I get my chance next month

I’m really hot for a Chevy Volt (yeah, I know they want to be called Chevrolet, but whatever – I’ve called them Chevy for a long time, and I’m gonna keep doing it; it’s not like you don’t think Chevrolet when I use Chevy – and this reminds me to do my rant on building names in Chicago). I look at what the Volt represents, a viable, long-range automobile that is powered, for some substantial portion of the time, by electricity. Checking my commute and based on the straight-up specs, my commute to and from work (~70 miles round-trip) would use less than 1 gallon of gas, and if I have access to an electrical outlet, it would use none. None is a good number.

GM and Chevrolet (happy now) are offering opportunities for people to test drive the Volt on a nationwide tour – you can find out more about that at here. They are taking names and contact information to schedule some test drives of their new creation at stops along the way. I signed up the other day, so now I’m not afraid to tell people about it. Sometime in mid November I’ll be driving a Volt.

Why would I mention this? I don’t own any GM stock, so I’m only doing this against my best interests – you might want one too, and you’ll get yours before I get mine – but I want this car to be successful. I want cars like this to be successful. I’d be thrilled if the US dependence on oil were reduced by an order of magnitude. I’m no tree-hugger or global warming zealot – I’d just rather not line the pockets of people who are essentially trying to wipe my country and way of life off the map. (oh, right, no politics). Ok, then how’s this one: I’d rather see us (collectively, as a nation) use technology to give us an advantage, and this looks like a good use of technology to give us an advantage. Finding better ways to move people from point A to point B is a good thing.

Other companies (notably Nissan) are promoting an all electric answer to this problem. Nissan’s solution is called Leaf. Leaf has a published range of ~100 miles on a charge. It’s a nice car too, but it has one drawback that makes it a non-starter for me: it can’t drive all the way across country without REQUIRING it to be recharged. If that’s not a requirement for you, then by all means put that on your list of possibilities. It just doesn’t work for me if I have to go somewhere I might normally have to go – there’s just not enough range headroom to make me comfortable. But if there were public charging infrastructure (Leaf requires a little more juice but it has a 440V charging option to cut the charge time substantially) it would be more viable.

(PS: about that picture: I found it just kinda surfing around the electric vehicle sites. It was posted by a man in New Jersey who was part of the E-MINI trial Mini was running. He seems to have similar beliefs to mine, at least about certain people.)

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