The Chevrolet Volt is the first production car I’ve driven that feels like the future.
My initial go around in the Chevrolet Volt was at the Detroit media launch last fall in Detroit. First impressions: Fresh faced, totally tech-geek, and like no other car on the road. The fanfare about the Volt was palpable, but no one really knew how the reception would be when it hit the streets. On the ride and drive, I felt as if I had to handle the vehicle with kid gloves, though GM execs insisted this was not the case. In fact, along with my driving partner, electric car expert , I came out of it with the best mileage out of the entire bunch of journalists that drove it.
However, deep down I knew I lacked the patience to drive so slow and smoothly on the regular. I was curious what it would be like to live with the Volt. I got my chance last week.
I found that my initial driver impressions have held up, as Forbes contributor Hannah Elliott put it in her , the Volt is a "cool car.” It is blessed with both sophisticated engineering and significant vroom. As a city dweller, living with a Volt for a few days presented unforeseen unique challenges. I typically park in my friend’s Brooklyn driveway. She has the good fortune of having a driveway and garage attached to her home. I was looking forward to charging the Volt from the comfort of my own parking place.
However, on my first night with the Volt, we discover that her garage is not equipped with a centrally located outlet that I could plug the Volt into, and extension cords are not recommended. Rather than rush off to a charging station, I figured that I would take the opportunity to live with the Volt as a gasoline car for a couple of the nights. After using the 35 mile e-range, the car functioned with no problems on gasoline, but I couldn’t shake the profound sense of guilt I had -- it was like cheating on a diet. Eventually, I got back on track, and charged the Volt at my partner’s studio space, which has accessible outlets and a driveway.
I’m sure there are many owners who will wake up and say, “Darn, I forgot to charge last night.”
The Volt continued to make a cosmic impression on me -- the uncanny peaceful quiet of driving it. The car attracted ridiculous amounts of attention with its suggestive badging and styling. But what epitomized the experience was the interior. The plastic (yes, door panels and center consul have a mod aesthetic, giving the vehicle a Jetson-like nuance with touch controls. I felt quite urbane in my stomping grounds
My father, an automotive engineer, used to bring home the future — test vehicles and prototypes. The future came in the form of one-off vehicles, most of which never came to be, or were produced in very limited quantities. It’s just been that Cadillac is moving ahead with plans to make it’s own version of the Volt. Hello, future.