Smith Chevrolet Cadillac in Turlock had their first 2011 Chevrolet Volt delivered to the dealership around New Year’s Eve and turned over the keys to the presold owners Rob and Kristen Santos this week.
Chevrolet launched the Volt in seven markets, including California, and in limited quantities until around March of 2011. After that Chevrolet intends to distribute to all 50 states in the next 12 to 18 months after the start of initial sales. The auto manufacture expects demand to exceed the limited supply of 10,000 units this year.
The Volt will be the only one in Turlock, and quite possibly the surrounding area due to bay area transactions from surrounding dealers, until Smith Chevrolet Cadillac receives the next three ordered cars from the Chevrolet company.
Smith Chevrolet Cadillac co-owner Lee Smith and his wife Carlene will be taking one, while another one is presold, and the last one left until June will be to test drive at the dealership.
"There’s been so much excitement over this car," said Smith. "It’s been unbelievable how many calls and people stopping by we’ve had because of the Volt."
It is fitting that Rob Santos, a Turlock Irrigation District (TID) Director, and his wife Kristen Santos, who have a solar farm on their ranch, were the first to own the “green” car. The couple recently renamed their ranch from Einstein Acres to Einstein’s Green Acres.
“My philosophy is always to be as independent from foreign oil and to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible,” said Rob Santos.
The Volt was named “2011 Motor Trend Car of the Year” and “2011 Green Car of the Year” by Green Car Journal.
There have been electric or green cars previous to the Volt but have lacked practicality. The Volt runs on electricity, gas and emissions free, for an initial range of 35 miles on a single charge, before a gas generator seamlessly creates electricity for up to an estimated 340 additional miles on a full tank of gas.
For the most part in daily driving, a single charge will get a driver through the day and allow for a daily charge. An average day’s worth of charging may run around $1.50 per day.
The Volt will be fully charged in about 10 hours, depending on climate, with standard household 120-volt line, or as little as 4 hours using a dedicated 240-volt line (similar to what is used for your clothes dryer).
Rob Santos is also a veterinarian at Monte Vista Small Animal Hospital and is having a 240-volt charging station installed at his home and two installed at his hospital; one for his own vehicle and another for clients who will own a Volt.
“Smith Chevrolet Cadillac will be getting a 240-volt charging station installed at the dealership and will be free to use for any Volt drivers,” said Lee Smith. “We believe this car is the future and want to support it.”
And while the Chevrolet Volt is a serious environmentally conscious vehicle, it’s also a very technologically fun car. This car has a keyless ignition, touch screen dashboard control panel, iPod hook up ran from the touch screen, digital performance updates, and there is even be an iPhone app that allows a person to have total control of their Volt.
“Besides the obvious benefits of it being electric I like some of its quirky features,” said Kristen Santos. “There is an on-off button instead of an ignition, a computerized ball that shows if you are driving optimally, and I can start the car and the seat warmers using my iPhone while still inside house.”
“If only I can convert the trunk to a seat the car would be perfect. It only has four seats and there are 5 of us. I guess it is going to be our ‘adults only’ car.”