Power Moves Go Profile: Dan Phillips, 2012 Chevy Volt Owner
Why did you purchase an EV, and how did you decide on your particular vehicle?
Prior to the Volt, we had a little Chevy Cruze Eco that wasn’t big enough for both our daughter, Mackenzie, and our dog Emilia to travel for long periods of time. I had been looking at the Volts as something bigger we could comfortably take to visit family in Fort Wayne and Westville. At the time, the Volt was one of the few GM cars on the market that had better fuel economy than the Cruze Eco. I liked that I didn’t have to sacrifice using more gas to drive around while getting a bigger car. I was curious about the home charging thing, so it gave me a chance to learn by doing it. The lure of my electric company’s $.03/kWh off peak charging was tempting as well.
There’s a perception that electric vehicles are expensive. If you don’t mind sharing, how much did your EV cost? Did you receive any tax incentives to offset the price?
Our Volt was used, so there is no tax credit for the second owner of an EV. That said, our Volt was still very affordable in my opinion, a touch less than $16,000.
What is your EV’s mile range, and how does that compare to your daily commute?
My decade-old Volt is now down to about 35 miles of range in the spring and fall. I lose about a mile in the summer and about five miles in the winter due to heating and cooling. I haven’t been very nice to my battery … my drive to work is just under 20 miles one way. When the range extending motor does kick on, I’m still getting about 40 mpg.
Where do you charge your vehicle the most? How long does it take to charge on an average day?
Now that we’re working in the office again, it’s about 60/40 with most of the charging taking place in my garage, and some charging at the office. I don’t really know how long it takes. I program the car to be fully charged by 5:30 a.m. It detects how much energy the battery has and does the math backwards to start charging in the middle of the night to be topped off by 5:30. I guess technically the longest it would take would be around three and a half hours at home.
Do you have difficulty finding public chargers when taking a road trip?
The Volt wasn’t designed for public charging. I’m using the range extender (gas) engine on longer trips. I fill up at the gas station on longer trips.
Does vehicle insurance cost more or less with an EV? What was your experience?
The insurance was a little more expensive for the Volt compared to the Cruze, but not anything that was outrageous in my opinion.
What advice would you give to someone open to an EV but still a bit nervous about buying one?
I guess I’m curious why they are nervous about buying one. They aren’t for everyone, though there are more options now. My advice would be to ask questions of other EV owners, and realize we’re generally very authentic about how enthusiastic we are about them. It isn’t a show. Also, they should check out the other, non-Tesla cars. The new Volkswagen and Ford EVs are different enough if you find the Teslas a little “too much” for your liking.