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Chevy Volt Unplugged Los Angeles Experience


I made the trip down to Los Angeles to watch my Alma Mater, Cal take on USC in the LA Coliseum.  It was a disaster.  It was 42-0 by the half, so it was a good thing I had something else planned for my LA trip.  As I’ve already driven the Volt a couple times and have one on order for delivery later this year, I decided that instead of signing myself up for a drive that I sign up an LA friend of mine.

As was typical of Los Angeles, it was raining and dreary the whole weekend we were there.  (Sarcasm included) but that didn’t keep us from making the trip down the El Segundo Best Buy early Sunday Morning.  We got there early as they were still setting up the tents and the Unplugged Volts were sitting in the parking lot waiting for their first riders. 

Cyber Gray Chevy Volt Unplugged Tour

As we were waiting for the team the finish setting up I had a chance to chat with other Volt Enthusiasts, as well as Shad, the GM Media/PR Coordinator for the West Coast.  They had just a few days before driven down from San Francisco down the glorious stretch of cow country we call I-5.  (Basically a 200 mile straight run down the state of California).  One interesting fact I learned was that while some of the unplugged drivers used “mountain mode” to get over the I-5 Grapevine / Tejon Pass (in the mountains northwest of Los Angeles, Shad actually managed to get over the mountain in normal mode without dropping into “propulsion power reduced” state.  Granted, the Grapevine isn’t the most rigorous pass in the states, but it’s no slouch with a 4000 foot climb over roughly 20 miles.  An interesting data point!

In fact, on the way down Shad had managed to put roughly 15-20 miles of electric range (if memory serves me correctly) back into the battery through regenerative braking all the way down the mountain.

The event itself was fairly well organized and down to earth, people arrived early and many had already “registered” for a time slot, there were occasional walk-ons while we were there.  What was certainly interesting was the number of passer-byers and folks driving other popular energy efficient hybrids (read Priuses) doing double takes of the four production intent Volts.

When it came time for our drive I took a seat in the back this time and noticed several notable differences since the last time I was in the car in July.  First was that the rear seating area was finished in the interior with all the plastic trim panels finally getting their production – intent graining.  Second was that the high pitched buzz I heard in the pre-production unit caused by a DC Voltage converter in the trunk area was gone leaving a quiet peaceful silence in the car as we waited to take our run around the block.  As we accelerated away I felt the silent torque take over and I remember the original magical experience of driving electrically again.  This of course was even more fun in sport mode as you could feel all 270 Foot Pounds of torque off the line.

Sitting in the back was tight to be certain, so I stand by my original statement that if you want to be comfortable in the Volt, the backseat isn’t a great idea if you are over 6 feet tall (unless the person in front is reasonably short as legroom is the primary issue.  It is indeed a compact car.

Below is a video of three “unplugged” Volts returning from their test drives.

Check out more photos below and also a video of the interior if the “green trimmed” interior Volt.  Production Code – AFC. 

4 Responses to “Chevy Volt Unplugged Los Angeles Experience”

  1. Jeff N says:

    Thanks for the report from LA. Too bad about Cal… :-(

    I noticed you were wearing a black Volt t-shirt. Is that a shirt they were giving away at the event? When I drove the car in SF they mentioned there was free food in a building across the street but I wasn’t hungry so I skipped it. A few days later I read something about free t-shirts being given away. I’m thinking that might have been over in the same building.

  2. PatrickZWang says:

    Hey Jeff,

    The Black Shirts were from the freedom drive tour and I picked it up when I went to Detroit. So they weren’t giving them out at this event.


  3. The Volt is back in town! Come see it today and all day tomorrow November 6th until 6pm. We will also have the first ever installed in-dealership charging station! Come check it out, FREE FOOD too!

  4. We got our Volt last Friday. Its actually our Director’s car, that his wife will be driving. But I would like to take it up for a drive to the Rock Store in the hills above Malibu.

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