Day six: Crash!
Our trial is almost over, so I decide to break the rules a little bit. I don't plug the Chevy Volt in overnight, and the next day we take it to the beach, a 20-mile round trip. I want to find out what happens when it runs out of juice.
I ease the Volt onto the freeway. It accelerates easily and quickly. I manage to get the globe to rise slightly but not entirely out of the bubble. On the way back home I watch the battery indicator on the left side of the dash glow red and count down the miles 3.... 2.... 1.
It shifts over to fossil fuels and... nothing. I detect no change in driving whatsoever, just a slightly louder sound coming from the engine. Damn. That was disappointing.
I'm heading downtown at dusk, coming off the freeway onto surface streets at around 40 mph, when some idiot in a Toyota cranks a left directly in front of me. She's talking on her cell phone, paying no attention whatsoever. She doesn't even see my bright red Chevy Volt.
I don't think, I just react -- cranking the wheel hard toward the shoulder and nailing the brakes. The Volt breaks cleanly and stops six feet from impact. No skid, no slide, no sudden jerk forward. Impressive.
The idiot giggles and keeps driving (and talking).
Had I continued without braking I would have T-boned her, abruptly ending that conversation. The Chevy Volt's airbags would have deployed, and the OnStar system would have automatically been alerted to send the EMTs to our location via the car's GPS. And then we'd have some 'splainin' to do to the kind people at Prestige who loaned us the car.
Of course, if I had been driving the minivan, I'd probably be writing this from the hospital. Or maybe not at all.
Day seven: The Short Goodbye
We like this electric car. I like it, my wife and daughter like it, even my 14-year-old -- who rarely likes anything that doesn't involve high-caliber weaponry -- likes it. So my son, to whom the concept of money as a finite resource has never quite gelled, asks why we don't simply buy it.
Because, I reply, it costs $40,000 (minus a $7,500 Federal tax credit for buying a fuel-efficient vehicle). He shrugs.
I think, but do not say: And if we did buy it, we'd be hiding the keys in a different location each night to keep you from climbing behind the wheel. I've seen how that boy drives in Grand Theft Auto. There's no effin' way I would let him get near the thing.
Still it's sad when the delivery guys come to take our Volt away and replace it with a Chevy Cruze Eco, GM's most economical gas guzzler. But it's not in the same league with the Volt. It's just a car. It has no -- how do I put this? Electricity.
And no one would ever mistake me for David Hasselhoff.
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