RMI Takes the Volt For a Spin

For a week last month, RMI had an unexpected visitor to our Boulder office—a Chevy Volt courtesy of a Project Get Ready partner! Curious RMIers took this opportunity to take the car for a test drive.

Here’s what they had to say about their driving experience:

Virginia Lacy, Electricity Senior Consultant

“The pick up on the highway was unreal. Other than that, it was pretty much like driving any other car.”

Jamie Moir, Internet Marketing Manager

“Overall, I really liked the car and would consider purchasing one. The interior was nice and spacious. You could easily fit a family of four in the car. It has a big trunk with room to haul stuff around. At first the lack of noise from an engine is hard to get used to, but after a few minutes I adjusted. The car had great pick-up even going up through the foothills.

The only critique I have is they need to simplify the dashboard. It was too high-tech. Just because the car is running on a forward-thinking technology doesn’t mean it has to have a futuristic dashboard.  Other than that it was good.”

Rebecca Cole, Director of Communications

“Wow, the car of the future really looks…futuristic! The dash has a lot going on, with a bouncing ball when I revved the engine (wasting energy!) and colorful charts ripped from PowerPoint that tell exactly how and where the energy is used in the vehicle. Now, should I watch that or keep my eyes on the road? I drive a Subaru, which I love. It’s my third one. Why can’t I just have an electric Subaru? My car of the future looks like a Subaru, drives like one, rides like one—but the difference is, it’s electric and I charge it up at home.

As soon as car manufacturers figure this out, and not try to make EVs only as funky, whiz-bang little cars, they’ll sell more EVs.”

Robert Hutchinson, Managing Director

“The Volt was reasonably peppy and easy to drive but had poor storage and overall likely more car than I need vs. a Leaf or Prius plug-in—or even a straight hybrid.  I do not have a range problem, so the Volt solves a problem I do not have.”

Ben Holland, Project Get Ready Program Manager

“I spent a full week driving the car and was sad to see it go. Most of the conversation about electric cars tends to address their relationship to environment, oil dependency, or economic issues. But when you get down to it, they’re just great cars and a pleasure to drive.”

Brendan O’Donnell, Electricity Analyst

“The first thing I noticed in driving the Volt was, well, absolutely nothing. It turned on, drove like a normal car, and got me where I needed to go. And, as someone who couldn’t give a crap about cars, that’s perfect.”

Martin Walaszek, Interactive Producer & Web Marketing Manager

“It felt like the future today … but more to the point, as a car guy, all I could think about was the hot-rodders who will figure out how to make these things go even faster.”

Kelly Vaughn, Senior PR Coordinator

I’m based in our Snowmass office so I didn’t get to drive the Volt myself (although I’m tempted to hop in Amory Lovins’s loaner currently charging in front of his passive solar home).

But, earlier this month at the EVS26 Electric Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles, I took full advantage of the “Electric Avenue” driving station where I took at plug-in Toyota Prius and Nissan Leaf for a ride. My experience was similar to that of my colleagues—besides the incredible acceleration, and the lack of engine noise, it surprisingly felt like driving any other car.  View more photos from EVS26 on Facebook.

So, the ultimate question is: Will exposing more people to electric cars increase sales? Is increased awareness the first step in building a stronger base of EV advocates?

Now, we want to hear from you. Have you driven an electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle? What are your thoughts? Have you considered purchasing one? If not, what is holding you back? Let us know by commenting below!