A few weeks ago, Chevy brought the new Volt to South Florida. I was one of the lucky few that got a peek at this new vehicle–the world’s first mass-produced, plug-in electric vehicle. I’ve been quite skeptical of the whole electric car thing and couldn’t wait to find the downside. I had my list of questions prepared.
The event was held at the very tony Midtown restaurant, Soyka. The vehicles were lined up in the parking lot, drawing quite a bit of attention from both restaurant patrons and passersby. Inside, Soyka had laid out quite a spread–everything from ceviche to brownies. But the real action was happening outside. I had a lot of questions about the vehicle and the Chevy product specialists were ready for everything I threw their way. Here’s the skinny–
Q: Is this a hybrid?
A: No, it’s not a hybrid. It’s a one of a kind, all electrically driven vehicle. It’s designed for all climates.
Q: How long does it take to charge the car?
A: About 4 hours in a 240 volt outlet.
Q: I like road trips. What if I can’t find any place to charge the car?
A: The Volt has a gas-powered engine on board, so if you run out of charge, you can still drive it. You won’t even notice a thing.
Q: When I think of an electric powered car, I think of a slow moving golf cart. Will this thing go fast?
A: The Volt has a maximum speed of 100.
Q: Hmmm..I’m not so sure about my family around in an electric car. Is it safe?
A: Absolutely! There are antilock brakes, electronic stability control, and daytime running lights. And, because the all-electric mode is so quiet, the Volt even emits a sound to alert hearing impaired pedestrians.
Q: Umm..What about Onstar? I NEED my Onstar!
A: OnStar? Of course OnStar is OnBoard!
Q: Ok fine. But what about all the nice features that I need inside–leather seats? satellite radio? usb? cupholders?
A: We’ve got you covered. Yes. Yes. Yes. And yes. By the way, you forgot to ask about rear camera (Yes) and keyless ignition (Yes).
Clearly, I couldn’t stump these guys. So, I went for the test drive. And just to be sure that it was roomy, I put a huge Chevy exec in the back and pushed my seat allllll the way back. He was prepared. He said, “Come on back some more, you’ve got plenty of room.” Hmmph. The very first thing that I noticed was just how quiet the car is. I couldn’t tell it was on. I’m glad they threw in a nice set of ring tones (think doorbell) when you turn the engine on and off. The second thing I noticed was that when you press the gas, the Volt was like a bullet. It responded like a charm. It took the corners nicely. The brakes were tight and it was actually FUN to drive. I give it 2 thumbs up!