A recent study says that the number one dream car for millennials is the Tesla Model S. That’s pretty unsurprising considering the Model S is a lovely electric luxury car that’s sleek, fast, luxurious and still futuristic six years after its introduction.
However, the Model S is a car that has barriers. Being able to afford the purchase price of the car is just the beginning, as you also need to be able to live the EV life, which means having a garage where you can plug it in. You also must be able to live with the range restrictions of the Model S, albeit a pretty long-range EV. Not to mention getting it serviced, if you don’t happen to live near a Tesla store.
If you’re one of the millennials who would love to have a Tesla Model S, there’s an alternative with many of the same virtues of the Tesla and brings with it many practical advantages. It’s one you might not have considered before. It’s the humble, yet quirky, Chevrolet Volt.
I know, I know, the Volt isn’t a full EV like the Model S is. The Volt is a plug-in hybrid, which means it can run on either electrons or gas, which has pros and cons. The big benefit is that range anxiety isn’t an issue — since when you run of out electric juice, it’s gas to the rescue, and it’s still very efficient when it runs on gas. The big con is that its all-electric range is only 53 miles for the current model and 38 miles for the first-gen Volt.
The big advantage of the Volt over a Tesla is its affordability and easy-to-live-with factor. Right now, there are more than 50 used Chevy Volts on Autotrader with asking prices under $10,000. As you might have guessed, there are exactly zero used Model S sedans on Autotrader with a 4-digit price tag. The most affordable high-mile used examples are in the low $30,000 range. Granted, one is a cutting-edge luxury sedan and the other is a Chevy hatchback, but that’s still a significant price difference even considering that.
So when it comes to just getting one of these cars in your life, the Volt is a lot more affordable for a lot more drivers. When it comes to how easy it is to live with, it’s another big win for the Chevy. Chevy has a massive dealer network of more than 4,000 stores in the U.S., and Tesla only has about 100, about 30 of which are in California. Just based on that, which one do you think it going to be easier to bring in for service for most Americans?
Another point on the easy-to-live-with scorecard for the Volt is its advantages as a plug-in hybrid — meaning you don’t need to have a garage or regular, overnight access to an outdoor power outlet to own one. You could easily be renting an apartment with no garage and have a Chevy Volt as your only car. Need to go on a long trip for a few hundred miles? That’s no sweat for the Volt, thanks to our network of gas stations that are exponentially bigger than our network of public charging stations.
So the Chevy Volt might not have the same appeal as the Tesla Model S, and it’s true that they aren’t really direct competitors at all. But if you lust for the Model S as many Americans do, the Volt is a fantastic, budget-friendly way to get into the world of alternative-fuel cars.