Friday, June 27, 2014

Lots of updates since last entry!

Apologies for the lack of posts. Lots has happened since the first engine maintenance mode! I had a few rattles checked by the dealer and here is what they came back with:

  • There is a technical service bulletin to adjust the shocks and struts. I felt the suspension would bounce twice per axle when hitting bumps before I brought the car in. They confirmed that it wasn't normal, and after they followed the TSB, the Volt handles all types of bumps perfectly now. With the horrible roads here in Montreal, the suspension issue was driving me crazy!
  • A (supposed) common problem with Volts is a rattling glove box when there are items in it. I had the owner's manual filling up the glove box and it would rattle at the top left corner. The dealer replaced some of the components and it seemed to fix the issue for about 1.5 weeks. Now it is rattling again when things are in it. I emptied the glove box out for now and it eliminated the rattling. I will have the dealer check it out when I swap to winter tires.
  • The hatchback door seemed to rattle but it was difficult to point out. The dealer looked into it and adjusted the rubber stoppers. No more rattling from the rear!

I am disappointed that a 2014 car has had 2 trips to the dealer already in less than 1000km but Hamel has provided excellent service so far. Everything is perfect now so I am happy!

The Volt had a second engine maintenance mode run and this time I let it run while parked. Total gas burned: 0.13 litres!!! Much better than the 0.72l burned when EMM ran while driving!

So after driving a total of 1022km I have used 0.85 litres of gas! I never used gas for driving so far, on for EMM.

The Volt is also getting used to my driving habits and commute. It now estimates 92km on a charge! I know. I can drive close to 92km with this weather (24 degrees C, stop and go traffic, no a/c needed). My work commute makes it extremely easy to hit over 80km on a single charge because I am usually in slow moving traffic for only a short distance, with the rest being city driving. I am in the perfect demographic for the Volt's capabilities and I can easily say that the Volt is amazing at what it does. I love this car more and more every second that I drive it. With gas hitting $1.53 per litre, I will easily save over $150 compared to me Mazda3.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

First engine maintenance mode!

Upon powering up the Volt on Friday I got a message on the main display asking me if the Volt can run the engine for 10 minutes or so. I tapped "Yes" and the engine instantly started. I decided to let it run while driving. On the DIC, the Volt displays the percent complete. My EMM ran for about 6 minutes or so. I thought the engine was a little loud initially but when driving I didn't notice it and especially didn't notice when EMM was done. At the end of my drive to work, it said it used 0.72 litres orf gas ($1.10 worth). Not too bad! I just read on that you burn even less gas if you let EMM run while in Park. I will try that next time for sure. But that will be in 6 weeks since I have never come close to running out of battery.

I learned a couple of new things this week. When you load up the climate screen, you can go back to the radio by hitting the "back" button on the console. I initially thought I had to hit "Home" then re-select the source! Also, on my DIC (driver information center) I always had the display for instantaneous kW usage. If you hit the "back" button beside the DIC selector dial then it will close the display. This makes the DIC a lot less busier.

Range-wise, I am pretty sure I can hit over 70km on a charge. If the kW usage is accurate, then I managed 27.8km on 4kW. This results in 70km if I use up all 10.2 (or10.3) kW. The range estimate is still adjusting to me as it showed 59km total range, but then after driving 20 km it showed 49km left!

I love my L2 charger! Everytime I go to my parents' house even for just 30 minues, I will get a nice jump in range. Once chargers are installed in malls, restaurants etc. it will make EVs infinitely more practical!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

EVLink L2 charger installed!

Valko Electrique did an absolutely flawless job with the installation! My father was there and he had nothing but praise for Mathieu who did the installation! The quality of the installation from the custom bent tubing, to the 8 AWG cabling is better than I could have ever asked for. Thanks again to members for recommending Valko! Worth every penny (1/2 the price of another installer's quote). Here are some pics of the Schneider Electric EV230WSR charging station on the wall, and of the Volt plugged in!

Both the covered car and the red Corvette in the background are 1971 Stingrays that my brother, father and I restored over the last 14+ years. The Volt is the polar opposite of those cars!

Installing Schneider Electric EV230WSR today!

The installer should be arriving any moment now to install my Schneider Electric EV230WSR today! It will be installed at my parents' house since I am renting. After asking on the Forums for an installer, I decided to go with Valko Electrique Inc. Can't wait to see the Volt plugged in!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Getting excellent range!

I finally took the Volt on a longer trip to my in-laws (15km each way). The temperature was around 18-19 C so no heating or fan was required. The trip to my in-laws allowed for a good amount of coasting/regenerative braking. Using "L" in traffic is a life-changing experience! Not only do you get intense regen (according to the DIC upwards of -10kW), but one-pedal driving is so comfortable and natural. The tires are quieter than I expected at 80km/h so that was a pleasant surprise. We had the windows opened and there was no wind buffeting in the cabin. The driver's seat is perfectly comfortable for me, despite the lack of lumbar support. Granted, a 25 minute drive isn't not the same as a 7 hour drive but so far the seat is very comfortable. Montreal has a few good radio stations but XM radio is nice for longer trips. There is always something on if you have the patience to search for it.

Roundtrip (including stop at my parent's house) showed a total of 39.6km on about 48% of battery! I don't know if the battery level indicator is accurate though (unlike the Mazda3 gas tank where the top half of the gas tank burns much slower than the lower half !). If it is then I can hit 80km on a charge at that rate! That's 50 miles on a charge! I will be perfectly happy with 60-65 km on one charge, so 80 would be a nice bonus. In any case, 50 cents of electricity for a round trip to my in-laws is amazing!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Range estimation changing as I drive the car more

When I first got the Volt, it estimated I can do 50km on a full charge. When I drove the Volt 9km to work, the number only dropped to 46km! The range is estimated based on previous driving. I guess the initial 472km involved aggressive drivers because it looks like I am much smoother on the throttle. The range now estimates 52km and this will keep going up as the weather improves.

Honestly I do not put much effort in driving economically since my normal driving style keeps the green leaf-ball in the center all of the time. I need to improve braking though, I still expect regular regen to slow down the car more, but the Volt coasts even further than my Mazda3! They were not kidding about low-rolling-resistance tires!

My goal is to join the 50-mile (or 80km) club this summer! Not sure what it will take to get that kind of range but there's only one way to find out! I am against extreme hypermiling (tailgating/drafting, driving through stops etc.) so only normal driving for me.

Review after first long (9km) drive

I finally took the Volt for a "longish" drive (to one of our Montreal offices). It was about 9km, early in the morning and it involved driving on the highway while in traffic. I experimented with Sport mode, "L" mode and played with the navigation system.

Sport mode is addictive! The throttle response is virtually instantaneous compared to "Normal" mode! You can easily feel the difference.

Driving in "L" instead of "D" allows for more aggressive regen (feels exactly like engine braking when downshifting a manual tranny). It also allows for "1-pedal" driving when stuck in traffic and I am sold on the concept! I literally drove 3/4 of the trip without touching the brakes in stop-and-go traffic! This will extend the life of the brakes by a significant amount! When I got off the highway I switched back to "D" to coast longer. Needless to say, driving in traffic has become a lot more bearable!

As for the navigation, I still find the interface a little busy (still used to a tiny old Garman). Initially the view was zoomed out so far I saw the whole island of Montreal. It did not automatically zoom in when I started driving either. While driving it was not obvious how to zoom in, and I accidentally figured it out when I turned the "Tune" dial instead of the "Volume" dial. Tuning allowed me to choose the visible distance so I zoomed in to 100 meters. Much better. I really like when the right-half of the screen shows what the next turn looks like really zoomed in, while still leaving the route on the left. Nice touch. In general the navigation works well and I just need to get used to how much more information it can provide.

The Volt came with a 3 month XM satellite radio subscription. Given that my commute is short, it is not worth $16 per month to me (although I hear you can get massive discounts when you tell them you do not want to subscribe). However, the channels are great and there was always a song I liked on one channel or another. I find the quality has improved from when I remember listening to XM on rental cars. It usually sounded like low bitrate mp3 files. Thankfully not anymore. If you have a big enough data plan on your cellphone you can just use internet radio streaming though.

Of course I have to mention how quiet the cabin is. It is so serene and almost Zen-like to drive the Volt! Everyone who has been in the Volt finds the quietness strange, but in a great way! I drove 3 colleagues around the parking lot and they were all pleasantly surprised at the ride quality, the interior look-and-feel and the complete lack of NVH. When people see the interior, they all react the same way: the 4 bucket seats look fantastic!

I think Volt owners are the best marketing tool for this car. Chevy has had a winner since 2011 yet it is not on anyone's radar. I am glad I took the plunge and I hope to get at least 3 people (my aunt, my friend and a colleague) to buy a Volt by the end of this year!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Back from Vacation

Just got back yesterday and checked up on the Volt (stored at my parents' house in their garage)! Looks good! We brought the Schneider Electric EV230WSR outside to see where it can be installed. The charging connector has a 20ft cable so we think we will just install it on the side of the house. The connector is long enough to reach the front driveway easily. I was worried about how the charging station would be secured to the wall but it is very well thought out. Now I still have to figure out how to charge the Volt where I am currently renting. I will worry about that later since we still have winter weather and I did not install the winter tires on the Volt.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

2 Day Volt Review

My vacation did not start off so well...instead of being on a plane to Italy I am home frantically filling out a passport renewal form because of some rules/laws I was not aware of, and my travel agent didn't tell me about. Anyway, at least I am getting to enjoy the Volt for a few more days! I drove for 17km total and I spent about an hour configuring stuff inside the car. Here's a quick review:


The Volt is probably the smoothest car I have ever driven. Today's automatic transmissions are incredibly smooth and the gear changes are barely noticeable, but it's nothing like the smooth, linear acceleration of the Volt (or any electric car for that matter). The steering wheel weight varies with speed, or at least to me it seems lighter at low speeds, and a nice solid heaviness at higher speeds. It reminds me of the solid drive of my 2001 BMW 740i (that was hydraulic though so it was heavier). Precise, smooth and hefty.

As for noise, only under acceleration from a stop do you barely hear a tiny whine. After 2 seconds or so you just hear the road noise. I haven't been at highway speeds yet so I can't comment on wind noise.

The biggest change for me is the complete (and I mean COMPLETE) quietness when you come to a stop. There is no noise (except for the HVAC fan). When backing out of a driveway or my parents garage everyone around finds it cool, but also weird that the car is silent. I love it. I can imagine feeling more refreshed during my commute with the Volt.

I played with Sport mode and the throttle response is noticeably snappier. I also tried "L" and it provides smooth, regenerative braking. When in "D" mode, it really coasts like any other car (actually more than my Mazda3). I find the little animated leaf-ball is always happy with my acceleration, but not happy with my braking since I except the car to coast less than it does.

I agree with and fully understand what Volt owners have been saying for years. This car drives wonderfully!


I have the Premium package which includes the rear armrest, leather seats, dimming review mirror etc. My wife won the battle for the trim color: dark grey. I think the interior is beautiful! The quality of 99% of the panels is top notch (soft touch), the look is clean, the fit-and-finish is perfect and the style looks fresh and modern.

The touchscreen resolution is great too and easy on the eyes. It is not a Retina display, however the graphics are smooth and it responds quickly to commands. It is highly configurable, and I really like the fact that I can move icons around so that the Home page has the features I will use most often.
The seats are very supportive and comfortable, although the lack of lumbar support might be an issue for some. The seats are 100% manually adjusted (i.e. not electric) which is disappointing for a car in this price  range. I know it is to "save on battery power",  however it will become annoying re-adjusting the seats when my wife wants to drive it. I LOVE the look of the rear bucket seats though. Everyone that has seen the car agrees that the back seats look fantastic.

I chose the upgraded Bose sound system with Navigation and after configuring the bass/mid/treble for each source, I think it sounds fantastic and worth every penny as an upgrade! The bass is smooth but not head-shaking, the clarity is excellent and it just plain sounds great to me! I got a free "Encore" CD from the car dealer and the Jazz tunes sound great.

I was in the passenger seat when I configured everything. I noticed that the car did not "swoosh" when I entered the car and thought it was strange. When my father sat on the driver's seat, he got the "swoosh" introduction. Looks like the Volt only cares about drivers hehe.

I am getting used to the touch-sensitive center stack and it works quite well. As it is now, I do not feel it is gimmick like some people believe. It is very functional, and it looks great lit up.

Currently on a full charge it shows a range of 50km. Apparently this estimation is based on previous driving so I need to "undo" how the service guys were driving the car. I am expecting at least 60km range in the summer (people get closer to 70+). 50km is almost 3 full days of commute for me if I do not use any HVAC so that alone is fantastic. 70km and I can almost do a full workweek without charging! CRAZY! Once I am able to charge at work this car will cost me about $4 per month of electricity for my work commute (instead of the current $150)! I did not get the Volt to save money (you would buy a $2000 car for that) but this is a serious amount  savings.

Anyway, 2 days in and I love everything about the Volt! I hear this awesome feeling lasts forever with the Volt and I definitely believe it now!

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Volt is home!!!!

I picked up the Volt today, March 28, 2014. The day before my birthday!!! I had another issue with the dealer (they did not charge the Volt, or fill the gas tank). They filled the tank and I squeezed about 1.5 hours of charging while I was there. I only drove the car a few km to some colleagues and to store it at my parent's house (while I leave for vacation). But I never drove a car so solid, so smooth and so quiet! It just feels this is the way a car is supposed to feel.The regenerative braking (when on "D") is completely invisible. You can coast forever. The regenerative braking in "L" is certainly more aggressive, but less than your typical engine braking when downshifting in a manual transmission. I'm sure it's works well in traffic. I did not play with the heating much, but putting it on "Comfort", 23 degrees and Auto means full cabin heat in virtually no time at all. The heated seats warm up very quickly as well. I like the driver information center, and the icon that displays instantaneous kW usage. You can see home much more the HVAC takes when you blast the fan, heat and defrost. The low rolling resistance tires are the only thing you hear when driving. Only on acceleration do you here an extremely subtle whine, almost like a turbo charger whine, but we are talking barely audible. When you come to a complete stop and it is completely silent, and I mean COMPLETELY silent (when HVAC is off), it just feels so serene. Honestly it feels freakin' weird, but in a super cool, "this is amazing" kind of way. I will write more, but for now here is cellphone picture. I totally understand the love and passion of Volt owners.

By the way, the Corvettes in the background are not driven in the snow, we just moved them out of the way to get the Volt in my parent's garage (the vettes will stay under a car port cover)! They are both 1971's that my brother, father and I restored. We love Chevy...does it show? Honestly, I am a car fan, not just a Chevy fan. But Chevy does make cool cars!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Issue with Volt delivery! Not a good start...but a good ending!

So my anticipation burst into a million fragments of pain when I went to pick up my Volt yesterday. My salesrep told me to go setup OnStar, my seat settings etc. while he finished with another client. With keys in hand, my wife, brother and I went to see the Volt. Honestly, it is freakin' beautiful. It looks great in black and I am really happy to also have the polished wheels (I did not order them on the original Volt). They go perfectly with the black paint and they are not a tacky chrome. We sat in the Volt and immediately we all agreed that the bucket seats are incredibly comfortable. Missing a 5th seat could be a turn-off for some customers, however having 2 bucket seats in the rear looks really sharp. Anyway, I proceeded to configure OnStar, which involved speaking with an advisor and getting a quick tutorial on how to use the system. The whole process took about 5-7 minutes but was a great experience. The advisor even uploaded the coordinates of my home to the Volt's navigation system! That's a slick way to end the call! However I noticed I could not remote start the car. My gut told me something was wrong. I played with a few settings and configured some features like Bluetooth. The optional Bose sounds great, and the bass is pretty smooth. It is much better than I thought it would be after reading some online posts.

My salesrep came to give me some training on the car, even though I read the owner's manual twice. He tried remote starting the car and it didn't work. I then started the car and.....the check-engine-light stayed on. It was then that I did not feel so good anymore. The salesrep was genuinely disappointed that this happened. The Volt/OnStar emailed me a diagnostic report and said there was an issue with the Lithion-Ion batteries in the Voltec system. Wow this is not a good start. We went back to the salesrep's office and I, remaining totally professional, said that this was not a good start. I did not sign any papers and will not until we diagnosed the problem. Today the dealer called me and said the issue was a defective coolant pump. The Director called GM Canada and they gave me a few options:

  1. I could wait for the car I originally ordered. This means I would lose the optional mags, possibly the $250 gas credit and the interest rates could change. But I would get a brand new Volt without 472km. The car would arrive in mid-May barring any more delays. 
  2. Take the current car, but with a full GM Canada bumper to bumper warranty of 5 years, 60000km (this is $2100 here in Montreal!)
  3. Pay the difference if I want a longer warranty (ex. 7 year warranty with 80000km and $100 deductible is about $510 more than the 5 year warranty
Now we are talking about a full GM bumper-to-bumper warranty. I.e. They are extending the full 3 year warranty to 5 or 7 years. My wife really wanted to wait for the new Volt. I polled some friends and and colleagues and they all would jump on the extended warranties. I haven't decided which warranty to go for but I managed to convince my wife that having these super long extended warranties would provide incredible peace of mind. I will let you know what I decide. By the way the new coolant pump means a delay of 1-2 days before getting the Volt.

Back to reviewing the short experience with the Volt. I honestly find that in person, the center console is much LESS busier than it looks in pictures. The layout is pretty logical (HVAC controls are along the upper portion in an upsidedown "U", the radio controls are in the center with Navigation controls below). The touchscreen LCD resolution is great and it responds surprisingly fast to touch-inputs. The navigation screen looked crazy busy but I am used to a very old Garmin GPS so I believe all that information will be easier to parse as I get used to it. I found myself using the knob for some menus, and the touchscreen for others. Setting up my lowly iPhone4 and Bluetooth could not have been easier or smoother. Within seconds my contacts were stored in the Volt. The steering wheel has lots of buttons to control the cruise control, the lane departure warning system, the collision avoidance system and the radio/voice commands/phone. The heated seats warmed up incredibly fast! The touchsensitive center console worked perfectly when you I eventually used it properly. I kept hitting the little guide indentations instead of the area above the guides. 

Getting the seat adjusted is straightfoward, and having a tilt/telescopic steering is always a nice bonus. The cabin feels nicely finished, solid and definitely more upscale than your average Chevy. The leather seats look fantastic! As for the driver information center, it also has a good resolution LCD and I especially like the option of choosing how much or little information you want to see. 

On a cool note, to support OnStar means the Volt has a cellphone built in (it comes with its own phone number!). If I forget my cellphone. I can literally be reached by dialing the Volt's cell number. As a computer engineer, I find this way too cool! I ordered 60 minutes of talk time for $9 (after Quebec's 15% sales tax). I could have ordered 300 minutes for 14.99 (plus tax) but I honestly will never use the 60 minutes unless it is for fun. Apparently the 2014 Volts can read back text messages from your smartphone and even respond with generic answers. Insane! 

Anyway, allllll this to say that the Volt is really well though out. I was truly devastated yesterday with the whole CEL issue but I like the options provided by Hamel. It shows they are confident in the car and that GM Canada stands by their product. Let's face it, if the Volt ends up being perfectly reliable for the next 7 years then everybody wins. No costs for the dealer to handle warranty requests, and no frustration on my part to deal with problems. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Picking up the Volt tomorrow (Tuesday March, 25)!

I went to the Chevy dealer to finalize price details, new promotions and to see the car! It has 473km on it, and it is 100% perfectly brand new. I looked it over inside and out. Smells new! The polished wheels are thankfully not as shiny as I thought they would be. In terms of promotion/deals, they were thrown at me left and right! Here's the list:

  • Conquest rebate of $750 for having a Mazda but buying a Chevy
  • The 40cent/800litre gas card actually became a $250 cash downpayment instead. I prefer this instead of the card since I will never put 800 litres in the Volt in 1 year. 
  • Free oil changes for 2 years but really only 1 change for the Volt
  • $8000 government instant rebate
  • Schneider Electric GM Supplier discount (dealer cost +1%). Thanks =SE= !!! 
  • Finance interest rate for the Volt is 2.99%. Much better than the original 4.99% but not the 0% for select GM cars. I won't complain! This car ended up being $15 per biweekly payment cheaper than the one I ordered in December. That translates to $1560 of savings in 4 years!
  • The warranty will extend to 60480km.
This does not include the $1000 government rebate for buying/installing a home charging station. I will have it installed next month at my parents' house for sure. The dealer offered extended warranties and I was tempted but they are more expensive than in the U.S. and must start right away.
I usually feel a little exhaust from the day's work by now but not tonight! It will be a looong night. I will take pics of the car tomorrow (should be home by 7:30pm).

I also want to thank Hamel Chevrolet and my representative for an excellent, no-pressure, no-hassle experience! I think the positive experience was mutual since I knew exactly what I wanted, and therefore was one of the easier clients to deal with. I walked in, met with the representative, ordered what I wanted and left. Expect some pictures tomorrow! Can't wait!!!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Quick update about the Volt arriving next week

My Chevy rep called me and said they should receive the car next Monday or Tuesday. I have an appointment with my rep on Monday at 1:00pm to finalize details. The only thing that is bothering me a bit is that the Volt has 500km on the speedometer. The warranty will be adjusted to 60500km so it is still brand new. Baah it's a small price to pay considering I am getting the optional ($695 + tax) mags and getting the car 2 months sooner. I thought about the promotions (gas card of 40 cent rebate per litre up to 800 litres) and the free oil changes. In total it will save me $400 or so. Hey, it's free money but they need stronger promotions for the Volt considering I will not use 800 litres of fuel in the Volt, and there will only be 1 oil change in 2 years! Ahhh marketing.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Getting Volt next week!!!

I got a call from my Chevy dealer and the bad news is the Volt I ordered was delayed until the end of April! The good news is another Chevy dealer had already ordered a Volt with the exact same features and colors, with the addition of the chrome mags. I can get that Volt, with the current lower interest rate (2.99%), a gas card that saves 40 cents per litre of gas (up to 800 litres) and free oil changes for 2 years (i.e. 1 oil change for the Volt) for less than my original quote! The original interest rate for a 4 year loan was 4.99% so the savings are definitely noticeable! I should get my Volt next week (possible Monday)! This is beyond exciting! I can't wait!!!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Range/fuel consumption in colder weather

I asked a simple question on regarding the Volt's range/fuel economy in very cold winter weather, and under normal driving conditions. There are lots of ways to cheat the system (ex. replacing the Volt's outdoor temperature sensor to avoid ERDTT) but I just wanted to know how the Volt handles a properly heated cabin (i.e. Comfortable) and no hypermiling. Apparently it handles things really well, with battery power allowing 30+ Km while on winter tires and heavier steel wheels. This is perfect for me since my commute is 8km each way and I will have a charging station (Schneider Electric of course :) ) at our new site. I am glad that even without charging I can do a full commute in pure comfort. I just wish I had the Volt to confirm it!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Assembly date unchanged this week!

Not much more to report other than the assembly date for my Volt hasn't changed. It is still scheduled for the end of March. This is good news considered the trend of the past few weeks!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Volt production delayed until the end of March....

I just got word from my Chevy dealer that my Volt is scheduled for production at the end of March! At this rate the next generation Volt will be released. It will be almost 4 months since I ordered it. This is disappointing to say the least!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Unboxing my Schneider Electric EVLink EV230WSR Charging Station!

Full disclosure, I like to believe I am an ambassador for Schneider Electric. My blood is Schneider Electric green! So I am extremely proud to be unboxing my shiny new =SE= EVLink EV230WSR Outdoor Charging station! It is an L2 wall-mounted EVSE and it is beautiful! The packaging is top notch and it weighs 48 pounds. I know I ordered the charging station nearly 1.5 months before the Volt arrives but at least I have something Volt-related to play with! Here are some pictures of charger! Looks sweeeeet.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Volt will be assembled on the week of February 24

I just got word from my sales rep that my Volt will be back on the assembly line and completed the week of February 24. This means it will likely be shipped near the third week of March. Wow, this is taking a lot longer than I expected. I don't mind avoiding most of this crazy winter. I might even get away with not needing winter tires after March 15! I should have waited to buy them but I never thought the Volt would need 3 more months of assembly, especially since it was already on the assembly line.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Charging stations will be installed at our new work site!

Our division is expanding to a second site and we just got word that this new cool site will have EV charging stations! I work for one of the companies that makes EV charging stations (residential and commercial) so it will be really cool to be plugging into our own hardware! I can't wait to order the residential model for myself even though I cannot install it right away. So far I got the employee discount for the charging station and the GM Supplier discount for the car...I love my workplace! I am still not sure if I can get the government rebate since I am renting and will not be installing it at my place. I will try emailing the government website again and hope for the best.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

No new status updates on my Volt

I emailed my sales rep and he has no new updates on where my Volt is in the assembly. This is taking forever! I get the feeling it will arrive near the end of February...

Monday, January 20, 2014

Eligible for the $8000 Quebec Drive Electric Program!

I spoke with my Volt sales rep and he confirmed that I will be eligible for the full $8000 government rebate! Sweet! The reason for this is the rebate uses the date that the car is registered in Quebec. My Volt isn't even built yet so by the time it arrives here it will be some time in February. Either way, the previous rebate was $7865 which is still amazing but the difference almost covers the TPMS sensors I bought for the winter tires. Now if only the government would respond to my emails regarding the charging station and my current housing situation (I am renting so I will either just buy the charger now and install it when I move or install it at my parent's house)...

On a side note, I have to mention that Hamel Chevrolet in Montreal (St. Leonard) has been outstanding with their service. I will ask my sale's rep if he is ok with me mentioning his name on this blog. He is as knowledgeable as you can get and always immediately accessible via email, even on the weekends although I try to avoid bothering him with "Where's my Volt?" questions hehe. Buying a car is not like it used to be!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Pictures of tires, extension cord, TPMS and steel rims!

Here are some pictures of the Michelin X-Ice Xi3, the 16" steel wheels (GM OE wheels), TPMS sensors and the Noma 25ft 12 AWG extension cord. The Michelin's are 215/60R16. I still need a u-lock and cable lock, then I will be set!

2014 Quebec EV incentive program is official! Incentive increased!

The Quebec government just updated their Drive Electric program for 2014 ( ). The 2013 rebate of $7865 for the Volt has been extended until January 31, 2014. This was based on a $8000 maximum rebate for battery packs 17kWh or more. From Feburary 1st, the $8000 rebate applies to vehicles with battery packs of 15kWh or more! Therefore Volts registered in Quebec in February or later will get $8000 off the price! My Volt will only be ready in February so this should apply to me as well! Awesome! Also the charging station rebate has been increased to $1000 from $800! It's a good time to buy EVs!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Quebec government trying to extend $8000 EV incentive until 2017

Although the EV incentive is down to $4000, the PQ government wants to keep the $8000 limit until 2017. Here's a link to their proposal PQ Electrification proposal . Let's hope it goes through and the word gets out so more people buy Volts!

Tires arrived!

I ordered 4 Michelin X-ice Xi3 from and they arrived today! So the great prices and fast delivery are for real! The tires are brand new and the tread looks aggressive. I will take pictures of the tires, steel wheels and TPMS sensors (AC Delco of course) soon. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Loan interest rate only decided when Volt arrives...

When I put a deposit on the Volt in the December the loan interest rate was at 4.99%, which is quite high for a new car. However the actual rate will be decided when the Volt arrives (but cannot be more than 4.99%). There is a promotion now at 2.99% and I initally understood that I would get the lowest rate between the deposit and the car but alas it is not the case. However this 2.99% is expected to last a while. I hope it drops to 0% but let's not be too picky :). I picked up the steel wheels and TPMS sensors from the dealer and the Michelin Xi3 are arriving tomorrow! Can't wait to get them assembled! I just need to pick up a GFCI adapter, a cable lock and regular U-lock to protect the charger if it needs to stay outdoors.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Quebec "Drive Electric" Program subvention cut in half!

I logged on to the Quebec government EV site to send them another email asking if I need to install a 240V charger to get the $800 rebate. I am renting and therefore do not want to install the charger on property that is not my own! I plan to buy a L2 charger and install it when I eventually buy a home. As an employee of one of the L2 suppliers I can get a pretty sweet discount. I checked out the Quebec EV rebate for 2014 and it has been cut in half! The maximum is now $4000 with the Volt getting a $3961 cash incentive. Without getting into socialism issues, this is a significant drop and I believe it will negatively impact EV sales in the short term. Let's hope battery technology continues to improve so that the vehicle prices can drop.  

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Ordered winter tires!

I decided to go with the Michelin X-ice Xi3 for the Volt. I ordered them from the online site . The price, including shipping was a nice amount cheaper then the dealer, Canadian Tire and Costco. Let's hope they are legit! I have read on some forums that they are reputable though. They accepted Paypal so I decided to give them a shot. I will be ordering the 16" steel wheels and TPMS sensors from the dealer. They gave me a great deal (equivalent or better than online sites and even Ebay for the sensors). Now I just need the Volt!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Winter tires and wheels

I will be getting an update from my GM sales rep tomorrow regarding the status of my Volt. In the mean time I have been doing research on winter tires and steel wheels. It quickly becomes obvious how much more expensive tires are in Canada than in the US. But that issue is for another blog. As for tires, living in Quebec means winter tires are mandatory by law. Honestly, comparing even super cheap winter tires (Walmart Nexens) to all-season tires (aka three-season tires) is not fair because of how much better dedicated winter tires perform in winter conditions. Actually I do not want to give the impression that the Nexens are no good, I have them on my Mazda3 and they are great snow tires with very predictable handling and balance. They perform better in slushy conditions than my first generation Michelin X-ice when those first came out (X-ice were some of the smoothest and quietest tires I ever had though). Anyway all this to say, I will be getting winter tires and steel wheels for the Volt. Costco supposedly has universal steel wheels while GM would have original equipment ones but at $30 more per wheel. For the tires I found some great deals online from Quebec-based dealers. I am leaning towards Michelin X-ice Xi3 as they keep getting excellent reviews everywhere. They are also considered low rolling resistance tires (Green) which seems to be fairly new for winter tires. Nokian also gets top ratings but are more expensive. Actually just about all brands have excellent winter tires with pretty comparable performance but my gut feeling says to go with the Michelins. They also are rated to last much longer than other tires. Given my short commute this means I will have the tires for many many years so I better like them! Another thing to consider is TPMS sensors. Everyone is telling me to just not install them on the winter wheels (they are $240 at the dealer but cheaper from Ebay however I am a little paranoid of cheap knockoffs). This would mean seeing tire pressure warnings on the display every single time I drive the car! I am on the fence with this but I see myself getting sensors for the winter tires despite being expensive. Sometimes technology can be annoying!

On a side note, Canadian Tire has some excellent reviews (including videos) of most of the winter tires they sell. They actually performed the tests themselves on a closed track. I was really impressed with this. I just wish the prices were more competitive! Canadian Tire was my favorite store since my childhood and I feel they lost their focus in the last few years :(. I haven't made a purchase there in ages but I am glad they are going back to their roots!