This year is the big test for electric vehicles. Sure, there are a few that are already on the road, but mostly super expensive versions like the Tesla (over $100,000) and cars that have been converted to electric with DIY instructions. But later this fall, Chevrolet is releasing the Chevy Volt! The plug-in electric hybrid vehicle will go on sale in California, Michigan and the Washington, D.C. area in October 2010.
In what looks to be part marketing ploy and part demonstration, President Obama got a much anticipated Chevy Volt ride last week when he visited the Compact Power battery plant in Michigan. The parent company of Compact Power, LG Chem, is manufacturing battery cells for the Volt. Turns out, they were more than happy to give the Commander-in-Chief a front-row seat for the new technology that promises to change the way Americans drive and consume fossil fuels.
Unlike other “pure” electric vehicles hitting the road this fall, the Chevy Volt is a hybrid electric vehicle. That means that you can drive approximately 40 miles on 100% electricity (if you have a shorter commute, you can be fully electric powered). If your trip takes you farther than that, the car’s engine/generator kicks in seamlessly to extend the driving range another 300 miles. For people that have “range anxiety” about electric cars, the Volt is your answer to a relaxing, virtually emissions-free trip.
The nation is eagerly awaiting the release of the new Chevy Volt. An April 2010 report revealed that the first 100 Chevy Volts sold would be to the Obama Administration for official use. Last month, GM announced that it partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy to give away a free home charging station (retail $2000) to the first 4,400 Chevy Volt owners.
Looks like Obama is sold on the idea of electric cars in America. The real test will be whether U.S. residents get charged up about the new technology.