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View Diary: We are now solar powered - car included! (161 comments)

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  •  Wish I could charge my Volt on solar (14+ / 0-)

    My house is surrounded my 75-100 ft oaks, so it makes charging off of solar impractical.   I guess I will have to move first!

    I do love not going to the gas station.  12,000 miles, 4.2 gallons, and 7 months later I am still on dealer gas!

    •  Wind (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      richdpa, BYw, ParkRanger, bluedust, The Nose

      Would wind be a possibility?

      P.S.  You may want to add fuel stabilizer to each tankful if you continue to use that small amount of fuel.

      Which is good news for John McCain.

      by AppleP on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 04:02:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was wondering about old fuel in the Volt (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, joelado

        because I can imagine a lot of people drive the car almost exclusively on electric.

        When I don't mow my lawn for a while (a common coinsurance) or over the winter, the gas "spoils" and I have to replace it.  I definitely wouldn't want to take a chance on a much more expensive engine.  

        For the record, I have a long commute so I bought a Fiat 500 and I am loving it.  Someday they will release the electric version in the US and I will be the first in line.

        •  GM Engineered the Volt with this in mind (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          madhaus, The Nose, joelado, pgm 01

          The Volt has two maintenance modes, Engine and Fuel.

          Every 6 weeks if the engine has not been used enough, the Volt will enter Engine Maintenance Mode (EMM) and will run the engine for a few minutes.   My last 3 EMMs used 0.03 gallons each time.   I've had 3 in a row now, so since Feb 12th, I've drive 8,000 miles or so and used 0.1 gallons.

          If the average age of the fuel in the Volt is a year old, the Volt enters Fuel Maintenance Mode and will burn off the fuel forcing the tank to be refilled.    

          •  um, what? really? who designed that? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ozsea1
            If the average age of the fuel in the Volt is a year old, the Volt enters Fuel Maintenance Mode and will burn off the fuel forcing the tank to be refilled.
            Got to be a better way to handle that. Maybe the car could say, "Hey, dude, your gas is like really old. Do you want me to burn it all up and dump all that CO2 into the air, or do you want to dispose of it responsibly?"
            •  Don't have to fill up the whole tank (6+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Odysseus, madhaus, The Nose, ozsea1, joelado, pgm 01

              Keep in mind that the Volt only has a 9 gallon tank.    Most people will go through that within a year.    

              A small number of owners like me, treats the Volt as a pure EV.   In that case, when it comes to being a year old, let it burn through what is left and then add only a gallon or so.

              Also, if the Volt really isn't using the gasoline, no needs to carry around that extra weight anyway.

              •  I try to drive electric only with my Volt, but (0+ / 0-)

                here and there I end up using a gallon or two because I misjudged the range in my Volt. However, I managed to make a full tank of gas last 10 months. The EMM did turn on a few times near the end. It cycles through and checks the burn rate. If everything works out OK, the engine turns off in about 10 minutes. The Volt engineers really worked hard to make sure you were maximizing your electric use. It is really a cool car. I like the Leaf. If Nissan had been quicker getting it out to the East Coast I would be driving one, but I have no regrets buying the Volt. One thing that I did that I couldn't have done if I had purchased a Leaf was drive half way across the country on gasoline and charging at night on a regular 110 outlet from the hotel.

                Please consider the environment - do you really need to print this comment?

                by joelado on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 02:14:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  That's not a bad idea but fortunately (7+ / 0-)

        GM knew that people could go months and months on the same tank full of gas.  Thus they designed the Volt with a steel tank instead of plastic and they pressurized it.  You add those features with the highly recommended usage of premium gas and having gas going stale is not a real issue with the Volt.

        My numbers stink compared to dimpled chad but my nearly 350 MPG is not too shabby!

        We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

        by theotherside on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 05:39:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Doesn't the Volt also periodically switch to gas? (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ParkRanger, ozsea1, splashy, joelado

          I've read other Volt owners who say the car switches to use up the gas after a certain period of time, which the car's computer keeps track of. Say after 6 months or a year?

          I've been hanging on to my Honda Civic for a while now as I can go around 4 weeks on a small tank of gas with the way I drive it, but have thought the next car should either be electric or at least hybrid if we can afford it. So I'm very curious about how the Volt and Leaf are working out for people.  

          •  You are pretty close in your understanding (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            madhaus, Fiona West, The Nose, ozsea1, joelado

            of the Volt.  There is an engine maintenance mode that goes on if you haven't used your gas engine in 6 weeks.  After 6 weeks a message will pop up on your display that asks you if it is ok to perform the engine maintenance.  You can decline or accept.  I forget if it gives you another time or two to decline but, in order to protect the engine for the long term, it will force the engine to run.

            I've seen some people say it typically uses about .06 gallons to .1 gallons of gas and so it doesn't take all that long.  You will then be good for another 6 weeks.

            Personally, I essentially never use a drop of gas during the week but I do tend to go on longer trip during the weekends and so I have never driven 6 weeks without using gas and so I have never had the engine maintenance mode come on.

            As for how it's working out for most people I would suggest two websites to get great feedback on the Volt.

            voltstats.net will show you real world data from Volt owners.

            And gm-volt.com has now become essentially a Volt owners forum that we keep up on the news of the Volt and help new people understand the pros and cons of the Volt.

            The Volt's not cheap and it doesn't make financial sense for everyone but even if I keep it only 5 years I have essentially purchased a fantastic car for the equivalent of a $25k car since I'm saving so much in operating costs each year.

            We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

            by theotherside on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:05:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think a lot of EV and Volt naysayers (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Fiona West, The Nose, ozsea1, joelado, pgm 01

              really miss  where these cars shine: lower operating costs.  Not only do you save a bloody fortune by not buying gas, you don't have the costly maintenance for all those hundreds of parts that wear out.

              Especially in the pure EVs, there are no belts, there are no oil filters, no carburator, no spark plugs.  It's a bloody electric motor!  

              Here is the entire list of maintenance required for  a Nissan Leaf:

              1. Replace cabin air filter every year
              2. Rotate tires every 7500 miles
              3. Check battery health and charge port
              4. Software updates as needed
              5. Replace brake fluid every 15,000 miles (this is 4x as aggressive as for a normal car)
              6. Replace coolant after 105,000 miles.

              That's IT.  And of course, no mandatory emissions tests :D.

              Since the Volt does have a gas engine, there will be more maintenance, but nowhere as much as on a conventional ICE (internal combustion engine).

              OH MY GOD PG&E is here!  They're gonna swap my meter so I can turn on the solar panels!!!!!

              In capitalist America, bank robs you!

              by madhaus on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 10:09:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Congrats on the solar panels! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                madhaus

                I don't follow the Leaf as much as I should.   If Nissan or GM messes up with either the Leaf or the Volt it will likely impact sales short term for the other and so I should keep closer tabs on the wider EV community.

                However, you can attest that the Leaf is a viable option NOW and I can do the same with the Volt despite all the fear mongering (especially amongst the Republicans) that EVs (or EREVs) are not ready for prime time.

                We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

                by theotherside on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 05:29:15 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The Leaf is a perfect second car... that will (0+ / 0-)

                  immediately become your first car.

                  If i have to drive beyond its range and there are no nearby charging stations, I'll use the gas car.  But 95% of my driving is easily within range.  I usually only charge it every 2 or 3 days.

                  In capitalist America, bank robs you!

                  by madhaus on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 12:58:32 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Nah, sails would look silly on a Volt. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, Fiona West, joelado

        Oh, you probably meant wind power for the house. ;-)

        •  And tacking in traffic is a big problem. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, fb, Fiona West, joelado

          "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

          by Chico David RN on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 07:10:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  LOL (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fiona West, joelado

          Of course...unless you meant solar panels on your car...

          Which is good news for John McCain.

          by AppleP on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:30:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, You mean like this? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Chico David RN

            Photobucket

            or this

            Photobucket2

            The yellow Fiero solar car is mine.

            Please consider the environment - do you really need to print this comment?

            by joelado on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 02:24:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So tell me more about the fiero! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gramofsam1

              I assume it's an EV, of course.  Did you do the conversion yourself, or did someone else?  how much do the panels extend range?  Is that a solar panel on the roof or a sunroof?  I know that much panel is a long way from running that much car, but I'm guessing that over a long day in a sunny parking lot they would contribute a bit.  And, of course, they look really cool '-)  Tell us more!  or if there is already info about it online?

              "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

              by Chico David RN on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 03:18:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  A wind/solar combo can work in a lot of places. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ozsea1, joelado

        Here in Texas, when it's not blazing hot due to the sun, we've often got wind blowing.

        In fact. in many places where you think there's no wind, there is.....30 feet up.

        There are a lot of places where I think a combo system would pretty much handle anything....solar, wind and a propane tank.

        Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

        by Sirenus on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:34:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Look to see if your power company has an (0+ / 0-)

      offset program. I can't put solar on my roof and I live in a valley so small wind is out of the question. What I did was bought into a green energy program with my utility. For every kilowatt I use the power company is required to purchase the same in green energy over and above any plans that they have made to purchase green energy or requirements from the government. In this way my Volt is powered by renewable energy. I have driven 7,000 miles on this type of energy so far. It makes me feel really good that my car is powered by the movement of wind and sunshine.

      Please consider the environment - do you really need to print this comment?

      by joelado on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 02:07:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Having driven that far with only using that amount (0+ / 0-)

      of gas really shows that you don't need the gas at all. I have about 16500 miles on my Leaf and have never come close to running out of juice. It may take a little extra planning on longer trips, but it's no big deal.

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