Fact is, for most of us, the world of electric cars is like a foreign language, but there’s nothing foreign about this.
“Right now, I think I’m getting like 600 miles a gallon,” says Perry Kravec.
When Kravec opens his garage door, his Chevy Volt looks like any other sporty Chevy sedan on the road, but the Volt’s gas cousins aren’t plugged in in the garage.
“It’s telling me it’s using 70 cents a day, is what it’s costing me,” says Kravec. “In electricity, that’s what it costs per day.”
There is no question that at $34,000-plus, the Volt is thousands more than comparably-sized, gas-driven cars. But there are a lot of government and dealer incentives out there.
“My total cost after incentives was $22,900; and this year, I’ve already saved a thousand dollars,” said Kravec.
That is based primarily on spending only $275 all year on fuel and maintenance.
“I bought it last December, and I haven’t any put gas in it,” said Kravec.
This was in fact the Volt’s first trip to a gas station.
Kravec says the gas is for a generator under the hood, which provides electricity to the electric motor when the battery runs down. But in Kravec’s 8,000 miles, he has only occasionally needed the generator.
“I can go out to Robinson, and if I’m in the store for an hour, they have a charger, and I can get enough charge to get back home for free,” says Kravec.
Charging stations are popping up in shopping center parking lots all over, and the fully-charged battery has a range of 49 miles in the summer and 38 in the winter.
Kravec is an electrical design engineer and has confidence in the battery in his Volt.
“They guarantee it for eight years,” Kravec says.
He says when the battery’s performance starts to eventually diminish, the generator will pick up the slack.
Ironically, Kravec has used so little gas; the car warned him the gas was going stale. So he purposely made the car burn off the gas, and it took a toll on his mileage.
“I’m only getting 174 miles per gallon,” he said.
This first fill-up came with a slightly embarrassing moment.
Shumway: “You don’t know how to open the gas cap?”
Kravec: “No, I haven’t done it.”
After figuring that out and $36 later, the nine-gallon fill up was finished.
“I don’t like putting in gas, but knowing that’s it for the year, it’s a pretty good feeling,” said Kravec.
Kravec says there are two common misconceptions he’s often being asked about. First, that electric cars are only good for local driving.
“You could put seven gallons of gas in this and go to the shore,” he says.
Second, about the car’s giddy up.
“I went out to Robinson, and it hit 90 miles per hour so easy, it was scary,” Kravec said.
Kravec says the downside of the Volt and most electric cars on the road right now is their size – not exactly mom, dad and two and a half kid friendly.