When I woke up too late to catch the first session on the last day of the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA) conference in Washington DC yesterday, I decided to play the hand that I was dealt. After checking out of my hotel, I headed over to the show hall with the hopes of being able to catch some of the Senate testimony on a large screen, before the second session.
Not finding the elusive big screen, I trekked down to the show floor only to find an empty space where the Chevy Volt prototype had sat the previous day. With the coffee kicking in, I recalled an email tip. The Volt was over on Capitol Hill, waiting for the cameras and throngs.
So I hopped in a cab with my video gear and headed over to Capitol Hill, not knowing exactly where the cars might be found. A kindly Supreme Court police officer pointed me in the direction of a Senate police outpost, where I was steered to the exact location on the corner of Delaware Avenue and 3rd Street.
As I approached the corner I could see the bow tie on the grille. There it was: the ultra-clean Volt prototype, fresh off the EDTA show floor, along with a generic Malibu and a stickered-up E85 Escape Hybrid, sitting next to the Jeep EV and Dodge EV ENVI cars.
Hardly anyone was around when I got there. I stood there for quite some time, my jaw no doubt agape.
Although I’d shot the Volt earlier in the week inside the Washington Convention Center, seeing it on the street, and seeing it move under its own power, was a very cool experience … it was one of those days where I felt truly blessed to have had my camera and gear with me and to be able to do what I’m doing.
It went from great to outrageous. Seeing the Volt was one thing. Riding in the Dodge EV was something else, altogether.
While I was only witness to a few brief bursts of EV acceleration, I have to say it was nothing like anything I’ve experienced in a motor vehicle. With no wait for the power band to kick in, the delivery of high-powered electric propulsion is nothing short of amazing. It’s all about immediate torque. If you love driving diesels, think about 480 foot pounds of instant (and silent) thrust.
Many thanks to the wonderful folks at GM and Chrysler for allowing me to shoot this video with remarkable access, and for the friendliness of the officers in the District. Lou, I owe you one.
The technology in these cars represent the future of the American automobile industry and show, without a doubt, that the electric motor can earn a place in the hearts of all, from those whose interest in cars is purely for transportation to full-bore life long automotive enthusiasts.
The future is electric.
– by Daniel Gray