Not too long ago Chevrolet invited me to take a test drive of the Chevy Volt their Electric Car of the Future. So I got in my car and drove down to Lehigh Valley Auto Show and was peeking around to see what kind of other cars I can take a glance at. Sure enough I don’t dress super formal with a full suit I did however have on some nice dress shoes, dress pants and a very nice casual shirt. I looked like I just came off the back 9 at Augusta possibly but who am I kidding I look like I could be trouble.
I made my way to a few vendors just peeking around and looking at what Toyota vehicles are doing these days. Then for fun I went down to the Land Rover/Cruiser cars to peek around at cars that I couldn’t possibly purchase but I do have an interest for as they do appear to be very good looking and performing vehicles. Needless to say I am sitting in the driver’s seat of an $80,000 vehicles and being ignored by the vendor. He just babbles on his cell phone talking to his buddies about when he will be done and then comes and peeks into the backseat to get some materials ready to hand out. Again here I am 6’4″ 240 lbs of a man taking up a large space in his cabin of this vehicle. Finally after what seemed like 8 minutes he asks if he can help me. I said “yes I am with the Philadelphia Examiner.com website and I was wondering what some technological innovations that this car has had in previous years as opposed to this year’s model”.
Well as soon as the words Philadelphia Examiner.com came out of my mouth this gentleman was MORE than happy to jump into the front seat and go on and on about some of the technological innovations and yes there are quite a few. To many to list but simply staggering that a car as big as that is able to be so graceful and elegant and want to be driven off road is amazing. This car was designed for off roading and can handle every bit of terrain you throw at it.
Well after that little demonstration I figured it was time to make my way to the real showcase and that was Chevrolet and GM display. I had a fantastic time as always thanks to my good friend Chaiti Sen she really made me feel important. I got an all inclusive look into the Chevy Volt by stepping into that glass box that surrounds the really important cars; yeah I got into the VIP section of this car show. Marie was giving me the rundown of the car and all its technological breakthroughs with gas mileage and charging and allowing me to look into every nook and cranny. If I had any question, boom, she had the answer. I couldn’t stump her at all.
The real beauty of this whole day was that one of the vehicle support engineers was there to talk with me while doing my test drive. Jason Taylor is the man’s name who gave me the run down on the test drive and we chatted about how he sees electric cars coming into their own, different innovations that he is working on and so on and so on. Needless to say it was a Tech guy dream car. This car is so smooth running and very responsive which isn’t all that surprising.
See with an Electric Car all the power is right there waiting for you at the gas pedal. Instead of the usual gas motor which has to get up to speed and generate all that horsepower the Electric Cars are all right there ready to go. That doesn’t mean this car will win any drag races anytime soon as it isn’t designed for that. Instead this car is designed to allow you, the consumer, with estimates in the 300 to 400 miles of driving one a single charge and 9 gallons of fuel. Now I know what you are saying. Fuel? This thing still needs gas? Yes, that is right it still needs gas however the gas isn’t to power the motor instead the gas is used to power the generator that powers the electric motor.
See very innovative, I told you so. Jason and I talked about how cars are trying other ways to continue to produce electricity in other ways albeit with power conducted through braking systems, which the Volt does, or solar panels on the roof. Chevrolet so far has come up with the most practical application for electric and fuel combo. Then we started to talk safety and how the electricity is stored and powered through the machine and how in case of an emergency the car will “dump” out the electric power stored up safely so as to avoid any nasty contamination.
Also what car of the future wouldn’t be complete without its very own app? Well Chevrolet has an App for that as well. The Volt Mobile App is right there with you. Anywhere you get a signal on your smartphone; you can have total control of your Volt. Tap away and, with the OnStar mobile app, you’ll be able to check the battery charge level, available range, tire pressure, remote lock and unlock and even activate the remote start to heat or cool the interior to your preferred temperature. Navigate the interactive screens of the app, and you can change how and when you want your Volt to charge. You can even set up Alerts via text or email to remind you to plug in your Volt, when charging is complete or if charging has been interrupted. The app also provides a single button to access a Volt Customer Advisor who can answer vehicle specific questions.
Now as far as the charging goes you got two ways of doing it. One the old fashion 120V which takes up to 12 hours to complete or the 240V which shortens that wait time to about 4 hours. The best thing about that charge time is while driving the Volt around you can alter your heads up display and it gives you the estimated charge times for both 120v and 240v in case you needed to schedule something for a long period of time.
Now the killer part is that while you are driving and you run out of electric juice you really never run out. The Volt was designed to never fully discharge all of its electricity and to keep a reserve charge at all times. If you run out of electricity and run on gas power and run out of gas you would think you are out of luck and need to charge for 12 hours? Wrong just simply stop into a gas station and fill up the tank and continue driving until you reach your destination and can recharge your battery at your convenience.
All in all my experience with the Chevy Volt and the entire crew at GM was phenomenal I truly do enjoy everything they have included me in on and allowed me to report back to you the readers of my articles. Hopefully I will have some exciting news to report to you about something with me and GM but who knows I guess you just have to keep your eyes peeled.
When can you expect this car to start showing up in the streets of Philadelphia? Hopefully soon as I am really excited about this car and it’s potential. Unlike other Electric Cars that once they run out of juice they are dead in the water this car can go for miles and miles. I wonder how many fill ups it would take to get from Philadelphia to Disney World and back? Hmm I might have to do an expose on the matter!
In other news I suffered a major setback as my desktop pc who has been my loyal friend for so long decided that it no longer wanted to be a desktop pc anymore and my motherboard decided it didn’t want to be a motherboard no longer. Simply put it fried up like crispy bacon. So now I am in the process of trying to get a replacement desktop pc hopefully something soon will come of it. All this happened while I was installing new software for a review on and I never seen it happen before. Usually I see a motherboard fry up due to over juicing or an electrical shock to it. The CPU is cracked and well might as well get a new one instead of trying to keep the old one running. Luckily my trusty laptop is here to help me write my articles.