- Prius (familiar, safe; every single resident of the Bay Area has one; I’ve always owned Toyotas) and a
- Chevy Volt (cool technology, green, cutting-edge but… AMERICAN??!).
News flash: It’s a Volt!
I spent the afternoon at the Chevy dealership yesterday and, after listening to more Classic Rock than I’ve heard in the past ten years combined, made my downpayment.
It hasn’t come home with me yet. I asked the dealership to hold it until we return from taking Daughter to college. I couldn’t bear the idea of this shiny new car sitting unattended for ten days under the Icky Sap Tree in front of our house.
Long before yesterday, the dare-I-buy-an-American-car question had become a non-issue. I went for a ride with one of my haircutter’s clients who LOVES her Volt. I heard about my neighbor’s friend who LOVES his Volt. Then, after I did my Volt-or-Prius blog post, I got a bunch of comments from complete strangers who don’t even live in the Bay Area but own Volts and LOVE their Volts.
I started to think they should have named this car the Chevy Cult.
In any case, there were enough rave comments flying around that I stopped worrying whether its American-ness meant that a Volt would be a poorly-made, piece-of-junk lemon.
And I love the idea of not having to buy any gas. My daily commute is six miles round-trip. On weekend errands, I do maybe ten miles. So with the Volt able to travel 35 miles on a battery charge, I’ll be able to go for weeks — maybe months — without entering a gas station.
I also want to support the development of better, more environmentally-friendly auto technologies in the U.S. A Prius is good on gas mileage and would have been cheaper, but I see my purchase as a personal vote for support for those people in Detroit who are trying to be forward-thinking. The future of our auto industry depends on this kind of ability to look ahead and innovate.
I sat on the decision for long enough that I got used to it and it was no longer scary. (A tried and true approach of mine for big decisions. Ask Sam how long it took for me to decide to marry him.)
There was also a little shove of impetus last week when Daughter couldn’t get my 17-year-old station wagon to start. Between the missing hubcap, stolen radio, power steering fluid leak, anti-lock brake system trouble, crack in the windshield and now iffy starting, it was pretty much time to get off the dime and buy the new car.
Now I’m actually excited. Over the car itself but also some of the minor features. Like – duh – a working radio. (Welcome back NPR! Now I can stop singing Mamma Mia out loud to myself while I drive.)
Or like the dashboard electronics that tell you how much air is in the tires. No more rolling around in the dirt of the gas station with a tire gauge!
Now, just a couple of weeks until I pick it up and bring it home. Do midlife transitions get any more obvious than this? Day one: Leave child at college. Day two: Bring home new car. Maybe I should just park the darn thing in her bedroom.
I’ll give it a couple of months and let you know if I become a card-carrying member of the Chevy Cult.