The atmosphere was electrifying last week as I attended several events surrounding the Washington Auto Show. And if you think I’m using a play on words there, I TOTALLY AM.
Something you many not realize is that major car shows often have different themes and the one for Washington, DC, is usually around energy and public policy. In fact, you’ll find an entire day devoted to discussions on how technology is making our nation’s roads and vehicles safer and infrastructure smarter and transforming the way we live, work and travel. On Media Day itself, you’ll find press conferences throughout the day including Green Car Journal’s annual Green Car Awards™.
Since I was attending as part of our She Buys Cars Women’s Influencer Program, I was hosted by Chevrolet and we focused two days specifically on what they are bringing to the green space, especially in the area of electrified vehicles.
Now, I know that sounds like a science fiction term but it’s a real one that I was introduced to last year when I met Pam Fletcher, GM’s Executive Chief Engineer for Electrified Vehicles (yes, she’s a woman). But before I get to Pam and her big reveal this year, let’s start with something you might already be familiar with – the Chevy Volt.
Last week, we kicked off our event at the Ronald Reagan Building in downtown DC with a lovely reception and a ride & drive for the 2016 Chevy Volt. The driving experience wasn’t anything new for me as my husband owns a Chevy Volt. I know what it feels like to drive on pure electric (very smooth and quiet) for approximately 40 miles before the gas generator kicks in to power the electric motor for a few hundred more miles.
But watching other women drive it for the first time and really understand what electric cars are all about. And I was able to see that the redesigned Chevy Volt had a more stylish exterior, a more open and classy interior, and most importantly, an electric range of up to 53 miles and a total range (with gas) of up to 420 miles. In addition to the benefits you get with an electric vehicle, like staying away from the pump (my husband filled up his gas tank FOUR TIMES last year), you also get a huge tax rebate in the state of Maryland and a federal tax credit. And you’re qualified for a sticker that puts you in the HOV lane!
Needless to say, I told my husband it was time for him to upgrade to the new Volt.
Until I saw the Bolt, that is.
Last year, I attended several auto shows, saw the redesigned Volt, and saw the concept for the Chevy Bolt EV, a hatchback style electric vehicle. Everyone buzzed about it and I was thrilled to see a pre-production model appear at the Washington Auto Show this year. It’s been confirmed as part of the 2017 lineup and will roll out of production this fall.
What do you need to know about it? It’s all electric. That means you charge it and go – up to approximately 200 miles. What happens after that?
Let me introduce you to the term “range anxiety.” It’s a real thing and it’s what keeps many people from going all electric. It’s the fear of running out of juice and having to recharge before being able to get in motion again.
A few things to consider for overcoming range anxiety…
- I’d bet most of your daily driving is less than 200 miles. And if you aren’t sure, the Bolt EV page has a little tool at the bottom that let’s you estimate mileage from point A to point B.
- With chargers becoming more common (especially in the DC area), it’s a great commuter car. Drive to work, plug in and charge, and then drive home.
- It’s easy to charge overnight. How does that work? With a normal electrical outlet. Most people are surprised to hear that. The Bolt EV is compatible with 120V, 240V, and SAE Combo DC Fast Charge (which charges in about 90 minutes).
Oh, and one more important thing. It’s pretty!
After several days of snow closures, the Washington Auto Show is open for business. Let me know if you’re going to check anything out and more importantly, tell me what you think of the Volt and the Bolt!
This post is part of my compensated role for the Chevrolet-SheBuysCars Women’s Influencer Event at the 2016 Washington Auto Show. All photos and opinions are mine.
My mom is in the market for a new car, and as a member of the Indiana State Legislature, it is important that she buy something that is not only manufactured in the US but also made by an American company. She wants an environmentally friendly car, so I think the Volt – or possibly the Bolt – might be just what she’s looking for. I’m going to forward this blog post to her.
I can tell you that with Sean as a Volt owner, I’ve learned it’s a very special crowd. We had lunch with several Volt owners at the show last week and many are on their second or third Volt – because they are so devoted to it. If I could overcome the range anxiety, I’d definitely go for the Bolt. It just looks cool but the Volt redesign has it looking more luxury sedan than it once was.