On December 30, 2014, I tucked my Saturn Aura into the garage for the last time. I went to start my car on New Years Eve and…nothing. It headed to the big ring in the Saturn sky. The good news was I had a few days to look for something different. The bad news was I only had a few days to find something different!.
I took to the internet and wandered the local lots for a late-model vehicle. I wasn't interested in a new vehicle purchase. Those that have followed this blog know my badge is a bowtie, but looking for a ride was different this time. I needed a ride—this wasn't a want. I test drove a ton of vehicles including Chevy, Buick, BMW and a Chrysler. Yet, nothing really struck me as the 'right' car. I was to the point of frustration with the process when I received an email from a friend whom I watch grow up at the Skatin' Place. Sadly, her father passed away and the family had his Chevy Volt for sale. It was a 2011—one of the first 3000 produced. She knew I followed the EV market. I headed over to drive it and I knew from the time I pushed the button and heard nothing but silence that I wasn't going to follow the EV market. I was going to be a part of it.
Yes, I am a Chevy Volt owner. I love the car. In fact, it's the best riding vehicle I have ever owned. I get between 40-50 miles on a charge in the summer and 30-35 in the winter. If I run out of electric, Voltec switches over to gas and I have a range of 400 miles (and have been getting 44 mpg pure gas). As far as the charge goes, it takes me about 8 hours at night—about $1 of electricity to charge and the fee is minimal at the quick charge sites (about a 3 hour charge). I love the car.
It's just a car, right? Well, based on the comments I received during my first few months of ownership you would have thought I was in the middle of a Washington debate. Almost every comment start with being a 'Obama supporter'. My personal favorite was the guy who told me I was supporting Government Motors…yet he was in his Buick. I guess I am supporting General Motors by proudly displaying the bowtie—and doing it in a quiet manner. I chose to ignore the comments. I didn't buy the car to make a political statement. I was driving it because the car fit my need.
The conversation turned to the technology of the vehicle as winter turned to spring and summer. It was about how and why GM did what they did and how the technology is leading to great things. I appreciated those chats. For giggles, I entered my Volt in the Jesus Built My Hotrod car show at New Life Assembly of God. I really wasn't planning on it but as I entered the grounds I grabbed a form and drove into the 1990-present stock area. The shocker? I took home a trophy. Yep, enough spectators voted for my Volt. If an EV can win over the car show crowd, anything is possible!
There are a few downsides to owning the car. I have to walk about 5 minutes to work from the charging station. Generally, that's not a bad thing except when weather hits. The rain on Tuesday morning wasn't too pleasant but I managed. Sure, I could just skip the charge but it's only rain. The other downside is the cold temperatures…specifically 23 degrees or lower. It's at 23 degrees when my Volt will occasionally switch to gas in order to keep all fluids at the proper temp. Of course, there's a 'fix' for that feature on Amazon but I'm not messing around with it.
I never thought driving an electric car would be so fun but it really is. If you haven't driven one you should really find one, hit the start button, drop it in sport mode, and hang on! It's a great ride. A bonus to those of you that might be looking – Gen 2 is shipping soon which means the price for Gen 1 Volts are dropping. That's a great thing for the EV community. Want to join it? We will welcome you with open arms.