Are you curious about owning an electric car such as the Chevy Volt?
We are not exactly early adopters when it comes to new technology. We are definitely not “Keeping up with the Jones’” folks. In fact, my husband, Al, laughs and says we’re setting a new trend in our neighborhood: “Holding back with the McMahons.”
But one place where we have been early adopters is with our cars. We have owned hybrid vehicles since 2003, when we invested in our first Honda Civic Hybrid. We loved it so much, we bought a second one. We now own a Chevy Volt and plan to invest in a second Volt in the coming months.
Why Invest in a Hybrid or Electric Car
When we went to buy our Honda Civic Hybrids, everyone told us we were crazy: They were too expensive. They were untested. They were a fad. We even had dealers ask us, “Why would you want to do that?!” At the time only Honda and Toyota had hybrid cars on the market, but we knew quality when we saw it.
Most hybrid and electric cars are still pricey, but the federal government and many states offer rebates or tax credits when you purchase an alternative vehicle. We also bought our cars before the gas prices landed in the $4.00 a gallon range, so we saw tremendous savings because we only had to fill up once a month. We also feel strongly that we should not be a nation so dependent on Middle East gas commodities, and it’s only a matter of time before gas prices go through the roof again. And we do feel everyone should take global warming and the carbon footprint seriously. For us, there is just no going back to a fully gas-driven car.
Why Buy a Chevy Volt
So this time around we invested in a 2013 Chevy Volt and we LOVE the car. We are currently shopping for a second one.
*The Volt has a sports car sleekness, inside and out.
*The steering wheel and dashboard are filled with electronic features which are easy to use.
*The Volt is very powerful. The electric juice allows it to accelerate quickly. The car offers an amazingly smooth ride.
*The back seats fold down, which makes hauling stuff back from Home Depot and Lowe’s easy.
*The car turns off when stopped at lights so you don’t waste gas or electric energy.
*You can take the car anywhere. We have taken our car on many road trips. When the electric charge is spent, the Volt seamlessly bumps over to using gas, so you will never be stranded somewhere with a dead car. Here’s more info on how the Chevy Volt works:
*The car is primarily designed for commuting on electric energy. The electric charge lasts for about 35 miles on the older Chevy Volts. The 2016 and 2017 Volts have been redesigned with the capability of up to 53 miles per electric charge. Then the gas kicks in.
*The Volt can be driven in several modes: Normal Mode, Mountain Mode and Sport Mode depending on location and road conditions. Switching between the modes helps you extend the distance driven on electric power alone. Or you can ignore all of these options and just drive it in Normal Mode if you don’t like fussing with buttons while you are driving.
*You just plug the car in to a 120v or 240v outlet when not in use. We’ve run a cord out the garage and right into the driveway. It only takes an extra 30 seconds to plug in and unplug the car once you get into the routine. Al charges the car off of his work’s solar panels during the day, then charges at our house at night. We’ve barely seen any increase in our electric bill at home.
*Electric car charging stations are becoming more common in most communities and are easy to use. Some are free and often give you GREAT up front parking spots at events and venues. Call the number on the charging station to get started.
*You can find used Chevy Volts for under $20,000. If you are willing to drive out of town, you can also find Volts with low mileage. Use Carfax.com to find cars worth traveling for.
*The car is low to the ground, so rumor has it tall people have difficulty getting in and out of the Volt. And you tend to scrape the bottom fenders pulling over drainage and any driveway inclines. Just go slow.
*You have to be careful not to speed. It’s very easy to look down and not realize you are driving WAY over the speed limit, even around town.
As with any electric or hybrid car, high quality Winter snow tires make a huge difference and investing in quality all-weather tires for the rest of the year is highly recommended. The car tends to slide most when starting up from stop lights, even on wet roads, and sometimes slides a bit if you brake too quickly.
*The Volt has what we call a “cross walk blind spot.” The front framework for the car blocks your view just right that in town and in parking lots, it’s hard to anticipate people crossing in front of the car.
*The car is so quiet, people don’t hear you coming. Be extra careful backing out of your driveway and in parking lots. Also, check for pets under the car before you get in and back up slowly.
*The charge door on the front driver’s side sometimes likes to stick in winter, especially if we get a lot of ice. Members of the various Chevy Volt users groups have solutions on how to deal with this issue.
*We wish the distance you can go on the electric charge is just a bit further. The 2016 and 2017 Chevy Volts’ electric range is supposed to be up to 53 miles.
*New Chevy Volts are priced in the lower luxury car range, starting around $32,000. However, do the math because state and federal tax credits can help bring the price down.
*Click here to learn more about how the Chevy Volt works and why it’s different from other hybrid and electric vehicles.
*Check out this Consumer Reports Buying Guide for Hybrid and Electric cars, including the Chevy Volt.
*Here is a great article on charging your electric car.
*Want to buy a used Chevy Volt? Here are some good tips to consider.
*Join the Chevy Volt Users Group on Facebook or one of the many Chevy Volt Forums online such as this one.