Behind the wheel: Electric shock | AspenTimes.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Behind the wheel: Electric shock

Stewart OksenhornThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – My test ride in a Chevy Volt at last week’s Aspen Environment Forum was extremely brief – from the Aspen Meadows to Main Street, circling the roundabout, and back. The route did not, contrary to the cynical suggestion from a colleague, press the limits of the car’s range.The promo pitch from my well-informed guide, Ron, lasted far longer than the road test, and was sufficiently detailed that I can tell you just how far the Volt can go on a single charge of its battery: 40 miles.I know, that’s not far, and never mind Ron’s facts-and-figures spiel that half of all car trips cover less than 3 miles. (Ron was very talkative, which made it hard to squeeze in what I thought was a very pertinent question: What about the other half?) But Ron was also quite likable, so I felt bad about my reflexive wince when he offered up that grave, dismal statistic. Forty miles? That gets you to Glenwood Springs – but only if you start at the east end of Aspen, and go as far as Factory & Army Surplus. (On the cheerier side, it gets you from the Meadows to the roundabout approximately a dozen times. And back!)Ron had clearly anticipated the expression of shock and lack of awe on my face. No doubt, he had seen it before – at a guess, as many times as he had quoted the 40-mile number. True, the Volt goes just 40 miles on a charge. But the Volt (whose tag line is “More car than electric”) has an additional energy source – our old favorite, gasoline. Here’s the catch: The Volt doesn’t have a regular gas engine. Rather, its nine-gallon gas tank acts as a generator for the battery-powered engine. Giving you a range of nearly 400 miles (Aspen to Denver and back!) all emission-free and blissfully smooth and quiet.Ron then cranked up his smile and told me to step on the gas. (Yes, I believe that was the phrase he used, and had he stopped talking for a second I would have suggested he come up with a more appropriate alternative in the future.) But we were in a single lane, heading toward the narrow Castle Creek Bridge, in traffic, and I hadn’t read the waiver I had signed a few minutes earlier, and didn’t know if I was responsible in the event of a crash.Instead of speeding up, we coasted back to the Meadows, and I wondered whether we had made our seamless transition to gas-generator mode.stewart@aspentimes.com


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

For tax deductible donations, click here.
 

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User