The other morning on the way to work, I was listening to a podcast of the Diane Rehm show–my favorite NPR broadcast next to the Prairie Home Companion–and they were talking about the new Chevy Volt. Has anyone heard of this? It really, really sounds cool. They give it some abitrary 230 mile/gallon rating, which really has more to do with a guest-a-mate based on the fact that you could recharge this baby every night and drive up to 40 miles during the day before needing to go to the “gas reserves.” I was pretty impressed. In the typical Diane Rehm fashion, they had people on all sides, not just GM sales/marketing people, talking about this car and I feel I got enough of a perspective that I’m going to look further into this vehicle.
My current car, a 2003 Acura RSX, is nearing 130K miles. I was starting to look around for a new vehicle but not yet committed to going back to having car payments. However, the Volt is due out in November 2010. It won’t go into general release of consumers until 2011 some time. I realize, like all hybrid cars, there will be a long waiting list to purchase one. But since I don’t need a car at this particular moment–mine’s still running well enough–maybe I have the time and patience to wait. So I think I need to do further investigation here. I’d certainly like to be more environmentally-friendly.
My only concern is a lack of trunk space. I have a thing against bike racks. Mainly, I don’t like watching my bike bounce on them from my rear view mirror as I plug along at 60–okay, let’s be real, 80mph—on the highway. I’m always afraid it’s going to fall off. And I won’t even get into the fact that I know if I had a roof rack, I’d inevitably end up driving into my garage, forgetting that my bike is still on there, and therefore cause the end to my bike myself. So, anyway, I always put my bike in the trunk. My Acura is a hatchback so there’s plenty of room. I know that these hybrid vehicles tend to have huge batteries that suck up all the space in the back. Previously, I’d been considering getting a Honda Fit for my excessive use of car space for all of my crazy activities (my telescope needs a lot of room in the trunk too).
I also know that the Volt will come with a huge price tag (the GM sales/marketing dude on the Diane Rehm show danced around with the lingo “in the high 30s” and another guy later piped in that it would cost 40K). Which I know is high. And probably doesn’t really outweigh the fact that you’re not buying as much gas or you get a government rebate. I wasn’t thinking of spending that much on a car this time around (since my Acura cost about half that); I wanted to buy in the 12-13K range since vehicles lose their value so fast and I’m a very bad driver that dings my vehicles constantly so that they look like junk when they’re still young.
But maybe I should put my money where my liberal mouth is. I mean, if I’m being gentle to the environment and not using up precious natural resources in the process, then maybe it’s worth the price tag. Although, I do have to ask myself what natural resources are used to create electricity. Am I just trading overuse of one natural resource for another?
Well, it’s something to think about anyway. And I’ve still got time. But I think it’s neat what the human mind can come up with when put under pressure. And you just know that GM is doing this because of the failed economy and their failure in the marketplace. They want to appeal to an audience with a vehicle that Americans might want. Finally. At least they are finally getting the picture that Honda and Toyota already figured out long ago. Even if you aren’t an environmentalist, not spending a lot of money on gas appeals to liberals and conservatives alike.