General Motors has provided Berger Chevrolet with a Chevrolet Volt, GM's electric car, so people can test drive it.
Berger offered me a chance to drive the car for a week, no strings. I don't have to talk about it; I don't have to write about it; I don't have to mention it on television.
I drove a Chevy Volt for a test drive for a television report earlier this year. My first impression was very positive. The car behaves the way American drivers expect cars to behave; it even creeps if you let off the brake at traffic lights, as if a gas engine was engaged with the transmission. There is a gas engine in the Volt, but it's a generator, not a drive engine; two electric motors power the car through the front wheels. The generator kicks in when the battery has reached the limits of its range.
But what is it like to live with a Chevy Volt?
I think some people might be interested in my experience, the positives and the negatives.
So, here I begin. Day 1.
I met Brian Isch at Berger Chevrolet around 1:30 p.m. He rode with me for an orientation. After showing me a few of the bells and whistles, and there are a bunch, He officially handed me the fob. Not a key. A fob.
(Right: No key. Just a fob. Can you see it?)
You see, except for opening the door, you don't need a key. (And with power locks, you don't need the key provided; it folds out of the way into the fob. You may never use it.) The Volt has a power button.
Push for 'on.' Put your foot on the brake. You're ready to roll.
Positive: It feels like any new car. It takes off like any V6. It has no trouble using the passing lane on US-131.
Negative: I bumped my head three times in a row getting into the thing. I'm not a tall guy. Is my perception of the roof line wrong? Maybe I'm used to getting into my minivan. But I don't bump my head getting into my Honda Civic. The fourth try, I cleared the roof getting in.
There will be more to come, now through next Monday, including a drive to Ford Field in Detroit and back.
It's close to my bedtime now. Time to plug in the car.