Tamara Warren Drives the 2011 Chevrolet Volt: Electric Lady
It’s the strike of the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, which officially launched today in Hamtramck, Mich. What’s most amazing about actually driving the Volt is how much it feels just like a normal, even sporty, sedan. The biggest difference that test drivers will between going electric and gasoline — silence. And then’s there the part about plugging in.
When GM debuted it’s first electric car — the EV1 — plugging in wasn’t a natural part of life before the prevalence of laptops and blackberries. The year was 1996, but the car attracted a fierce following, and then all too soon it was over. On my test drive across Detroit, I was lucky to end up with the electric car guru Chelsea Sexton as my co-pilot, best known for her roll in the film “Who Killed the Electric Car?” and as a longtime activist for electric cars.
Things certainly have come full circle. Safe to say, that after two days in a car with Chelsea, I am now much more knowledgeable about the politics of plug-ins. A lot happens on a test drive — it’s easy to relax and start gabbing freely, yet in our long journey, Chelsea grew more excited, positive and impressed by the nips and tucks made on the production model.
What convince me that the Volt is worthy of praises, was how livable the vehicle is and the attention to detail in the center consul. A funny thing happened on the course of our ride from Romulus to Rochester. We took things nice and slow, so easygoing that we won our segment of best in fuel in economy with GM engineer Valarie Boatman in the backseat.
The Chevy Volts gets an official 60 m.p.g. when using both its batteries and gasoline engine, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and 93 m.p.g. when driven in electric-only mode. The Volt is able to travel 40 miles on batteries alone — the average daily commute of most Americans, and then it switches to gasoline mode, which enables it to go for 350 miles before refueling.
General Motors said bids for the first retail Volt will be accepted at www.bidonthevolt.com with proceeds to benefit charity. The bids stands at $180,000 at writing, which makes the $33,500 sticker price after a federal tax credit, quite the steal to be an early adaptor.
We’ll have much, much more on the Volt in the coming months.