Sierra Club Activist Loves His Chevy Volt

By Paul Gipe

Note: Long-time Sierra Club activist Harold Wood and his wife Janet bought a Chevy Volt about a year ago. Wood, a Visalia, California authority on the life and times of John Muir, the founder of the Sierra Club, has been active in local environmental issues for decades. They wanted to “walk the talk” about moving from a pickup truck to driving green. They debated between a Chevy Bolt, the Volt, and a Prius. They chose the Volt and haven’t looked back. Here’s Harold’s reply to my question whether they were satisfied with their decision.

We love it!  Most days we just drive on the electric battery. We’ve been getting at least 50 miles or a bit more on one electric charge; but most days we drive less than half that around town in Visalia. We love its “pick up and go” –so much easier to merge onto traffic on the freeway now!

Every 6 or 8 weeks we drive to Fresno, which the electric charge gets us there, but we have to use use gas on the way back. Other than that we are driving on the electric battery.

We are amazed how little gas it uses compared to other vehicles we have had. In over a year, we’ve spent a pittance for gas–even with trips to the Bay Area, Sonora, and southern California.

And when we do fill up–the tank is so small, that it never costs a lot to refill it.  And yet the mileage range is as good as or better than what we got on our Ford pickup.

On our trips to southern California, putting it into “Mountain mode” really helps extend the mileage too–we often can add another 10 miles of battery power generated by gravity on the downhill stretches to the drive, beyond the initial 50 from the electric charge.

You told me that we MUST get a fast-charging station for our Volt.  but we have found that totally unnecessary. Using the 120 volt cable supplied with the car, we easily re-charge the car overnight, every night.

Even if we get back late, like 11 PM from Fresno having used up a charge, it may be only 50% recharged by 8 AM the next morning, but that is enough to get us around town on pure electricity. And if we don’t have to run errands until mid-day, it is fully recharged by then.  

During these cold winter days, we sure love the heated seats!  What I once thought was a luxury, now seems de rigeur!

We were initially worried about the small storage space, but it has plenty of room for two large suitcases plus hand luggage for the times we need it. 

We’re also getting solar for our house, so soon we’ll be driving on recycled electrons most of the time!