Saturday, August 6, 2011

Electric vehicle/Volt meet up -GM office Palo Alto

On a bright summer morning I drove over to optimistic Palo Alto in my aging two door gasoline burning honda civic to learn more about electric vehicles from first hand owners and to test drive a Volt. At the GM technology offices planted here strategically to make inroads with the innovation of the silicone valley, a gang of enthusiastic Volt owners lead by Patrick Wang of meet up with a brunch catered from Panera Bread.

The morning had a exciting bustle about it with a surprising amount of families and retirees who owned Volts, Nissan Leaf's, and Telsa's, and those whose next car has electric and/or hybrid as the only qualification. It was actually to my surprise that one Volt owner said he had only filled up for gas once in the past three months!

After browsing the offices and looking at the many EV's that had come, I signed up for a test drive in the Volt. Although i did have a driving instructor it was a very fun experience, on that felt exactly like a normal car; far different than the feel of a pure electric vehicle. (Although i did drive only in one of the cars many modes) I found i kept becoming distracted by the plane milky white dash board where the navigation system was. It was clearly a cheap plastic finish with buttons that only had impressions to press which resembled braille symbols used for the visually impaired. I almost wanted to comment to the driving navigator on how ugly the dash board was but i quickly realized he was not from GM but just outsourced help for the event. Also the plastic side panel on the drivers door had an interesting whirl design that resembled the background for twitters homepage. I have to wonder if GM was making up for all the oil the hybrid car was saving by using it for the interior design.

All in all the experience was just like any other car. Next event I am looking for is a Nissan Leaf, Fisker Karma, and eventually a Tesla Model S meet up or driving demo.

Feel free to post comments/concerns below

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