A practical solution – Michael W.

Michael W

I’ve been an EV owner since December 2015, and I own a 2016 Chevrolet Volt, which can be called a plug-in hybrid, extended range electric vehicle (EREV) or an EV with a range extender.

My purchase was motivated by several reasons. I want to do what I can about climate change, I care about energy independence, I often oppose the actions of oil producing nations and oil companies and I intensely dislike the wild fluctuations in gas prices, which often seem to go up or down for no good reason.

Driving an EV is an interesting thing. The instant torque and quick acceleration are very nice to have, but, what I find most striking is how quiet they are. There is no engine noise. I think this makes driving a bit more relaxing, which is nice and allows you to hear more of the music you are listening to in your car. But, the downside is that, if you enjoy engine noise, or want other people to hear your engine when you pass them because they are going absurdly slow, that is something you are likely to miss in an EV.

The Volt is both an electric car and a gas-powered car, which often leads to confusion. People look at the electric range and think the car will be stranded if you exceed that range, which is not true, because the car will simply run on gasoline if you use up the battery. People think that because it has a gas engine that it must use gasoline everyday and that is not true either. You only use gasoline if you need to go further than the battery allows and only if you are unable to charge the battery before going that greater distance. (For nit-pickers: the Volt also periodically uses a small amount of gasoline to maintain the gas engine if you go six weeks without running the car on gasoline.)

To perhaps put it more simply, the Volt has allowed me to drive about 4,000 miles over the past four months mostly on electricity. I’ve only used one gallon of gasoline in that period. A lot of attention has been given to pure EVs, but you can use hardly any gasoline at all if you have a plug-in hybrid and a relatively short commute.

There’s also a big misconception that you need to go all-in if you want an EV – but that’s not true. You can get close to the EV experience with a plug-in hybrid such as the Volt. With a plug-in hybrid, you can just use a small amount of gasoline for those rare occasions when you need to drive further.

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