. Keep improving on emissions and don't deal with the unnecessary disposal of millions of cars already in place. My work gave me a monetary raise. I don't need their electric post to plug into for a free ride home.

11th Sep 2017, 15:13

Why not have both? And no, I wasn't calling for people to turn in their cars. Technology changes for the general population takes time. I previously mentioned I work on vintage electronics. From the 1920s-1960s most electronic devices ran on vacuum tubes. They did their jobs very well. So well that many of the 70+ year old radios, stereos and TV sets I own that run on tubes often have the ORIGINAL tubes inside. But tubes consume a lot of power, are bulky and yes- occasionally fail and need replacing. But then came the transistor and later silicon wafers. But it wasn't an overnight thing. Early transistors were expensive, and when used in higher power applications, very easy to short out. First came small portable battery powered radios in the 50s. And then gradually they began to be used in things like larger radios, stereos and TV sets. There was a period where some devices came with both tubes and transistors, with the tubes performing the heavy-duty work and the transistors further downstream.

The same seems to be happening with cars. The Prius came out in 1997 in Japan and introduced the idea of a hybrid drivetrain. Nothing new, since locomotives, ships and even a few experimental cars used that system for years prior. But now we have cars like mine, a plugin series hybrid with a conventional engine and even full EVs with 250+ miles of range. The new Leaf was announced last week, and even though its range isn't as much as the Chevy Bolt, it has a lower price and I suspect these will sell very well.

The road blocks for full EV cars is the range, the charge time and the infrastructure to support that. It will take years to perfect and in the meantime gas engines will continue to dominate. Just last week Mazda showed off a new direct-injection gas engine they will be putting in their cars that gets diesel-like economy without any of the particulate mess.

And yes - it is a shame that mass transit and shorter commutes aren't more the norm. Years ago I lived on the east coast and didn't own a car: The transit system was so developed I could travel the state and beyond easily. Where I live now the system is woefully inadequate. It's also ridiculous that even though ALL of my work is done via email and often to people who don't even live in the state, I still commute to an office 40 miles away. The miracle of the internet is still not really being utilized for what its potential holds - mass communication that breaks down barriers.

Anyway as far as why I bought the Volt? I thought it was a neat car. The added benefit is that its a VERY cheap car to use. With free charging at work, that means I'm only paying to charge it for the morning commute. And with the engine barely running, that means maintenance is also minimal.

28th Nov 2018, 16:36

A third generation Volt is a no-brainer? Did you see the list of GM sedans that are soon to be discontinued? Amazing that the Volt is one of them.

28th Nov 2018, 20:06

When I get to work I get out and simply walk in the door. Drive what I really enjoy driving. Free or not, and if it involves a little extra maintenance or a loaner, no big deal. It’s the nicer driving gas vehicle that is the biggest plus. It’s nice to enjoy while you can before we are forced into this. I won’t buy a battery car. Personally I also see a big headache with anyone owning a new car that shuts off at every light. And I will pick on AUDI. Others have this too now. Being dead if that ever fails on a busy intersection and if fails at a light even once you have nowhere to go. If you hang onto a vehicle like this for several years, it likely would be a real pain to repair.

2nd Dec 2018, 09:34

GM will stop producing the Volt in 2020 only to put more effort into fully electric cars. Surely they will make a bigger brother to the Bolt, perhaps even a fully electric SUV. The Volt was a fine car, but only a 4 seater.

6th Dec 2018, 10:01

Maybe you mean a new mid size crossover, but do you think someone that can afford a large new SUV would even want this? My wife fills hers only with full service gas fill ups. We have keyless starts even. Who wants cords free charging or not, especially in winter snow? Requiring daily, don’t forget plugging in. We’ll never see one at our home unless it was a wireless charging system that was ever developed. Just one more thing to hassle and worry about. Gas and go once.

23rd Dec 2019, 17:42

Here's an update to the Volt. The car is now approaching the 9 year old mark and has a little over 150,000 miles.

While I understand that no car can run forever and ever without an issue, I feel that the car has started having lots of problems - far more than I find acceptable even with its age and mileage.

The engine light has come on 3 times. One because GM put in incorrectly marked battery coolant overflow tanks in the early generations. That was fixed. OK, fine. A few months later another engine light: This time for a defective valve that directs heated battery or engine coolant through the heater core. It was positioned in a nearly impossible to get at location and thus I had to take it in. A $20 part wound up costing me $800 to replace. The third time was just yesterday: We are on a trip and the light came on AGAIN. And so unless I can figure it out I'm probably looking at ANOTHER $1000 to fix.

And then the airbag light came on. Turns out a LOT of Volt owners have had this same thing happen. The cost to replace the defective sensor is again - you guessed it - Another $1000. I will try and see if I can replace it myself... hopefully.

And then there are the tail lights. Yes- tail lights. You'd think there would be nothing to these, but on the Volt? They are a completely hermetically sealed, non-repairable module filled with LEDs. You cannot simply open them up. You have to replace the whole thing and to do so is a all day job requiring the removal of the rear bumper cover, most of the interior panels in the trunk, and almost acrobatic feats of contortion to get at the bolts holding the unit in. The lenses on the tail lights I've found are VERY fragile and prone to cracking. The passenger side unit cracked 2 years ago. The driver's side a few weeks ago. In both instances I ordered ones from salvage yards as the dealer wanted over $350.

The battery range has started to also drop. When the car was still relatively new I could expect to get a 36-40 mile range. The range would always drop a bit in the winter. But now? I'm lucky if it gets 32 miles on a charge, meaning a 4-8 miles of lost range.

Now, to be fair this is the first generation of the first model of a very complicated car. In the back of my mind I expected there to be some issues. But with each and every issue the costs are prohibitive. OTOH the Prius we traded in on the Volt was also the first generation of what is also a complex drivetrain, and unlike the Volt never had an issue. It just went and went and went, and to this day I STILL see a ton of the first generation of Priuses on the road which is astounding given they are now approaching the 20 year old mark.

At this point the car is worth only around $5000. Pouring more and more money into it makes less sense. I had hoped that it would last long enough for better, more improved long range EVs and plugin hybrids came out. Whether I keep on patching it up until that happens is something I need to think about. But it's increasingly looking like I might be selling it and buying a used Honda Clarity plugin hybrid. At least with a Honda I'm more confident it will be relatively problem-free.

At the end of the day I'm pretty disappointed. I gave GM a chance, assuming they had worked out all the bugs. My parents owned late 70's and early 80's GM products and they were all garbage. Yes - a lot worse than the Volt but still - they seem to still not have gotten their act together and so it looks like it's going to be back to Toyota and Honda products from now on.