I’m getting a Volt!

Ever since I saw the first concept version of the Chevrolet Volt, I wanted one. I’ve kinda been a Volt “stalker,” following them on the interwebs and to auto shows (Chicago only, but we hadn’t been to the Chicago Auto Show in about 10 years prior to the Volt showing up). I even signed up to do a test drive last fall (late November) but that ultimately didn’t happen – there’s a story there too, related to why this blog has been inactive for 10 months, which I might share sometime.

I kept my current car, a 2004 Saab 9-3, until it was no longer worth keeping (at about 130K miles) – it needed a new air conditioning evaporator core and a timing belt. Those two together are about $3K in repairs, so I sold it to Carmax who gave me enough money to make me say yes. I’m currently driving #1 daughter’s car; she lives downtown and is an urban snob (“I live in the city, I don’t need a car like you suburbanites” but I think she just can’t afford to pay for an apartment AND a parking space).

I now have a 2012 Chevrolet Volt with a committed order through a local Chevrolet dealer with an expected build date by mid-October, with delivery in November or December. I’m pretty excited about it.

My Volt will be red (“Crystal Red Metallic Tintcoat” is a Corvette color, but it comes on Cruze as well – guess it’s not that special after all) with park assist but no built-in navigation. The nav package is nice but it’s $2K, which I believe is overpriced given that my phone has as good a nav as the car will AND the Volt comes with 3 years of OnStar support that also includes turn-by-turn navigation.

The Wife and I went to another relatively local dealer (ok, 40 miles away, but local enough) to test drive a Volt. She wasn’t convinced that I’d like it (her words) and she wasn’t convinced that it would be a quote real unqoute car. She explained that to me – it should sound and feel like a car, not some kind of tin box (the car she used as an example of a tin box: Toyota Prius).

We drove it and obviously it passed the test. It was an interesting car to drive – it sounds like, uh, nothing. There’s no vroom, it doesn’t have a transmission like we’re used to, so there was no gear changing or other clues to help you know how fast you’re going (yeah, it has a speedometer, but I mean those other clues). Slowing down and braking were different, as it uses regenerative braking to recapture some energy. The car was fully charged when we got to it so we didn’t get to experience the “range extender” (= small gas engine that drives a generator to power the battery), but I did get to unplug it from the wall charger. One thing I noticed was that the cord was heavier than I expected. Thinking about that a little bit, I should have expected it to be heavier given the power requirement and requirement on the wiring to carry that power , but whatever.

Now that I have a car on order, it’s time to start getting ready for the car to arrive – I have to get a 240V circuit run to my garage, figure out an appropriate charger, create a parking space for that current car, and I need to line up all of the paperwork to get the various tax incentives that make this car make sense. All of that’s for another day, today’s goal is to get this stupid grin off my face as I know it’s getting nearer and nearer. I can only hope that the car is half as fun as I anticipate.


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