CultureMap Video Tour

Texas suburban dad takes on an American-made electric car: Behind the wheel of the Chevy Volt

Texas suburban dad takes on an American-made electric car: Behind the wheel of the Chevy Volt

For a commuter city in the Lone Star state that values largesse, and that includes oversized gas guzzlers that fit everything from children to dogs to the kitchen sink, can Chevy convince a typical suburban dad that an American-made electric vehicle can accommodate a hectic, on-the-go lifestyle?

CultureMap's chief sales officer Chad Miller took on the challenge and drove a black four-door Volt sedan on his daily commute for one week to discern whether the lithium-ion battery plus gas setup can handle the transportation needs of a busy professional-cum-family-man who is otherwise lured by luxury German vehicles — and be good to the wallet at the same time.

 "It's fun to be able to say that you've owned one of the first electric vehicles."

Starting at $31, 645, which includes a federal tax savings of up to $7,500, Chevrolet claims that the Volt averages 900 miles a month on one tank of gas for drivers who make a habit of charging regularly. Miller estimates that fully charging the car costs $1.10, according to his electric carrier's kilowatt-hour rates. That's a third of the operation cost of traditional octane vehicles, he estimates.

"The vehicle has a lot of room, it's super smooth and it seems like it's well put together and thought out," Miller notes. "The transition from electric to gas is seamless."

Among Miller's observations are a neat feature that displays energy usage, recharging and regenerating power patterns while on the road, and an indicator that measures the individual's driving efficiency that in turn morphs driving into a conservation "video game."

"It's fun to be able to say that you've owned one of the first electric vehicles," he says,

Step inside the Chevy Volt with Miller. Watch CultureMap's video above and see for yourself.

Joel, Chevy Volt test drive, November 2012, Chad Miller
Photo by Joel Luks
Joel, Chevy Volt test drive, November 2012
Among Miller's observations are a neat feature that displays energy usage, recharging and regenerating power patterns while on the road. Photo by Joel Luks
Joel, Chevy Volt test drive, November 2012
The vehicle has a lot of room, it's super smooth and it seems like it's well put together and thought out, Miller says. Photo by Joel Luks
Joel, Chevy Volt test drive, November 2012, Chad Miller
Joel, Chevy Volt test drive, November 2012
Joel, Chevy Volt test drive, November 2012