Are owners abandoning plug-in cars at the dealership for SUVs instead at lease end?

2012 Chevrolet Volt Owner Logs 247,585 Miles in His Car, Further Than the Moon is From the Earth

So far, the majority of plug-in cars sold around the world have been sold as city cars, designed to tackle everyday driving duties like the daily commute, errands and the school run. And while there are some fairly high-mileage electric cars out there — one of our Staff Nissan LEAFs has more than 78,000 miles on the clock after four years of ownership — most electric cars amass between 8,000 and 15,000 miles per year in everyday use.

Erick-Belmer and his high-mileage Chevrolet Volt  (photo: Erick Belmer)

Erick-Belmer and his high-mileage Chevrolet Volt (photo: Erick Belmer)

But as Hybrid Cars (via GreenCarReports) shared recently, one 2012 Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric car has clocked up 238,857 miles in its three and a half years on the road — enough to drive from the earth to the moon and beyond.

The owner? Erick Belmer of Bellville Ohio, who became the first Chevrolet Volt driver to drive more than 200,000 miles in his Chevrolet Volt back in December last year.

Since then, his daily commute of 240 miles round-trip means that he’s logged another 47,585 miles in just seven months, pushing both himself and ‘Sparkie’ the Volt to its limits. While 240 miles or thereabouts is the usual daily driving figure for his plug-in car, Belmer reports that he sometimes logs more than 400 miles in a single day, making his Chevrolet Volt the highest-mileage Volt we know of.

With an EPA-approved range of just 35 miles per charge for the 2012 model year, Belmer’s Volt does spend most of its time in gasoline mode, where it gets an EPA-approved 37 MPG combined using premium gasoline. But while the majority of the day’s travel takes place in gasoline only mode, those 35 miles per trip soon add up: lifetime gas mileage right now sits at 57 mpg.

That means that while we’ve always maintained the Toyota Prius hybrid — in either its plug-in or non-plug-in form — is a better choice for higher-mileage drivers who don’t live near suitable charging infrastructure due to its higher gasoline-only fuel economy, Belmer has managed to stay above the EPA-rated gas mileage for the 2014 Toyota Prius lift back and even the 2014 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid.

The Volt may not seem like a long-distance car, but this Erick Belmer has covered nearly 250,000 miles in his.

The Volt may not seem like a long-distance car, but this Erick Belmer has covered nearly 250,000 miles in his.

We should note at this point however that while Belmer jokes on his VoltStat profile that you should “Drive it like you stole it!” we suspect that he’s perfected the art of Volt hypermiling. In our own time with the Transport Evolved Chevrolet Volt — a 2013 model-year car with just under 38,000 miles on the clock — we’ve learned that the Chevrolet Volt’s overall fuel economy can be dramatically influenced by the way you drive it. In fact, we think it’s more responsive to efficient driving styles than other cars we’ve owned.

For example, it’s possible to exceed 50 miles of all-electric range in the Volt at highway speeds with careful use of the accelerator, coasting where possible to maintain as much momentum and save as much energy as possible.

It’s also possible to switch between the various operating modes on the fly, overriding the car’s on-board computer system to force it to use gasoline at certain points in the trip and electricity at others to maximise fuel economy based on the terrain ahead.

In Belmer’s case, mindful driving has resulted in around one-third of all of the near quarter-million miles being in all-electric mode, while the rest have been at an average fuel economy of 38.6 mpg. That’s better than the official EPA rating, and hints we think at some skilful driving.

Either way, we congratulate Belmer on his car’s high milage — and wonder just how many more miles it will clock up in its time with him. Half a million? More?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.


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