I am a petrol head. I would rather car shop than clothes shop any day. Test driving cars is one of my favorite activities. I could watch the British car program, Top Gear, non-stop.
So I jumped at the opportunity to attend a Cherry Bomb Grill stop in Raleigh recently. I was joined by my three-year old son who has inherited my love of all things with wheels along with other car enthusiasts and journalists at this event. I’ll be wearing PR pro and petrol head hats for this post so bare with me.
I’m by no means a car expert so don’t expect me to go into the technical specs of the Volt. I’m just someone who enjoys cars. Mainly just driving them. The Volt is a right direction for American car companies. We need to find alternatives to gas powered engines. The Chevy Volt is a sharp looking car with some nice features. It travels about 40 miles on one charge before the gas engine kicks in. The engine is an average 1.4L, 4-cylinder to me. To recharge the batteries, it is as easy as plug it in and let it charge like any other device preferably overnight. The interior was roomy, comfortable, and easy to navigate. It is a hatchback with a roomy trunk or as I prefer the term boot and split seats which fold down nicely. It has the latch system for car-seats. I didn’t get to test drive the Volt. There would have been a car seat switch involved (wouldn’t been a pain getting it into the Volt, but getting it back into my 2000 Audi.) but mainly no one under 18 was allowed on the test drive. What I heard from those who did take a test drive was good things.

I like the concept of the Chevy Volt, but is it a car for me? Most likely not. The Chevy Volt wouldn’t fit our family since we’re all above average height. In fact, no one could sit behind my 6’6″ husband. Where we are currently located, I’d be running the gas engine a lot defeating the purpose of the electric car. For example, my roundtrip to Target is over 40 miles. It would work for my husband’s three-mile roundtrip commute to his office. With the MSRP starting $41,000 and even with the potential of a full federal tax credit of $7,500, it wouldn’t make financial sense for my husband’s 15-mile a week commute. We don’t have a garage so charging could be an issue for me. The idea of a really long extension cord coming out of the backdoor to the car doesn’t excite me. Believe me, I’m sad about this.
I try to be as green as possible in my everyday life. I’m all for green transportation options. We need find solutions to easing our addiction to fossil fuels and developing renewable energy sources. I think the Volt and TwitterToyota Prius are steps in the right direction, but there are still environmental concerns. BBC’s Top Gear and CBS Sunday Morning Fast Draw team raised valid questions. Take a look at them here and make your own conclusions:
What the Volt does is it sparks real discussions about how we can move to solve dependance on fossil fuel. And gives us more than a concept on paper, but a working model to experience using an electric car first hand.
Now switching over to PR pro hat. I thought Volt Unplugged Tour makes a great case study on how to launch a product. The organization was super and well run. Social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook were used to engage and spread the word about the Volt. The event was small and very relaxed allowing for real interaction. The Volt team was a mix of engineering, PR/marketing, and other support personnel giving the conversations depth. I had lively and informative conversations with the staff, journalists, and petrol heads over great finger foods and Coca Cola out of glass bottles from the Cherry Bomb Grill.
Driving a Volt makes a statement that your willing to be an early adapter. And GM is investing wisely in reaching the early adapters with the Volt Unplugged Tour.

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