Jennings Chevrolet dealer, Allen Frantz, visited campus during the Franklin Renewable Energy Group (FRE) meeting on Mon, Oct. 10 to demonstrate the new 2012 Chevy Volt. During the demonstration, Franz gave FRE members and community members the opportunity to test drive the newest model of the electric car.
The Chevy Volt on campus
The Chevy Volt is a plug-in hybrid car which was named "2011 Motor Trends Car of the Year" by Motor Trend magazine. According to the Chevrolet website, the Volt is a full performance and full speed electric vehicle. The Volt operates on both battery and gasoline. The Volt runs approximately 35 miles on a fully charged battery. While running on battery, the Volt is totally gas and emissions free. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates 35 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. The Volt has a battery that powers the electric drive unit, which allows for full vehicle speed and acceleration.
The Volt is a medium sized sedan with a standard vehicle price of $39,145. However, thanks to its energy efficiency, the Volt receives between $7,500 and $11,000 in tax credit depending on state standards.
During the demonstration, Frantz mentioned a number of perks that come with the Volt. When only utilizing the battery option of the car, a private owner would only ever have to fill their gas tank every six months. After six months of the gas sitting in the pressurized tank, the gas begins to go bad and the car is signaled to use the gas. The average consumption of gas per person in the United States is 500 gallons. With a 9.3 gallon tank, the Volt could easily decrease natural gas consumption. As well, with an average commuting distance of 16 miles, the Volt’s 35 mile battery life eliminates gas usage for many career commuters. Over five years, the average consumer could save over $7,600 in fuel costs. Using only battery life, the savings could be much larger.
The draw of solar and renewable energy
The Volt can be plugged into a regular household socket to charge. Charge time is dependent on the voltage of the socket. In a 120 volt socket, it could take eight hours to charge. If using a 240 volt socket, it can take as little as four hours to charge. In the next year, Sheetz, the gas station chain, is hoping to have 440 volt charging units incorporated into their stations that could charge the Volt in 30 minutes or less. The approximated cost for charging the Volt is $1.50. This represents a reduction in transportation costs by more than half.The Volt demonstration took place during the third monthly meeting of the Franklin Renewable Energy Group. This demonstration was arranged by FRE committee member, Wayne Mackey, who recently purchased his own 2012 Chevy Volt. As a proponent for both solar energy and renewable energy, Mackey seemed very pleased with his purchase and was very excited about powering his Volt with his own solar energy.
When asked about his opinion on his new car, Mackey claimed, "Every time I drive this car, it’s like having a love affair. When driving by a gas station, I get to say ‘Hi gas station, bye gas station.’" Mackey believes that switching to electric powered cars or plug-in hybrids is just one of the many steps we need to prevent further environmental damage.