Friday, January 4, 2013

One Year of Volt Ownership: My Reflections

Come Monday, January 7, 2013, I will have owned a 2012 Chevrolet Volt for one year.  It’s been one hell of a year.  What started out as a simple car purchase turned out to be a life altering event.  Why?   It’s a long list. 

The car vastly exceeded my expectations which were born from a technological car crush way back when the Volt was announced as a concept in 2007.  I followed the Volt’s development closely, mainly on, for several years.  My goal was to own a Volt as soon as it was sold in my state.  And based upon my expected use cases, I figured I would average around 100 MPG combined with my 70+ miles per day commute, not the 1000+ MPG I would get after a full year of ownership and 20,000 miles.  Owning a Volt for one year has removed any doubts about the viability of the electric car movement.    While nay sayers will complain about the cost of EVs at the same time people like me can show these cars are already a cost effective solution for many, I have no doubts that the electric car industry will follow the same trend that every other piece of technology has gone through during our lifetime:  initially high adoption premiums, whose costs are rapidly diminished through economies of scale, and delivered not only cheaper, but better.  You would have to completely ignore history to believe otherwise.

I didn’t realize the influence I could have as an early adopter, helping usher in the electric car age.  I participated in several state wide Plug-in Vehicle Readiness Groups funded through the Department of Energy.  That work is helping our entire state get educated on electric vehicles, and promoting sustainable, thoughtful and appropriate policies for their adoption.  Not only that, but working with large and powerful stakeholders such as car manufactures, power companies, and legislators helped fill in any knowledge gaps I had about electric cars.  In this past year, I learned what it is like to be a true advocate, sacrificing a lot of personal time to help promote electrification.  This blog is only a tiny portion of that work.  I even battled a conservative radio talk show host, I believe successfully, for about 15 minutes on air.

As a result of owning this car, I pay a lot more attention to where I get my news, and how much I trust what I hear/read/see.  If you know the sky is blue, and the news sources that you trust so much tell you the sky is orange, you have a problem.  News sources I once trusted, probably to my own ignorance, such as Fox and Drudge Report, have not only distorted facts about electric cars, specifically the Volt, but they have told lies.  In fact, Matt Drudge in my opinion has directly libeled GM and the Volt, and should have been taken to court and sued for millions, as I believe he has negatively affected Volt sales in that amount.   If you have read this blog, you know I’ve written a few entries attempting to expose a lot of the lies told by the media about this car.  But my distrust of the news now goes way beyond just the electric car, as I am now forced to scrutinize almost everything else I see reported.  Thankfully, my critical thinking ability has been reinvigorated.  I can’t say the same the same for most Americans.

I have even reevaluated my once strong love of the Republican Party.  I still consider myself a Republican.  But much of the Republican Party has left me in its extremism, loss of a balanced approach to solving our nation’s complex problems, and a lack of intellectual integrity and honestly.  The fact that the Republican Party cannot see the enormous and repeated damage caused by our dependence on crude, foreign or domestic, and sees the only viable solution in expanded drilling is beyond comprehension.  Given that this was an election year, it wasn’t difficult to get the candidates’ views on electrification of the transportation sector.  Needless to say, electric vehicles are not widely supported by Republican leadership.  So I have a difficult time supporting candidates that don’t have a balanced, intelligent, and honest answer to our nations’ energy crisis, and as a result, can’t trust them to make good decisions on other issues.
So, all of this change and self-reflection from a simple car purchase…   Long live electric cars and long live the Volt!
For those that want all the nity gritty details, I'll be publishing a new post very soon with my details.


  1. Good job. I've found the same to be true of the Republicans. I call myself a Democrat, but I vote who I think is right at the time, and have voted Republican.
    I won't comment on the news media as I have nothing good to say

  2. The multinationals, incl the oil companies, more or less own the gov, the media, higher education (even state institutions are now heavily funded by them, as gov support dwindles), and churches (I've had some experience in that area). I remember reading how the oil industry gave as much to the 1992 Clinton campaign as it did to the Bush Sr campaign.

    I was reared a Republican back in the time when environmentalism was not attached to either party and the top two environmental politicos to date were Teddy Roosevelt and Nixon. Now I'm a Democrat for various reasons, including my "bleeding heart," but have always been against abortion, even before I married my Catholic husband and converted back in the 1960s.

    So this past election cycle I was really conflicted, and had somewhat decided to vote for Romney/Ryan due to the abortion issue and hold my nose on the other issues..... until Romney made that wise-crack about how he couldn't drive a car with a windmill on its roof.

    Well, I'm driving my Volt on 100% wind-generated electricity for about 84% of my driving miles, and I'm concerned about ALL life issues, including those involving environmental harms. So that was my definite deciding point. If he had just kept his mouth shut that one time...

    The Republicans' antipathy for electric vehicles and alternative energy is understandable in the context of who funds them and also the Dems. Obama never would have become IL Senator without S. IL coal on board.

    So we'll see what happens. "Clean coal" or some other oxymoron, I suppose, and I know Obama's into fracking and tar sands; his consideration of Susan Rice indicates that.

  3. The first time I heard about the Volt was in an interview in 2011. Guess who was being interviewed in that show? It was Jay Leno! He said he was actually thinking of getting one to add to his massive car collection. This is solid evidence that this car really is something! Good to know you're liking it too!

    Tyra Shortino

  4. Jay neded up being one of the first to get a Volt, and it is his daily driver to the studio :)

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