…If you guys only knew how long I have been sitting here trying to come up with an opening volley for this short little post…
Well, that line there is as good as any I suppose.
While I had intended to use the “Commuter Series” tagline for photographs only related to things I have observed going to and from work, I thought I might slide this one in here because the subject matter, while not directly related to me (anymore), it is relatable to an overwhelming majority of people in the world who use their own car for the bulk of their commute:
This car, a Chevy Volt, is a hybrid car that is set up a bit different from most other hybrids such as the Toyota Prius and Camry. While I am not an expert on the technology, this is my understanding:
The Volt is a battery-electric car first, with supplemental power provided by a gasoline engine that powers the electric traction motors which, in turn, supply energy to the wheels. Thus, there is no traditional transmission or driveshaft in this car. In fact, it is set up in a similar manner as locomotive propulsion, which is something General Motors has decades of experience in building.
- Ok… so it is like a Tesla?
Not quite. Notably, it is about seventy thousand dollars less expensive. That is a sum of money that deserves to be spelt out.
The Tesla is a battery electric car. That is it. A great one, for sure, and they have a nice comfortable long range… but once the range is depleted, you are dead in the water. Not dead in the water hoping for somebody to stop by with a cup o’ petrol…. but dead as in a doornail. Dead as in unless you have an extremely large extension cord… your car is getting towed. It has no way of regenerating its own power.
The Chevy Volt, for 1/3 of the cost, comes complete with a means of charging itself with that little gas motor. The gas engine will keep the car going until the traditional point of failure: running out of gas.
So while you can’t scream to your neighbors how 100% green you are as you could with a Tesla, you also won’t scream for help while on the shoulder after a hundred miles or so.
- So what is the range, then?
Well, put it this way. I went for an hour or so drive and this was the result. I burnt through the 30 mile total capacity for the battery, and then the Volt seamlessly transitioned from battery power to the gas motor generated source of power.
I then continued my journey, finally coming to a rest with a mere zero-point-nine gallons consumed in 59 miles. This translates to a 64mpg gas rating, for this particular trip.
All that and power windows, too!
60 miles… to put that into perspective:
So from way up north to Montessori on less than a gallon of gas… That makes this car a contender just as soon as they come up with a four wheel drive version.
I am hopeful for this technology to improve with time, mostly because giving my money away for things like gasoline is an inconvenience I can do without. If you agree, I highly recommend checking out the brands that are exploring this new technology.
Special thank you to Circle Chevrolet in Shrewsbury, New Jersey for providing this as a loaner for the week while my car that uses-far-gas-than-this was repaired!
*Don’t get me wrong- I like the Tesla and I hope in the future we can have unlimited battery charging through regenerative braking, solar roofs, and other cost-free means. In the meantime, I still must take the reasonable guarantee of not getting stuck without power over the ability to completely avoid gasoline usage.