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2011 Chevrolet Volt

2011 Chevrolet Volt [1]

2011 Chevrolet Volt

Listen to Review [2]

What does it take to power an electric car? I know that sounds like a stupid question and I know the answer is electricity. The problem is on the week I drove the much anticipated Chevrolet Volt, I found electricity harder to find in Tyler, Texas than bi-partisanship in Washington, D.C.

Don’t get this wrong. I was impressed with the 2011 Chevrolet Volt. The styling was much better than it looked on paper. I would never have guessed it was an Electric Hybrid if I had to go off looks alone. But, as we all know Chevrolet wanted us to be far more impressed with the cars mileage performance than how it looks on the runway. And on that front the results were a bit of a letdown.

The Volt was delivered with a depleted battery. No problem there. It’s easy to do the math. The Volt has a 50 mile range on battery and since the car was delivered from Dallas, and Dallas is almost 100 miles from Tyler, there should be no life left in the battery at the end of the trip. This is where I began to experience a little frustration. As we all know Brookshire’s has opened a new store on the south-side of town. “Fresh” is the name and “Green” is the game. So in addition to one of the nicest food courts you’ll ever find, where you can buy beer no less, you will also find the one and only car charging station in Tyler. Problem is the only time the charging station was used was to charge this very car for the grand opening. After that it has remained idle until I tried to use it.

After several tries at swiping my credit card on the “electric pump” I could not get it to work. Some of the great employees at Fresh were very willing to help but, at the end of the day we all failed to charge the Volt. The first bummer of the week.

The second let down occurred at my house a little later in the day. I live in the Alezea District. My home was built in 1937. They knew how to build homes in those days and that’s why my wife and I love it. Only problem, in 1937 no one was thinking about adding charging stations for cars. So my antiquated electrical grid would not charge the Volt. Second bummer of the week.

The third and final blow came at my favorite watering hole, Breakers. The owner of Breakers, a 28 year-old greenie was thrilled to see the Volt. Now, understand I’ve brought some really cool cars there in the past, Vipers, Corvettes, GT500’s etc. Never has Brandon even asked to see one. Well, he flipped out on the Volt. (See Picture) When relayed the frustrating news of the day he offered to help. We plugged the Volt into his 110V outlet and continued our weekly meeting. After three and a half hours of charging on 110V the Volt was barley charged and offered little more than a trip home on battery. Officially the third bummer of the week.

Volt Happiness [3]

Volt Happiness

The rest of the week I drove around on “generator” power. I averaged a little over 40 miles to the gallon. To me this seems disappointing.

The Volt isn’t cheap. I just wonder with the advancements in direct injection, turbo charging and start/stop technology do we really need to go electric at all. I know this will damage my “hippie” reputation but, we are not there yet.

I can’t wait to try it again. Maybe next year Tyler will have two charging stations and the president will mandate that I spend the three grand to upgrade my antiquated excuse for a home.

I’m Lonnie Johnson and this is this week’s review sponsored by Stewart’s Donnybrook Automotive. Stop by and see Gary today. I’m very proud to have them sponsor these reviews and hope you will give them a chance to earn your business. At the corner of Donnybrook and Troup Stewart’s Donnybrook Automotive offers what I think is the last full service station on the planet. You won’t find a more enhanced, enjoyable atmosphere anywhere in Tyler.