In the final two weeks of our experiment, Ric and Leandro share their observations through written and video journals. Ric has definitely adjusted his driving style when he’s behind the wheel and Leandro is pleasantly surprised by the creature comforts the Volt affords. After a month of running on electric power and saving big at the pump, they regrettably return the vehicle to Todd Wenzel Chevrolet. Thank you Ric and Leandro, for sharing your Volt Experience with us!
A favorite feature of the Volt is the touch screen display over the central console. It is VERY EASY to change or select any display feature available, but I find myself changing very little while focusing on my driving.
I have virtually retrained my driving style to eliminate “jack rabbit starts” and screeching halts at braking. I find myself taking it a bit more easy in my overall driving habits, particularly due to the fact that every move I make is shown in simple graphics on the display screen. I feel a bit guilty if I am wasting energy by flooring the gas pedal or pumping on the brakes rather than downshifting into “low” for slowing or going through curves or when cornerning.
On my continued trips out of town for court appearances or meetings, the Volt consistently pleases me…a two hour trip to the east side of the state costs just a few dollars in gas and electricity…a far cry from the $100 plus fill up cost of my Mercedes SUV, diesel powered and very expensive to operate. I have not forgotten to turn off the car when parking since my first mistake during week number 2.
We have had continued mild weather, and there has not been enough snowfall to coat the roads, at least in West Michigan. I was looking forward to seeing how the Volt handles on snowy roads. Entering into my final week of the Volt Experience, I might get a chance to see how it handles in the snow.
Trips to the mall and to various retail outlets over the past week after Thanksgiving has given me a lot of opportunities for short trips, always on electric power. The Volt still draws stares and comments from fellow drivers and shoppers. It’s with a sense of pride and environmental responsibility that I have enjoyed this unique vehicle for the past month.
This past Sunday afternoon, we went to Squires Tree Farm in Rockford for a Christmas tree. Not wanting to mess up the spacious interior with pine needles or the roof with pine pitch, a friend accompanied us and we put our tree in the back of his GMC pick up truck. Two 7 foot Frasier fir Christmas trees were gulped up in the spacious truck bed, and I was glad that we did not try to use the Volt as a truck. But for shopping trips and lots of packages, whether to Costco or to Macys, the Volt has an amazing amount of cargo space, plus room for additional passengers, or one lucky Scottish Terrior named Barney who loves the ride!
The battery problems are dealt with by GM with a buy-back program, but in a recent Grand Rapids Press article, one featured owner has no plans of returning the vehicle. If I were an owner at this point rather than driving the Volt as a demo, I would most certainly stick with the Volt. It’s been a great experience.
For a month I drove the Volt from Grand Rapids to GVSU in Allendale. In the beginning I was quite nervous because I did not understand the fact that the car would stop running on battery power and switch to electricity generated by gas after 36 miles. That happened the first time I drove it and it went so smoothly I almost did not realize it. I find many people like the design of the Volt, as I got lots of compliments from people at GVSU and while driving around Grand Rapids. I feel fortunate for having had the opportunity of driving the car of the future.
The overall experience could not have been better. While I was driving it I felt secure. It did not take me long to figure out how the car works, because it shares similarities with my other car, a Chevy Equinox. It is really cool to drive and you feel you are not contaminating the planet! The Volt hardly makes any noise when it’s running on battery power, and when it switches to gas there is a vibration, but it’s minimal.
The navigation system is nice, and so is the sound of the stereo. The touch screen has the same logic of my iPad, so it is quite handy. The car has two digital screens, but only one is touchable. I thought that issue was going to be somehow distracting, but that did not happen at all.
I was concerned to hear about the battery issues, but our experience was without issue. The car worked as promised 100%. It is a great car to travel in…I drove pretty fast regularly and I did not feel the Volt was any slower than other cars. Of course, as an electric car, it takes a couple of seconds longer to increase the speed, but nothing considerable at all.
The interior space is great, and there is room for 4 adults. The electronic system is also great, for example you can program the car to heat up the seats every time you start the car. The graphics of the screens are tasteful and sleek, which is exiting to watch. I would buy it no question at all!