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Old 09-11-2011, 11:01 AM   #41
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...With your commute, it does sound like it would be an ideal distance for the Volt. Toyota is supposed to come out with a plug-in Prius, but the electric only miles on that are expected to be pretty low, I think the numbers I've seen are 7-15 miles.

I think you need to take a test drive, and do a some more research, but I think they can be a really good option for a car.
A comparison of the Volt and the future Plug-in Prius:

Prius Plug-in is a better car than the Chevy Volt - Jun. 27, 2011

The article is pro Prius. Where the Volt shines is on small commutes (electric only, short range) -- such as mentioned by the OP. The Prius, electric only mode only goes about 13 miles, but where it shines is when it switchs over to Hybrid mode. On the Volt, once in gas mode, according to the article, it is purely gas and not on battery assist.

I think the developers of the Volt designed it with thought that most folks drive only short trips. Where as the Prius designers had a hybrid system in mind first, and the ability to go electric only is a bonus.
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Old 09-11-2011, 11:01 AM   #42
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I really have an issue with this comment. All these years, car companies had been preaching change your oil 3,000 miles or 3 months, what comes first. Of course, with newer technology the mileage part has gotten bigger, but now it's 2 years you can wait because it's a hybrid? Somethings's wrong here.
Are you sure your manual says that? My 2000 S40 Volvo says one/year, every six months for more severe driving (which seems to include just about everything).

The newer cars have the calculators on them, our new Honda CRV says 40% oil life remaining, and we have ~ 6,000 miles on it.

I think it's the oil change places pushing 3,000 miles. I wonder why?

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Old 09-11-2011, 11:03 AM   #43
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All these years, car companies had been preaching change your oil 3,000 miles or 3 months, what comes first.
I think you are looking too far into the past.

Cars produced in the last 10 -15 years use an onboard computer to track engine hours, diriving speeds, temperature and mileage to determine when an oil change is necessary. Our cars generally run five to seven thousand miles between changes - and my diesel truck's computer is estimating my next change will be at almost 10,000 miles...
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Old 09-11-2011, 11:24 AM   #44
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Are you sure your manual says that? My 2000 S40 Volvo says one/year, every six months for more severe driving (which seems to include just about everything).

The newer cars have the calculators on them, our new Honda CRV says 40% oil life remaining, and we have ~ 6,000 miles on it.

I think it's the oil change places pushing 3,000 miles. I wonder why?

-ERD50
I have an 03 CRV, no calculator/reminder on my car. The manual states 5k/6 months. I'm still doing mine around 3k-4k, probably around 4-5 months in time. The oil is definitely looking worn to me when I drain it at this point, so I feel oil is relatively cheap to keep the car going. Still, a 2 year oil change interval seems long to me. I remember having to change the oil at 2k miles years ago.

ERD50 - Just looked up your 2000 S40, doesn't mention time at all, just change at 7.5k miles everywhere I looked online (found an owner's manual and also on ehow.com). I find it interesting your car is 3 yrs older, yet your oil change is longer than mine.
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Old 09-11-2011, 11:49 AM   #45
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ERD50 - Just looked up your 2000 S40, doesn't mention time at all, just change at 7.5k miles everywhere I looked online (found an owner's manual and also on ehow.com). I find it interesting your car is 3 yrs older, yet your oil change is longer than mine.
Made me look There is a footnote to the 7,500 miles in the printed manual - or 750 hours (?) or 12 months, whichever comes first. I was usually at < 7,500 miles a year, and definitely am now.

Also, the Chevy Volt engine does not run like a normal engine. It has a pretty constant load/speed - no sudden acceleration, gear shifting or extended idling. That could really reduce wear, and oil contamination ( blow-by and max stress on the oil film occurs under heavy load). Two years sounds reasonable to me.

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Old 09-11-2011, 12:23 PM   #46
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Made me look There is a footnote to the 7,500 miles in the printed manual - or 750 hours (?) or 12 months, whichever comes first.
-ERD50
Maybe you meant 7500 hours, since 750 hours is about 1 month in time.
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Old 09-11-2011, 12:27 PM   #47
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Maybe you meant 7500 hours, since 750 hours is about 1 month in time.
I assume that is 'operating hours' - a lot of equipment has an hour meter on it, but not passenger cars (AFAIK). So in 365 days that would be about 2 hours a day, or about an average 10 miles per hour over 7,500 miles. IOW, they are trying to account for people doing a lot of stop and idle, low-speed, city driving.

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Old 09-11-2011, 12:45 PM   #48
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Just buy it. You don't owe anyone an explanation, an apology or an esoteric discussion of the politics of energy policy.
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Old 09-11-2011, 01:53 PM   #49
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You don't owe anyone an explanation, an apology or an esoteric discussion of the politics of energy policy.
Sure he does.

We can make anybody feel guilty about any subject discussed on this forum ...
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Old 09-11-2011, 02:03 PM   #50
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Just buy it. You don't owe anyone an explanation, an apology or an esoteric discussion of the politics of energy policy.
Read the original post...
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Old 09-11-2011, 02:25 PM   #51
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Since it still has an engine, you still need to do oil changes and similar maintenance. GM is saying that your oil changes could be as far as 2 years apart, but those costs do need to be considered.
If the volt is like most GM cars (I just bought a Cruze) it has a oil life system that tells you when you need to change the oil (This was also on my 2000 chevy truck).

On the economics, consider that the Volt is a Cruze with the hybrid feature, but is otherwise the same car. A Cruze is about 20k, so you are paying 20k for the hybrid feature. At 2400 in fuel cost savings it will take about 8.3 years to pay out the hybrid option. The other question is how much more cost is imposed by the extra systems, and their upkeep?

Note that at 500 miles I am getting about 28 mpg in semi-rural driving.
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Old 09-11-2011, 02:30 PM   #52
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OP: Just buy it.
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Old 09-12-2011, 10:41 AM   #53
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I'm curious if the OP can prove that this thing will help the planet.


-ERD50
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That is why I said if it makes you think you are helping out the planet.... I actually don't think it does after reading about the metals that are used for the battery... etc. etc. but some people do....
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Old 09-12-2011, 10:45 AM   #54
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You all gave me a lot to think about. Thank you everyone for your thoughts, comments, and encouragement.
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Old 09-12-2011, 11:22 AM   #55
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I really have an issue with this comment. All these years, car companies had been preaching change your oil 3,000 miles or 3 months, what comes first. Of course, with newer technology the mileage part has gotten bigger, but now it's 2 years you can wait because it's a hybrid? Somethings's wrong here.

Actually it is the shops that preach this.... not the car companies...

My 2004 Acura has an oil change reminder and it goes between 5K and 7K miles before it says it should be changed... and I have gone over 1 year during this driving distance...

I think my Hyundai recommends 7,500 miles.... but can not find the downloaded manual.... must have deleted...
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Old 09-12-2011, 11:26 AM   #56
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Actually it is the shops that preach this.... not the car companies...
Indeed, I've seen plenty of manuals that say oil changes every 7,500 miles is sufficient if you rarely drive in extreme conditions. I know of none that say every 3/3,000 though that's what the folks who do the oil changes want us to believe.
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Old 09-12-2011, 11:36 AM   #57
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That is why I said if it makes you think you are helping out the planet.... I actually don't think it does after reading about the metals that are used for the battery... etc. etc. but some people do....
I am curious, the sources you read, were they opinion peices, or well referenced/documented articles?

At one point, a piece came out about how a Hummer was more environmentally friendly (cradle to grave) than a Prius due to the nickle in the Prius battery.
But when the points in the piece were actually fact checked, there is a large amount of nickle in the chrome in the hummer. As I recall, there is more nickle over-all in a hummer than a prius.

Now, with the current generation of Li-ion batteries, you don't have the toxic effects of nickle. And unless your power is 100% coal, you should come out ahead on CO2 emmissions.

Of course, if you don't care about those benifits but only national security and national financial health, then electric is hands down the winner.
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Old 09-12-2011, 11:43 AM   #58
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While this is quite old, it is a good example of where these stories come from and the lack of fact checking.
There is some good factual information addressing the 'Hummer greener than Prius' stuff. Not sure how much of the same information applies (if any) to any more recent articles you have seen...
Post number 5 in the thread in particular.
Prius does more environmental damage than Hummer - PriusChat Forums
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Old 09-12-2011, 12:15 PM   #59
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I am curious, the sources you read, were they opinion peices, or well referenced/documented articles?

At one point, a piece came out about how a Hummer was more environmentally friendly (cradle to grave) than a Prius due to the nickle in the Prius battery.
But when the points in the piece were actually fact checked, there is a large amount of nickle in the chrome in the hummer. As I recall, there is more nickle over-all in a hummer than a prius.
I agree that that was a biased 'hit piece' against hybrids/EVs. However...

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And unless your power is 100% coal, you should come out ahead on CO2 emmissions.
Not according to the SciAm article I linked to earlier:

The Dirty Truth about Plug-in Hybrids, Made Interactive: Scientific American

Take the Mid-Atlantic area for an example - 60.6% Nat Gas, 37% Coal and 2.4% Oil - and they say an EV would produce over 6% more carbon emissions than a standard (non-plug-in) hybrid.

Of course, some areas are better, some much worse, but on average it's not that rosy (BTW, those energy sources are projected for 2020, I'd assume they are worse today?).

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Of course, if you don't care about those benifits but only national security and national financial health, then electric is hands down the winner.
I see 'hands down winner' as an exaggeration. Can we really have enough EVs on the road to make enough of a dent in how much oil we import to make us significantly more 'secure'? And we will likely be importing the batteries instead. Not sure that helps much. And paying a premium for an EV doesn't really seem like something that would improve our financial health (otherwise I'd buy one and I wouldn't need a shell-game subsidy to attempt to motivate me).

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Old 09-12-2011, 01:11 PM   #60
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Thank you for a reminder of the SciAm article.
The issues I see with it 'on the surface' are.

They are comparing some hypothetical future where a 'fleet of electric cars' exists, yet they don't define what comprises that 'fleet'. In addition, they eliminate renewables and nuclear from the grid stating that those sources are 'already spoken for'.

An odd bit of information from their article is that in NY, an all electric car will only save 11% oil. The only way I can see this is if NY uses a lot of oil to generate electricity?

It is very good for people to be aware that electric vehicles are not a perfect solution. And any marketing that states these cars produce NO greenhouse gasses or CO2 is obviously wrong.

I don't think 'Hands down winner' is an exaggeration. We produce about half of our own gasoline. If some people have their way and we open up ANWAR, unlimited off shore drilling, etc, you might get that to 60% or 65%.
Canada, which I don't believe would be considered a threat to national security, is one of our biggest sources of imports. Mexico used to be number 1, not sure if they still are or not.
So really, for national security purposes I think we would need to cut our imports from ~50% to ~30%. So to answer your question if we can have enough EVs on the road, yes, I believe we can.

EV's are new products and as such, the price is expected to come down as production scales up and battery technology advances.
And for the advantages on a personal level, there is some premium built in. Just as someone paying a premium for a Cadillac SUV pays over a RAV4. The premium isn't just because it is larger. It is there because of the better handling, quieter ride, ammenities, etc.
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