Tesla Model S Vs. Chevrolet Volt (My Thoughts)

Tesla Volt

Since going green is one of my interests, when I read about a product or method that helps reduce the negative effects on our planet, I like to share that information with the rest of you. Most of the North American Media have been raving about the Chevrolet Volt and how it is a revelation in the automotive industry. While every effort to help the environment is great, it is clear that these reports are heavily biased. There are cars that are much greener than the Chevrolet Volt. The car that interests me is the Tesla Model S. You might have not even heard of Tesla, so let me introduce you to the brand.
Tesla Motors was created in 2oo3 in California to provide consumers electric cars. Their name is based on the great electrical genius Nikola Tesla. The cars they produce run entirely on batteries (yup that’s right no petrol tanks). There are several models, even a sports model (Tesla Roadster) that created a quite a buzz. The reason I like the Model S is because it makes everyday life greener since most people won’t go out of their way to be green. It achieves this by being more than twice as efficient as current hybrids. For those who don’t know petrol engines use more fuel when braking and accelerating, these inefficiencies are eliminated with the use of an Electric Motor. This is the main reason hybrids and electric cars offer better gas mileage. Especially in city mileage since stops and starts are frequent.
The estimated price of the Model S is currently starting at $50,000 (after a $7,500 tax rebate). The Model S can seat up to 7 passengers (5 adults, 2 Children). How’s that for practicality? The model S does not only help become more green, it also helps you keep the green in your pocket (depending on the color of the currency you use).  And if that is not enough, Technology enthusiasts will love the 17-inch screen with 3g connectivity.  The only trade off is the top speed of 120mph, however there’s not many places that you can legally drive at that speed. The 0-60mph time is a reasonable 5.6 seconds. However since it is electric torque is instant.
Last month, I was watching the news in California and saw a report on how the Chevrolet Volt was a breakthrough and how they” leapfrogged Toyota”. It was clear to me who was paying the news stations bills (Take a wild guess). The main selling point the news was portraying is that you can drive 40 miles before using petrol and that most Americans don’t drive more than 40 miles a day.  The figure seems low but even if you assume it is correct, the car will still end up using petrol.  With the Tesla you get 300 miles on one battery charge (using the highest range battery).
Another thing to consider is the charging time; the Volt takes 6 to 6.5 hours to charge while the Tesla charges in 3 to 5 hours (depending on the battery you use). The Tesla also has a 5 minute battery swap feature which is not available with the Volt (To my knowledge).
In performance the Tesla also is faster to 60mph where it takes 5.6 seconds and the Volt takes 8 to 8.5 seconds. Finally the Tesla has an AWD (All wheel Drive option) which the Volt does not. This is great for Canada and other places with varied terrain (snow or simple offroading).
To be fair in this comparison we should look at the overall costs. The Chevy Volt is estimated to cost in the high 30’s before the $7,500 rebate, which drive the price down to low 30’s. The Tesla is estimated to cost $50,000 including the same $7,500 tax rebate. However one must also take into consideration the costs of running the vehicle, not only the price tag. It costs $4 to fully charge the Model S according to Tesla (depending on your electricity costs). The Volt needs to charge a 16KWh battery on top of a 12 gallon fuel tank. You can do the math there based on how much you pay for electricity and petrol. So basically, while the Volt may seem less costly at first glance, if all factors are considered the Tesla is much less costly. (You can see a comparison of the costs of driving the Tesla roadster, Chevy Volt, and two different models of the Toyota Prius here)
The news was explaining how the bailout could lower the price of the Volt. With a car like the Model S underway, I feel the Volt is obsolete. The bailout money could go to companies like Tesla who are innovative and hard working. Imagine what the bailout money could do to reduce the costs for Tesla since they are still a startup company. However that won’t happen since it’s all about politics.

13 thoughts on “Tesla Model S Vs. Chevrolet Volt (My Thoughts)”

  1. Your calculations seem only to concern the few people who only travel long distances. To make up the 20 000$ difference, an individual would have to travel 869 565 miles. I used the costs of 4.5¢ vs 2.2¢ per mile your article refers to in order to do the maths, assuming a person travels 200 miles per trip. If a person would travel under or about 40 miles per trip, the 20 000$ difference would probably never be recuperated. I will be one of the first buyers of an electric car but the price tag does matter to anybody who plans to travel normal distances.

    1. You might be right, but GM is the largest auto company in the world, and respectively it would be able to minimize costs more than Tesla. Tesla is still a new company, and look how far it came in a few years. GM has had so many years and has so much funding and that’s all it can come up with. Imagine what Tesla could do with the bail out money GM receives!

  2. Tesla being 100% elec has very few moving parts so they in very short time have had almost perfect track recorder. GM on the other hand with years be-hidden them seem to still make the same mistakes on every model. takes them a few goes to get a car right by then car is outdated.

    tesla’s biggest down fall is it does not sale all over the world I live in Australia ware avg. family will buy a car over 65k. Yet Australia does not have a market for tesla as of yet.

    All in all GM is putting out a shit excuse for a car. Any one who buys it is just pulling back what could be a change in all car’s.

    I want a car i rarely need to service and never rarely breaks down and cost me notting to run on a avg. week.

    GM needs to fire there development team.

  3. Full disclosure: I own 300 shares of Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA).

    I became interested in this company last year after seeing the Roadster demos on YouTube and reading more about the technology that went into the car. It seems as if they keep everything very simple. The use of the lithium-ion batteries is a good idea, but the batteries are pretty standard laptop-style batteries from what I have read. The chassis is built for them in a Lotus factory overseas. The real unique, innovative part is their drivetrain. That is the part I am most excited about. The power and torque the drivetrain provides seems to be unmatched in electric cars. They are sharing the technology with Toyota to be used in designing 2 new Toyota vehicles. Elon Musk seems to be more interested in helping the world move away from internal combustion than in becoming (more) wealthy, which is certainly admirable.

    In short, I love the car, the technology and the company. I will support it until it either succeeds or fails.

    BTW, If you get a chance, check out the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car”…it chronicles the introduction and demise of the ill-fated EV1 in California a decade ago. The same forces that destroyed the EV1 are present….hopefully, however, the factors driving the renewed interest in electric vehicles will be sufficient to finally overcome these forces and we will see the beginning of a new era in transportation.

    1. Fantastic Comment.
      People seem to forget that there’s more at stake here than just the cost of driving.
      Driving a Tesla Model S is not only economical, when compared to regular gas cars, but it is also much better for the environment.
      In comparison, using a coal powered power plant as the source of power, Charging a TESLA to it’s full capacity causes as much emissions as 1/10th of a 60/51 Toyota Prius… Do I even need to mention conventional cars???

      Bottom line is… The world needs a break…

      I have applied for the model S and will gladly pay the extra bucks for it when it becomes available to me.

      Imagine a world with 1/10th of the polution… Wouldn’t it be great???

  4. Stop the BS!
    Telsa is a pile of outdated junk. In road tests by several Auto Magazines
    it came out as noisy (even when standing still) and worst, it doesn’t get
    near the milage per charge that they claim.
    It’s a pack of lies, don’t believe it. Batteries are NOT Green! Not in manufacture,
    and certainly not for recycling! Carbon Fiber is also not Green! Even a minor ding
    will be very, very costly to repair. The hottest current Corvette uses Carbon Fiber
    bodywork (BTW, 556HP) and the special formulated paint costs $50K per gallon.
    So, if you buy the paint for Telsa, do they give you the car for free? I DONT THINK SO! Go on, invest in Telsa, good for you, you need a good lesson. Next buy GM, you own part of it already anyway. The very best Engineers make the best cars, it’s their thing. When you’re out of Battery you’re dead on the road and it’s tow truck time. Be smart, in our lifetime and for future generations we will not be out of Gas, go Volt and you’ll not be DOTR (dead on the road). I’ll leave it there, do your own research.
    Oh, as to pollution, trees love CO2, they breathe it and make O2 out of it. Save the Trees!

    1. I won’t allow very ill researched comments on my site, let alone the disgusting tone that comes through. First of all the battery thing was with the prius just to let you know, not the Tesla. Also there have been some modified Teslas that get more than the claimed mileage. Also I live in Quebec and to charge the Tesla is cost about $2. Not only that but our electricity here is clean because it is hydro. And what the hell are you talking about paint on a corvette, and then on the Tesla that does not even make sense. Finally Chevrolet don’t have the best engineers and they don’t make the best cars, go look at German cars like Audi, Mercedes, and BMW.

  5. German cars are garbage, especially BMW 7 series. Plastic radiators that have catastrophic failures. When I owned a BMW, I kept getting stuck everywhere and huge repair bills. Went back to GM and back to normal, no problems at all.
    I still like the Tesla Model S better. I want one now:)

    1. You have no clue what you are talking about. German cars have the best quality in the world (said with jeremy clarkson’s IN THE WORLD voice).

  6. Sorry, I owned one, they are garbage. My father owns one, nothing but trouble. If you don’t believe me, go to the BMW 7 series forum and you will see everyone having the same problems.

    1. What year was your 7 series? By the way BMW has a lot of electrical problems. With that said German cars still have the best quality in overall and especially in interiors. Go look at an Audi and see how reliable they are. Or a Mercedes from the 60s or 70s they still run like stick. You having a lemon does not make German cars bad. Hence the lemon law which could have been used at your disposal if it was new when it messed up.

  7. It was a 1997 BMW 740iL, and only 3 years old when it started having all kinds of strange problems, a lot in cooling system. The plastic radiator is defective and no matter how many times I replaced it, the plastic neck coming out of the radiator kept snapping and causing immediate failure and danger to the aluminum motor. It is a $10,000 motor to replace, I know:(. The temperature gauge does not work fast enough to notify you before permanent damage occurs. When I was not getting stuck with that, I had water pumps go bad several times, also just about every warning light on the dash lite up a one time or the other including air bag light. Accelerator throttle kept getting stuck, another common problem. At the end I had a engine knock that the mechanic told me was common because they have a defective oil pump that does not pump enough oil through the system. This is all well documented common problems with BMW’s at the roadfly BMW forum. Here is the website if I can post it here.

    1. Wow, very old. The Germans have gained so much ground since then go look at Audi, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Porsche etc. They are very reliable. BMWs have been known to have so many electrical problems even till this day. My friend has an x6 that shut down twice on him while driving and he crashed into a building as a result. Thanks for replying I appreciate it.

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