General Motors gave me a Chevy Volt!
Well, not really. General Motors didn’t actually GIVE me the Volt. They just allowed me to test drive it for a week. But that week was enough time for me to realize that I didn’t really want to own one. At least not right now.
First off, let’s talk about what makes the Volt a special.
The Chevrolet Volt is a hybrid car. But not just any hybrid. It’s a Series Hybrid. Which, according to Chevrolet, means the “Volt lets you drive on pure electricity for your everyday commute and seamlessly switches to gasoline for longer trips.”
This technology was good enough for me to agree to review the car. (I mean, who would say no to such an offer?) It is also the reason for the Volt’s hefty price tag. The MSRP on my car was just over $45,000. However, this technology was NOT enough to convince me, the average consumer, to purchase a Volt.
But before I run down a list of all the things I dislike about the Volt, I’d like to list all of the positives.
First off, I love how spacious the drivers side area is. There was enough space there for me, my purse (which rested on the floor) and my pup Asha who just loves to curl in my lap as I drive. The windshield was also huge and spacious, giving me total visibility of all that laid before me and on the sides.
I also really loved how spacious the trunk was. Without the slightest bit of struggle, I could pack groceries, shopping bags and a few cases of water in there. Not to mention a spare outfit and a pair of shoes for the occasional pop-up party invitation that demanded a quick fashion change.
But for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to use the controls on the dashboard. Buttons were scattered all over the place. Some buttons were touch sensitive. Others needed to be pressed. But none of them seemed to make any sense at all. Three times, I almost got into an accident while driving, just trying to figure out how to turn off the air conditioning. Finally, I figured out how to just turn the fan down. But all the buttons and switches I had to go through to do that simple task really turned me off. Not to mention, I NEVER figured out how to manipulate the bass and treble on the radio. So for the entire week, I drove around with my radio sounding as if it were stuck in a fishbowl.
Which brings me to the electric motor…
I did A LOT of driving around in search of a charging station. And only once was I able to charge the car on my own.
Here’s the thing. There are over 700 public charging stations in the Washington, DC and Baltimore area (which is a very large area if you think about it). In DC, most of the charging stations are located inside of garages that you have to pay for. And if you’re lucky enough to find a station that’s not located in a garage, you may have to wait a few hours to use it. Charging stations fill up fast!
And they are not free. I found that it would cost me about $12 to completely charge my Volt using a EV Fast Charging station and about $5 for a Level 2 charging station. But I never got the chance to spend that much money on the electricity because it took forever and a day to charge. According to my Chevy Volt (and yes, the car will give you this information), it will take 5 hours for the car to reach a full charge at a Fast Charging station, 12 hours at a Level 2 station and a whopping 18 HOURS if I were to charge the car at my home! And my car ONLY got 33 miles to the charge, which for me, was not enough for me to justify rescheduling my life around a charging station.
Because of this, I opted to spend $44 at an Exxon Mobil gas station that I found on my way to the iPic Theatre in North Bethesda. And after 7 minutes at the pump, I was on my way to 360 miles of recharge and/re-gas freedom.
Needless to say, the Volt didn’t fit into my lifestyle.
But that’s not to say that I wouldn’t ever purchase one. I feel that sometime in the future, when charging stations become more abundant and cars are able to reach a complete charge in less than an hour, I may reconsider.
Oh, and I’ll definitely need to take a class on how to work the dashboard controls. Or, at least read the manual. But hey, I can’t fault the car for my incompetence. LOL!
All in all, the Chevrolet Volt is definitely the car of the future. Too bad, though. I’m still stuck here in the present. Maybe one day, I’ll catch up.