In this house, road trips are the best vacations. I can honestly say I have never taken any other form of transportation when my entire family takes vacations. Personally, I think road trips are better because you get to see so much and experience more along the way to your destination.
The downfall is the rising gas prices. They have kept families that love road trips closer to home. What if you could save on gas so you can spend with your family? Would you go further? But are these cars particle for road trips? What if you run out of battery charge? What will you do then?
These are some of the questions that Chevy has considered when developing their electric-powered car the Chevy Volt. I can answer some of these questions because I recently took a road trip in the Volt with my daughter, thanks to Chevy.
Chevy invited a few bloggers including myself to take a road trip across Florida from Ft. Myers to Key West over 4 days. I was able to bring a companion, so I choose Leandra, my 14 year old daughter to spend mom and daughter time with.
At first glance, the Chevy Volt looks like a normal car. It is not the smallest car out there on the road and seats 4 passengers including the driver. The Volt sports a hatchback trunk that provides lots of cargo room.
Sitting in the car and looking at the dashboard I noticed quite a few differences. First, the push button, key-less start. I know this is not new technology, but I like not having to start the car with a key. I also noticed the gear shift was similar to a gas-powered car. Some hybrid cars have a funky gear shifter, but the Volt was created something that people would be familiar with. The car also came equip with navigation, satellite radio, and of course On-Star.
The information center on the Chevy Volt was quite different from anything I had seen before. First, because this is an electric car, there was a display showing how many miles were left and the level of charge. Second, there is a digital display of your speed limit and miles per gallons (yes you still use gas in this car, but I will get to that). Lastly there was this tiny green digital level that had a couple leaves in it. At first I was confused, but as I drove, I noticed that by keeping the green circle in the center of the level, I was driving the most efficient.
Lets talk about driving the Chevy Volt. The car runs very quite. With a full charge you can drive about 30 miles. If you run out of battery charge, the car automatically switches over to the fuel powered engine that has a 9 gallon tank that can take you about 375 more miles.
When I first received the Chevy Volt to drive after lunch in Ft Myers Florida, I drove it to our first overnight destination in Naples Florida. This was about a 20 minute highway drive that only used electric power. I easily drove 60MPH with no problems using strictly battery power, something hybrids cannot do. At night the car was recharged using a normal 110 outlet at the hotel.
The second day, I drove the Chevy Volt across Florida, through the Everglades and down to Key Largo where Leandra and I spent the afternoon snorkeling in the Atlantic.
This drive took us a few hours, and the Volt seamlessly switched over to being gas-powered after the battery was depleted. Our overnight stay was in Islamorada at the Cheeca Lodge & Spa.
On the third day Leandra and I spent the first half of the day swimming with the dolphins at Theater of the Sea in Islamorada and the drove to Key West where we watched the sunset. I am not going to lie, I did speed a bit. But the car handled it and drove just like your normal gasoline powered vehicle. We drove a few hundred miles over the 4 days using both battery power and gasoline. The car was roomy, drove like my car at home, and I was even stopped by people to ask what kind of car it was.
In the ever evolving vehicle technology, the Chevy Volt is standing out. You can actually use less fuel than a hybrid while staying closer to home, and get just as good fuel mileage as a hybrid when driving longer distances.
What is your opinion, would you consider purchasing a Chevy Volt for about $40,000 with a $7,000 tax rebate?