Is Model 3 charging more expensive than Volt Charging?

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Bokonon

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#2
I was reading this opinion about the Model 3 vs Volt charging cost from a a person who has owned both Volt and a Model 3. Is charging model 3 expensive? what are the expenses associated with charging a model 3?
Thank you.
The comparison in that article isn't quite apples-to-apples, because the Volt's dollar figure includes the cost of both gas and electricity, while the Model 3 includes only electricity. As near as I can tell, the author was just trying to compare how much a theoretical 1000-mile road trip would cost in each vehicle.

In theory, the difference in cost between charging a Model 3 and a Volt isn't too significant, but in practice, I can think of a few reasons why Model 3 would be slightly cheaper to charge.

In general. for the same number of *electric* miles driven, all things being equal (charging voltage, cost of charging per kWh), the Model 3 will be slightly cheaper to charge due to its small efficiency edge over the Volt.

Additionally, for home charging in particular: in practice, most Volt owners charge at 120V (due to the battery's smaller size and the fact that the Volt comes equipped with a 120V charging cable), while most Model 3 owners charge at 240V (due to the larger battery and the fact that the included charging cable can handle either 120V or 240V). Charging at 120V is about 20-30% less efficient than charging at 240V because the on-board charging electrics require a fixed amount of power, and the impact of that draw is much more significant on a percentage basis at 120V. Consequently, most Model 3 owners will charge more efficiently than Volt owners, and therefore pay a little less for the same number of electric miles driven.

At a public charging station, both vehicles will charge similarly when the battery is low, but as the battery fills up, the Volt's charging rate will taper off much more quickly than the Model 3's will, because the Volt has a smaller battery pack. If the charging station bills you by the minute (rather than by the kWh), you'll pay more to add 10 kWh to the Volt than you'll pay to add 10 kWh to the Model 3 at the same battery level % because the Volt will take longer to add those 10 kWh.

As for fast charging... well, there's no comparison here. :) The Volt doesn't support DC Fast Charging, while the Model 3 can Supercharge at a cost that varies by state but is always cheaper than the price of gas. So, inasmuch as adding gas to a Volt is "recharging" it with electricity provided by an on-board generator, the Model 3 is definitely cheaper to replenish on a longer road trip. (The Volt's only advantage here would be speed: adding gas is quicker than adding electrons at a supercharger.)
 
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#3
Great comment Bokonon, really appreciate it. How can I contact you for a question? I don't know how to contact through the forum. Is there a way? You have great writing skills.
 

garsh

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Great comment Bokonon, really appreciate it. How can I contact you for a question? I don't know how to contact through the forum. Is there a way? You have great writing skills.
Please consider asking your question right here as a reply. That way, everybody can benefit from @Bokonon's answers. :)
 
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#5
Thank you Garsh. I was wondering if there is any study about charging costs nationwide. Because prices vary from state by state, but what about average nationwide? Thank you.
 

MelindaV

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#6
at just 38 miles per full charge, it doesn't seem really worth the effort to calculate the Volt next to a Model 3. most people would end up needing to use gasoline every day.
 

MelindaV

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#7
Thank you Garsh. I was wondering if there is any study about charging costs nationwide. Because prices vary from state by state, but what about average nationwide? Thank you.
average kWh rate in the US is 12 cents. so if charging at home, that is a good basis. public charging ranges widely from free to 3 or 4 x the utility rate.
 

Derik

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#8
You can always look at teslanomics.. he's got some data and stuff about the gas prices etc. I remember seeing some of his youtube videos where he showed the breakdown based on state etc.
You could use this to get an idea vs gas. Might be able to set the Volt MPG up higher.
https://teslanomics.co/tesla-model-3-fuel-savings-calculator/
 

goto10

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#9
Charging at 120V is about 20-30% less efficient than charging at 240V because the on-board charging electrics require a fixed amount of power, and the impact of that draw is much more significant on a percentage basis at 120V.
I don't think this is the whole picture. On the Tesla a 240v charge is ~90% efficient while 120v is ~70% efficient but when you further break it down a 16amp 240v charge and a 48amp 240v charge are both still about 90% efficient. This suggests that the main factor is not total current supplied but an AC/DC converter that is optimized for 240v AC at the expense of less efficient 120V charging.

I don't know the charging efficiency numbers for the Volt to say whether their 120V charge is as inefficient as the Tesla 120V charge or if they have an AC/DC converter that is better optimized for the 120V charge that most Volt users are likely using.

Edit: I dug up a document indicating an L1 (120V) charging efficiency of 86.7% for the Volt: http://papers.sae.org/2015-01-1152/
 
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Bokonon

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#10
I don't think this is the whole picture. On the Tesla a 240v charge is ~90% efficient while 120v is ~70% efficient but when you further break it down a 16amp 240v charge and a 48amp 240v charge are both still about 90% efficient. This suggests that the main factor is not total current supplied but an AC/DC converter that is optimized for 240v AC at the expense of less efficient 120V charging.

I don't know the charging efficiency numbers for the Volt to say whether their 120V charge is as inefficient as the Tesla 120V charge or if they have an AC/DC converter that is better optimized for the 120V charge that most Volt users are likely using.

Edit: I dug up a document indicating an L1 (120V) charging efficiency of 86.7% for the Volt: http://papers.sae.org/2015-01-1152/
I couldn't see the full document, but just to be clear, does that 86.7% figure represent the ratio of power applied to the battery to power drawn from the outlet? Or is it just referring to the internal efficiency on the onboard charger?

BTW, please tell me your username is not also on line 10. :)
 

Twiglett

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#12
its probably true because Tesla's will always need premium grade electricity.
Its needed for the extra stuff they put it to keep the contacts clean.
I've heard it also leaks less when someone lets the smoke out.
:D
 

Soda Popinski

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#13
at just 38 miles per full charge, it doesn't seem really worth the effort to calculate the Volt next to a Model 3. most people would end up needing to use gasoline every day.
Most Americans' commute is less than 40 miles. Mine is right at 40 miles, and my typical stated range is 42 miles in my 2014 Volt. I rarely use gas, and when I do, it's on the last half mile. The 2016 and newer Volts have a range of 53 miles.

For actual driving efficiency the Volt is usually rated at a bit more than 300 watts/mile, which is less efficient than what I've seen for the Model 3 (~240 watts/mile). My stop and go traffic commute gets me about 280 watts/mile in my Volt.

Something else to consider is Level 2 charging. The new Volt charges at 15 Amps, while the Model 3 can do 40 Amps. That translates to 12 miles range per hour for the Volt and 40 miles range per hour for the Model 3 (not taking into account charging efficiency loss).
 

Rhaekar

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#14
Something else to consider is Level 2 charging. The new Volt charges at 15 Amps, while the Model 3 can do 40 Amps. That translates to 12 miles range per hour for the Volt and 40 miles range per hour for the Model 3 (not taking into account charging efficiency loss).
48 amps for LR.
 

Soda Popinski

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#15
D'oh! In that case, the Model 3 can charge at 48 miles range per hour not taking into account charging efficiency loss. That said, I believe the included charging cable only does 32 Amps, so you would need to use a Wall Charger to get closer to that rate.

Edit: mixed up the car names
 
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Rhaekar

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D'oh! In that case, the Volt can charge at 48 miles range per hour not taking into account charging efficiency loss. That said, I believe the included charging cable only does 32 Amps, so you would need to use a Wall Charger to get closer to that rate.
You mean the Tesla Model 3.

Yes, the UMC only supports 32A. You need a wall connector to get the full 48A draw. I think Tesla is the only one that makes one that supports that high of current.

https://www.tesla.com/support/Home-charging-installation
 

JWM3

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#17
I own both 2017 Volt and Model 3, for the charging part, with much more faster charging speed and super charger network, Model 3 clearly is a winner.
I love my Volt and drove it for few long road trips last year, but the problem is, it is very hard to find an available charging station even in California which has most charging stations. On one of my 900+ miles trip, I only charged three times, the charging infrastructure is very limited, in both location and number of chargers. Also Volt's charging speed is very slow, 2 of the 3 time I couldn't get much juice because I only stopped 1-2 hours. However, Volt is able to burn gas meaning I don't need worry to find charging station and saved a lot time for charging.
I'm still debating which car I should use on my next road trip, I'm tempted to drive Model 3 but Volt will save time on the road.
 

Soda Popinski

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#19
Actually both first and second gen Volts on 120v charge at 12 amps, not 15.
True, but I was talking about Level 2 charging, which is rated at 3.6 kW (3.3 kW for the old Volt). I got 15 amps by dividing 3600 Watts / 240 V to get 15 Amps. This is based on Power = Current x Voltage.

There's a good chance something is wrong here, as the stated 12 A charging rate at 120 V is a lot slower than my calculated 15 A rate at Level 2.
 

Rick Steinwand

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#20
I guess it's obvious I never moved past 120v charging. (We rent, but DO enjoy free 120v charging.)

Many Volt owners mod their OEM charger to work on 240, but those are also limited at 12 amps. To get 15 amps means using a L2 charger.