Author Topic: I've fallen in love with the idea of buying a Chevy Volt - should I?  (Read 1246 times)

freedomfightergal

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Hi Mo's!

I'm looking at buying a 2017 used Chevy Volt at about $24k to replace my 2007 Lexus RX350 with 97k miles.  I love my Lexus but I want to cut out over $3k a year in Gas costs, it gets 20mpg in warm weather and in really cold only 13mpg!  I've read my car can run forever and it has been a dream car.  But I want electric!   I like the Volt because it has the 53 electric mile range which will cover my everyday travel and has a range of 420m with gas for long trips, without the range anxiety.  My old car probably only has a $5k trade-in.

I'll be paying cash for the car and I don't have any other debt apart from a small $50k mortgage.  I"m also looking at adding Solar to my house.

Has anyone bought this car? 

Thank you ;)
« Last Edit: December 07, 2018, 04:12:47 PM by freedomfightergal »

Papa bear

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Re: I've fallen in love with the idea of buying a Chevy Volt - should I?
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2018, 04:18:16 PM »
My brother has a 2012 Volt and loves it.  He is mostly under that year’s 35 mile limit so he really fills up for gas. And with electricity at $0.055/kwh, it’s cheap.

But that doesn’t necessarily make it a good option for you.  Is your car paid off currently? How many miles do you drive?  Usually it makes sense to keep your old car longer.


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Syonyk

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Re: I've fallen in love with the idea of buying a Chevy Volt - should I?
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2018, 04:26:34 PM »
We recently traded in a 2015 Mazda 3 on a 2012 Volt - fuel savings estimated around $600-$800/yr, ish.  Maintenance... engh, ask me in a decade.  The Volt is a seriously complicated car, though the Gen 1 was also seriously over-engineered.  So... hopefully it lasts a long time without massive unexpected repair costs, otherwise it will have been a boneheadedly stupid decision that I'll beat myself up over roughly ~forever.

It also lines up with my goal of having substantial energy/food independence eventually, and I'm putting a rather large solar array on the property next year that will feed into the car most days - so, from that perspective, it's lined up with my goals for our property.

You say you don't have any debt "other than a mortgage" - do you have any savings?  Buying a $25k car to replace a perfectly good 10 year old car is bordering on facepunch territory depending on your savings/assets.  If your net worth is under a couple hundred grand, I'd say it's probably a bad idea.

You drive a good bit.  $3k/yr in gas is ~850 gallons, which puts you around 14k-16k miles/yr.  What's your typical driving profile that you think a Volt will work well for you?

If you want to save on fuel, a used Prius would likely be far more cost effective.  Or a 1st gen Volt (30-35 miles on electric, requires premium, but still covers quite a bit of driving) for $8-$10k.  Both of those would make a lot more sense.

My wife likes the Volt (I work from home, and typically if I'm heading anywhere am either on a Russian motorcycle with sidecar, or in my truck hauling large stuff), and I like it, but I don't get the impression (from your post) that you're in a situation where spending $25k on a car is a wise idea.

leavesofgrass

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Re: I've fallen in love with the idea of buying a Chevy Volt - should I?
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2018, 04:51:15 PM »
No way would I buy a new/used car while my current one was still driving well. This is a want not a need.

DreamFIRE

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Re: I've fallen in love with the idea of buying a Chevy Volt - should I?
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2018, 07:42:54 PM »
Love?  Sounds like an emotional purchase, not a necessary one.  I wouldn't do it.

RWD

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Re: I've fallen in love with the idea of buying a Chevy Volt - should I?
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2018, 10:38:21 PM »
Why does it have to be a 2017 model? The Volts have depreciated quite rapidly with 2012 models listed for a median $11k on Autotrader. Are you prepared to lose $13k over the next five years in depreciation alone? Might as well buy one that has already depreciated.

Dicey

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Re: I've fallen in love with the idea of buying a Chevy Volt - should I?
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2018, 08:29:24 AM »
Some of you old timers may remember the late, great - no, fucking awesome badass dagiffy01, who lived in his Volt. He got hisself banned, but he occasionally pops up under a pseudonym. I've just spent...minutes...scrolling through my journal looking for one such post, but didn't find it. In it, he reveals that he's no longer living in his Volt. He and his wife were living seperately for work/financial reasons. On a visit, she noticed an odd smell. Turns out the floors were soaking wet and had mildew. Apparently it's a known and persistent problem, due to windshield leaks. 

Story time aside, the Volt's first year license, registration and sales tax are going to cost you close to three grand, poof!. The car you have is legendary for its quality and durability. With care, it is likely to hit twice that mileage like a champ.

The stock market's having a flash sale at the moment. Keep the Lexi and put your money in the market. When it doubles, the technology on the Volt will have improved exponentially and hopefully the quirks like leaky windshields will be resolved.

Syonyk

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Re: I've fallen in love with the idea of buying a Chevy Volt - should I?
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2018, 12:26:17 PM »
Why does it have to be a 2017 model? The Volts have depreciated quite rapidly with 2012 models listed for a median $11k on Autotrader. Are you prepared to lose $13k over the next five years in depreciation alone? Might as well buy one that has already depreciated.

The 2017 is the first of the "commonly available 2nd Gen" years - the 2nd gen 2016 was only in California, and not in very high volumes, so they're basically impossible to find if you're not on the west coast.

The 2nd gen has a larger battery range (50-60 miles on battery vs the 30-40 on the 1st gen), a larger motor (so mountains are less of a problem - with the 1st gen, you have to plan ahead & switch modes, because the engine is only about 80hp), doesn't require premium (no significant change), and it has some nicer features on the inside, plus looks a bit better.

Personally, I don't think the 2nd gen is worth the extra money for most people.  Yes, it's nice, but the $5k-$10k difference between a 1st gen and a 2nd gen covers an awful lot of ground, and if you're doing a ton of driving, the Volt is probably the wrong car anyway - highway mpg on the range extender, on the 1st gen, is about 40mpg, whereas a Prius will manage 55 - if you're doing a lot of gas miles, you can do better than the Volt.  It's very good for common shorter driving distance use with the occasional long trip, but it's not perfect for everyone.

I'm almost certain it's the wrong car for the OP, though, unless there's an awful lot not being said in terms of financial state.  And I'd say that for any $25k car.

freedomfightergal

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Re: I've fallen in love with the idea of buying a Chevy Volt - should I?
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2018, 11:10:39 AM »
Thank you so much for the advice! 

Background - 46yo divorced raising two tweens.

I haven't put in a lot of Financial info as I'm in a transition state.  I'm downsizing to a home that I'm just shy of owning outright.  (I know face-punch!   Signed before I found this website, otherwise should've bought entirely cash, although having the Bank need to appraise, saved me because the Appraisal was lower, so builder lowered the price!) I will say though I've downsized A LOT and rid myself of so many crazy expenses.

So within 2 years I will have zero debt or I can pay the mortgage off at $250 - $480 per month for 30 years (still debating amount to mortgage).  I'm going to sit down today and try and figure out whether I murder the mortgage only or invest or both.  I see a lot of debate over this.  If paid in under 2 years the total Interest paid is ~$2k at the rate of 5%.  Over a 30 year period it's ~$50-$75k

My goal is to minimize all expenditure as much as possible.  This is why I studied the car market and found the Volt has an ev range that would cover 95% of my travel and save me Gas, so $20k ,for a gas savings of $3k per year....I'm ahead in about 7 years, call it a 15% return?    The 2017 has the new higher range, the years prior only have about 30m.  The Nissan Leaf is another option, but seems really small with kids, dog and lots of Big trucks around me.  (I was in a car accident years ago that makes me want a decent sized car in the event of an accident).

My nett income is $6.5k per month,
my other expenses will be HOA, Ins, Elec, prop tax Gas of $865 per month conservatively,
groceries, $750 (family of 3 - yes working on reducing - looking forward to growing food),
other expenses - Ins, Vet, cell ph etc = $1,000
Call it about $3k per month of cashflow - to be honed when settled in to new state and home.

I have $170k in 401k
an emergency fund of $30k (savings account with 2.25%).   
Only $10k in the stock market - some of it Indexed some big name self picks eg Amazon.  Stock market makes me nervous but I'm studying MMM and other sites to figure out my plan.

Again truly appreciate any comments or advice.

Thank you!









Bracken_Joy

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Re: I've fallen in love with the idea of buying a Chevy Volt - should I?
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2018, 11:19:48 AM »
With a NW of $210k in your 40s as a single divorcee? I would say HARD NO on switching your car right now. There's a lot of other big gains you can make, and the car you have is a good one. Work on driving less instead (hope your house is in a good location!) and learn how and why to use retirement accounts and invest in stocks. (What is your 401k in right now???)

Definitely other big fish to fry first.

freedomfightergal

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Re: I've fallen in love with the idea of buying a Chevy Volt - should I?
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2018, 12:34:24 PM »
Woot!  I think you cured me!  I think I get it now.  No new - Used car for us!  I think I get that I should invest the $20k instead and get going on the investing as I have nothing going on there. 

The young people on here should be so glad to start this off early!


Syonyk

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Re: I've fallen in love with the idea of buying a Chevy Volt - should I?
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2018, 01:11:51 PM »
My goal is to minimize all expenditure as much as possible.  This is why I studied the car market and found the Volt has an ev range that would cover 95% of my travel and save me Gas, so $20k ,for a gas savings of $3k per year....I'm ahead in about 7 years, call it a 15% return?    The 2017 has the new higher range, the years prior only have about 30m.  The Nissan Leaf is another option, but seems really small with kids, dog and lots of Big trucks around me.  (I was in a car accident years ago that makes me want a decent sized car in the event of an accident).

Woah, there.  How much will the power cost you?  Electricity isn't free.

15k miles/yr in the Volt, around 3mi/kWh, at $0.10/kWh, is 5MWh - $500 @ $0.10/kWh.  If you're somewhere with more expensive power (say, $0.20/kWh), that's $1000 in power costs, making your payback 10 years, assuming all other things are equal - and they may or may not be.  Volt repairs aren't cheap if something major has trouble.

Dicey

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Re: I've fallen in love with the idea of buying a Chevy Volt - should I?
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2018, 01:16:23 PM »
Given how far behind you are, I'd strongly suggest putting 20% down and investing the rest according to:

https://jlcollinsnh.com/stock-series/

Your future self will thank you. You will make more in the market in thirty years that you will pay in interest, by a wide margin.

And your 7 year payback on the car is wrong, because you are not including acquisition costs or higher insurance on a newer vehicle.