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Tacoma gets high Volt-age debut of Chevrolet’s new electric car

Post by Kris Sherman / The News Tribune on Oct. 9, 2010 at 2:41 pm with 10 Comments »
October 9, 2010 2:41 pm
Chevrolet Volt
Volt cockpit

Car enthusiasts and environmentally conscious drivers were amped up this morning for the national road tour debut of the Chevrolet Volt, the first electric vehicle with what General Motors calls extended-range capability.

And it happened at Griot’s Garage in Tacoma.

It was a big deal. Two Japanese television stations were there. Two Seattle-area radio stations were on hand and several local TV stations filmed for the news.

Cameras from Nippon TV trained on me as I drove up in my 2010 Prius hybrid to test drive the Volt. Reporter Takuya Katsumura eagerly interviewed me, even when I told him I was a member of the media, too.

The coming out of the Volt is big news in Japan, home to the companies that produce the Toyota Prius, Camry hybrid and soon-to-be-out Nissan Leaf.

I got a preview drive before members of the general public could get behind the wheel, and I loved the car, it’s quiet, smooth ride, compact dash, cool graphics and technology.

A steady line of eager and curious drivers lined up in the garage – out of the rain – for their turns at the wheel of the car, which won’t be available for sale in the U.S. until later this year. And even then, only in six states and the District of Columbia.

Washington isn’t one of them, but GM publicists said they began the car’s 3,400-mile Volt Unplugged tour in the Seattle area because there’s an interest here and they’re certain there will be a demand, when the cars become available in the area.

Scott Winneguth, a 57-year-old engineer for a renewable energy company, drove up from Portland to drive the Volt.

He was excited, he said, to drive a car that can go 25-50 miles without a drop of petrol and then use the gasoline engine to power the electric drive.

“I’ve been waiting for this day since GM droppd the EV1 (previous electric car) program,” he said.

Then, when a publicist walked up to usher him to his test drive, Winneguth gushed: “Is it my turn? I’ve been waiting for 10 years!”

Later, he pronounced the car “fabulous.” “It’s all come together,” he said of the marriage of battery and gasoline technology. “It was better than I thought it would be. You cannot hear or tell if the engine is running. It’s smooth. The car feels extremely stable. It’s everything you would expect from a modern car.”

Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. aranciata says:

    So, what do you think the chances that the drooling idiots that are in favor of mass producing electric vehicles have considered the impact that this will have on the available supply of electricity? Economic reality is based on the law of supply and demand, more demand is reflected in the market price of any commodity.

    You are not only being fleeced to subsidize an item there is no market for, your electric rates will also be going up due to this nonsense.

  2. nonstopjoe says:

    People can use electricity to charge car batteries and use gas-powered generators to provide power for their homes.

  3. fatuous says:

    “the impact that this will have on the available supply of electricity?”

    If the vehicles are charged at night, the impact should be very favorable. Note that hydroelectric dams have to maintain a minimum river flow rate at all times, even if there is minimal demand for electricity.

    So at night, Tacoma power and Bonneville power will get the income from retail electrical rates instead of trying to give it away in the wholesale market.

    Also if you have a bunch of battery power cars storing electricity, you can use them to help balance the energy output of variable energy sources such as wind.

    I’m looking forward to buying a plug-in hybrid car.

  4. I can’t wait to get an electric car.

    We’ve never needed imported oil, and we’ll need it even less in the future.

  5. colsprague says:

    Aranciata: “Drooling idiots”? For someone who has obviously not researched this issue, you are awfully quick to start name-calling. Please do a little research and you may find the “drooling idiots” are smarter than you thought.

    I suspect you are like so many in history, unwilling to accept change or embrace anything new and foreign to you.

  6. Its funny how people think this is ‘green’ . . . hahahahaha

    Do you have any idea how much oil was used in the production of this car?

    It’ll use electricity for the first 30 miles, where does that come from?


  7. rgardner says:

    Quote: “I can’t wait to get an electric car.
    We’ve never needed imported oil, and we’ll need it even less in the future.”

    Because electricity come from Gaia, the earth god, or from Thor, the lightening God.

    Or supposed “dirty” coal (primary source BTW), evil nuclear power plants, or damming salmon rivers. Guess you can’t win.

  8. nwcolorist says:

    The big test will be based on the overall cost of owning and driving this new car. If it compares favorably with gas powered vehicles, it can survive.

  9. Or supposed “dirty” coal (primary source BTW), evil nuclear power plants, or damming salmon rivers. Guess you can’t win.

    At least these three sources of energy don’t involve buying oil from countries whose residents hate our guts and wish to kill us.

  10. Novelist3 says:

    Didn’t we just have the Trib print off this article?
    I’ll say the same thing I said in the comments of that one. Anyone who is “drooling” over this car is an idiot. The Nissan Leaf costs 10 grand less, can run a hundred miles on a charge, and can charge in half an hour. I don’t mind the concept of electric cars- what I do mind is this advertisement. An ad that promotes an inferior, practically useless vehicle that doesn’t fit the driving range of the vast majority of the country. Shame, Trib.

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