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Should I treat myself to a Chevy Volt?
Old 09-09-2011, 02:35 PM   #1
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Should I treat myself to a Chevy Volt?

Hello All---I can afford the 2012 Chevy Volt (electric car); will pay cash for it. My daily roundtrip commute is under 40 miles so I will be within its daily charge and will potentially not need to buy gasoline ever again unless I am making long road trips, etc.

The question is should I treat myself to a new car? I understand that we are, for the most part, on this Forum, a frugal bunch, so I am asking for "approval" from fellow Forum members. I currently drive a 9 year-old Corolla with 100,000 miles on it. My job is secure. I am nearly 4 years away from ER. My mortgage will be paid off in 6 months. I have NO other debt. Everything is on track for ER. Should I splurge and buy the Chevy Volt? I have kept each vehicle that I owned over 11 years and I intend to keep the Chevy Volt even longer since it will be my ER car and will see a lot less mileage on it (When traveling, I tend to use air transportation).

Please share any thoughts, advice that you may have on this topic.

I wish you all a wonderful weekend.

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Old 09-09-2011, 02:43 PM   #2
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Please share any thoughts, advice that you may have on this topic.
Treat yourself to a new car. You apparently drive them for a long time, so your lifetime costs will be reasonable and you won't be drummed out of the LBYM corps.

As to your choice of vehicles - do you really want to be on the bleeding edge of technology? When it comes to something as radically new as the Chevy Volt, I'd be shocked if there weren't some glitches in the car, especially in the first year they are produced.
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Old 09-09-2011, 02:58 PM   #3
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Have you tried it out, and is it fun to drive? If so, you have my approval.
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Old 09-09-2011, 03:02 PM   #4
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I agree with REW - - go buy a new car for yourself. But I'd have reservations about buying a Volt this soon, too. Maybe a Prius?
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Old 09-09-2011, 03:15 PM   #5
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When I retired, I treated myself to an Escape hybrid. I've had a lot of fun with all the high tech features, but have come to realize that just like any new high tech toy, it quickly goes from "Wow, you have the new Volt!", to "Oh, you've got the old first generation Volt - the 2nd and 3rd generation versions are much better". Also, in spite of all the hoopla over the cost of replacement batteries, some of the other parts that are unique to that model can be blisteringly expensive and not covered by the longer warranty on the powertrain parts. For example the ABS module on the Escape is $4500, though failures have been mostly anecdotal.

Also worth thinking about is what happens when the dash board lights up, power cuts out and you are in the middle of nowhere. Most cars can be coaxed back into life by a small town mechanic, but with a new high tech car, you are pretty much limited to the dealer and then only if they have a trained mechanic for your car.

Other than that, enjoy your new Volt!
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Old 09-09-2011, 04:28 PM   #6
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YES! Buy it, and come by and let me drive it

The October 2011 Consumer Reports has a review of the Volt. It came out pretty well.

One thing they pointed out is that if you live in a cold climate where you will be using the heater a lot, the basic cabin heater is electrical, and reduces battery range. To get more heat, they said they sometimes were glad when the gas engine started up. They said the optional seat heaters helped out. Also said that GM said that they had improved the heater for 2012 model.
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Old 09-09-2011, 04:45 PM   #7
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YES! Buy it, and come by and let me drive it

The October 2011 Consumer Reports has a review of the Volt. It came out pretty well.

One thing they pointed out is that if you live in a cold climate where you will be using the heater a lot, the basic cabin heater is electrical, and reduces battery range. To get more heat, they said they sometimes were glad when the gas engine started up. They said the optional seat heaters helped out. Also said that GM said that they had improved the heater for 2012 model.
Wonder how much energy is used by the A/C.... remember, we are #1 down here
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Old 09-09-2011, 04:47 PM   #8
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Sure...treat yourself to a new car.

However...I know nothing about a Chevy Volt. Just be sure to learn all you can about the car before you buy.
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Old 09-09-2011, 04:59 PM   #9
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To the OP...


I would NOT buy a Volt because it just does not make economic sense to me... I would rather buy a Hyundai Sonata Hybrid that cost a lot less and I don't have to plug in every night... or even the Prius...

Even when you consider the cost of gas on these cars, they are a lot cheaper than the Volt for a 100,000 mile lifetime...


And I probably would not buy a Hybrid in the first place since they don't make economic sense compared to a regular 4 cyl sedan (your choice, Camry, Sonata, Accord)...


But, if you are doing it to feel like you are helping out the planet, go for it....
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Old 09-09-2011, 05:05 PM   #10
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so I am asking for "approval" from fellow Forum members...
I'd normally say: "What the heck do you need our approval for? You want it, go and buy it."

But, in this case, since there is a Govt subsidy, if you accept the subsidy you are essentially spending some of OUR money for your 'want'. In that case, it is proper to ask our approval, and I say "Do NOT buy it!". Now, if you want it enough to pay the non-subsidy price, be my guest. You asked - subsidy rant over.

Other than that, as others have said - if you want a car you plan to keep a long time, it isn't a good idea to buy an introductory vehicle with no track record.

And you will still use some gas. It will automatically run the engine periodically (2x/month?) and get it up to temperature to keep it lubricated and running properly.

A question for you: What's the attraction to you to want to spend so much for this car? With your planned average miles/year does it make any economic sense (with/without us paying for part of the car, and getting no benefit for our contribution...oh, sorry, I said subsidy rant over. I guess I lied )?

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To the OP...

But, if you are doing it to feel like you are helping out the planet, go for it....
I'm curious if the OP can prove that this thing will help the planet.


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Old 09-09-2011, 05:08 PM   #11
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I think it would be neat to have a new Chevy Volt. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I heard somewhere they could only be leased. GM wants them back at the end of the lease and I'm not sure if I would want to drive it out of warranty. Don't even know what the warranty is on the batteries, but I'm sure Chevrolet wouldn't want any bad reports on anything to do with the Volt. I think it looks neat. Everyone has a prius. Go for the Volt. Be bold.
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Old 09-09-2011, 06:04 PM   #12
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But, in this case, since there is a Govt subsidy, if you accept the subsidy you are essentially spending some of OUR money for your 'want'. In that case, it is proper to ask our approval, and I say "Do NOT buy it!". Now, if you want it enough to pay the non-subsidy price, be my guest. You asked - subsidy rant over.
But wait. There are 200,000 subsidy checks available for this year, according to this article (Chevrolet Volt - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ). So, the cost to the government (us) is limited. Since we're all paying this price, we all have a stake in assuring the money does the most good possible. If Retire2014 takes one of the subsidies, it will be denied to someone else. If he drives a lot, maybe he's a good candidate and worthy of our voucher, as he'll be (allegedly) reducing pollution. OTOH, he's got a 9 year old Corolla now with 100K miles on it--my Camry is twice as old and has more than twice as many miles and still runs fine, so if he sends that Camry to the crusher it will be a terrible waste of the energy embodied in that car. A guy driving the same number of miles per year in an old Chevy Suburban is a much better candidate.

I can't believe they just let anybody get this voucher. Clearly you should have to prove your greenworthiness!

I'd say the most patriotic thing you can do is buy it, then drive it around and tell everyone you meet what a POS it is but that you're happy their tax money helped pay for it. Then laugh maniacally and tell them you even get to drive on the highways without paying the gas tax that keeps them in good repair. More laughter, maybe some mocking of the car they drive. Post all over the Internet with rants about your terrible driving experience--post pictures of your car in the service bays of various Chevy dealers. Put "green" bumper stickers on it and drive very slowly, impeding traffic flow. When folks pass you, shrug your shoulders and "pump" back and forth to show that the poor beasty just can't go any faster. Go even slower uphill. If your special vehicle lets you drive in the carpool lane, be sure to go there and keep that speed down. Hey, driving slow saves gas for everyone trapped behind you, too, and we're all in this together (remember most cars are their most efficient at about 45 MPH). Occasionally stop beside the road and put the hood up while gesticulating at the tiny engine for passers-bye to see. These and other steps you could take might make for a good hobby and a patriotic means to kill this bad idea.

Buy it and do your part! The new Abby Hoffman: "Steal this Volt Voucher!" Enjoy!
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Old 09-09-2011, 07:10 PM   #13
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As long as you recognize it's an outright splurge and a car meant to make an eco-chic statement like a Prius, why not? The Volt doesn't make economic sense at all, it's very pricey for the utility it provides even after the fed tax subsidy (which should never have been given IMO). I am guessing the Volt is going to be a flop in the market (and GM may hope so since it won't be profitable according to Bob Lutz), but we will have to wait and see. It's a pricey toy, but no worse than treating yourself to a Porsche, Caddy or whatever.
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Old 09-09-2011, 07:27 PM   #14
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But, in this case, since there is a Govt subsidy, if you accept the subsidy you are essentially spending some of OUR money for your 'want'. In that case, it is proper to ask our approval, and I say "Do NOT buy it!". Now, if you want it enough to pay the non-subsidy price, be my guest. You asked - subsidy rant over.
A rant best saved for the legislators who create the programs, IMO, and not directed at the people who are legally taking advantage of them.

Guess you can rant at me, too, since Uncle Sam paid more than $500 of the cost of my new energy efficient metal roof last year. I'm such a leech.
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Old 09-09-2011, 08:18 PM   #15
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A rant best saved for the legislators who create the programs, IMO, and not directed at the people who are legally taking advantage of them.
Oh, I've ranted to them - they don't listen and I get an annoyingly patronizing response about how they are working so hard to bring all these wonderful benefits to the world. They practically break their arms patting themselves on the back (OK, their staff breaks their arms...).

Quote:
Guess you can rant at me, too, since Uncle Sam paid more than $500 of the cost of my new energy efficient metal roof last year. I'm such a leech.
Hmmm, I don't recall that I referred to those who take advantage of these programs as leeches, and I don't think I implied it here either. But the OP did ask for our approval, so I gave him my opinion.


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But wait. There are 200,000 subsidy checks available for this year, according to this article (Chevrolet Volt - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ). ....

Buy it and do your part! The new Abby Hoffman: "Steal this Volt Voucher!" Enjoy!
And in the great convention of political spin applied to the name of bills - this one is called (ta-daaah!) "The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008". What drama! Imagine the scene - "OMG! This is an emergency, lives are at stake, what should we do?!!!! I know, how about we give $7,500 to the first 200,000 people who buy a Chevy Volt! Crisis diverted! The world is now safe for all mankind! Let's all head off to the bar to celebrate! Whew, that was a close one!".

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Old 09-09-2011, 09:04 PM   #16
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Channeling Suze Orman. You are approved.

I was going to write something snarky, but SamClem has already done better than I could have.

I will say that the former HBS Biz school professor who runs the angel investment group, that Nords and I are in, got a Volt a few months ago and really loves it.

In keeping with tax subsidy theme, I will also say that this man is a master at finding and taking advantages of tax angles. In fact I doubt he'd have bought one without the rebate so you'll be in good company .
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Old 09-09-2011, 09:28 PM   #17
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Sure you should treat yourself! You deserve it!

But... You can probably get a few more years out of your Corolla if you want. A few have mentioned federal rebate, be sure to check for State assistance too.

Will your driving increase during retirement as the battery charge has limits.

I'm not sure, but can it charge with a standard outlet or do you need a home charger system...which could bump up your start up cost.
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Old 09-09-2011, 09:34 PM   #18
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I'm kind of thinking about the Tesla Model S, but most of the same problems apply to it also. First year of an innovative car (from a new small company) too expensive to justify economically, and will be better in later iterations. But I expect it will be more fun to drive than the Volt, will have a much better electric range, and will probably be cheaper than later models in the medium term.
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Old 09-09-2011, 09:36 PM   #19
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Personally I don't think I would trade in a Toyota for a Chevy, but go ahead and enjoy it!
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Old 09-09-2011, 11:02 PM   #20
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Sure you should treat yourself! You deserve it!

But... You can probably get a few more years out of your Corolla if you want. A few have mentioned federal rebate, be sure to check for State assistance too.

Will your driving increase during retirement as the battery charge has limits.

I'm not sure, but can it charge with a standard outlet or do you need a home charger system...which could bump up your start up cost.
It uses standard outlet. I've seen one in the garage of the building where I work. The guy just plugs it in to the wall outlet in the basement. It uses about $1.50 a day in electricity to charge up enough to drive 50 miles. It never requires a tune-up, or emission inspection. My driving will be less in ER than it is now.

Thank you for the suggestion about State subsidy. I will look into that as well if I do decide to buy the Volt.
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