2017 Chevy Volt review

This should be a great car, but it has a fatal flaw. The problem really isn’t the car, or the manufacturer, it is the dealership network. Car dealerships don’t make most of their profits on car sales, they make it on parts and service after the sale of the car. Electric cars need almost no service and they are therefor a threat to the dealership business model. Because of this they have no incentive to hire or train service personnel on how to work on electric vehicles. I got in my car one morning it it had an error message on the dash saying “unable to charge” and the car would not move despite the fact that the car was fully charged. I hit the Onstar button and after me briefly explaining the problem, the person I was connected with started talking about towing it to the nearest Chevy dealer. Very different from Tesla where they would have began troubleshooting the problem over wifi and dispatched someone to come to me to see if they could repair it. And so it was towed to the dealer and now after two weeks without a car, the dealer still has no idea what is wrong with it or when I will get it back. Every time I call they just keep talking about how advanced the car is and how complex it is to work on. They explain that they only have one person on staff that can even begin to work on the car. The dealers are only incentivized to have personnel on staff that know how to work on internal combustion engines because they see so few electric vehicles for service. No need for service means no profits for the dealership.

My car has only needed one oil change in over 53,000 miles! Like I said, it should be a great car, but what good is it if the manufacturer doesn’t have anyone that can repair it if or when you do have a problem? If/when I get the car back, I’m getting rid of it and getting a Tesla. The dealership model that GM, Ford, and the rest of the big cars manufacturers are tied to is going to be their downfall, it is just a matter of time. FYI, I’m located just outside of Boston and the car is at a big dealership, I’m not talking a bout some small car dealership out in the country with just a handful of service personnel.

My last couple cars were a Audi A4 Cabriolet and a Porsche Cayenne S and so this was a big change for me. In addition, based upon an ownership experience years ago with a Cadillac Allante I have tried to stay away from GM vehicles. But after much research I canceled my Tesla Model 3 reservation and decided to buy a Chevy Volt. My desire to switch to an EV was prompted by my moving further from my place of employment resulting in a 110 mile daily round trip commute. The $16 per day of fuel was annoying, but the need to stop at a gas station every other day was also just more time wasted. I was planning to buy a new Volt, however a preowned 2017 with 34k miles in mint condition caught my eye and I was able to pick it up fully loaded for less than the NADA or Kelley Blue Book trade in value. It has only been a week, but so far I absolutely love the car. I have free level 2 charging at my place of employment and so based upon my first week of driving I believe I will now only need to visit a gas station every 6-8 weeks. I should easily exceed 1000 miles between fillups. Furthermore the car is quiet, comfortable, and the sport mode is fun to drive. I’m sure it is no Tesla, but this us a daily commuter and it is everything I wanted. The technology is great. I was talking to Tesla owner yesterday who admitted it would be nice to have a gas backup like the Volt, as it is a pain traveling and trying to find places to stay who have chargers and constantly having to ask people if you can plug your car in. I know the 2019 chargers in half the time of my 2017, but as a commuter where the car charges overnight and then all day at work the 4.5 hours for level 2 charging is fine. If I could change anything, I would just add about 10 more miles of range. Chevy limits the battery use through software so that you only actually use 70% of the batteries total capacity. This assures the battery will last a minimum of 10 years but does sacrifice some range. It would be great if as they get better data on the longevity of the batteries if they could unlock some of this additional capacity. I’m certainly glad I chose to drop $21k on my Volt vs $40-50k on a Tesla and I would encourage others to do the same. The Volt design give you 95% of the benefits of a Tesla/full EV with the peace of mind and convenience if a gas backup. With just a little more range, it would be the perfect blend of the two technologies.

5 Total Score
2017 Chevy Volt

Like I said, it should be a great car, but what good is it if the manufacturer doesn't have anyone that can repair it if or when you do have a problem?

PROS
  • The Volt design give you 95% of the benefits of a Tesla
CONS
  • The problem really isn't the car, or the manufacturer, it is the dealership network.
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1 Comment
  1. I the volt IS pure electric. It’s is not a hybrid. It’s primary propulsion is electric. When the battery is depleted, the gas engine drives the generator directly to drive the electric motors and to recharge the batteries thus extending the Volt’s. The Volt has unlimited range and unlike your i3, it does not need to be tethered to a supercharger network.

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