Recently, I got the opportunity to spend some up close and personal time with the Chevrolet Volt. If you don't already know, I am an avid fan of the Volt and the technology being put into it. I decided to take a drive down to Gaithersburg, Maryland to check out the Volt during its "Freedom Drive." While there, I met with Tony Posawatz and Robert Peterson who are some of the head guys in the Volt program. Robert answered a few questions about the drive and vehicle more on that later.
The whole drive down to Criswell Chevrolet I was beyond excited to see the car. I'd been ogling at the vehicle over the internet since it was first announced years ago, so being able to see one in person was a big deal for me. Upon arriving at the dealership, I saw this was going to be a pretty big event even though it was the 4th of July weekend. Before the vehicle even arrived their were crowds of people just waiting to see the Volt pull into the lot. I had some time to talk to the people there about what they thought of the Volt and what made it so appealing to them. The majority of the responses were about the sleek design and the ability to drive for forty miles on no fuel at all and even if you were getting low on electricity you didn't need to worry to much cause the range extender would kick in when the power gets low. Another response that stood out to me being the audiophile that I am, was the whole new speaker design from Bose which is designed to use limited energy while still retaining good sound quality.
While talking to people about the Volt, the car turned the corner and parked right out front. I looked around at people as they were instantly in love with the car. A news crew was there and started interviewing. Once the interview was done I got the chance to finally get in the Volt. I was told that there were multiple "levels" of Volts for the pre-production run and the one that took the Freedom Drive was a step down from the production model. The second I sat down, I was shocked at how comfortable the car was. I had expected a light weight lumpy feeling seat to help the car get the most miles per gallon it could. I would rate the seats on the same level as most newer Cadillac's. The next thing I noticed was the fit and finish of the interior which was better than most of the GM's on the market. The smooth center console was gorgeous to see in person, I had always been on the fence about it after seeing images of it on the internet but in person changed my opinion.
As the day went on I managed to to pull Robert Peterson off to the side and ask a few questions. My first question was; Is the Volt living up to your expectations for the drive so far? Robert replied, "It's right on par with our predictions, unfortunately I can't give any miles per gallon figures but its right up where we are expecting it to be". I then asked what the most memorable moment of the Freedom Drive had been so far. I was expecting to hear when the team stopped at Nissan N.A. Headquarters in Tennessee, but instead I was told how in Fairfax,Virginia the Volt was a Grand Marshall of the towns Independence Day Parade following a Corvette down the parade route. Finally, I asked what the plan was for the Volt when it reached their destination in New York City. If they planned to park it at a dealership for awhile to display the vehicle or send it back to Michigan. Mr. Peterson informed me they would be putting the car in a container and shipping it back to Texas where the Freedom Drive started, not because the car couldn't handle it but simply a 1,776 mile drive was taking its toll on the members of the drive; especially being away from their families for the 4th of July.
As the day came to an end, their was a drawing of names from a hat to see who would be able to get a drive in the Volt. Out of the five names drawn ,sadly mine was not. However, this gave me an opportunity to get many pictures of the car in motion and boy did I get a lot of pictures! I did ask the people who got the chance to drive the Volt what they thought of it and it was unanimous that they loved the car, how it drove, how it felt, everything. As I looked around at the Callaway Camaro's and Corvette's at the dealership on my way out I couldn't help but get excited for the next chance I would get to see the Volt in person and hopefully get a chance to drive the car someday. Hopefully before launch later this year. I would like to take the chance to thank Mr.Peterson for taking time out of his day to answer some questions I had about the Chevrolet Volt.
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