My friend Lee purchased this 2013 Chevrolet Volt about 2 years ago. Lee’s goal from the beginning was to achieve as much efficiency as could be obtained by driving as smooth as possible (more on this later, see below). He has made it a priority to avoid gas stations!!
I’ve read much about hybrids and from my research there is a mind-shift one must make to meet the highest level of efficiency. For yours truly, this would certainly be a steep learning curve but I digress. Back to Lee’s Volt and the subject of this story.
You see, this week Lee texted me the following pair of photos when he filled the Volt’s tank with regular unleaded for only the third time since he bought the car!!
This is the first photo of the Volt’s dashboard. It shows mileage since the last fill up. Lee explained he only resets the “B” odometer every time he fills up with fuel. And here is the follow-up on the note in the first paragraph: notice the indicator with the ball framed between the two brackets on the right of the picture. Lee explained that is the indicator that helps you drive as efficient as possible: the goal is the keep the ball in the middle the majority of the time.
And this photo shows the “A” odometer, displaying total mileage since Lee purchased the 2013 Volt. 15,734 miles on exactly 23 gallons.
How the 23 gallons were used is an interesting story in itself. Once the batteries are exhausted, the 4 cylinder engine kicks in and generates power to replenish the batteries. During winter months, the engine helps provide heat and during summer months the engine provides help cooling the car. The Volt’s computer also engages the engine when it “needs to run”. On several occasions Lee has told me of the indicator that reminds the driver of this. Pretty cool, huh?
Finally one of the neatest stories Lee has shared was shortly after purchasing the Volt. You see, he bought the car in Asheville NC and drove around town a bit on electric power. Then, on the way back to Greenville SC, the steep drive down I-26 provided enough braking (energy recovery) to recharge the battery almost to capacity. Pretty cool stuff…
Needless to say, driving a Volt takes discipline. Lee has proven with these results that a hybrid car is a very practical and real alternative. I am a big offender because my Camaro is the complete opposite to the Volt. It is downright embarrassing: Lee has owned his Volt for almost 2 years and has filled up 3 times. I have owned my Camaro 2 years (on the 10th of December) and I have filled up 70 times to travel almost the same distance. Granted, we are missing the electric part of the cost of ownership but I think these stats are remarkable.