Monday, November 15, 2010

Yes! 4 Chevy Volts in Montclair

I don't quite know how Tom Moloughney got away with putting this license plate on his mini-E, but he did ... and the bumper sticker on the rear windshield says, "Starve a Terrorist - Drive Electric."  His opinionated little mini-E #250 is often parked in front of his Montclair NJ restaurant, Casa Bella Nauna, but on Saturday morning it was joined by an wondrous sight to behold -- 4 Chevy Volts all parked in a row, plus a Tesla thrown in!
The Volts were just released last Tuesday to members of GM's "Consumer Advisory Board" -- only 17 of them in the entire country -- who have been asked by GM to drive the car for 90 days and provide feedback in advance of the vehicle's roll-out into retail showrooms.

The 4 New York-area CAB members all eagerly agreed to bring the vehicles to Montclair to share and the morning featured a constant flow of enthusiasts, among them me.

Mike, Lyle, Robert and Dennis, the 4 lucky Volt drivers standing to the right of the camera man in this photo, graciously chatted with visitors and gave interviews to the press and video bloggers.  They also seemed to enjoy comparing their own initial experiences with the Volt.  Reports were overwhelmingly positive.  Everyone raved about the futuristic-goodie-laden electronics (my favorite line: "My daughter says it's like driving an iPod") and the feedback the vehicle gives the driver about efficiency.  They also seemed to enjoy the opportunity to puzzle out what some of the interior bells and whistles were together.  The soundtrack to the above photo went something like "Does anyone know what that little black box mounted on the windshield is?  I thought it was for my EZ-Pass."  "Nah, I think that's the XM antenna."

 Speaking of EZ-Pass, check out this Green Pass!  Yes, hybrid and EV-driving EZ-Pass users can qualify for a 10% discount on tolls on the New York State Thruway  and a whopping 50% discount on off-peak rates on all Port Authority bridges into NYC

Event organizer Tom Moloughney got to take one of the Volts for a spin (that's him grinning below), and you can read his review and a report on the meet-up on his always-entertaining blog,  Mini-E #250.

Also be sure to visit, CAB member Lyle Dennis' creation and the online gathering spot for Volt fans and followers.    (There's even a shot of me chatting with Mike in his 4 photos at the end.)

Thanks to the 4 CAB members who so generously shared their time and cars.  I approached each and every one to invite them to the April 30, 2011 EV-ent in Macungie (by which time they should be driving their own personal Volts).  Our goal is to have both a Volt and a Leaf on display at the Macungie EV-ent, showing how dramatically the EV world has changed in the three years since our inaugural show! 

In May 2009 we had only converted EV's to show.  Not a single Tesla had yet been delivered to PA (that would happen later in the month), and the leaseholders on the mini-E had yet to take possession of their vehicles.  In 2010 we had a mini-E and two Teslas at our show!  In 2011 we're anticipated showcasing another historic shift by displaying, in addition to the two-seater, sporty, high-end production EV's, the 4-door, family-size, mid-price-range sedans that will be rolling into showrooms and people's garages by the end of the year.  That's a pretty dramatic change in 3 years -- so you can see why for me, seeing 4 Volts parked in a row at a restaurant in Montclair NJ was an event worth traveling some distance for.  It was a historic day!

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