While some companies bet on pure electric vehicles, (Nissan and Tesla we are looking at you) General Motors bet on plug-ins/range-extended electric vehicles with the Volt. It was former Volt vehicle line director Tony Posawatz that coined the term “range anxiety”.
That term describes the fear electric vehicle owners can have of getting stranded. When you have about 80 miles of range max, that can be understandable. The Volt was expected to have more appeal, given it had a gas generator. A lot of us were keen on figuring out how much the car would really save its owners on fuel costs.
After all, this was a chance to prove that 40 miles of range would be adequate for most types of drivers. To that end, Chevrolet has released some statistics that it has collected from Volt owners. The Volt went on sale two years ago this month. In that time Volt owners collectively have racked up more than 100 million miles of purely electric driving. That is huge. Chevy calculated that in doing this, 5 million gallons of fuel was saved. An average Volt owner drives 900 miles on a tank of gas going a month and a half before fill-ups.
Some drivers get much more however, such as Andrew Byrne. He says, “Since my daily driving is all electric, I only really need to buy gas for long road trips….I drove over 1,900 miles on my last tank of gas.” As far as dollars and cents, the average Volt owner saves $1370 a year and collectively owners have avoided $21 million in gasoline costs. Clearly, the Volt’s technology has proved its mettle. The only issue now is cost. If the Voltec system could get into the $25,000 range, its impact on fuel consumption would be staggering. The problem now is that cost is a barrier. For the 2014 model year the Volt is expected to get a significant refresh, as well as a possibility as a huge price cut. Hopefully that turns out to the the case.