I recently started a new, full-time job as a software engineer. My plans to re-start this blog have been a bit hard hit by the new time restraint of working. The first three weeks have been very demanding, and, honestly, it seems like all I do when I get home after work is go straight to bed. Which is fine by me! However, it doesn’t leave too much time for blogging. In any case, I want to keep writing, as it is a welcome stress-reliever! In any case, below is the story about how I came to the decision to buy a Chevrolet Volt. Probably in a subsequent article, I will detail what it’s like to own and drive a Chevrolet Volt.
Three weeks ago I started driving a Chevrolet Volt. I needed a car because, as I mentioned above, I began a new full-time job. I needed to get a car in order to commute to and from work, but I didn’t want just any car. I wanted a car that was modern, had a nice center console display, and had good fuel economy. Now, I didn’t necessarily want a hybrid, much less an electric plug in vehicle, nor was I necessarily looking for a new car.
My search began by looking at 2011 Mercury Milans. The Mercury Milan is essentially identical to the Ford Fusion. My parents drive a Ford Fusion, and I think the car is absolutely great. The reason that I was dissuaded from them getting a Mercury Milan, though, was because it neither had the high tech console I was looking for, nor did it have good fuel economy.
I’ve known about the Chevrolet Volt for a while now, and I absolutely loved the idea. However, I knew that the car was prohibitively expensive. I decided to go out and test drive one, just for fun. It was everything I had thought and more. A thoroughly modern car, with a fantastic drivetrain. Absolutely silent when in ‘Normal’ (Electric) mode. Seamless transition into ‘Hold’ (Gas) mode. Fast and nimble, comfortable inside. I loved it, and I wanted it. But how in the world could I afford such an expensive car? And, make no mistake, the price would be significantly higher after including additional options that I wanted, and tax.
So I looked for the next best thing. A used Volt! And I found one. A fully loaded, with every possible option, 2011 Volt. The only problems? It had over 30,000 miles on it, as well as having been bought back as a lemon by GM. Now, supposedly, the lemon issue had been for a problem with one of the headlights, and had been fixed after GM bought the car back. However, the lemon issue still irked me, as did the fact that it had so many miles on it. Also, the 2011 Volts have a battery capacity of 13.5 kW hours, while the 2013’s have a capacity of 16.5 kW hours. The 2013’s also have the capability to choose whether or not you want to drive in electric or gas mode, something not available in the 2011’s, where you have to completely deplete the battery before the gas engine turns on. So I started wondering again if there might be some way to bring the price of the 2013 Volt down.
Now, I had heard that there were several rebates available for the Chevrolet Volt. The first is the $7,500 Federal Tax Credit. If a person’s tax liabilities are greater than $7,500, s/he can claim up to that amount in a tax credit with form 8936 for Electric Drive Motor Vehicles. Furthermore, Pennsylvania, the state that I live in, offers an additional $3,000 rebate through the Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Program. This program literally sends you a check with the money. It is not a tax rebate. So, I thought to myself, wow! That’s already $10,500 off from the MSRP. That still wasn’t enough, considering the tax
and price of my desired options (Safety Pack 1, with rearview camera and sensors, the premium trim package, with leather seats, leather steering wheel, and heated seats, and the rear seat console option). Next, I found out that Chevrolet, had a further $4,000 internal rebate, as well as 0% APR financing for 72 (!) months. That did it. With $14,500 in rebates as well as 0% APR and a healthy down payment, the monthly payments were now within my range.
I bought the car from Maryland, and drove it back home. By the time I got home, I was giddy with excitement over my purchase. Wow! I now owned a piece of the future. I wouldn’t be chained to gas stations or gasoline. I could charge my car at home, and at work. (In fact, I could potentially charge my car only at work, but somehow that seems a bit too opportunist.) And, of course, hopefully I would be able to do my part in not only weaning the USA from foreign oil, but also supporting the American auto industry and helping the environment stay clean. And I do strongly believe in supporting America by buying American cars.
The commute to my workplace is about 10 miles in the morning, and 8 miles in the afternoon. The disparity between the two is because I take a slightly winding route in the morning in order to avoid mind-numbing traffic. If I take the short, direct route to work in the morning, the commute can take anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour and a half. Taking the winding route, the longest it has taken has been 40 minutes, and the shortest, 25 minutes. Honestly, the interior of the car is so comfortable, that sometimes I want to take the longer route just so I can stay inside for longer!
In any case, with the Mercury Milan, that would have amounted to a gallon a day, or about $3.80 a day in my area. I’ve calculated how much electricity I draw, and my increase for electricity per day is roughly $0.30. So, compared to the Milan/Fusion, any any other comparable car, I’ll be saving at least $100 a month in fuel costs. Wow!
In any case, I’m more than happy with my new car, and I enthusiastically recommend them for any potential buyers!