When I went to hear the ex-GM Vice Chairman of Global Product Development speak at the Peterson (Automotive Museum) in Los Angeles a month ago, I never expected the experience would inspire me to relinquish my beloved Audi for a Chevy Volt just two weeks later. During his interview, Mr. Lutz mentioned the development of the Chevy Volt and how the Volt was something born out of spontaneity which is quite rare in the automotive industry these days. This struck a chord with me. As someone who constantly trumpets innovation (while my friends roll their eyes), it got my gears going. I had to go test one…
I cautiously approached the ashen grey Volt at Rydell Chevrolet in Northridge, Calif., that was rolled out for me to paw over. I expected to be let down in some way. In fact, I was LOOKING for reasons not to turn in my current car for a Volt. Surely the interior would be cheap; SURELY I’d be repulsed by its driving experience. The Volt ended up disappointing me in only one way…it failed to produce a reason for me to hate it. I was hooked at the first “whir” of the electric drivetrain. Match that with a beautiful and futuristic interior, connectivity up the wazoo, and an appealingly handsome mug, Chevrolet’s electric dreamboat simply sold itself.
The Volt is a truly disruptive vehicle. GM did something all the other manufacturers currently tinkering with electric propulsion aren’t doing. They put consumers first and built something around current marketplace needs, not something for the few who can afford to have a second car for when your electric car can’t make the trip. My Volt will happily be a pure electric vehicle when I need it to be, but will also cruise indefinitely using the gas generator to extend its range. This makes me feel really smart, even though it’s actually the car that’s so smart.
I’m happy to report that since I got my Volt three weeks ago, I’ve yet to call upon the gas generator for anything. I’m able to plug my Volt in at work, thanks to a newly installed row of Blink chargers, and will be saving over $100 a month on gas (my savings would be even greater if I were able to charge at home). The Volt gets me to work and back with energy to spare, all in the comfort of a very well executed, quiet interior. I still get a smile whenever I plug my Volt in. I feel like I’ve joined some secret club. My Volt even politely whirs and clicks at me like R2-D2 when I turn it on…what more could a boy ask for?
Sam Miller-Christiansen is a writer for Gaywheels.com, a site for GLBT consumers to learn about new cars, the auto sector and other related topics. He also writes car reviews for his own blog, The Lead Foot.