Tenacity defined

Tenacity

Almost four years, after acquiring our first Chevy Volt, I finally had a service issue with my 2017 Volt, “The Silver Surfer”. The problem was that the A/C stopped running in automatic mode (i.e. thermostatically controlled), but ran perfectly, in manual mode. Classic Chevrolet‘s service team determined that the A/C controller unit was faulty and needed to be replaced. It took a couple days to get a new controller. Once installed, there was software that needed to be installed, to initialize the controller. Once that was completed, the controller failed. This happened twice. The GM Volt Support Team had our Service Tech checking wires for shorts, but none were found.

My Volt had been in the shop for three weeks and I got it back today. I’ve had a Volt loaner (LT model) as a replacement for my Premier, because Classic added Volts to their loaner fleet, knowing Volt owners don’t want to drive an ICE when their Volt is being serviced.

The Service Technician (Pat Galan) was tenacious, in tracing the problem. On two occasions, he was advised by GM’s Support Team to keep checking the wiring for short circuits. Pat felt there was something else going on, because he could get the controller installed and everything would check out. But once he installed the software, things would stop working, or worse, the controller would fail.

Then something odd happened: A Volt in Washington state had the same issue. Then four more in the Eastern U.S. exhibited similar problems. Pat became more and more certain that there was something wrong with the software or the installation program. GM’s Support Team contacted Pat and verified what he’d surmised: The software installer program was faulty. A new install app was sent out and everything worked!

Many, many thanks to Tim Foote, my Volt Service Advisor, who kept me updated, during this process, Pat Galan, the Service Technician who was tenacious in his efforts to track down the culprit and Mike Zorn, the Service Manager who kept checking on things to keep everything on track, even though he was unaware that the Volt was mine.

This proved what I’ve thought for years now: Your selection of a salesperson, knowledgeable about your new vehicle (especially the Volt) is important, but just as important is your selection of a Service Department that truly understands your vehicle and  a dealership that supports the vehicle by making sure the technicians are well-trained, certified and have the freedom to delve as deeply as is warranted to get to the bottom of any issue.

I am so happy to be back in my Volt! It’s like my own fighter jet and I wrung her out on the way home tonight. She was FLYING!

Premature enumeration? 100,000 Volts!

100,000 Volts!I’m going to go out on a limb here (but not very far) and announce that the Chevrolet Volt became the first plug-in vehicle (PHEV or BEV) to reach 100,000 units sold, in the United States!

Unless sales took a nose dive, back to levels not seen since the introduction of the 2017 Volt, this happened at some point, during this month (July 2016). Opposed by conservative politicians and conservative media, it took the Volt 67 months to reach this milestone.

How long do you think it’ll take the Chevy Bolt to do the same?

CONGRATS CHEVROLET AND PLANET EARTH!

Enthusiasm for Volt…IN TEXAS!!!

TXGarageThe other day at work, one of my colleagues escorted a man toward me and I heard him say, “This is the guy you need to talk to.”

The only times I hear that, is when someone needs help with Apple CarPlay or want to ask about the Chevy Volt.

The man with my friend was David Boldt, Managing Editor of TXGarage, a relatively new automotive blog, based in the DFW area. We sat down at my desk and discussed all things Volt and how I came to be such a fanboy.

The next thing I know, I see this enthusiastic review!

EVgo Subscription: consumers beware! **UPDATED**

pickShortly after I started working at Classic Chevrolet, in Grapevine, Texas, EVgo (a subsidiary of NRG) offered a two year EV charging subscription plan for $99. You could charge as many times as you wanted, during those two years. I knew I didn’t need it, but bought a subscription anyway, in order to show the fob, used to authorize charging, to my Volt customers, in case they were concerned about being able to charge and what the costs would be.

I hardly ever used the subscription, as I can charge both at home and at work.

A few months, after the subscription ended, I was contacted by EVgo. The representative told me that they had inadvertently charged my credit card $2,813.20! They said they had caught the error and would be crediting my card within a few days. When they credited my account, they only credited $2,705.00, leaving a charge of $108.20 on my card.

When I received my next credit card statement, I called and asked why the entire amount was not credited and the representative said the $108.20 was for the next year’s subscription. I explained I did not want to continue the subscription and had not signed up for it, so they eventually credited that amount to me card.

Twenty-two days later, they charged my card for $108.20 again. The next month, charged another $108.20, for a total of $216.40 in overcharges. I contacted my credit card provider and they credited my account the $216.40, pending an investigation, putting things back to zero. Eventually, EVgo credited the $216.40 and my credit card company reversed the credit they gave, again leaving things at zero, where they should have been.

Finally, it’s all resolved! (or so I thought)

The next month, EVgo (oddly) credited my account another $216.40, leaving me with a $216.40 surplus, I should not have received. This was followed a month later, with a new charge for $266.40, which corrected their over-refund, but left me with $50 in the hole, because the correction should have been for $216.40 instead.

I called EVgo, on a Sunday, to protest the charge and explained I did not want their service, had not asked for the service and wanted the overage refunded. The representative, while looking through my account records, stated the account had been closed and there should not have been any charge. Then he noticed a new account number had been created, in my name. It was this account that had the $50 overcharge. He said he’d have to send it up to a higher level, within EVgo, to have it corrected, which would have to wait until Monday (tomorrow).

Hopefully, this will all be resolved tomorrow.

This has been a nightmare for me. If you sign up for any kind of subscription charging plan for your EV, be sure to check your credit card statements very carefully.

**UPDATE**

I just received a phone call from an EVgo rep, who told me the $50 was two $25 charges from the bank, due to a processing snafu. Ego has waived the two fees and will be crediting my account for the $50.

Hopefully, this is the last I’ll ever hear of this.

June 2016 Sales Numbers

In June 2016, the plug-in sales results were almost all higher than the previous month. Here are the June 2016 sales figures, compared to the previous month:

  • Chevy Volt: UP 2% (1,937 vs. 1,901)
  • Nissan Leaf: UP 12% (1,096 vs. 979)
  • Plug-in Toyota Prius: UP 175% (11 vs. 4) *Don’t get too excited.
  • Tesla Model S: UP 208% (3,700 vs. 1,200) **estimated
  • BMW i3: DOWN 13% (608 vs. 696) *** second month, in a row, to drop double digits
  • BMW i8: UP 16% (169 vs. 146)
  • Ford Fusion Energi: UP 17% (1,700 vs. 1,453)
  • Ford C-Max Energi: UP 17% (630 vs. 538) ***both Ford models up 17%? Odd.

In June, the average price of gasoline continued to rise, for a 12 days or so, up to $2.39 per gallon, in the U.S. Then, it started a pretty deep dive, ending around $2.29. This drop has continued into July. This breaks the price trend we’ve been seeing for a couple months now.

The Chevy Volt had another pretty good month, posting 1,937 units sold and increasing its lead over the Nissan Leaf, in total units sold, since inception. The Volt’s lead is about two months’ sales of the Leaf (2,902 units). Total Volt sales, since inception, is now within striking distance of 100,000 units sold. Unless the Leaf or Model S does something amazing next month, the Volt should become the first plug-in vehicle to sell 100,000 units, in the U.S. alone.
June 2016 EV Sales Numbers

In the lower graph, I find it interesting that the Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt all have very similar adoption trend curves. Is this the new adoption curve of successful vehicle adoption? Time will tell…

June traffic at my dealership was terrible, the first two weeks of the month. My sales in those two weeks totaled only two units. The second half of the month was the opposite, with me posting eight sales and one half-sale. With that last rush, I had 1/2 unit higher sales (deal split with another salesperson) than my best June so far.My Sales By Week

When looking at my own sales, by vehicle, my Volt sales lost a little ground to the most common item I sell, the Silverado 1500 pickup. I sold two Silverado 1500s but only one Volt, in June. My total Volt sales are now at 38, while my Silverado 1500 sales are at 42. Third place in my sales is the Corvette Stingray.My Vehicle Sales By Model

Plug-in sales, compared to the same month a year ago, were mixed, with several whose sales are WAY down. The Leaf and Prius are probably suffering from iPhone Syndrome, as new, improved models have been announced and sales have started to drop, on the current models. Tesla year-over-year numbers reflect a major increase in output. However, the big jump up, both as a percentage and in units, was that of the Ford Fusion Energi. The Ford’s sales increased by 973 units, where the Model S only increased by 900 units (estimated) and its percentage increase was 134%, versus the Volt’s increase of 58%.

  • Chevy Volt: UP 58% (1,937 vs. 1,225)
  • Nissan Leaf: DOWN 47% (1,096 vs. 2,074)
  • Plug-in Toyota Prius: DOWN 98% (11 vs. 464)
  • Tesla Model S: UP 32% (3,700 vs. 2,800)
  • BMW i3: UP 10% (608 vs. 551)
  • BMW i8: UP 23% (169 vs. 137)
  • Ford Fusion Energi: UP 134% (1,700 vs. 727)
  • Ford C-Max Energi: DOWN 6% (630 vs. 667)

A place just for EVs & Hybrids!

Red White & Blue VoltsAs I’ve mentioned before, (see previous post), I have been a salesperson at Classic Chevrolet in Grapevine, Texas, for almost three years now. I sell everything Chevy makes, but the reason I changed careers was the Chevy Volt.

When I first came to a sales meeting (as a Volt customer) to speak about why I felt the Volt was important to both our nation and General Motors, I’m sure the salespeople thought, “Who is this doofus???” Then, when I was hired four days later, by a dealership that is the largest volume Chevrolet dealership, in the U.S. (with no previous car sales experience) I’m sure they were all as equally dumbfounded. I’ll bet some were expecting me to fall on my face.

I was “that Volt guy” at first. Salespeople would send Volt prospects to me, rather than sell the Volt themselves. There are many reasons for this that I’ve covered before. Slowly but surely, I learned the ropes and sold everything we make, but I remained “the Volt guy.”

That turned out to be a good thing recently. The General Sales Manager called me into his office, closing the door behind me, after I entered. All I could think was, “What have I done???” Like the old joke, he said he had good news and bad news for me. I asked for the bad news first. He said, “We are getting so many Volt customers, that when they bring their cars in for service, we have a tough time charging them, because the chargers are all taken by employees and other service Volts.” He told me the dealership was going to install 110V outlets in the employee parking area and I’d have to start charging at the lower rate, out there.

“No biggie,” I thought. I’m here eight hours a day (minimum) and that’s plenty of time to refill my Volt’s battery pack, even at 110V, as my commute is only 15 miles each way.

So, the good news?

My new home (soon)Classic Chevrolet of Grapevine, Texas is going to be the first dealership, in our region of the country, to create an EV/Hybrid sales/education center! We will take a building, currently used for general car sales, and rebrand it. It is the building shown above. The green awnings will be replaced with new ones, showing the building’s new purpose. We will saw a trench through the concrete parking lot, out to where the vehicles are parked, to run wiring for level 2 (240V) chargers. Each charger will service four vehicles (one at a time), making it easy to keep our fleet ready to demo and sell. I have even suggested we get a big screen TV, to show EV education videos, so the salespeople spend less time saying the same things over and over and more time working with customers. My wife is a professional video editor, so we could even create our own programs to fill any gaps in available videos.WiringThe best news of all came, when he told me that I’d be deeply involved in the planning, staff selection and day-to-day operation of that group.

Volts at Chargers