Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Electric Car

Family Car

For 6 days, starting last Wednesday, I had the privilege of driving a Chevrolet Volt. A lot has been written about the Volt, a vehicle that to a large extent runs on electricity. But, until recently it has been very difficult to get behind the wheel of one.

First things first: I had the Volt for 6 days. During those six days, I drove 348 miles. This included my regular commute, as well as picking up and dropping off children, local errands, a night out, and so forth. In the course of my driving, I used a total of 1.74 gallons. That is not a misprint. 1.74 gallons. That comes out to exactly 200 miles per gallon. Let's say that again: 200 miles per gallon.

Highlights? Oh, start with the very first song I turned on Sirius/XM Kids Place Live when I picked up Elianna the first day: They Might Be Giants, with Electric Car. I couldn't make that up if I tried.

Then, there was the extreme quiet. No "car noise" while on electricity. This means, among other things, getting full fidelity on the (really nice) stereo system. I got to listen to Wrecking Ball several times.

Of course, it impressed friends. Showing up with a Volt just makes a statement. Everyone wants to see it, and to know, "does it really work?" That it comfortably seats 4 adults, and handles well, goes over as well as it being electric.

Just last week, Presidential candidate New Gingrich said thatyou can't put a Gun Rack in a Volt. While that particular bit of idiocy was being shot down with ease, we found that the Volt easily accommodated 4 sets of skis, poles and boots while also carrying the family.

Maybe best of all has been the kids' reactions. Being dropped off for school from a Volt means you've just arrive in the cool car. And I got to be the cool dad. It's nice to be the cool dad, every once in a while.

Sunday night was Aaron's birthday. With the help of a website from Chargepoint I was able to determine that the city of Milford has multiple electric vehicle charging stations. With a little more research, I found that Milford had installed the charging stations just two months ago. Milford is a nice little town, but in 20 years of Michigan living we've probably only been there 3 times. So I made the decision: We drove to Milford for dinner. We found a nice restaurant, and in the time it took to eat we had enough of a charge to get back.

Was there a down side? Yes: Every time the charge ran out. It's a fine gas car, too. I really really liked it as a gas car. But as an electric car, I was in love. At 200 miles per gallon.
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