Tag Archives: Driving

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.