I got to test drive a Chevy Volt today along with a cluster of delighted EV advocates including my friend Jordan Howard, who brought along her 1-year-old sister, Jade. You get it already. The instant Jordan slipped behind the wheel with her sibling, the revelatory thought came to mind among many of us watching: This precious tyke will never have to drive a gas car. Jade Howard will never bear the burden of knowing she’s part of a problem without a solution.
It still gives me the chills.
Jade and Jordan’s dad, Ronnie, joined us at L.A.’s Dodger Stadium for the occasion. He liked the idea, too.
“This is the future,” he said. “Now is the time.”
Now, indeed. Jordan, a senior at the exemplary Environmental Charter High School in the L.A. city of Lawndale, just might hitch a ride to her June prom aboard a Volt. GM is working on it. A young woman on a mission to make the world a much better place, Jordan was a featured speaker at the EV parade Plug In America’staged to coincide with President Obama’s inauguration. She passionately and eloquently stated the case for electric vehicles. Today, as stunned as we at witnessing history–and impressed by the car–she just kept saying the same thing over and over.
“It’s so nice!” Jordan said. “It’s so nice!”
A stylish charcoal gray, the car looked sleeker in real life than in photos, a few of us thought. I’m not a car person, but it felt tight, handled beautifully around a small obstacle course of day-glo traffic cones and gripped the road, gravel flying as braver souls let it rip.
Nagin Cox, a spacecraft system engineer at Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, had been an EV1 driver and now owns a Tesla. The Volt didn’t exhibit as much vroom-vroom as either of those cars, Nagin said after her stint, “but it cornered well.” And if she hadn’t previously had those elite EV-driving experiences, the Volt’s high-performance “sport mode” “would have caught my attention,” she said.
GM’s Tony Posawatz, the Volt’s chief engineer, told us that the prototype we drove had been hand-built last December. Other test-drivers will undoubtedly delve into more detail, suffice to say GM still has not announced price but remains completely confident of delivery by year’s end. The car will come with a minimum eight-year warranty, added Posawatz, who also repeated a phrase I’d read before but heard, this time, with a new sense of hope.
“GM is back. We’re going to be a technology leader.”
Yea to that. In tiny Jade Howard’s name.
Posted by Zan Dubin Scott, above.